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Guest Talk by Visiting Scholar Dr. Simone Sarmento

Location: Orchard Commons, Room 2002 (Vantage College: 6363 Agronomy Rd).

Date: October 7th, 2019

Time: 2:00-3:00 PM

Guest Talk by Visiting Scholar Dr. Simone Sarmento

Research in English for Academic Purposes in Brazil

Science without Borders (SwB) was an international student mobility program devised, implemented and funded by the Brazilian federal government between 2011 and 2017. Its main objective was to promote the internationalization of Brazilian science and technology by enhancing the qualifications of Brazilian higher education students and scholars in universities of excellence abroad. The program provided scholarships to undergraduate and graduate STEM students/scholars who spent at least 12 months abroad, in over 30 countries.  Over 100,000 members of the Brazilian academic community have benefited from the SwB program. The implementation of the program revealed that many Brazilians had low levels of English proficiency, leading most undergraduate candidates to choose Portugal as a destination, due to the shared language (Portuguese). However, to encourage the learning of additional languages, in 2013 the Brazilian Ministry of Education announced that Portuguese universities would no longer be part of SwB accredited institutions. As a result, students who were expecting to attend Portuguese universities were relocated to institutions in other English speaking countries, Canada being one of them. This situation gave rise to a series of investigations related to the use of English in the Brazilian Higher Education system and to the creation of multiple language centers focused on improving the additional language proficiency -- primarily English -- of Brazilian students, faculty, and staff. 

In this talk, I will provide an overview of the research being carried out at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), as follows:

  • The language used by over 5,000 Brazilian scholars for research and publication purposes (Baumvol, 2018);
  • Professors' perceptions of English as a Medium of Instruction (Marengo, 2019); 
  •  SwB students’ participation in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses in Canadian universities (Sarmento, 2018)
  • EAP teacher development in Higher Education (Vial, 2018; Kirsch, 2017)
  • A corpus-based study on the use of academic collocations in English by Brazilian post-secondary students (Matte, 2019).

The session will conclude with some time for Q & A.  Everybody welcome!

Dr. Simone Sarmento is an Associate Professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). She holds a doctorate in Terminology and Lexicography from UFRGS (2008), a Masters in Language Studies from Lancaster University (2005) and a Masters in Applied Linguistics from UFRGS (2001). She was a visiting scholar at the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia (CAPES) and at the University of Lisbon (Santander Universities). Simone was a founding member (2012) and a regular advisor (2012 to 2019) of the Languages without Borders Program of the Ministry of Education,  as well as  vice-president of the same Program (2014 to 2015). Her main research interests are in the area of English for Academic Purposes (EAP), English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI), Language Policies, Internationalization, Teacher Education, and Corpus Linguistics.