Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Helping Young Brazilians Learn English

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A new film reveals how young Brazilians are turning to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, video games and even rock bands to improve their English in a “learn by doing” strategy.

"Thoughts from Brazil" - a short documentary by Daniel Emmerson - uncovers some surprising trends in learning English. It will be of particular interest to young people, parents and teachers, especially those who long for a learning experience that is more interactive and communicative. Teens and young adults will find new ideas for combining personal interests such as music, gaming and social media with self-study.

"Thoughts from Brazil", the sixth film in The Learning English Video Project, has just been released on EnglishClub.com, a free educational website for learners of English.

The first half of "Thoughts from Brazil" features a Sao Paulo children’s school that uses a communicative style of teaching known in the TEFL blogosphere as "dogme ELT" or "teaching unplugged". This style of teaching underscores the effectiveness of language acquisition in a natural, "materials light" classroom, not unlike how children acquire their own first language. Rather than use course books and a set curriculum, the teachers use play, stories and realia to expose children to English. Teacher Solene Uribe explains: "We teach using communication as the base so kids say what they really wanna say."

The second part of the film extends the dogme theme with Brazilian teens using video games, music and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to learn English, almost by default. Interviewees describe their ability to learn English while engaging in activities that they love, such as gaming and socializing. One high school student, Jose Ferraz, explains that his interest in English music has allowed him to speak even more fluently than some of his friends who take private English lessons. In the film he says: "For example, from British I like Oasis. Err, do you know the Arctic Monkeys? Or even Muse, The Kooks. You know, those new rock scenes? The Libertines. They help me a lot actually, 'cause if it wasn't for them I wouldn't speak English. It depends on you, you know. If you wanna learn, you will learn. It doesn't matter if it was film or music or English class."

"Thoughts from Brazil" is available for free viewing with or without subtitles on EnglishClub.com. Materials, including classroom worksheets and self-study exercises, are available free of charge in printable and online formats. Josef Essberger, founder of EnglishClub.com, has provided an embed code for each film and encourages webmasters, teachers and students to share the film on their own websites and blogs.

Film: Thoughts from Brazil
Length: 17 m
Series: The Learning English Video Project
Director: Daniel Emmerson
Presenter: EnglishClub.com
View online: http://englishclub.com/brazil
Download free: http://englishclub.com/download
Release date: 21 July 2010

TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language
ELT: English Language Training

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