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EFL for journalism undergraduates: meeting local needs *** GLÓRIA REGINA LORETO SAMPAIO Catholic University of São Paulo – Brazil ***

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Presentation on theme: "EFL for journalism undergraduates: meeting local needs *** GLÓRIA REGINA LORETO SAMPAIO Catholic University of São Paulo – Brazil ***"— Presentation transcript:

1 EFL for journalism undergraduates: meeting local needs *** GLÓRIA REGINA LORETO SAMPAIO Catholic University of São Paulo – Brazil ***

2 INTRODUCTION COURSE PROVIDER English Department College of Philosophy, Communication, Letters and Arts EFL for several BA Degree courses, including EFL for Journalism

3 EFL for Journalism undergraduates DETAILS OF THE COURSE 2 semesters 3 credits per week 17 weeks 51credits per semester *Journalism undergraduates have to do a two-semester foreign language course. They can choose either English or French or Spanish.

4 EFL for Journalism undergraduates GENERAL PURPOSE to help students develop and refine their EFL skills; to enable students to use EFL skills as a tool for their routine journalistic writing in Portuguese.

5 Journalistic writing in Brazil CHARACTERISTICS & SPECIFICITIES (this applies to writing for the web, newspapers and magazines) Except for national and local news, most news items, articles and other types of journalistic texts dealing with current issues, business and finance, politics, environmental matters, science, technology, health, and the like, result from a multifaceted process.

6 Journalistic writing in Brazil requires: not only thorough understanding of texts from a variety of news agencies and other information sources in English (Spanish comes as a distant second), but also an ability to gather, filter, restructure and edit the information retrieved, so as to produce journalistic texts in Portuguese.

7 In a kind of carefully guided patchwork process, texts are (re)constructed taking into account relevant elements from a variety of texts. Such elements are integrated and result in a new text (in Portuguese) aimed at specific target readers, depending on the chosen newspaper or magazine (printed or virtual version).

8 To produce the resulting text in Portuguese, understanding and extracting the crucial information from various journalistic materials in English is a MUST. In other words, high level EFL skills are essential, together with excellent writing skills in Portuguese. This is the challenge we are confronted with in the ELF for journalism undergraduates course.

9 STUDENTS EXPECTATIONS & PROFILE In most cases, journalism undergraduates have a good (if not excellent) level of English. So, it is not merely the case of teaching the language in isolation, but of reading (or listening to) texts from various sources, understanding the message and using that information selectively to produce the news items, articles, and other types of journalistic materials in Portuguese.

10 STUDENTS EXPECTATIONS & PROFILE Our students expectations are high and we have to live up to them. We mustnt forget the our students chose to do EFL for journalism. They are motivated to do English and we cannot disappoint them!

11 OBJECTIVES To develop and refine students knowledge of the English language – with particular attention to journalistic style(s) – by exposing them to a wide range of written and oral texts, and by going deeper into the intricacies of the language;

12 OBJECTIVES (continued) => Learning about journalistic style includes, as it should, an introduction to British/American newspapers (quality, mid-market and popular), to the language of such newspapers (and their most striking differences), to the grammar of headlines, as well as to the style books of some leading papers; [This stands for language enhancement + cultural knowledge expansion.]

13 OBJECTIVES (continued) to raise students awareness of cultural issues, vis-à-vis local values and perceptions; to foster the development and refinement of analytical skills and critical reading / listening, based on a variety of sources; to evaluate and make decisions about target-public needs and expectations depending on the chosen media;

14 OBJECTIVES (continued) to experiment with gathering, expanding, reducing, restructuring and editing source materials; => actual practice using the information gathered to write/produce journalistic texts for the local print and virtual press; to help students produce stylistically and functionally adequate texts in Portuguese, resorting to what was extracted and filtered from various sources in English;

15 OBJECTIVES (continued) finally, to cater for the particular interests of each group of students and satisfy their curiosity and interest in certain aspects of English language and culture. In a nutshell: TO MEET THEIR PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL NEEDS

16 CHOICE OF MATERIALS Issues concerning the profession and topics related to journalism in general + current affairs (international scenario, mainly) Examples: Al Gore hits out at Rupert Murdochs News Corporation [guardian, Thursday, 19 May 2011] Can Britains newspapers reinvent themselves online? [Nicholas Jones. DATELINE] State of the News Media Report [http://]

17 Checkbook Journalism a Growing Trend [http://] The Art of Making Questions | What to do and what not to do in interviews [http://coolschool.k12.or/courses] About the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: A short history Brazil Congress again delays vote on key forest law [BBC News]

18 EXTRAS… At times students request the inclusion of specific topics or types of text. In fact they are encouraged to make suggestions, which are taken into account whenever possible. Example: English literature Literary journalism

19 A few examples : Repercussus Mirabilis: Literary Journalism and Technological Possibility by David Abrahamson Literary Journalisms Twelve Best by Judith Paterson Notes toward a Definition of Literary Journalism Homage to Catalonia [George Orwell]

20 PROCEDURE AND DYNAMICS Warm-up in the usual fashion: introducing the topic, brainstorming, exchanging some preliminary opinions… reading / listening activities in class (supported by handouts with probing questions and conducive to a deeper analysis of the arguments, ideas and undercurrents of meaning embedded in the texts;

21 writing tasks stemming from the ideas collected from the reading material, and geared towards journalistic writing in Portuguese; => in this case students would have to indicate the sort of vehicle the article would be in: daily/weekly paper or magazine; the section; print or online edition; clear reference to the target public; purpose of the article and due justification regarding the length, the style, the omissions and insertions present in the target text.

