I’m lucky enough to be in Brazil again, working with teachers as a trainer on the three-day Oxford Teacher’s Academy courses being held in São Paulo, Curitiba and Salvador. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to work with enthusiastic and committed teachers – and also to sample the culture, cuisine and climate of this extraordinary country.
The OTA is an intensive course – and an intense experience, for the teachers and trainer alike. Working together with the same group of people for three days means you get to know one another much better than on a one-day seminar, while the length of the course enables a depth of reflection and discussion that is not always possible on shorter courses. The nine sessions on this course range in content from skills-based topics such as teaching speaking skills, listening skills and pronunciation, to more methodological questions such as using graded readers and dealing with mixed groups. It also offers teachers a chance for reflection on their own practice with sessions on classroom dynamics and emotional intelligence.
In São Paulo there were two groups, which meant that Mary Meyer and I shared the trainers’ role. It was a pleasure to work with such excellent professionals. There is always an enjoyable unexpected dimension, here it was the rivalry between supporters and haters of Corinthians, who were playing in the final of the Copa Libertadores during the course. It was also great to discover that we had an illusionist in one of the groups, and to enjoy hos tricks. What a performance!
I was on my own in Curitiba, as there was only one group, but the experience was equally rewarding, as the group was very experienced and committed. I was particularly well looked after by Fernando Tardiolli and Thais Pedreira, and had lots of laughs – and the world’s finest hot chocolate – in their company. It was also a pleasure to talk to experienced teachers between sessions informally, to learn from their insights and experience, and to share views about teaching. I will remember those conversations for a long time, and will benefit from them a lot, and draw strength from them, too. Thank you.
What a shock to the system to travel from chilly, rainy Curitiba to balmy Salvador! It is only my second day in the city, but already it’s made a fantastic impression – not only the teachers and the climate, but also the outstanding cuisine.
More to follow…