The first episodes of the Observatório ELT podcast are already available on the Observatory for English Language Teaching and on the main audio platforms. With content aimed at English language teachers, managers and education professionals, the podcast brings, over six episodes of its first season, qualified information and discussions about the sector, with interviews that contribute to the listener’s understanding of the Brazilian scenario of English language teaching and learning.
Presented by journalist Patrícia Santos, English project manager for the British Council in Brazil, the podcast brings, in the form of interviews, themes such as the use of data in the planning and management of education, English as a lingua franca, critical racial literacy, among others.
The episodes are released weekly (in Portuguese), always on Thursdays, on the main audio platforms, and available on this page. Follow the ELT Observatory podcast on major audio platforms to receive notifications of new episodes. Check out the ones that are already on the air below.
This podcast is part of the actions of the Observatory for the English Language Teaching, an initiative coordinated by the British Council, as part of the UK-Brazil Skills for Prosperity programme carried out by the British government.
Episode #1: Research on English teachers profile
The first episode of the series echoes data from the research “English teachers in Brazil – Portraits of a profession from the School Census and the Higher Education Census” (in Portuguese), produced by the Observatory for the English Language Teaching. The study presents data and analysis on the profile of women and men who teach English in Brazil, highlighting issues such as workload and academic qualifications.
Vander Viana, associate professor at the University of East Anglia, UK; and Marina Oliveira, English language teacher at Colégio Pedro II, in Rio de Janeiro and doctoral student in Education at PUC-Rio, participate in the episode.
Episode #2: Critical racial literacy in the classroom
The second episode of the series addresses the role of female teachers in promoting inclusive education, focusing on racial literacy and other issues involving inequalities. Professor Maria Carolina Azevedo, Master’s student in Education at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro and English teacher in the municipal network of Rio de Janeiro; and Alexsandro Santos, Ph.D. in Education from the University of São Paulo and president of the School of Parliament of the City Council of São Paulo, participate in the conversation.
Guests address the concept of critical racial literacy and share experiences of initiatives that seek to create a more inclusive environment in the classroom. “Critical racial literacy is the use of reading and writing tools based on critical racial theory, with the objective of combating hegemonic structures of power based on education”, says Carolina Azevedo in the interview.
“We need to remember the very close relationship between discourse and social change – when we talk about critical racial literacy, we are committed to a process of social change,” comments Alexsandro Santos.
Episode #3: Data-based teaching management
The third episode of the ELT Observatory podcast is dedicated to the importance of data and evidence for planning and managing English teaching. Patrícia Santos talks to Raquel de Oliveira, vice president of education and public policy at British startup Gigalime, with more than 20 years’ experience in education and English, including a recent job at the Municipal Education Department from Caruaru (PE).
Raquel shares her experience as a teacher and manager – when commenting on management tools for education, she warns: “what you don’t plan is bound to fail”. She highlights that data, evidence and planning form an essential triad to put into practice effective actions for the quality of education.
“In my view, having access to data and evidence is very important for management. The minimum amount of planning is to diagnose the initial situation – whether for students in a class or even students from a school – and then set realistic goals, taking into account the specifics of each situation and work as a team”, advises Oliveira.
Episode #4: Large-scale English language assessment
Large-scale assessment for English language teaching is the theme of the fourth episode of the ELT Observatory podcast. Participating in the discussion are Gladys Quevedo-Camargo, master and PhD in Language Studies and professor of Literature at the University of Brasília (UnB); and Chico Soares, professor emeritus at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) with post doctorate in Education. Experts argue that Brazil needs a large-scale external assessment for the English language.
“We need a national standard and a well-done external assessment will create this standard. In the case of the English language, this is necessary because we want our students to leave basic education being able to read literature in English, which is absolutely fundamental”, says Chico Soares.
“There is still a long way to go in order to have an assessment of this type. Defining an assessment of this type is extremely complex, because there are several aspects to be considered – we are not just talking about grammar or lexical knowledge, for example. We are talking about language use, hence the complexity of preparing this assessment, especially considering that BNCC favors orality”, defends Gladys Quevedo-Camargo.
Episode #5: English as a lingua franca
What changes in English teaching when you have the perspective of the language as a lingua franca? What uses of language are we talking about? What are the implications for teachers and students of this understanding of the function of language? Issues like these are addressed in the fifth episode of the ELT Observatory podcast, which includes the participation of Savio Siqueira, PhD in Languages and Linguistics and professor at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA); and Telma Gimenez, PhD from the department of Linguistics and Modern English Language at Lancaster University, England, and professor at the State University of Londrina (UEL).
According to Telma Gimenez, “the perspective of English as a lingua franca is an alternative to teaching English as a foreign language because it recognizes that this language has a different status today and that it has been appropriated by speakers of different mother tongues as a communication tool” .
According to Sávio Siqueira, it is a field of studies that has been developing for over two decades, with great pedagogical implications. “As an alternative to a tradition of teaching English as a foreign language, the lingua franca perspective points out paths and broadens perspectives. English as a lingua franca responds to the world context in which English is used by speakers of different languages, in multilingual spaces”.
Episode #6: ELT and the use of technologies
From the perspective of language as a mediator of cultural, economic and social relations, the sixth episode of the first season of the ELT Observatory podcast discusses the ways and possibilities of teaching English in the 21st century.
Janaina Cardoso, professor, researcher and director of the Institute of Letters of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) and Maurício Sousa Neto, English language teacher with experience in public and private basic education networks contribute to the discussion.
Considering the perspective of language as a means of communication and mediator of relationships, there are implications for the teaching of English. According to Janaina Cardoso, “we are living in a translingual and plurilingual century that demands a multicultural work in language teaching”. Cardoso warns that cyberculture involves access to technology that is not egalitarian: “Access to digital technologies can provide tools to learn English, but the lack of access can be harmful to the development of this knowledge”.
Mauricio Sousa Neto points out that the development of technology, accentuated from the 90s on, follows the emergence of new teaching and learning tools. “Videogames, for example, provide indirect and accidental teaching with their texts, narratives and phase system. When they arrive at school, young people used to these technologies need new stimuli”, points out Neto.