Teddy Bear - English for kids and teens - Inglês especializado para crianças e adolescentes

FOR PARENTS

FAQ

Is the English British or American?

The Teddy Bear School teaches international English. Students will be able to understand and be understood in any country in which they speak English as a first or second language. Currently, people value the English language much more by its correct use than by the accent of the speaker. We seek to make our students appreciate our culture and country through learning English.

What are the qualification of the teachers?

Our teachers are professionals qualified to teach the English language. Besides mastering the language, they are graduates or enrolled in undergraduate / graduate studies in the field of Humanities, such as English Language, Education or Psychology.

Our school constantly offers specific training concerning our methodology and work philosophy, in addition to weekly teaching support.

Do you offer intensive courses?

Yes, we offer intensive courses of 6 hours per week. Check through the Contact Us channel to see if your school of interest is offering intensive courses this semester.

How long does it take the student to graduate from Teddy Bear School?

A child who starts the course early learns English in a gradual, cumulative and steady way, making the learning more solid and developing skills related to language in an integrated manner according to their educational needs. There is a huge difference between students as well, the ones who dedicate themselves to the language from an early age have a more sophisticated and vast command of the language than those who do not.

What difference does it make to enroll my child at age 3 or 12 in the Teddy Bear School, if he or she will graduate at age 16/18 anyway?

We offer an extensive course of two lessons per week lasting 1hr 30 minutes each. We work with well-defined age groups that develop English according to their educational progress and the maturity of the student. Students graduate between 16 and 18 years of age because we believe that the acquisition of a foreign language takes place in a gradual and steady manner, and that not only their English skills should be considered, but the overall development of the child in accordance with their age, maturity and experience as well.

Does the teacher speak only English in the classroom?

From the 1st day of class the teacher strikes a bargain with the students that English is the language of communication between them. From this point onwards, the teacher uses English as much as possible with the group, making use of a vocabulary carefully designed to communicate with students. Thus, from the beginning of their studies, students are already able to answer and make requests to the teacher or classmates. In this way, they feel safe because they are able to understand what is said to them in English and they begin to develop their autonomy to express doubts, needs and opinions in English.

Are there additional activities to practice English?

Throughout the year, we organize festivals and events during which students have more opportunities to develop skills and practice the language. Activities performed outside the classroom, such as plays and games in the courtyard, as well as the culinary experience are of great importance for acquiring the language, since students not only feel more relaxed by being out of the classroom environment, but they also make use of the language more naturally, like interacting with schoolmates during a basketball competition, for example, or when commenting about the difficult art of separating the egg yolk from the white during their “cooking experience.”

Is there any make-up class in the event of lost lessons?

The teacher will evaluate the student's performance within the group and where appropriate,a make-up class or even a revision will be scheduled through the pedagogical coordination department.

Is there any make-up class because of the public holidays?

The school already provides for public holidays when preparing the schedule for the semester, but if there is no school due to a public holiday that was not taken into account on the timetable, the school will offer a make-up class.

How long will the student take to attain fluency in English?

When bringing their children to learn English, parents also bring expectations and uncertainties about their capacity of assimilation and fluency in a foreign language. With the experience of those who, for over two decades, specialize in teaching English to children, pre-adolescents and adolescents, and also as a way to guide mothers, parents and guardians,the school points out the following:

The higher the child's exposure to the language, the more quickly he or she will acquire fluency. Teddy Bear is a school specializing in teaching English as a foreign language, based on a workload of 3 hours per week. In this sense, the school is aware that the acquisition and fluency in the language is a long process. However, learning is certain and guaranteed, always taking into consideration the maturity and the cognitive and emotional capacity of each student, in addition to the external and social factors in which the child and the adolescent are inserted. The student will leave the school qualified and with fluency in the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Teddy Bear's experience shows that each individual has his or her natural time to acquire knowledge and put it into practice, which should be respected and encouraged. Classes offered at our school are aimed at encouraging communication through situations embedded in everyday real-life contexts, leading students to express themselves, whenever they need or are required, in a spontaneous and natural way. Therefore, most students who are younger than 11/12 years of age and studying English at Teddy Bear since age 2/3, have acquired a good verbal fluency, but due to the fact that they have not yet reached the appropriate cognitive- emotional maturity, they are not used to making literal translations.

