From Brazil to Eritrea via Leeds
John Holmes (TESOL) spent two weeks in December as Visiting Research Fellow at the Catholic University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The visit was funded by the Sao Paulo Foundation for Research (FAPESP) and featured a series of seminars on 'Local Knowledge in Research' with postgraduate students and a series of workshops with local state school teachers of English as part of a project called 'Reflection and Action'.
One of main problems faced by state school teachers of English is the lack of resources and opportunities for children to use English. There is also the widespread view that learning English is 'only for rich kids'. A group of teachers discussed some of John's experiences in Eritrea and set up a project in their own school. Grade five children compiled a class album of photos, messages and drawings about themselves and their school, destined for their contemporaries in Eritrea. John promised to take the album to Eritrea and give it to a class of the same age, and if possible, bring back a similar album from the Eritrean children. The children seemed really motivated to use their English and explore the internet to get information about Eritrea and are eager to see the reply from the Eritrean school.