The ability to speak more than one language is marvellous!
Not only because of the wonderful mental and psychological benefits being multilingual brings but because of the positivity it brings to us as individuals and our communities.
What's more, how great is it to have these native speakers of other languages around us in the UK?! Our country is becoming more and more diverse when it comes to ethnicity and nationality, which is something we should embrace and thank for enriching our lives. This increase in the number of spoken languages in our area and beyond also make for more interesting opportunities in the workplace, with languages continuing to be a key skill on anyone's CV.
What we need, to keep up with the increasing need to familiarise ourselves with more dialects and language variations is good language instruction so that we remain competitive on the world stage.
And you, with your fantastic language skills, will help us get there! If so, how?
It is no secret that we English speakers have grown complacent in our language studies.
Inasmuch as anywhere in the world we might wander, there will be someone who understands our language, why bother learning any others?
Turns out, we’ve been selling ourselves short and now, there’s a mad scramble to catch up. We may think to ourselves, "it's okay, everyone speaks English in Germany", but there is a reason why so many Germans speak English - because they place great emphasis on language as a tool that can open up many doors.
The British Council has compiled a dramatic report to that effect, closing it with the urging that students in secondary school should sit GCSEs in foreign languages, and not just the common examinations such as French and Spanish. While it used to only be international schools that would offer language lessons in lesser-known languages, many public schools are now catching on and offering pupils the option to study languages like Italian, Portuguese and even Chinese. But, while some have recognised the importance of becoming bilingual or even multilingual, there isn't quite enough love for international languages yet.
That means that there is an urgent need for teachers of foreign languages within the British public school system!
Although Portuguese was not among the top 5 languages students selected, it does make the list of the top 10 languages Britons should study in order to remain economically stable in the years to come.
Neither the report nor the recommendation specified whether one should study Brazilian Portuguese or European Portuguese but that is just a small oversight.
Your Portuguese language skills and teaching ability will make that determination in their stead! Wouldn't you love to be one of the people who helps to spread knowledge and skill by gifting them with lessons in your mother tongue or your language love, Portuguese?
Whether you are a Portuguese native speaker or claimed Portuguese as your major and wrote your doctoral thesis on the life and works of Mário de Carvalho, it is time for you to consider giving lessons in this language you love!
Remember, you don't have to have Portuguese as your mother-tongue to be able to teach others about the language. If you have taken the time to study the language yourself then the chances are that you have some level of passion towards the language and this makes you a perfect ambassador for the Portuguese language. You will have learnt about the rules and exceptions with verb conjugating, casual or colloquial terms and much, much more in your quest to master this beautiful language to the best of your ability.
Go on, think about sharing your love of Portuguese with others!
What Qualifications do I Need to Give Portuguese Lessons?
What an excellent first question! The answer to it is nowhere near as easy...
Essentially, you may teach in any type of venue but, depending on the one that calls to you, you may have to go through a certifying process.
No matter what, if you intend to work with children – in a school setting, in a language training centre or as a freelance tutor, you must submit to a DBS check. Even if you plan to work remotely, parents will still want the reassurance that you have passed a DBS check before working with their children in any capacity.
- If you hail from Portugal and were a teacher there, you will have a bit of an easier time getting your teaching certification in our country than if you were a teacher in Brazil, or have never led any instruction.
- Should you decide on a language training centre as your preferred place to give Portuguese lessons, you would not need a teacher certification.
- If Portuguese is your mother tongue, you will most likely have to prove your English speaking ability (ironically, though you are teaching Portuguese and not English!) most likely by presenting your IELTS or TOEFL certificate.
- If you are native to Great Britain, you will certainly have to prove your Portuguese language ability.
- If you majored in Portuguese language studies at university, you may simply show your transcripts, which will satisfy both your higher education and your language requirement.
- However, if you happen to be in possession of a CAPLE or CEPLE-Bras rating, that would work very well, too.
Bottom line: if you teach in any of Britain’s or Scotland’s public schools, you must have proof of your language ability, proof of higher education and a teacher certification, and a DBS check.
Should you decide to teach Portuguese at university-level, you would not need a Qualified Teacher certificate or a DBS check, but you would have to have earned higher than a bachelor’s degree in your field of study.
Finally, should you wish to teach Portuguese via channels such as a tutoring platform (like our very own Superprof), you may not necessarily need a qualification however you will need to be able to prove your ability in the language. Students simply wishing to learn conversational Portuguese may not be bothered by a lack of credentials however a pupil looking to grasp spelling and grammar will look for proof that you can teach them this correctly (therefore being a fluent speaker isn't enough if you aren't good at writing Portuguese).
Plus, the better qualified you are, the more you can charge for your service, as you'll see below.
