Monthly Archives: September 2012

Free Conversation Course and 4 Minutes of Fame

Free Conversation Course at the IF- Sertão in Jõao de Deus (2101-4300) every Monday and Wednesday (TOMORROW) from 11-12 or 13-14 in classroom H27.  All are welcome and encouraged to join!

For more info, or just for kicks, see my live interview (four minutes of fame) with Grande Rio TV:

Translated Script:

Female Anchor:  An opportunity for those who would like to work on their English, a free conversation course here in Petrolina with a North American professor, and here she is live with Juliano Roque. Juliano, I think you must have at least knowledge of English to participate in this course, right? Good afternoon…

Juliano: Good Afternoon (in English).  So, yes you do have to have some notion of English to participate, but as Professor Cara Snyder, the Professor of the course, and I were just talking about, it’s not outlandish for people today to know English.  In reality, English is a very much a part of our reality—someone may know a word, a phrase from a song, this also facilitates [English language learning]. 

Cara, good afternoon.  Besides having some notion of English, or for those who don’t, what will this course be like, how will you give a conversation course for people?

Professor Cara:  Well, that will depend on who comes, but it will be just an hour.  We’ll play games, learn songs, chat… it will be as challenging as possible within in hour.

Juliano: So would this class be good for people, say, who are wanting to travel outside the country and don’t want to arrive not knowing what to do.

Professor Cara: That too, but it’s also for people, I hear a lot of people say that they need to learn English, they need to practice, they’re a little rusty, so this will be a good chance for them once or twice a week as a sort of “refresh”… a sort of…

Juliano: As a reminder for people to remember the things they learned during x course, etc.

Now, who can participate in this course, is there an age limit for instance?

Cara: No, there’s no age limit. People from the community are welcome to participate, students from all schools, I want everyone to participate!

Juliano: Do you have to pay anything to participate in this course?

Cara: No, it’s totally free

Juliano:  The course will be held at the IF- Sertão in the Jõao de Deus neighborhood, is that correct?  Is there a certain time people have to register by?  When does the course begin?

Cara: Yes, you can register, or not, I just want lots of people to come and participate so COME, come and join us the course begins tomorrow so come, see what you think and then keep coming. 

Juliano: What times are the courses held?

Cara:  You can either come from 11-noon, before lunch or from 1-2 pm

Juliano:  I see that you have an excellent accent.  Now you’re from Washington (she was telling us that she’s from Washingon, D.C.), you’ve been here for one and a half years, I’d like to know—is it more difficult for a Brazilian to learn English or for a North-American to learn and understand Portuguese as you are doing so well?

Cara: I think it’s much more difficult for a North American to learn Portuguese.

Juliano:  What were the most difficult aspects for you to understand, speak and write in Portuguese?

Cara: Humm… I think the accent is probably the most difficult part.  As I told you, I arrived already speaking Spanish, so that helped a lot, but there are some sounds in Portuguese that are extremely difficult for us to master like aeroporto (airport), pão, cão: these sounds are difficult. 

Juliano: Cara, thank you so much.  According to Cara there’s no reason why anyone can’t learn English.  The number to the IF- Sertão in  Jõao de Deus is 2101 4300 and now for…

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Coming Up: Autonomous Learning at UPE

One of the things I’m emphasizing this semester at UPE is that language learning requires independent initiative. You’ll learn a language best not only by going to class, but by setting goals for yourself, learning the way you learn, and practicing effectively on your own.

However, it can be hard to know how to start this independent work. To this end, when Cara and I come back from our English Camp (for which we are inexpressibly excited) next week, I’m kicking off a two-week series on Autonomous Learning at UPE. In Week 1, I’ll give a half-hour lecture to each of the four periods (freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors in American terms) during scheduled class time. At the lecture you’ll discover what Autonomous Learning is all about and receive a questionnaire to begin your “journey.” In Week 2, I’ll teach a workshop to follow up on the lecture, where we’ll talk personally about your questionnaire, set some goals, and design strategies for moving forward.

Week 1 begins on Tuesday, October 2. UPE English students will get the lecture in their classes; students from other courses or outside the school should contact me to get a schedule. Week 2 will have two identical workshop slots, so choose which one works best for you. They will be October 9 and 10th, Tuesday and Wednesday, from 5:30-7pm.

Stay tuned for a post-Camp post (hah) in the beginning of next month!

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