This study presents an Erasmus Intensive Language Course in Portuguese for beginners and intermediate level students, held at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto, and financed by the Grundtvig Lifelong Learning Programme Erasmus.
The main goals of the course are to prepare Erasmus students for their mobility by developing their language skills in Portuguese, such as reading, writing, listening, and speaking; rising the students’ ability to communicate appropriately and accurately in spoken and written Portuguese, encouraging students to communicate in Portuguese; enabling students to discover and learn Portuguese by and for themselves; and providing students with Portuguese cultural awareness.
The students are chosen according to the criteria established by Grundtvig, namely (i) priority to students whose L1 is quite different from Portuguese; (ii) different countries; (iii) several studying areas; and (iv) the creation of a multinational, multicultural and multilingual context.
Having in mind the above mentioned goals and participants, a blended-learning (b-learning) course was designed as following: 2 weeks of online training using the Moodle platform, for a total of 20 hours; 3 or 4 weeks of in-class training, with online support, for a total of 76 hours; 4 afternoons for the cultural component, for a total of 12 hours, and 72 hours of individual study.
This paper discusses in detail the course’s technical and content framework, the advantages of a blearning approach to teach foreign languages, specially considering there will be an initial e-learning contact with Portuguese, whether to introduce the students to Portuguese sounds and most basic structures before their arrival in Portugal, or by allowing the students who had already had formal contact with Portuguese Language to revise their knowledge and assess their level of proficiency. This approach has proved to be a better choice compared to other intensive courses of the same level and similar background students with only in-class teaching.
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