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Pedro Vargas: a dream on learning a language online

English Learning online

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Pedro José Coelho Justo Vargas
12 January 2013

I often tell my students that they must sleep to start dreaming!

I’ve been sleeping on this and I’m ready to tell you that my dream as a language teacher is:

To find a way to get my students involved in active, self-compromised and meaningful learning of a language, using the best they can all the resources and instruments available. I use to say that a language school subject is not a subject is a tool in the pursuit of happiness!

Learning a language online

My situation:

I’m teaching English as a foreign language to Portuguese adult students at a public university. I’m also teaching English modular units to adults working already or looking for job opportunities. Al them occur in a traditional classroom context. I face a lack of feedback from all the online activities I propose to deepen and complement my students language acquisition, during and after the classes. I’ve no control over what they really train, when using all those links and exercises I leave in a blog. Example:
When it comes to language practice, how to measure the effectiveness of the learning process by providing meaningful context and feedback?

The change I would like to see

To find a way to get students involved and engaged in learning online through not just supplying the resources but also by giving them valuable feedback. Also make them feel the need for mastering the language to achieve other goals than not the language goal itself. Example:
Enrolling students in a language learning community, where they get aware that a language is not a school subject, but an opportunity for success.


How I might go about bringing that change

Cooperativism is in the root of language itself and of language acquisition. From the beginning of times your ability to communicate yourself is proportional to the ability of achieving your goals.
I’m eager to find online light platforms, multitasked, accessible through different devices that allow cooperative learning of a language
There are already some communities such as Busuu or the recent Duolingo, that provide cooperative learning. I’m looking for how to integrate them, or others, in traditional classroom learning.


Extra content

Embedded Content


Laura Ramos
4:28pm 12 January 2013

Pedro, you're soooo right! 

Did you see the template that was proposed for the Dreambazaar? I think it would really help to better structure your Dream. And I recognize that's a bit egotistic, because if you use the template I will have more information and will be able to better accompany you in the pursuit of happiness :)

BTW, you should really team up with João Pedro Bourbon, just sayin' ;)

Thank you Laura...

I'm still working on the template... This was just a small step in!

Thanks for the advice!

Ricardo Nuno Castro Carvalho
8:18pm 12 January 2013 (Edited 8:24pm 12 January 2013)

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Lesley Shield
10:30pm 12 January 2013

Have you considered joining an organisation such as EuroCALL, (European Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning), Pedro? There's a very active discussion list and community of practice. Details at: HTH, L.

Apostolos Koutropoulos
11:44pm 12 January 2013

I highly recommend EuroCALL. I am not a member but my library subscribes to their journal so I have been able to read up on the recent literature on the subject :)

Lesley Shield
1:00am 13 January 2013

Good to hear, Apostolos. The journal is 'ReCALL' - I've been involved with both the journal and the organisation for some years. L.

Briar Jamieson
2:23am 14 January 2013

Hi Pedro, thanks for sharing your dream and really a dream for your learners' success. I also wanted to add ' Livemocha' as an online collaborative language learning site. Also, has a lot of free language classes, resources, not necessarily community, but your learners might find peers to connect with to continue their language learning activities outside of the class. Have you thought of an activity for your learners to explore their interests in the target language (ie they are interested in cooking so they join online forums about cooking...authentic, engaging, motivating...). Looking forward to following you on the realization of your dream. Briar

Keylor Murillo Moya
11:38pm 18 January 2013

Hola Pedro,

I understand your 'dream'. I believe that is the dream of every language teacher at the moment: engage students and keep them motivated. It is very difficult. Have you tried to introduce self and peer assessment feedback? I they can evaluate their own activities and those of their peers they might get a bit more motivated. It is also important that they are able to put into practice what they learn, so I would add activities like podcasts or videos with situations in real life, using their language in a role play or another context.


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