Where Can I Give Portuguese Language Courses?
Another great question!
As alluded to in the segment above, you have your choice of locations to teach Portuguese language and culture, provided you meet the qualifications of any of the positions.
Many bilinguals and native speakers choose to teach foreign language independent of any institution or organisation because doing so gives them the freedom to build their curriculum as they see fit, set up their own schedule of lessons and put the language learning focus where it needs to be.
For example, someone preparing for a holiday in Lisbon does not need to know how to conjugate irregular verbs; they would only need conversational Portuguese.
The downside to helping people learn a new language without support and oversight from an established entity is the constant hustle for students, rushing to meet them here or there and having to fight for credibility – at least at the start.
As you progress in your teaching venture, your students would leave rave reviews on your profile page...
A profile page you say? What a good idea!
While you may already have set up a page or similar on Facebook to advertise your services, this only really helps you if others help you out by sharing your page and boost it to other people in your area.
Why not head directly to Superprof and join the more than 500 Portuguese tutors, scattered across the country, who give lessons both online and face to face, and have a profile readily available for prospective pupils to read through during their search for a tutor.
In fact, giving online lessons in Portuguese, if you hadn't already considered this, is one of the best ways to beat the overhead blues: all you really need is a reliable internet connection, a webcam and a quality headset and microphone – so that you can hear and be heard.No rushing around, trying to get to peoples' houses on time, trying to find addresses... hell you don't even have to be up and dressed until just before you go online (unless, of course, you've left your planning until the last minute!).
In spite of the convenience brought by this technology, some Portuguese teachers would rather teach in a school or language training centre - and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.
The pay would be more steady (not to mention easier when it comes to declaring your tax) and the hours more regulated... but then again, your teaching would be regulated, too and wouldn't have the same control over your job as you do when working self-employed.
I guess that balances out...
How Do I Set a Price for My Portuguese Lessons?
You’ve decided to teach Portuguese independently? That’ll be so much fun!
But it will also be work: establishing your curriculum – one for every need because not every student will be the same therefore you can't just roll out the same lesson plans each time you see someone.
You will also have to prepare materials; maybe a few Powerpoint presentations, some flashcards or maybe make use of other resources available online (see below for more) to keep the sessions interesting and engaging.
You may even have to buy a few Portuguese textbooks and workbooks for your students to learn with. If working with younger pupils, you may wish to gather some Portuguese children's books and offer a lending library, which will be an added expense.
And then, as we just brushed upon, you have to decide who your audience will be.
Will you focus on exam preparation? Will you work strictly with university students or would you rather teach young children in an immersion type of curriculum?
You might also consider teaching business Portuguese if there are any international companies in your area and if you're suitably qualified. There's no point in advertising business Portuguese lessons if you have no idea about business communications!
And let’s not forget teaching Portuguese conversation to those merry holidaymakers!
As you can clearly see, not every Portuguese lesson is the same: some will merit more money per hour while others won’t even last an hour. What's more, if teaching kids, then you may find that the Portuguese aspect of your lesson only makes up about 10% with the rest being dedicated to instructing them in English and visual activities.
To muddy the waters even further, we must consider that what type of Portuguese you teach and to whom is perhaps the least of your considerations when setting your prices.
Your geographical location is perhaps a much greater factor than any other aspect of teaching any language when it comes to determining your price per hour of instruction.
If you live in a London, Manchester or Glasgow, you may charge up to £50 per hour without batting an eye. However, prices such as those won’t bring you many students in Brighton, Blyth or Bushey.
Bottom line: check around; find out what other Portuguese tutors are charging and price yourself competitively.
Don’t price yourself too low, or else people will perceive the value of your instruction to be poor, no matter how good it is.
If you discover that most of your competition is charging around the same price as one another, then this could be your chance to find a new angle that will attract students to you rather than them. Perhaps you could offer a trio of bookings for a reduced price? This also works as a bit of marketing for you and ensures that you are getting those repeat bookings secured.
How to Prepare for a Portuguese Course?
First, consider your students: what do they need? What are their primary interests?
In the case of the happy holiday revellers, you would focus on vocabulary – words and phrases related to food, shopping and travelling would be suitable. And Portuguese pronunciation would be essential!
It may sound silly, but don't think it's below them to teach them about Portuguese beverages and food dishes, as the chances are that this is what they'll be doing most of when they embark on their beach holiday! "Uma cerveja, por favor!"
Students aiming for fluency would need to know about on grammar rules, reading and writing. You should give them plenty of class time to practise their Portuguese speaking, too!
Teaching smaller children your native language simply involves teaching them new words – days of the week, colours and other common words; they will pick up grammar as they go along. The fun part here, if you like getting stuck into some artistic work, is creating the visual elements that will get your pupils excited to learn more about the language!
