Helping Brazilian English teachers develop their professional skills

Thirty high school English teachers from Brazil are spending six weeks at UM in a new skills-building program.

Raphael Silveira, an English teacher in Recife, Brazil, is looking forward to developing his professional skills through a new residential learning program within the School of Education and Development’s Department of Teaching and Learning human. “I always wanted to improve my abilities as a teacher,” he said. “Being able to come to Miami through this exchange program is a dream come true.”

Silveira is one of 30 high school teachers participating in the six-week English Language Certificate Program for Brazilian English Teachers (PDPI) at the University of Miami, organized by the Department of Teaching and learning (TAL).

Luciana de Oliveira, Professor and Chair of TAL, developed and directs the PDPI program, and Ana Maria Menda, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at TAL, is the PDPI Coordinator. Faculty instructors include de Oliveira and Menda, as well as professors Mary Avalos and Ji Shen, and Sabrina Sembiante, assistant professor at Florida Atlantic University.

The six-week residential PDPI program, which began on January 16, includes segments on oral communication, reading, writing, linguistic and grammatical knowledge and cross-cultural aspects of English. “It’s the first time we’ve been able to offer this program, which incorporates the latest English language teaching methodologies,” said de Oliveira.

Acting Dean Walter G. Secada hosted teachers at a January 16 launch luncheon at the Shalala Student Center. “It’s a great opportunity to learn more about our university and our community, while developing your skills,” he said.

PDPI participants from northeast Brazil will learn about the latest methodology in teaching English at the elementary and secondary levels, visit local K-12 schools, participate in on- and off-campus enrichment activities, and learn about American culture and life.

“I have been teaching English to secondary school students in Igarassu for six years,” said Roberto Nascimento. “Our professional development programs focus on Portuguese language and math, rather than English, so I look forward to learning new ways to help my students.”

The TAL department received a grant from the Institute of International Education to support this program in the United States, and Brazilian teachers are supported by a grant funded by the Brazilian Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Fulbright Commission in Brazil .

De Oliveira noted that the PDPI program is part of the Brazilian government’s strategic plan to improve English teaching and teacher training in all states of Brazil. This is one component of a larger initiative to award 100,000 scholarships to top Brazilian students to study abroad at top universities around the world.