Portugal needs more Spanish teachers to keep up with increasing demand

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Source: abc.es (Spanish)

El Ministerio de Educación portugués necesita profesores de español para responder a la demanda de la enseñanza pública. Para cubrir plazas hasta 2013 ha abierto un concurso a licenciados en una lengua extranjera o a aquellos con el Diploma del Cervantes.
The Portuguese Ministry of Education needs Spanish teachers to respond to the demand in public education. In order to fill vacancies by 2013 it has opened a competition to foreign language graduates or those with a Diploma del Cervantes (the Spanish language diploma given by the Cervantes Institute).

So does that mean you can teach Spanish simply by having that diploma, regardless of one's university education or lack of it? If so, good for them. Universities are great but languages can more easily be learned by actual experience (I'm not just talking about chatting it up with people on the street but actually living in a country, learning the language to fluency and then proving it on a standardized test).


El aumento del interés en aprender español por los alumnos de la enseñanza pública portuguesa ha dejado al país vecino prácticamente sin docentes y el Ministerio de Educación luso ha encontrado una solución envuelta en polémica. Para cubrir las plazas hasta el 2013 ha abierto un concurso para 220 personas en el que se pueden candidatar titulares de licenciaturas de una lengua extranjera con la variantes del español e incluso aquellos que tengan el Diploma Español de Lengua Extranjera (DELE), nivel C2, del Instituto Cervantes.

The increase of interest in learning Spanish for students in public education in Portugal has has left the neighboring country (Portugal) virtually without teachers and the Portuguese Ministry of Education has found a solution, wrapped in controversy. To fill the places by 2013 it has opened a contest for 200 people which those with degrees in Spanish as a foreign language (I think) and including those with a DELE (Diploma in Spanish as a Foreign Language) level C2, by the Cervantes Institute.

And...yep, it looks like it is letting those without degrees teach Spanish if they have the diploma. Cue whining:
Una decisión criticada por la Asociación Portuguesa de Profesores de Español como Lengua Extranjera (APPELE) que la considera «una profunda injusticia equiparar a colegas con titulaciones y caminos de formación muy diferentes». Además cree que es «inaceptable que un docente pueda dar lecciones sin garantías de ser suficientemente competente en la materia». Se pide la formación urgente de docentes de castellano para acompañar el crecimento continuo de alumnos.
It's a decision criticized by the Portuguese Association of Teachers of Spanish as a Foreign Language that considers it "a profound injustice to equate them with colleagues with degrees and very different ways of training". It also believes that it is "unacceptable that a teacher is able to give lessons without guarantees of being sufficiently competent in the material". It calls for urgent creation of Spanish teachers to accompany the continuing growth of students.

So what exactly does the C2 test mean, and how do you pass it? See here. First of all, it's the highest level:

The "Diploma Superior de Español" accredits an advanced knowledge of the language which allows communicaton in all situations requiring advanced use of the language and a knowledge of cultural background.

and requires:
Part 1: Reading Comprehension.
(60 minutes)
Two kind of exercises:
a. Nine multiple choice questions based on 3 texts, never longer than 800 words.
b. Refer to up to 10 series of texts extracts.

Prueba 2: Written paper
(60 minutes)
Write a formal letter and an essay. No longer than 150-200 words.

Prueba 3: Listening Comprehension.
(45 minutes)
Twelve multiple choice questions on four recordings.

Prueba 4: Grammar and vocabulary.
(60 minutes)
Three kind of exercises:
a. A multiple choice text.
b. 35 multiple choice sentences.
c. Spot grammar errors in one or several given texts.

Prueba 5: Oral exam
(10-15 minutes)
Hold a conversation with the examiners for 10-15 minutes.

Plus, let's remember we're talking about Portugal here. A country that already speaks an extremely related language, and one where Spain is never more than a mere 200 km away. Norway has problems with Spanish teachers not really knowing how to speak the language fluently and thus a lot of them spend their vacations in Spain in an attempt to brush up on the language, and for neighboring Portugal this is as easy as getting on the train and being in Spain three hours later (the high-speed route from Lisbon to Madrid is expected to be completed in 2013, the same date by which these new teachers are to be hired), so even teachers that aren't quite up to snuff can easily be given further training if necessary. No, I'm not worried about Portugal's plans to teach Spanish in schools.


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