Editor’s note: the below post is the introduction by Vivian Flanzer to the ClicaBrasil textbook that she recently published with COERLL. The introduction carries a CC BY-NC-SA license.
ClicaBrasil, the web-based Portuguese program developed and in use at the University of Texas at Austin since 2010, is a media-rich Open Educational Resource (OER), which requires neither password nor fees. An OER is distinguished from commercial materials by its open copyright license (Creative Commons license). Users may adapt the original materials and share their adaptations with others, but must credit the original content and its author.
ClicaBrasil was designed to teach the Portuguese language in the context of Brazilian culture to intermediate and advanced language learners. It can be successfully used either in classroom settings or for autonomous learning. The website and the new textbook comprise an open curriculum that includes seven units based on culturally rich literary texts. In addition, the curriculum contains 157 authentic and unscripted videos of Brazilians from all regions and sectors of society speaking about their lives, their country, and topics that arise from these readings. Each unit contains hundreds of activities that hone language skills while raising awareness about contemporary Brazilian society. The activities are accompanied by a helpful answer-key. ClicaBrasil also provides a grammar bank with concise explanations about verb tenses and conjugations as well as a vocabulary list for each chapter. Designed to accompany the website, the ClicaBrasil textbook is downloadable for free in PDF format and is also available for purchase as a print-on-demand book from Amazon and Lulu.com.
Tips for the Learner
Each unit has four sections with many activities: Pano de fundo (Backdrop), where you will be introduced to the unit’s specific socio-cultural scenario; Leitura (Reading), with glossaries and tools to help you understand the text; Gramática (Grammar), where you will learn and review grammar topics in the context of the readings and the videos; and Aproximando o foco (Zooming in), where you will have the opportunity to explore and reflect more extensively about aspects of Brazilian culture and society that arise in the units.
Tips for the Instructor
There are several ways to use ClicaBrasil. I encourage you to personalize these open materials according to your students’ needs. As this is an OER, you can edit and remix its content, crediting the original source and author. Feel free to skip a unit or a section, or to do them in a different order. And if, for example, you think a composition activity would make more sense in your course as a class discussion, go for it! It is always a good idea to select which activities you will do in class (as a group, in pairs, or individually) and which you will assign for homework. I suggest you ask your students to check the answer-key before submitting their homework, so they can clear up any questions in class. Some activities offer “suggested answers” because they reflect personal views or subjective opinions. My students have reported that the “suggested answers” have inspired them to discuss the lessons in class after doing the homework.
I have had a lot of fun reinventing the way I teach with ClicaBrasil. I hope you will too.
For more information:
- Access the ClicaBrasil website
- Download a PDF of the book (FREE!)
- Purchase a printed copy from Amazon or Lulu
Vivian Flanzer Vivian Flanzer was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she spent most of her life. She coordinates the Portuguese Language Program at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese of the University of Texas at Austin since 2001. She has a B.A. in Communications; an M.A. in Anthropology from the Museu Nacional of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro; an M.A. in Foreign Language Education from UT-Austin; and is completing her Ph.D. in Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures at UT-Austin.