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Teaching the Portuguese Language: Which Curriculum is Best? 

By Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > Teaching Portuguese: Courses and Qualifications

Portuguese is a language of the future. It is the 5th most spoken language in the world, and it is present on all continents.

Not to mention that this Latin language also carries a culture and a history that have been enriched over the centuries by discoveries and expansion. From Portugal to Cape Verde, via Brazil or Angola, the language of Camões is surprising in its diversity.

Perfectly bilingual, in love with the Portuguese-speaking culture, do you dream of transmitting your passion and teaching Portuguese? This article is made for you.

  • What is the ideal path to become a Portuguese teacher?
  • How to learn Portuguese from an early age?
  • Can one become a Portuguese teacher without a diploma?

So many questions that you certainly ask yourself … Here is the ideal curriculum to speak Portuguese and teach it!

Learning to Speak Portuguese in High School: Public or Private?

Most of the time, in high school, students choose to learn Spanish, French, or even Chinese!

Why not Portuguese?

When you want to teach Portuguese (and this is true for any other language …), it is of course essential to be perfectly bilingual English – Portuguese, but also to know perfectly:

  • Culture,
  • History,
  • Countries where the language is spoken …

To reach such a level, and to master a language different from one’s mother tongue, it is best to start very early. So, even if we have not yet necessarily planned in high school to move towards teaching careers, it is possible to begin learning Portuguese at any time in the school career, whether in primary school, in high school, or in college.

Discover also where you could teach Portuguese!

Portuguese is an increasing offer amongst American high schools, which is great because our capacity to learn language is stronger in our youth.

So, Portuguese beginner, intermediate or advanced? Let’s take stock of schools that offer Portuguese classes to their students.

In 2014, more than 16,000 secondary school students studied Portuguese in France, 73% more than in 2001. This significant and steady progression in Europe also extends to the United States. However, the language is a much rarer prospect of American high school students. The main languages studied in American high schools are French and Spanish, but the popularity of other languages is increasing.

The Portuguese Language Initiative documents 142 schools offering Portuguese language instruction to high school students at various levels.

For high school freshmen, the beginning level is offered through intermediate at various public and private institutions in the United States.

The distribution of these colleges is not homogeneous in the United States. Unfortunately, the introduction to Portuguese in high school remains inaccessible in many institutions.

Are you wondering how much you stand to earn as a Portuguese teacher?

What License Do You Need to Teach Portuguese?

After receiving your high school diploma, to become a teacher of Portuguese, it is essential to continue your studies at the university level.

To teach Portuguese at the high school level, 4 possibilities are available to you:

  1. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree, such as a B.S. in Foreign Language Education, which blends specialized coursework in language and pedagogy, and offers a broad liberal arts education that includes taking core courses in the social sciences and humanities.
  2. Completion of a teacher education program, which prepares an aspiring educator to understand and serve high school-aged students.
  3. One to two semesters of classroom observation and student teaching are spent under the supervision of a seasoned teacher, and typically occur during a student’s junior and senior years.
  4. Becoming licensed and certified to teach at a public school by completing state-specific guidelines, such as passing applicable examinations. For example, teachers in New Mexico are expected to pass the NMTA (New Mexico Teacher Assessments) Basic Skills test, Teacher Competency (for elementary or secondary certification) and appropriate Content Assessment(s).

You may then continue your studies at a post-graduate level to teach Portuguese at the university level.

There are multiple ways to become a certified foreign language instructor in the United States. Continue your studies post-grad to teach at the university level.

The big question is to choose your path towards qualification. How, you may ask? According to your desires.

First, determine whether you want teach language at a university level or not. This will be the largest factor pertaining to what qualification you will need.

  • Teacher Training Programs and Classroom Observation/Student Training. These options will allow you to teach Portuguese at the juvenile levels, primarily to young people in private learning institutions are public grade schools.
  • University Degrees in Language and Foreign Language Education.  You can study language at an undergraduate or graduate level in university. An undergraduate degree in a foreign language or foreign language education can make you eligible to teach Portuguese at a high school level, while a postgraduate study can make you eligible to teach the language at the university level.

… An approach perfectly adapted to train future translators or teachers of Portuguese.
To help you in your choice, think also about future prospects.

Is teaching your vocation? Then perhaps a graduate level qualification is for you. If, on the contrary, you plan to teach Portuguese without a degree, then a teacher’s certification should suffice.  Why not become a business trainer to teach business Portuguese or translation? Alternatively if formal teaching is not for you, why not consider becoming a private Portuguese tutor. As jobs for ex teachers go, it’s pretty ideal.

In both streams of teacher training, your years of study are also the perfect opportunity to look for immersion in a Portuguese-speaking country, for an Erasmus stay or an internship. A must to learn Portuguese, French, Italian, German or any foreign language. As part of the language study stay, the students put into practice the learning and move from learner status to that of bilingual Portuguese – English.

Have you always dreamed of discovering Latin America and living in Brazil?

