English Language Teaching in Brazil: A Gap in Policy, Problems in Practice

  •  Fernanda C. A. Batista    


Only three percent of Brazilians are estimated to speak English despite the status of this language as a mandatory subject in grades 10 to 12 of basic education and preferred foreign language in grades 5 to 9. This paper will analyse possible reasons for this fact. The widespread concept in the Brazilian society that speaking English is beneficial to individuals because it provides access to the globalised world does not seem to be enough to promote the actual learning of the language by the majority of the population, and it is argued here that this fact has to do with a gap in the foreign language teaching policy documents: the 2015 National Education Guidelines and Framework Law (LDB 2015), the Brazilian National Curriculum Parameters for Primary Education (PCN-EF), and the Brazilian National Curriculum Parameters for Secondary Education (PCN-EM). These documents do not prescribe the necessary conditions for English Language Teaching (ELT) to take place effectively, but, instead, provide suggestions for teachers on how to adapt to the status quo, which means focusing on reading to the detriment of the other aspects of the English language due to a number of factors ranging from a lack of resources to a large number of students per class.

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