If we were to write ‘anywhere you please!’ as an answer to that question, this would be a very short article indeed!
The fact is, if the conditions are right, you could indeed teach Portuguese anywhere you’d like, from the coffee shop on the corner to the community centre in your neighbourhood; on a college campus or in a classroom.
“What conditions apply?” - you might ask.
That is the topic your Superprof is going to talk about today.
The Case for Learning Portuguese
With Brexit looming ever closer and our country’s economic health and stability hanging in the balance, it is now more vital than ever for Britons to develop language skills in order to remain competitive on the global stage.
While it is true that English is the language of business and indeed the lingua franca of the world, that is no excuse for us to be lax in our language studies.
Besides, an added benefit of learning a second language is the boost doing so gives our cognitive functioning.
And that is not the only plus of being able to speak a foreign language!
The psychological and physical impacts of such an ability are impressive.
People who are bilingual are better multitaskers or, conversely, are better able to focus on their task at hand. Furthermore, science has proven that language learning at any age can stave off dementia and other age-related illnesses.
Learning a new language significantly improves memory, sharpens your listening skills and can even give you a broader worldview.
That’s all well and good, but why should one learn Portuguese, specifically?
It isn’t even listed in the top 5 languages to study, nor is Portugal’s or Brazil’s economy such that those countries would be considered powerful economic entities any time soon.
It is true that learning Italian, learning French and learning German all figure prominently in the British Council’s report of languages that should be taught in schools, along with Mandarin Chinese and Arabic.
However, Portuguese is a Romance language, on par with French, Spanish, Italian and Slavic and, once you speak one such language, it is hardly a jump of intellect to master the others.
You might say that learning Portuguese provides one with a gateway to other Romance languages, even if it is the lesser chosen one for language study.
The next argument would be whether to learn Brazilian Portuguese or European Portuguese.
Here we posit a different but equally valid hypothesis: language and culture are intimately intertwined.
So, if your intent is to learn a new language in order to appreciate world cultures, Portuguese studies would have you covered because you will be introduced to Brazilian culture as well as Portuguese culture.
If your motivation for learning a language is to enjoy all of the benefits you would derive from such an activity, again Portuguese is the answer.
By offering two distinct linguistic flavours under the same name, people studying Portuguese may meet broader horizons than if they focused on only one tongue.
And, the fact that Portuguese could lead to further language learning down the road is just icing on the cake!
All of this will aid you in marketing your language skills and in enticing others that they, too, could speak Portuguese.
Teaching Portuguese in Schools
Top of the line in desirability must surely be a bona fide teaching position in a public, private or independent school.
The challenge comes in finding a school that offers language classes in Portuguese: as previously stated, GCSE statistics indicate other Romance languages and Chinese take top spots.
Here, you will need to sell the idea of Portuguese classes; a task that might be made easier by pointing out some of the information in the first segment of this article.
You will have to have some qualifications to teach in such an educational facility.
If you are a native speaker of Portuguese, you may have to prove your English language capability, perhaps through an IELTS or TOEFL test result.
If you are bilingual, you will have to prove your ability to speak Portuguese, perhaps by providing a CAPLE or CEPLE-Bras exam result.
Furthermore, whether a Portuguese native speaker or bilingual English speaker, you must have attained at least a bachelor’s degree, and you must be in possession of a Qualified Teacher’s Certificate or QTS.
Note: if you were a teacher in Portugal, you should be able to expedite your QTS application.
Unfortunately, Brazil not being in the European Economic Area, if that is your home country, you will have to take the circuitous path to attain your teaching credentials.
Teaching Portuguese Courses at University
In order to give Portuguese classes at undergraduate level in any university in the UK, you must hold at least a Master’s degree in your chosen major.
If you wish to teach at the graduate level, you must hold a doctorate; the general rule of thumb being that you must be one level higher than the students you teach.
At these educational levels, no QTS is needed; however, all other criteria apply.
Portuguese Language Courses in a Training Centre
In spite of the admittedly lackadaisical showing in language learning in secondary schools, if the number of language training centres around the country is any testament, there are plenty of people who want to learn a language.
Why not Portuguese?
At such facilities, your fluency in Portuguese would be an asset!
On the plus side, teaching conversational Portuguese or Portuguese for business at such a language school would present you with students who have demonstrated a desire to learn.
They sought your language course out, after all, and are paying good money to learn Portuguese words and phrases.
As with teaching in a public school or uni, language training centres offer you set hours and perhaps even teaching materials, such as textbooks and workbooks.
You may want to discover resources for your Portuguese courses...
On the negative side, you may not be permitted to inject your own curriculum into your teaching; most centres have their own, proven method of teaching language already in place.
And, you may not earn as much as you thought.
While language instruction is generally not considered an inexpensive proposition (if it were, more people might do so!) you will only see a portion of the high fees the clients pay.
And, you may not have the right to dismiss students who are negligent in their studies.
In short, choosing this option to teach your native language is a balancing act: do the pluses outweigh the minuses for you?
If so, this would be a great option to explore.
However, if you want the freedom to teach grammar, vocabulary and Portuguese pronunciation as you see fit, only to the students you find desirable and within the schedule that suits you the best, going independent would be your optimal choice.
Giving Portuguese Courses Independently
Whether you learned Portuguese speaking in schools or from birth – it is your native tongue, teaching people how to speak the language you love independent of any facility or institution gives you the greatest freedom:
to set your schedule
to select your students
to devise your curriculum
to choose and design your teaching materials
to plan your lessons
You could teach in your home, in your clients’ homes, in a rented classroom or in a mutually convenient, prearranged location. You could even teach Portuguese in your local coffee shop or restaurant!
You may choose to teach small children using the immersion method or offer test prep to GCSE or A-Levels students.
You might help adults learn to speak basic Portuguese and suitable expressions ahead of their holiday cruise to Lisbon or approach international businesses with the idea of teaching business Portuguese onsite, to select members of their staff.
You could volunteer your time for Portuguese lessons at your local library and/or community centre, host a Brazilian culture event to introduce people to the language and culture of that country...
This is what we meant at the start of this article: the possibilities are endless!
You could also host online lessons.
If you live outside of any metropolitan centre, perhaps teaching Portuguese online would give you the greatest opportunity to reach any learner in need of your particular brand of pedagogy and your Portuguese proficiency.
Naturally, you would need to prepare for such courses slightly differently than for classes conducted face to face and you would need a decent webcam and a good set of headphones.
Beyond that, giving lessons online cuts virtually all of your overhead out!
No travelling to clients’ homes, no going out in bad weather, no renting classrooms or buying coffees so that you may occupy a seat in their shop for the duration of your lessons...
From the comfort of your home, you can show your online students Powerpoint slides, teach them how to conjugate irregular verbs, listen to them pronounce sounds that don’t exist in English...
listen as they become fluent in your preferred language.
There are so many different ways you could teach Portuguese in this country! Some of them require more time, officialdom and sacrifice on your part, and some less. Some offer more opportunity for diversity in teaching and some can be downright restrictive.
Why not ask any of Uk’s 300 Portuguese Superprofs their thoughts on the subject?
Now discover this handy template for giving Portuguese lessons...