Portuguese as a foreign language within the context of the exchange programme for undergraduate students in Brazil: a proposal for language-in-education policy and curriculum guidelines informed by critical and intercultural perspectives
Carilo, Michele Saraiva
This study investigated the processes of curriculum development and curriculum enactment for Portuguese as a Foreign Language (PFL) courses within the context of the Exchange Programme for Undergraduate Students (PEC-G) in Brazil. The following overarching research question guided the investigation: what shapes and informs curriculum development for the PFL courses which are offered by Brazilian public universities for PEC-G students? The following sub-questions were also addressed: (1) what are the key goals to be achieved by such PFL courses? (2) to what extent do syllabi, pedagogical materials and teaching reflect the curriculum within this context? and (3) to what extent does institutional support influence the processes of structuring and/or re-structuring these PFL courses? The research design was informed by Constructivist Grounded Theory (CGT). Nine PFL programme co-ordinators and ten teachers, representing seven of the twelve PFL programmes in Brazil, participated in in-depth semi-structured interviews. Fine-grained analysis involved inductive, deductive and abductive analysis of the interview data. The findings revealed that the examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in Brazilian Portuguese (CELPE-BRAS) – which is mainly based on Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) and Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) – had been used as the supporting, main or only guidelines for PFL curriculum development and enactment within the seven PFL courses for PEC-G students that were investigated. The present study contributes to the existing literature on PFL policy, curriculum development and pedagogy by exploring the notions of language, language use, competence and culture which have been promoted by the PFL courses for PEC-G students. Informed by Freire’s conscientização and intercultural perspectives on foreign language education, this thesis recommends revisiting those notions in order to provide the PEC-G students with an education in PFL that moves beyond the preparation for the CELPE-BRAS examination. By making such recommendation, this thesis seeks to encourage the development and enactment of language-in-education policies and curriculum guidelines for PFL within the PEC-G context which promote language and culture as meaning-making processes for the advancement of cosmopolitan citizenship and of transformative social agency towards social justice.