The Connected Classroom, III Jornadas Internacionales de Lenguas Extranjeras, Santa Fe, Junio 2014 from mariacolussa
Here´s the full programme of the event.
My Proposal to this event and the feedback I got from the evaluation team.
Even though you can see that the proposal to the event was in English, I had to use Spanish to talk about it since the audience consisted of teachers of different languages. However our colleagues from Brazil spoke Portuguese and it was a great satisfaction for me to be able to follow their speeches quite well. As I said, it was not until I was driving home that I realised this has been the first time I had used my own language to talk about the things I have been learning and doing online.
During the event a number of issues concerning curricullum reform were put forward as well as several initiatives to support or aid the teaching of English, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Italian.
A group of colleagues from Misiones (the province famous for its Iguazu Falls), which borders Brazil and Paraguay put up a book called Portugues para meus amigos They also told us about the challenges of teaching a foreign language in a region where the children use a blend of languages: on the coast of the Uruguay River the language is Portuñol (with of Portuguese and Spanish) and by the Parana River bordering Paraguay some people speak Guarañol (a mix of Guarani and Spanish).
Another interesting proposal came from Bruno Ramires Zilli, from the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Brazil, who put up an online course to teach Spanish to the blind.
Jackeline Miazzo from Universidad Nacional de San Luis presented on Spanish pronounciation and its varieties, given that universities located in different places of Argentina are receiving overseas students. What variety of Spanish is the one these students should learn? The uncomfortable question of deciding what is the "best" and "most prestigious" variety emerged as well as an exercise of self awareness on what Spanish we speak, what variety should a student learning Spanish learn while living in a specific location and when should a teacher intervene to correct mistakes. I found this comment very useful: (I will quote her by providing my humble translation) " ...to wake up in the learner a desire to learn in order to allow an intercultural exchange..." I must say that the need to focus on use and appropriateness was stressed without so much emphasis on grammar, which I found very healthy. When it comes to my mother tongue I have witnessed the speakers struggling with gender, number and verbal tenses while trying to communicate, these grammatical features are complicated enough to kill the most eager student´s motivation.
Sonia Bierbrauer from the university of Cordoba delighted us by sharing the creative process of writing a Spanish coursebook, which now consists of 3 levels. She concluded that it was a challenge that allowed the team involved to grow not only professionally but personally as well. The book is called Horizonte ELE, unfortunatelly I don´t have a link to it but if anyone is interested you can surely mail her for details (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This congress was an opportunity to celebrate the 10th birthday of the CELU ,Certificate of Spanish, Language and Use, a venture of epic characteristics that begun as one of the worst crisis in the history of our country was taking place. Unfortunately it has not a virtual component, but anyone wishing to attend the exam can do so in several evaluation centres all over the world as well as in any of the 35 universities belonging to a consortium of institutions that are in charge of administering the exam.