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St. John's Chosen to Help Brazilian Teachers Strengthen English Skills

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Language Connection of St. John’s University was selected by the Institute of International Education (IIE) to host an intensive, six-week program this spring for 24 high school English teachers from Brazil who lived at the Manhattan campus while refining their language skills and classroom practices.

St. John’s was one of 18 American universities—the only one in New York State—chosen by IIE. About 540 Brazilian teachers of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) received grants to study at American universities in 15 US states this spring. The Brazilian government is funding the initiative for at least three years through its Ministry of Education, with support from the US Embassy and the Fulbright Commission in Brazil.

“Our selection as a site for this effort reflects the University’s success in preparing students and professionals from around the world for the opportunities and obligations of living and working in a global society,” said Anthony Pacheco, vice president of global programs at St. John’s. “I’m delighted to see The Language Connection collaborating with The School of Education on a project that will have a major effect on language teaching and learning in Brazil.”

The 24 participants arrived at St. John’s on Tuesday, January 12, and began their studies on Monday, January 14. Luiz Valcov Loureiro, PhD, executive director of the Fulbright Commission in Brazil, and representatives of IIE visited the campus to officially welcome the participants at a reception on Tuesday evening, January 29. The program concluded on Friday, February 22.

The six-week initiative comprised English refinement classes and professional development workshops in which participants learned new tools to bring back to their classrooms in Brazil. Themes from American history were woven into the material. Instructors were drawn mainly from The Language Connection. A class on TEFL methods was taught by Yvonne Pratt-Johnson, EdD, professor in the graduate TESOL program, The School of Education.

“St. John’s provides the visitors from Brazil, and all its English-language students, with distinct advantages,” said Pamela Fairman, PhD, director of The Language Connection, “including the quality of our teaching, our high-tech courses, and our New York City location—the favorite destination of international students.”

The participants relished the opportunity to improve their English while seeing the sites in New York City, including Central Park, the High Line, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square.

For Lucia Solobodziam, of São Paulo, the program provided skills that will improve the way she teaches. “They're exposing us to methods and materials I will definitely be able to apply to the education of my students,” she said. Carlos André Araújo Menezes, who teaches in Umbaúba, Brazil, added, “I’ve already learned a lot more than I have in other intensive English courses.”

“This is amazing,” said Francineide Maria da Silva, a teacher from Teresina, in northeastern Brazil. “I’ve learned so much about English and teaching methodologies. I’m enjoying every minute.”
Learn more about the wide variety of intensive English programs available through The Language Connection at St. John’s University.