sábado, 14 de fevereiro de 2009

Interview - José Roberto A. Igreja

One of the most known ELT professionals in Brazil, José Roberto A. Igreja is the author of 7 books, including the most recent Fale Tudo em Inglês em Viagens. After attending his workshop at Disal, on Feb 13, I invited him to talk to us.

- What's your graduation and how long have you been working with ELT?
José Roberto - I have a BA in English and Literature from PUC – SP and hold certificates of proficiency in English from Michigan University and BYU - Brigham Young University - Utah. I´ve been working in the ELT field since 1982, when I started teaching English.
- Do you current work at any schools or are you a full time writer/lecturer?
José Roberto - Besides writing books - I have 7 books published, all by Disal Editora (Check all his books at the end of this interview) - I´m responsible for the website http://www.dialectoenglish.com.br/, we teach English in companies in São Paulo. And I also talk on a radio program Disal has on Rádio USP every other day about colloquial expressions and curiosities about the English language, taking turns with Jack Scholes. It's a quick program, about 5 minutes or so, at 7:40 am and a repeat at 5:40 pm, you can listen to it on the web: http://www.radio.usp.br/ or on FM radio, 93,7.

- In your most recent book, Fale Tudo em Inglês em Viagens, you indicate many situations a student can face when traveling abroad. What would you suggest a student do to prepare themselves to travel for the first time (besides reading your book, obviously)?
José Roberto - Besides preparing language-wise for the trip, learning as much as possible about the country one is planning to visit certainly plays a major role in turning one´s trip into a pleasant and successful one. Being aware of particular cultural aspects of the country one is visiting also helps. In short, whatever you can do beforehand in terms of planning, as for example how to get from A to B, makes a difference.

- Besides the language, what cultural aspects should students be aware of when traveling and why?
José Roberto - They should have information about the currency of the country they are visiting, that is, find out about the most important bills and coins. They should also be aware of the typical dishes, as well as local customs and traditions and popular holidays. Apart from that, information on the different measuring units and temperature scale (miles, feet, inches, pounds and Fahrenheit) is also a plus.

- Have you ever been in any embarrassing situation abroad because of language or a cultural aspect?
José Roberto - Well, I lived in England for a year and three months, and I remember that once I was taking a shower in the building where I rented a room (in England some of the old buildings only have a bathroom per floor, so you have to share the bathroom with other people) and suddenly the landlord of the building started knocking on the bathroom door, and telling me I had already been long enough there. The thing is, we Brazilians usually take a shower every day and sometimes long showers, and this is completely different for them, so the landlord couldn´t understand why I took long showers so often, since English people don´t usually do that. It wasn´t really an embarasssing situation but it was a bit of a cultural shock!

- What message could you send to a student who is demotivated with their progress in English?
José Roberto - I would tell them not to give up, to try to make a change, maybe they are not happy or satisfied with the methodology that is being used, or the teacher. It´s also important to be exposed to different stimuli. Some students say they can learn better when they “see things”, as for example, the new words and expressions they are learning clearly written on the board (visual stimuli) and others who find listening activities a key element to their progress (auditory stimuli), and still others, who feel they need to act out a dialogue in order to really grasp it! (kinesthetic stimuli). All of this should also be taken in consideration. In short, whatever you do, try to have fun along the process!

Check all the books by José Roberto A. Igreja: