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Blog criado por Bruno Coriolano de Almeida Costa, professor de Língua Inglesa desde 2002. Esse espaço surgiu em 2007 com o objetivo de unir alguns estudiosos e professores desse idioma. Abordamos, de forma rápida e simples, vários aspectos da Língua Inglesa e suas culturas. Agradeço a sua visita.

"Se tivesse perguntado ao cliente o que ele queria, ele teria dito: 'Um cavalo mais rápido!"

segunda-feira, 16 de setembro de 2013

¿A qué horas empezamos la clase?

"It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent." — Madeleine Albright

Talking a little bit about my Spanish classes, I have to say that they were all exactly the same thing since the beginning of the course (I’m talking about the ones I have had very recently). Moreover, I can say that I barely improve much. Why is that? Am I a bad language learner? Well, I do not think so! I'm not a complete failure as a language learner. In other words, I can achieve considerable success as a communicator, although I consider myself  far short of (Spanish) native-like competence, I can pick up new words quite quickly, and I am always willing to take the risk in order to speak the language I am studying, and I possess general knowledge not only about the world, but also about language teaching and learning, for instance.  

What I mean is that the way the teacher, say, guided the lessons were no different (in any way) during the whole semester. Same old, same old.

Well, I know that every teacher has his own way of setting up their classrooms, the lexical set and the grammar points, interacting with students, and conducting their own lessons. I know that, but a whole course with no songs, videos or role-plays is not the idea of teaching that I have in my mind, especially when it comes to communicative lessons. They say that their approach is called communicative. I doubt it. Please note I’m criticizing the system here, not the teachers and the managers.

¿Por qué no te callas, Bruno Coriolano? Mind your own business. You have nothing to do with it. Well, some might think that I’m just writing to offend somebody else, but it is not the case. I haven’t said the teacher’s name, neither have I mentioned anything about the school and I’d rather not. I am just trying to make my point here: teaching is pretty much more than just ‘chalk-and-talk approach’.

First problem. The classes were on Saturday mornings.

Yes, imagine yourself having to get up very early on Saturdays to have boring classes (can you picture that?). In fact, the first challenge is always having to study after spending the whole week (And I mean it) already doing that.


We did not really have a proper classroom environment (In my opinion). All we had to do was sit down a listen to the teacher all the time – for three hours in a row and a lot of TTT (teacher talking time).  

Not surprisingly, students did not have time to engage in in the tasks (if there were any). As I said before, this ‘chalk-and-talk approach’ took place almost all the time.

But why is the classroom environment so important? Well, however some teacher don’t give a damn (I haven’t said I wouldn’t be using this kind of language here, have I?) and prefer the more classic rows, others think they should be concerned about the classroom arrangement, maybe because they can control the students or whatever reasons must there be.

I myself like changing the classroom arrangement occasionally. I have had some students who turned out to be a couple (husband and wife) and always wanted to sit at the same seat and only talk to themselves. Well, sometimes I would notice that they did not really take time in order to practice the language, but most of the time they were talking about something else (and in Portuguese). Therefore, I would always give them tasks where they should find another partner and try to communicate.   

So why am I focusing too much on this classroom arrangement? I have to say that I am becoming a kind of a I-love-science-guy (does it make sense?). I’m really interested in the classroom experience pretty much more than ever now. I’m taking this year to experience everything about language learning – as much as I can. Therefore, I have to say that according to Rosenfield (1985): “students seated in circles engage in significantly more on-task behavior than those in rows and that students seated in clusters engage in more on-task behavior than those in rows but less than those in circles”.

So that is why I bother too much about the classroom arrangement. I feel the need to worry about it. I can experience the benefits of it. In fact, there are so many reasons why it is important to focus on it. 

See you next time. I have to go to bed now. 

PORTAL DA LÍNGUA INGLESA has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-partly internet websites referred to in this post, and does not guarantee that any context on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

In some instances, I have been unable to trace the owners of the pictures used here; therefore, I would appreciate any information that would enable me to do so. Thank you very much.

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