The acquisition of a new language requires regularity and constancy for the foreign language to become part of the lives of those who learn it. Therefore, students at Teddy Bear receive all necessary stimuli in order for the development of the English language to match their growth and overall maturation, thus respecting the different stages of their life. Many students, who began school at 2/3 years of age and graduated at age 16/17, studying within this base of twice a week - 3 hours per week, have shown excellent results in the fluency of the English language. Further, when these students have the opportunity to go to High School, or even other English programs abroad, they are much praised by International Schools and they feel proud of the autonomy and interaction that the knowledge of the language provides. In a very direct way, the fluency in English of pre-adolescents and adolescents who started at the school as children is observed in the classroom. In class, the students use only English to discuss topics and specific subjects suggested for debate, in which these students opine, question and communicate naturally and spontaneously. The results are impressive.

Each student has his or her own pace. At Teddy Bear, students learn from the beginning to use the content in a communicative way, that is, to express their opinions, concerns and interests. The use of vocabulary and expressions will be in accordance with their level of English, maturity and experience.

How are assessments carried out at Teddy Bear?

At Teddy Bear School, students are assessed from several perspectives. From early on, various aspects of student development are examined, not only concerning the evolution of language, but also about the student as a whole and their performance in the classroom.

In stages where students are just developing the skills of listening and speaking, until 6/7 years of age, there is no formal assessment. Students are assessed in terms of their performance in the classroom. From 8/9 years of age, when students begin the simultaneous learning of listening, speaking, reading and writing, we apply a formal evaluation. However, we will not assess the student only for this moment, but for his or her overall performance in the classroom.

The semester is divided into two parts: the midterm and final term, also known as a birmester, thus 4 two months’ periods during the year. Parents will receive a notice announcing the date and time of the individual meeting between teachers and parents for the delivery of assessments, which we call “report cards.”

Will the English aid with difficulties in regular school?

Yes. We offer as a courtesy to our students study groups that take place on days and times previously defined by the Pedagogical Coordination, where we work with certain needs that students bring from their school. These doubts and difficulties at school are most often grammatical ones.

When does the student start reading and writing in English?

Another concern found with the parents of students of English as a foreign language, refers to reading and writing. In some cases, due to their anxiety to accelerate results, parents go as far as comparing the agility of the teaching at the Teddy Bear School with the foreign language teaching offered in regular schools.

» The Teddy Bear School gently begins the reading and writing of the English language when the student is already literate in Portuguese, that is, in the 2nd grade of regular school, around 7/8 years of age.

» Language is an element of human relationships in which everyone, especially children, gain more proficiency in foreign languages through the development of skills (acquired by natural, intuitive and unconscious assimilation, in human interactive environments) than by formal study (memorizing information and turning it into knowledge). Languages can be taught, so they will be learned if there is a method and an appropriate environment.

» Children assimilate languages more easily; however they have great resistance to formal, artificial and guided learning. Children, more than adults, need and benefit from human contact to develop their language skills.

» In general, one of the biggest difficulties in learning English is the lack of correlation between writing and pronunciation. Even today, in many pedagogical methods of teaching, the contact with the language in its written form is predominantly premature. Therefore, approaches based on natural assimilation of the foreign language, as with the mother tongue, allow students to take effective ownership, of the new language.

» For students studying English as a foreign language, who have contact with texts, but do not have the opportunity for frequent contact with the spoken language, that is, they have not developed familiarity with the oral form of English, the interference of spelling in the pronunciation of words is harmful and persistent.

Does the Teddy Bear School conduct international exams?

Yes, the Teddy Bear School is an accredited center for the international TOEFL® exam.

Click here for more information.

What is the difference between the teaching at a bilingual school and that of The Teddy Bear School?

Conceptually, the primary difference between a bilingual school and a language school is that the first wants to convey diverse knowledge through the use of a foreign language with regular school hours, while a language school aims to teach the student to communicate in another language and master the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
The Teddy Bear School, specialized in teaching English to children and adolescents, uses a teaching method which favors the development of the student as a whole, trying to meet their educational, emotional and socio-cultural needs. As we welcome students from 2 years of age, Teddy Bear uses a very specific methodology, in which children are introduced to the new language naturally and spontaneously, with pedagogical materials and techniques targeted specifically for each age group. Classes value playful and interactive activities to attract the attention and interest of the child.

