Languages at ER
The pedagogical approach
The ER adopts a holistic approach. This means that we judiciously blend many different approaches of language teaching. Our goal is, using what is more adequate to the reality of the student/group, to help who is learning not only to reach the pre-established target but also to make the student aware of the possibilities involved in the learning-apprenticeship process.
The support material
- The choice of the support material is linked to the needs of the student/group. It is not exclusively the teachers’ responsibility. The RESEARCH of issues related to the areas of interest of the student are in a sine qua non condition to the real personalization. Therefore the interest and help of the student in the process of choosing the class content will guide the course’s curriculum. With the results of this research, the teacher will be able to suggest homepages, magazines, books, movies and texts in general, the student will also be able to select material to include in the lesson plan.
- Books offered in the market can be used by means of negotiation between the student and the ER, according to the set aims in the analyses of the student needs, as in cases in which:
- There is the necessity of a focused study into a specific systemic area (grammar/structure). In this case, we can choose, for instance, an adequate grammar to the linguistic level of the student.
- Preparation for tests of proficiency required by the students (IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge, and others). This kind of preparation requires practice of the acquired knowledge of the student in the different kinds of tests.
- Selection of lessons or units in books that are adequate to the macro goal previously set.
- Courses administered to groups where a more specific purpose can be achieved. This choice, for instance, will depend on the assiduity and availability of the group to engage themselves in activities – including extra classes – that link the lessons to their reality.
- We encourage the collaborative construction of material such as presentations, reports, surveys, class notes and research made by students and teachers alike. Also, suggestions about the issues to be studied, which are proposed in the beginning of the analysis of the needs.
The course length
- The variation of the course length depends on the student’s participation, next to his/her teacher, and on the fulfillment of the goals, documented in the monthly reports.
- It is up to us, educators, to elucidate that the level (basic, intermediate, advanced) is only one manner to locate the student in his/her continuum of apprenticeship, i. e., despite that we adopt the classifications found in the market, we avoid linking the sensation of “progress” or “success” to an assumed passage of level. Rather than a scale with a beginning, a middle and an end, from which one seeks totality, the process of learning-apprenticeship is a continuum where the teacher takes a different position, at different times and at different points. The student selects areas of knowledge in the foreign language in which s/he intends to devote and makes a decision to attain the goals listed in the analysis of the needs.
The analyses of the specific needs
- The analysis of the student’s needs, that is the centre of our planning and performance evaluation, is made in two different stages:
- Evaluation of previous experience of the new student in different educational institutions.
- Research about the life experience of the student in relation to the target language.
- Research of the goals of oral and written understanding of the student in the short, medium and long term.
- Research about the different support material and extra-class activities considered effective by the new student (including approaches like distance learning, immersion, etc.).
- Suggestion by the student about research materials which the teacher can use to develop his/her project.
- In this stage of the process, already aware of the student’s needs, our team evaluator interacts personally with the student, detecting the real possibilities of reaching the suggested goals. To do that we elaborate on the evaluation that observes two criteria: the systemic knowledge (grammar/structure) and the schematic development (vocabulary, expression, capability of using the systemic to describe a vision of world). These criteria take into consideration the oral and written understanding, the capability of a critical interpretation of texts, written composition, listening understanding and oral expression.
- By means of the answers to objective and discursive questions, the student will observe that, according to the table below, ER positions its students in comprehensive levels of knowledge.
- To make the student aware of their own position, they are invited, before answering the questions, to make a self-evaluation, i.e., to point out the level they considers themselves to be, taking into consideration the reading of the characteristics proposed for each level in the table.
- After that, the student has the opportunity to evaluate again his/her level, taking into consideration his/her difficulties in the evaluation process. At this moment, they can also count on the evaluator’s analysis.
- All of this process allows the student and the ER evaluator to discuss and decide on class materials, course objectives and the student’s goals.