Year: 1999. Group: Basic 1. Place: Uberaba, MG – Brasil. Seventeen-year-old Ana Carolina stepped into a classroom for the first time. Young, restless, feeling entitled by her recently acquired C2 diploma and, most importantly: raw. Fluent, for sure. After one year of isolation from all Portuguese speakers in a cultural exchange program before cell phones or the Internet were even available, the mountaneer dialect flowed as if it were her own. Scared, she left the students in class in order to catch a breath and drink some water,...

Monday, 6 p.m., the sun peeking through the blinds in the brick and mortar language school building in Brazil. The teacher enters the room carrying a bag of props, flashcards, and her tape recorder. The recorder being to her as precious as a map to a Geography teacher: “Hi, John Peter! How are you today?” asked the teacher in a high-pitched voice. “I’m fine, thanks. And you?” replied the monotoned student. The automatic, “I’m fine, too,” followed. “So… Let’s begin! Open your books to page 50,” she continued while rewinding and...

We need to be different to succeed – or to keep being successful after some time. That’s a rather upsetting idea, but it seems to be the norm when it comes to the ever-crescent and competitive market of bilingual schools. So what does ‘being different’ imply? Sometimes, it is about being bold when it comes to how two languages are taught or used in the classroom, but more often than not it is about how education is understood at a deeper level, one that is more concerned with...

What do gunpowder, tobacco, and high-performance schools have in common? If we have the Great Wars of the 20th century as our backdrop, quite a lot. At the end of World War I, Germany was trying to cope with grave social problems. The owner of a cigarette company decided to fund a new school for his workers’ kids. Roughly thirty years later, the citizens of Italy found themselves dealing with the consequences of being in the losing side of World War II. Some families in the village of...

You probably have heard of the term Glocalization, which translates the idea of thinking globally and acting locally. It seems obvious, and it doesn't seem something difficult to do. But yet we continue to find excuses not to do it. Especially here in Brazil, our culture is one where we expect changes to come from someone above us. We don't take responsibility for the things we can do to change the reality around us. We think that God is going to help us, that the new president is going to make...

In the previous post we talked about creativity, one of the fundamental values promoted by Theatre in Education. Now I would like to focus on cooperation. We could say that this is an intrinsic value that is acquired through class dynamics since students are not specifically told that the aim of an activity is to "cooperate" because that would go without saying. In Drama lessons, the teacher usually implements "drama games" based on an object, a premise, or an idea. Then the class is divided into groups and each...

Unit 3: Food. In the first exercise, the coursebook brings a set of pictures, each of them showing different food separated in groups. The image labeled with the letter “B” depicts bacon, a box of cereal, two doughnuts, a waffle, some pancakes, eggs, and a glass of orange juice. The instructions tell students to check the picture which contains breakfast food. Easy-peasy. However, they frown and take longer to do what is required from them than you had predicted in your lesson plan. In a short while, the...

Historically, Bilingual Education has had different reasons to be put into practice all over the world. Sometimes, it is the way to facilitate the gradual transition from one language to another. Other times, it is the way to bridge the gap between two languages without diminishing either of them or the cultures related to them. In Brazil, Bilingual Education, when observed in private schools, more often than not has as its aim to offer opportunities to develop language skills in prestige languages, such as English, Spanish, French, German, and...

2018, 2019… If education had a trending topic in the past few years, it would certainly be Active Learning [Metodologias Ativas, in my native Brazilian Portuguese]! The presence of Active Learning in lectures, professional development sessions, online courses, and face-to-face practices may be a result of the need the schools have to promote meaningful learning that triggers learners’ autonomy, protagonism, and active thinking. That is my bet, at least. It also seems to corroborate with present cross-curricular and interdisciplinary expectations which, in turn, help develop a more integrated curriculum aimed...

It often strikes me when there is a very emotional talk about bilingual education here in Brazil and we tend to criticise what we have been doing here compared to what is being done elsewhere in the world. My opinion is clear: adopting an international bilingual education model "as is" here in Brazil is not scalable and also not effective. That being said, it is obvious that international schools and bilingual schools that adopt some sort of international curriculum can and are very succesful most of the times...