What is the main difference between The Teddy Bear School and an English course?

Teddy Bear is not an English course, but an English School specialized in teaching English as a foreign language. While an English course aims to teach the language, Teddy Bear takes care to expose the student into the whole universe that encompasses the English language. Thus, more than just teaching English, the goal is to include the language academically through rich pedagogical programming for each age group. In this way, we operate broadly in the cognitive, socio-cultural and emotional development of our students.

Besides language teaching, is there a concern for learning the social and cultural aspects of English speaking countries?

As Teddy Bear applies a unique methodology, the teaching of the English language necessarily involves issues directly related to the social and cultural aspects of English-speaking countries. In our educational activities, we always try to insert integral elements concerning the culture of these countries, such as sports, music, historical facts, typical expressions, and more. Our teaching is composed of these aspects which we try to stress in the everyday life of the school.
At Teddy Bear, English is taught comprehensively and cultural educators are constantly developing ways to innovate teaching and learning, because the mastery of a language is the result of social interaction and the cultural environment of which it is a part.

Is there a particular age group to introduce bilingual education to children?

Undoubtedly, the sooner the better! This is the main premise of Teddy Bear. The reason for this is that children are learning a foreign language from the moment they are born and hear the new language code. Subsequently, they understand the language and consequently, speak, read and write. This is the natural process of learning a language and our foundation is compatible with the various studies on this subject, such as the theory of Stephen Krashen on the acquisition of a language.
As the aforementioned study explains, acquisition takes place first by understanding and then by the creative communication skills. This occurs through familiarization with the phonetic characteristics of the language, the structuring of phrases, and vocabulary, all arising from real and contextualized situations, as well as by the discovery and assimilation of cultural differences and the acceptance and adaptation to the culture in to which the language belongs.

How is the introduction of the second language accomplished in the early years and later in high school?

At Teddy Bear, introduction starts from 2 years old, and this process is developed through a distinctive methodology which highlights playfulness, used through attractive and interactive activities that arouse the interest of students and inspire them to learn. The Teddy Bear methodology encompasses activities such as culinary experiences, gardening, e-tools and technology, as well as games in the backyard. The goal is to ensure the comprehensive development of the child by involving all the senses: sight, touch, feel, taste, and smell, along with observation and more.
The intention is that the student will enroll as a child at Teddy Bear and graduate at 16, while still in high school. To consolidate learning, it would be most beneficial to the student to attend a semester or even a year of high school in a country where the native language is English. We have many success stories in this format and we encourage our students to take part in this rich cultural experience that generates valuable learning.
It should be added that The Teddy Bear School is a center authorized to apply the TOEFL exam, recognized internationally. The results achieved by our students in this English language proficiency test prove the academic excellence of the school.

Is there any special preparation for the teachers who administer the classes? Is there a preference for native teachers?

We assume that more important than speaking English is knowing how to teach the language; to have didacticism. Although similar, they are different things. Not everyone who speaks well (in any language), knows how to teach. That's why Teddy Bear teachers do not necessarily need to be native. Being native does not guarantee a person has didactic knowledge. Most importantly, our educators do their duty with passion, because teaching requires, among other things, dedication, understanding, commitment and complicity, words we usually substitute for vocation.
We seek professionals in the area of teaching English as a foreign language, certified and qualified to do so, who have mastered the English language, that is, have theoretical knowledge and practical experience of the language.

Within the educational program, are there various activities, working not only linguistics, but also interdisciplinary, linking English to matters such as arts, science, mathematics etc.?

Educational training through language is a practice that is adopted from the time the child arrives at Teddy Bear. The goal is that understanding the language will be a means to an end, but not the end in itself. English should become a form of expression, communication and understanding. Thus, the context surrounding language learning expands with the dominion of new language and evolution of the student, and thus content begins to have an interdisciplinary and broader approach.

What does learning a foreign language contribute to the student’s personal and professional future?

The child who learns more than one language at an early age has more linguistic resources, more verbal representations and increased knowledge about the world he or she lives in. Besides this cognitive expansion, the child becomes a person more open to dialogue and understanding of diverse cultures, essential skills for the twenty-first century.