The PLL (Portuguese Language Learners) course - Portuguese for Foreigners at EAB - aims to enable non-Portuguese-speaking students to communicate and simultaneously become part of local activities. Our learning goal is to develop listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing in Portuguese according to the skills of each grade. We seek to integrate the PLL program with the content taught in other subjects, providing experiences in the classroom so that the language is developed in a pleasant and meaningful way.
Following principles of learning that transfers proposed by Julie Stern, "Transfer — applying learning from one situation to another — is extremely difficult, and we can teach it more effectively through building a culture of focusing student attention on how organizing concepts and their connections play out in different situations." According to Loris Malaguzzi (1990), "the wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense their motivations and the richer their experiences." In other words, we present Brazilian culture and offer opportunities to transfer learning from the classroom to real-life situations through field trips, simulations, and practical classes. In addition, we do reading and writing workshops and conversation circles to stimulate different language skills.
Currently, we have around 228 students enrolled in our PLL program, approximately one-third of the EAB students, who are constantly assessed in their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Furthermore, one of our goals is to differentiate learning according to the student's need and, consequently, evaluate the possibility of transition and immersion in a Portuguese classroom with Brazilians, where the experience and contact with the language are highly favorable for a more solid learning.
To do so, we conduct an external assessment, the AAPPL exam, twice a year, and this year we implemented a standardized internal assessment aligned across all school divisions. Based on the student performance in those language exams, some of our PLL students exceeded expectations, were nominated and transitioned to the regular course. Today, they attend Portuguese classes for Brazilians, being wholly integrated into the immersion environment.
The video shows testimonials from students across all divisions who have already transitioned from PLL to regular Portuguese (with Brazilians) or IB (International Baccalaureate) and shares their experiences.
As the Mexican Poet Octavio Paz (Nobel Prize of Literature) states, "Language is what makes us human. It is a resource against the meaningless noise and the silence of nature and history". Being proficient in several languages helps us to understand new ways of thinking, forming human beings who are more sensitive, emphatic, and conscious of our responsibilities as global citizens. A multilingual education allows us to see the countless ways of life better, opening many fascinating worlds.