MEC in Brazil

04-Jul-2007

Vilson Coimbra, of Cultura Inglesa São Paulo, Brazil, writes:

 

 Cultura Inglesa São Paulo

 

‘Here at Cultura Inglesa São Paulo the “e-Campus” (that is what we call MEC) is widely used both as part of the regular curriculum and also for remedial work.

For our business English students, the e-Campus has been used along with two distance courses run by The Club, our business executive unit.

One of these courses is called “emailing” and helps students develop their writing skills. On this course students are emailed activities which require them to write business emails and reports and subsequently submit them to a teacher at the unit. After analyzing the student’s text, the teacher replies with comments and suggestions for improvement.

The other course is called “phone classes”. On this course students schedule a time to practise their English with a teacher over the phone, and the main focus is on fluency. Prior to the scheduled phone class, the student receives a text to read or a task to work on, such a product presentation. During the conversation on the phone, the teacher makes notes of the student’s performance and proposes a course of action for improvement.

For both courses the e-Campus provides activities which help students to practise the language they need for written or conversational English. Specifically the e-Campus provides topics of conversation taken from the news items. It also provides the opportunity for remedial work that the teacher has identified as necessary when analyzing a student’s written or oral work.

The improvement achieved by the students as a result of their e-Campus practice can be assessed in future written work or phone conversations.’

Comments(8)

  • Hi Vilson
    Your mention of The Club reminded me of another type of interesting use of the e-Campus – when I visited there once, one of the teachers told me how much enthusiasm there was among her business students for the ‘big business-strategy game’ – I couldn’t remember publishing one and wasn’t sure how to reply … then she told me she was talking about ‘Terraformer’ – and how negotiating with the aliens was something her high-flyer executives from an international bank found totally engrossing … so if anyone out there hasn’t tried ‘Terraformer’ with their business students, do please have a go and let us know how they get on.
    Best wishes
    Fiona

    Posted by Fiona MacKenzie on July 05th 2007
  • Hi Vilson,

    Your phone courses sound like something we do at International House Pisa. We offer a SKYPE (so phone calls are free)course using CAMPUS as the "book". I’m currently running a 1 to 1 between Pisa, Italy and Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The student & I work on CAMPUS at the same time, using the activities as they are & also as stimulus for further lesson development. I’m sure there are lots of possibilities in this area of blended learning. What do you think?

    Chris

    Posted by Chris Powell on July 05th 2007
  • Vilson,
    There seems to be quite a lot in common between your business courses and our Exam Preparation Courses Online where E-Campus actually plays a very important role. After a careful selection of the most appropriate resources from the E-Campus bank, we devised tailored made courses for Cambridge ESOL KET, PET, FCE, CAE and IELTS with a very strong online component meant to offer students an opportunity to revise the language they have learnt so far in Module 1 and also become familiar with the sort of tasks they are expected to complete as part of such exams in Module 2. Additionally, we decided it was important to offer these distance students an opportunity to practise for the exam’s speaking component, something which is done through one-to-one telephone conversations between each student and one of our online tutors. Just as you mention it, students receive their tasks and material beforehand but, in our case, they are asked not to see it until the moment of the telephone conversation so that they can react to it spontaneously, just as they are supposed to do it in the real exam. Writing tasks to be sent to tutors also prepare them for the writing paper. Student feedback has been quite positive so far but we believe we can always make things better. Any suggestions ?

    Posted by Marcela Moya on July 05th 2007
  • Vilson,
    It’s Marcela Moya again. I forgot to mention who we are (!!). All the work and ideas mentioned before regarding Exam Preparation Courses Online have been developed by a team of EFL professionals working at Instituto Chileno Británico de Cultura de Santiago – Chile.
    Regards from Santiago !
    Marcela

    Posted by Marcela Moya on July 05th 2007
  • Dear Chris,

    I am sure new formats of courses will emerge as technology develops. As bandwidth becomes cheaper and more widely available, the possibility of running distance learning courses will become more attractive both to students and institutions. I believe it is important to be aware of developments in this area and keep experimenting.

    Your use of Skype is one example of what is possible.

    I was curious about your comment that you and your student "work on CAMPUS at the same time". Does it mean the student does the activities while talking to you over the Internet?

    Posted by Vilson Coimbra de Oliveira Filho on July 24th 2007
  • Dear Marcela,

    I was a pleasure to meet you at the LABCI here in São Paulo although I am sorry we did not have time to talk more.

    It is very interesting your use of the e-Campus resources in the preparation of students for the Cambridge Exams.

    We have preparatory courses for the exams and we do recommend using the e-Campus but the idea of actually selecting a set of activities and exam practice exercises and creating a course in the e-Campus seems very appealing.

    I was wondering which exercises, apart from the exam practice exercises, you chose and what parameters and procedures were used in the selection of these exercises.

    As regards the tasks sent to the students for the practice over the phone, have you thought of making these tasks available online and disclosing the address only during the telephone conversation? That might make the practice even closer to the actual exam.

    Regards,

    Vilson

    Posted by Vilson Coimbra de Oliveira Filho on July 24th 2007
  • Dear Vilson,
    I would have also liked to have a chance to sit down with you to share some of the ideas we’ve been putting into practice in our schools but, Brazil is not that far after all so, we may find an excuse to meet again here or there. Anyway,let me tell you a little bit more about our two parallel exam preparation courses: one focusing on the language to be revised before the exam and the second concentrating on making the student familiar with exam techniques and their different sorts of questions. In the first case, we sticked to the corresponding exam syllabus to select E-Campus language practice and tests and in the second, we tried to use every single exam task available in the E-Campus bank. Regarding the writing paper, we decided to devise tailored-made writing tasks which the student gets as part of the course manual they all receive at the beginning of their course in PDF format. Students then write their compositions and send them to their e-tutor who is responsible for marking them. Such e-tutor is also be responsible for arranging and completing telephone conversations with them.
    I like your suggestion on the tasks to be sent at the moment of the conversation !
    Regards from a freezing Santiago
    Marcela Moya
    Instituto Chileno Britanico de Cultura – Santiago

    Posted by Marcela Moya on July 24th 2007
  • Hi Vilson,

    Yes, we work on the activities together, so it’s not only used as a self-study thing, but as stimulus for further more communicative work.

    Chris

    Posted by Chris Powell on August 10th 2007

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