It is impossible not to look back to 2008 when I started working at UDI SATC or even go back to 2007, 2006 or even further to 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999,…and not see that learners have changed or better saying that their access to English has improved and expanded tremendously. When this picture was taken in the second semester of 2008, I was just learning to use technology in class, and most of the teens back them had no cellphone and some had not even access to internet at home yet. So different from nowadays as we rarely find one that doesn’t own a cell phone or have access to internet. Does a matter of fact, internet met cellphone half way and quite a few of them have smartphones now. They are connect 24/7. And it is hard for them to disconnect, just as it is hard for us not to wonder what is going on way from our eyes. Internet created this bridge from where I am and what I can actually see around me to another dimmension of my reality – what is happening in other places and with the people I cannot see right there in front of me. Virtual realm is a reality. It is real. It makes me closer to people I have never met f-2-f.
Back then, the only access to English was through music and most of them rarely bothered to use it for learning, just for pleasure. And although Hollywood movies were and still are their favorites, they watched them in Portuguese. Nothing more natural than to attend English classes if one wanted to learn English. But things have changed quite a lot in the last few years regarding access to English, and because of that I have no doubt that students bring so much more to class now than they used to, more than we can imagine. It is quite normal for example for students to be more aware and compare teachers’ pronunciation to what they hear outside the class. Some students are so aware of it that can easily notice when the teacher slips.
But still there are those who need to become Language Learners and engage in the world. Within the groups I have, I have on one side English learners, on the other side English students ( Is there a need to explain the distinction I make? 😀 ). But even English students are not devoided of English knowledge. Even those who are not passionate learners know stuff and stuff that can be used in class to engage them in learning English.