Brazil is a very diverse and dynamic country with the northeast region being less developed than the south and southeast regions, which creates challenges and opportunities for bilateral relations linked to education and the English language. The public school system is the principal source of education services in the area and the municipal government, responsible for pre-school through grade nine, is highly committed to universal quality education including foreign language learning. English is the priority language of Brazil.
Fortaleza is the state capital and is a large city with a sizeable population of around 1 million in the greater metro area. There are some safety issues around crime and mobility. Due to a deficient public transportation system with limited routes, as well as the need to exercise care to avoid petty crime on the streets, private transportation (car) is the norm and required for getting around town. That said, the areas along the beach have a significant amount of tourism and recreation.
Host Institution: Ceará State Education Secretariat
The Ceará state government is investing resources in programs to improve English language education and the development of core curriculum at institutions such as the Ceará State Language Centers. Programs are in need of support to reach their potential, moving beyond more conventional forms of English language teaching and maximizing teaching in spite of limitations in English language skills among teachers of English. The project is needed because the general state of English language education in Ceará faces challenges in maximizing the impact of its efforts, as English language teachers typically lack the knowledge and resources to teach English effectively. Ceará state’s commitment to English language teaching is solid, given the great investment in 2017-2018 to expand the number of Foreign Language Centers open to public school students (beyond regular classes) from one center to six, spread throughout the Greater Fortaleza area.
The team is enthusiastic, though oftentimes overworked, so it is important to have some degree of autonomy and be a self-starter. The teachers are very enthusiastic and eager to attain communicative skills. An English Language Specialist project took place in 2015, planting initial seeds for improving classroom techniques and management. There will be office space provided at the secretariat and also flexibility to develop materials and plan from the Fellow’s residence.
- The Fellow will improve the teaching methods and skills of the state secondary school teachers, assisting with planning and evaluation, and contributing to the effective use of teaching materials in the classroom.
- The Fellow will concentrate primarily on public school teacher development courses to impart teaching methodologies.
- The Fellow will conduct intensive English language education courses for high school teachers and key Secretary of Education administrators.
- The Fellow will help teachers from the teacher development courses to participate in teacher-training workshops, thus training them as future mentors.
- The Fellow will organize English language education materials that will be made available to the public school system.
- The Fellow will assist in the creation of a manual of teaching methodologies and practices to be distributed throughout the Ceará State public school system.
The Fellow may be asked to:
- Provide activities to state public school teachers participating in training, such as conversation clubs, so that they can actively improve their language skills.
- Observe classes and provide feedback to teachers, as well as assist with materials enhancement.