My experience teaching Portuguese online
Dublin, Ireland. March 2020.
We were told by the government we had to stay home and slowly, but steadily all our extracurricular activities started to be held online.
Mother Tongues took this opportunity to launch the European Portuguese classes for children online and I was extremely happy to be the chosen teacher for this specific class.
Although the experience might sound terrifying at first: 5 children, online… I must say it was amazing to see the children engaged and happy to realise that other kids on other parts of this special island or other parts of the world spoke the same language they did and their parents did.
We started with the basics and as weeks went by, I introduced some more difficult topics, always using videos or images that the children could relate to.
We started with syllables – what they are, how they can be put together and how interesting it is that we can create new words from just these small groups of two letters; then we learned all about diphthongs – videos helped a lot at this stage and the fact that some diphthongs have funny sounds was quite entertaining for the children.
Third week was gender and plurals – any Portuguese native knows that plurals are tricky and here we had a couple of giggles trying to understand why they are so different. Last but not least, on our last class we talked about the diminutives – this class was amazing because they ended up creating diminutives themselves, completely different ones from those on our exercises.
For me as a teacher, that was a major achievement and a great way to end that cycle of classes!
Now, starting in September we have a new cycle of classes (and another one starting in November) and I can’t wait to start!
Inês Pascoa Baptista