Two critical aspects of planning your language lessons, no matter if you teach individuals or groups of students: always formulate a lesson plan and always keep a teacher’s journal. When teaching children, parents may quite rightly want to see evidence of what you are and will be teaching their kids before parting with money.
Such a journal permits you to record impressions: what worked in class, what didn’t, concerns you have over any student and how their overall learning experience is shaping up. In addition, having a record of each session can prove useful when working through your hours for tax purposes later down the line.
This diary is meant to help you grow and improve as a teacher; a vital aspect of being an educator.
Other tips for preparing for your lessons: make sure you have everything ready – textbooks and handouts, and make sure that any equipment you will use during your lessons, such as a whiteboard or computer with projector, are functioning properly.
Final suggestion: don’t forget your enthusiasm and radiant attitude!
Find out more about preparing your Portuguese lessons.
Useful Resources for Giving Portuguese Lessons
Learning Portuguese is no different than studying different languages – whether someone wants to learn German, learn Spanish or even Mandarin, the wealth of resources available for them to gain proficiency in any language they choose is astounding.
You, who knows all about learning a language, will surely make use of these in the course of your lessons.
Why not introduce your students to Portuguese culture by showing a few good films?
As you well know, Portuguese culture (and Brazilian culture!) is rich with history, tradition and vitality. How better to demonstrate all of your country’s best qualities than through evocative films?
Doing so will also give your students the chance to hear the country’s official language, spoken in dialogue – what a way to build their listening skills!
Another way would be through podcasts and videos. In fact, YouTube has several Portuguese language channels that you might recommend your students subscribe to.
There are so many resources you might consider using in the course of your language course!
Whether you teach in a classroom or one to one in your home, to beginners or those nearly fluent, this Romance language deserves far more credit than it gets.
What To Teach Pupils About Portuguese Culture?
The aspects of Portuguese culture that you prepare to teach may, as with many things, vary according to the person you are instructing. For instance, for someone who is planning an imminent move to Portugal, details on the Portuguese population, a bit of background on the different regions and their history, the economy and the local delicacies might be of interest but for those who simply visit a holiday home in a touristic area during the peak of the summer holiday season, then this might quite frankly fall on deaf ears!
That said, anyone who takes an interest will more than likely have an interest in the country and its people, and this is immensely useful to have this background knowledge when learning a new language.
As such, don't be afraid to tell your pupil where Portugal stands when it comes to religion, the EU (yes, it is a member!), cultural heritage, and indeed tourism, which makes up a great part of Portuguese industry. If you have lived in or visited Portugal then you may wish to offer your own suggestions of where to go and sites of interest that shouldn't be missed.
Most importantly, though, is to teach your student the basics about the people and their everyday lives, along with food and drink, as this is what the majority of people learning Portuguese will come into contact with (it doesn't harm a businessman to know this either for when he is not on call or even to gain a better understanding of his colleagues and why they disappear for hours at lunchtime while he is hard at work!).
For instance, Kwintessential indicates that:
"The Portuguese are typically gentle, friendly and modest. Visitors who make the effort to learn even a few simple words or phrases such as hello (bom dia), thank you (obrigado) and goodbye (tchau) will be appreciated.
The family is central to the Portuguese way of life, and takes precedence over all other relationships, including in business. Employing family members within a business is seen as the normal thing to do in Portugal, as it makes sense to them to surround yourself with the people you know and trust the most.
The Portuguese are also concerned with appearances and with respectability. Being smartly dressed, whatever the occasion, is seen as a mark of respectability, especially amongst the older generation. It comes as something of a surprise to many visitors to Portugal to learn that mourning is on a grand scale here. Depending on your relationship to the deceased person, mourning can last several years, and some widows in rural areas remain in mourning for the rest of their lives."
Furthermore, etiquette is a smart subject to teach, allowing learners to understand how they might be received in this different country.
For instance, the country, in general, is quite conservative. Though residents will have grown to accept holidaymakers in their touristic areas, they still won't appreciate over-exuberant behaviour and, what's more, they like punctuality and won't take nicely to you being late for an appointment (suggest they think about this when booking restaurants!).
Finally, so that they aren't taken aback by a sudden show of love, you might like to advise your British pupils about European men and their openness. While men in the UK will simply shake hands or offer each other a nod, when greeting a friend (or even a stranger in some circumstances) many men will hug one another and women will kiss on the cheek, first right then left.
Formal titles such as Senhor and Senhora should always be used when addressing someone unless you have been specifically invited to use their first name.
We’re so glad you’re actively considering helping people learn how to speak it!