This is your chance to travel to Rio or Sao Paulo … Wherever you go, you will be able to engage in conversation with native people, and discover everyday life. Language and culture are inseparable and to better comprehend and utilize the language, nothing beats total immersion.

Follow these tips for how to prepare lessons in Portuguese!

 

Don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in the Portuguese language. Travel to Portugal or Brazil and experience the language first hand!

Post-Graduate Qualifications to Teach Portuguese at the College or University Level

Teaching a foreign language at the college level requires at least a master’s degree or PhD in education (or a related field) with a demonstrated fluency in a specific language.

At two-year colleges, junior colleges and community colleges, professors may offer courses in foreign languages to full-time students, or work in programs that cater to the needs of part-time or occasional students (students not enrolled in degree programs who are just taking one or two courses out of personal interest). For this reason, college foreign language teachers, many of whom work on a part-time basis, frequently offer both credit courses and non-credit courses.

The latter approach often focuses more on teaching non-career track or major-related courses for individuals with a leisurely interest in learning Spanish, such as retirees. While some non-credit language courses are offered by language teachers with a bachelor’s degree, most colleges expect applicants to have a minimum of a master of arts degree in a relevant field (such as the foreign language in question or applied linguistics), or a master’s degree in education with teaching experience showcasing a demonstrated level of fluency in the language they wish to teach.

At the university level, foreign language professors are expected to meet the same criteria as most English literature professors. This means that they are not only fluent in a foreign language but have also proved themselves as an expert on a particular aspect related to a foreign language’s literature or culture. As a foreign language professor at the university level, one may be grouped under a specific department related to Foreign Languages or Modern Languages; or belong to a sub-category of departments, such as the Department of German Studies.

In most cases, university foreign language professors have:

  • Completed several years of graduate-level coursework related to a foreign language and its literature and culture
  • Passed one or more related field exams
  • Written and defended a dissertation on a related topic

For the above reasons, professors are often expected to do more than simply teach proficiency in a particular language. They are also expected to offer electives related to their specific areas of expertise (such as Medieval French literature, French cinema, or contemporary French philosophy). In many cases, part-time faculty or graduate students are employed to teach more introductory language courses. PhD-holding professors at universities are also often expected to perform research related to their field of specialization.

In addition to their work in the classroom, professors typically supervise graduate students completing their master’s degrees and PhDs in a foreign language or literature field.

Can I Give Portuguese Lessons Without a Degree?

Already despairing over the hefty length of coursework required to reach your goal?

Rest assured. There are other ways you can teach Portuguese.

 

The possibilities of becoming a language instructor are various, so don’t be intimidated by the workload.

Depending on your profile and your aspirations, you can target different ways to practice the profession of Portuguese teacher:

  • Teach Portuguese as a contractual teacher: many teachers are not certified. Contract workers are recruited to fill vacant positions. A degree is not required, but you will have to prove you’ve obtained a teaching license.
  • Become a private teacher of Portuguese: there is no degree requirement to give private lessons of Portuguese. You can easily get started and become a Brazilian-Portuguese or Portuguese-Portuguese home teacher (Superprof is here to help you find tutoring jobs London),
  • Teaching Portuguese in language schools: again, each training center has its recruitment criteria. If you are bilingual (or even better, native), and you have pedagogical skills, it is quite possible to become an employee in one of the many structures specialized in language teaching,
  • Create a Portuguese Language Center: Do you have specific professional experience? Do you have multiple skills? You can also embark on an entrepreneurial adventure and create your own structure. The Brazilian Portuguese language market is buoyant. The fifth most spoken language in the world, this international language is widely used in the business world. Companies need to train their employees.

The possibilities are numerous. First and foremost, it is important to determine your strengths to find the appropriate structure that will allow you to flourish as a teacher of Portuguese.

What qualifications are required?

Even if degrees are not required, linguistic and pedagogical skills are.

Teaching is a job as exciting as it is demanding. Before becoming a Portuguese teacher, you will have to master the language perfectly (vocabulary, grammar, conjugation, pronunciation, accent, phonetic …) Native speakers, bilingual speakers, certified teachers and self-taught enthusiasts all have one thing in common: they speak fluent Portuguese.

Have you mastered the language of Camões? You will also need to know how to share and pass on your knowledge effectively. Motivate and interest students, whatever their profile (children, adults, beginners, experts, professionals …). It’s not easy. It is necessary not only to justify pedagogical and didactic skills, but also to have some essential qualities and features:

  • Patience,
  • Empathy,
  • Adaptability,
  • Charisma,
  • Dynamism,
  • Understanding,
  • Creativity,

A good teacher must know how to interest and understand his students, propose approaches adapted to their abilities to help them progress, but also to question and renew oneself with each lesson to avoid routine.

Do you recognize yourself in this portrait?

You are probably ready to give language classes. With or without a degree, invest in your professional project to become a Portuguese teacher.

Also discover all you need to know about giving Portuguese lessons

 

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