22 discussion (groups / pairs) followed by individual writing task; follow-up activities involving research of vocabulary and of cultural elements present in the texts. All in all, the activities are always geared towards our LOCAL NEEDS, but take into consideration the SPECIFIC INTERESTS of each group of journalism undergraduates.

23 AN ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE Having in mind the reading and discussion of Chapter I of Homage to Catalonia, by George Orwell, and based on the attentive reading of the excerpt of the last chapter of the book (see below), prepare a newspaper article reporting on the narrators feelings about the reality and cultural contrasts he was confronted with as an active participant in the Spanish Civil War. The article, written in Portuguese, should not exceed two pages, and would be published in a quality newspaper with a cultured readership interested in historical, social and political issues.

24 AN ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE TEXT I wonder what is the appropriate first action when you come from a country at war and set foot on peaceful soil. Mine was to rush to the tobacco-kiosk and buy as many cigars and cigarettes as I could stuff into my pockets. Then we all went to the buffet and had a cup of tea, the first tea with fresh milk in it that we had had for many months. It was several days before I could get used to the idea that you could buy cigarettes whenever you wanted them. I always half-expected to see the tobacconists doors barred and the forbidding notice No hay tabaco in the window. (…) And then England southern England, probably the sleekest landscape in the world. It is difficult when you pass that way, especially when you are peacefully recovering from sea-sickness with the plush cushions of a boat-train carriage under your bum, to believe that anything is really happening anywhere. Earthquakes in Japan, famines in China, revolutions in Mexico? Dont worry, the milk will be on the doorstep tomorrow morning, the New Statesman will come out on Friday. The industrial towns were far away, a smudge of smoke and misery hidden by the curve of the earths surface. Down here it was still the England I had known in my childhood: the railway-cuttings smothered in wild flowers, the deep meadows where the great shining horses browse and meditate, the slow-moving streams bordered by willows, the green bosoms of the elms, the larkspurs in the cottage gardens; and then the huge peaceful wilderness of outer London, the barges on the miry river, the familiar streets, the posters telling of cricket matches and Royal weddings, the men in bowler hats, the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, the red buses, the blue policemen all sleeping the deep, deep sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear that we shall never wake till we are jerked out of it by the roar of bombs. George Orwell Homage to Catalonia - Chapter 14 (excerpt / edited)

25 STUDENTS RESPONSE Course Evaluation Your opinion of the course is most important to us. and can help us be better prepared to meet the needs of future groups of journalism undergraduates. Express your opinion by commenting on the topics below, please :

26 General impression of the course The course was very satisfactory. I was already fluent in English, and I expected to start using the language again and improve my skills. The course surpassed my expectations. Having literary texts, such as short stories, novels, poetry is always interesting to arouse our interest and provide wider learning opportunities during the course. Most frutiful. My English improved and evolved a lot this year, and the course is responsible for that progress. Very good.

27 Comparison between the 1st. and 2nd. semester of the course As for the content of the lessons, the density and intensity were maintained. I would, however, wish to have had more listening comprehension exercises. The two semesters were equally good. I think the second semester was better. It was more dynamic. We used the language laboratory more frequently and I enjoyed that. Reading George Orwell was stimulating. Besides that, we practiced not only reading but also pronunciation, which was most enriching. The activities were improved and enriched. This resulted in a more comprehensive development in the language.

28 Choice of themes Appealing, topical and related to the general interests of the group. Very well chosen and exploited. I greatly enjoyed having worked with themes that had to do with journalism, specially because it came as a surprise (I didnt expect that). Very good. Political themes are most important. The vocabulary is more formal, but absolutely essential. At the same time Im very interested in literary journalism. Working with it during the (2 nd semester of) course was most enjoyable. Diversified and most interesting both for the area of journalism and to enlarge your general knowledge.

29 Materials and resources Well chosen and well exploited. The materials provided wider possibilities of learning and practising the language during the lessons. I enjoyed the texts. The level of difficulty was good. Having lessons outside the conventional environment of the classroom was great. Indubitably, the audiovisual resources contributed to make the lessons more dynamic, breaking the ordinary rhythm of the lesson and making them more attractive. More than that, the audiovisual resources exposed us to the pronunciation of what we usually only read. It was no longer just a voice in your head. Very good. The use of CEAL (the multimedia centre) helped us a lot.

30 Impact of the course on your education & prospective career The lessons helped me resume my practice of the English language. I reinforced what Id already learned, clarified many doubts, improved my use of English. In addition, the course offered us opportunities to enlarge our general knowledge, and this complements our education. It was certainly important, not only because I hadnt attended English lessons for 5 years, but also because we dealt with topics and issues relevant to our education as journalists. It contributed greatly to my education. My English evolved a lot. The course helped me considerably. Now I watch films in English in a more dynamic manner.

31 Suggestions and further comments Maintaining the literary texts in the course would be most interesting, so as to arouse the students interest and enlarge their opportunities of learning the English language. Id like more films followed by discussion. Just reading and discussing written texts is rather boring (we had audios at times, I must say). Generally speaking the course was very good, for I imagined the level of difficulty would be just average (which was not the case…) The more versatile the lesson are, the better. Reading George Orwell and the use of CEAL in the 2 nd semester was great to make the lessons more attractive and dynamic. Keep the same format. Watching a film and writing a review could be introduced sometimes

32 CONCLUSION what we aim at, that is, the general purpose and the specific objectives of the course, is clear cut; at the same time, there is always room for flexibility, in terms of choice of topics, materials and types of activities;

33 CONCLUSION in other words, we have a more permanent and solid component + a more flexible and adaptable component each time we deal with a new group; in this way we can cater for the specific interests and expectations of each new group of journalism undergraduates, while maintaining the course consistent with its general and more specific objectives.


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