Retirees on Speaking Exchange with Brazilian English students

Ideas sometimes seem so simple and obviously great, so you ask yourself ”Why has nobody come up with that before?!”

I came across the innovative Speaking Exchange project, which is about lightening up the lives of elderly, while at the same time giving Brazilian students the opportunity to practice their English skills. Reports about this case seem to go viral on the web these very days (see links below).

The idea was established by FCB Brazil, and put into practice together with the CNA language school in Liberdade, Brazil and the Windsor Park Retirement Community in Chicago.

I was so surprised and fascinated when I watched this clip about the Speaking Exchange:

The man shows the boy an old photo. “Is this your dad?” the boy asks. “No, It’s me and my wife when we were young”, he answers. “Oh you were good-looking when you were young”, the boy says – pause – “and you are still good-looking!”. Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 18.30.04

“I look like I’m only 25”, another man says. He and the boy a are laughing, “but I’m 88”. The two are having a nice conversation. In the end, they share a big, virtual hug.

The school uses its own digital tool for video chatting where conversations are recorded and uploaded privately for teachers to evaluate the talk language-wise.

But there is much more to this than just the language…

It’s fun and warms my heart to listen to their conversations about all the World and his brother.

article-2622691-1DA63EDB00000578-207_634x454     article-2622691-1DA63ED300000578-882_634x452

Read more:

http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/perfect-match-brazilian-kids-learn-english-video-chatting-lonely-elderly-americans-157523

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2622691/Lonely-American-retirees-help-Brazilian-students-practice-English-video-chat-make-unexpected-new-friends-process.html#ixzz31CnIZP41

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/brazilian-kids-learn-english-through-heartwarming-webcam-chats-with-retired-americans-9337136.html

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About Olivia Biermann

I'm passionate about Health Communication Sciences and Global Health. From 11/2013 till 10/2014, I worked at the Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics at Karolinska Institutet where I was involved in a study about health promotion among disadvantaged populations in Stockholm for the prevention of chronic illness. I'm currently working as a consultant at the World Health Organization in Copenhagen.

2 responses to “Retirees on Speaking Exchange with Brazilian English students”

  1. Noel Ann Bonamer says :

    Ms Biermann: I just read about this fabulous program for seniors and Brazilian students. While I am not in a nursing home facility, I have just retired and would love to know if I can get involved in this program! I feel well qualified to participate in a program like this and would so enjoy helping out young people from another country to learn English. I look forward to hearing from you toward a positive beginning.

    • Olivia Biermann says :

      Dear Noel Ann, thanks a lot for your comment. Right now I’m not aware of a similar programme in Sweden, but I think it would be a great idea for language schools and maybe folksuniversitet to arrange such an exchange. I don’t know if that sounds interesting for you, too, but I would know individuals who would like to practice Swedish. What do you think about it? I would love to put you in touch. Kind regards, Olivia

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