Português de Viva Voz / Portuguese Live: strengths and challenges of teaching a non-native language online

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The open and distance education is crucial to offer many people the possibility of continuing their education and lifelong learning. Nowadays many open educational resources including MOOCs are available, but these do not offer mentoring.
Consequently, there is a need for online courses with the support of a teacher. In the field of non-native languages these courses face essentially two main challenges: (1) help the learners to maintain their motivation; (2) develop all the communication skills needed in a non-native language. These challenges were considered when the course “Português de Viva Voz / Portuguese Live” was designed at Universidade Aberta. This is a general language course, and its target public is composed of any adolescent or adult that does not speak Portuguese as mother tongue (no matter where s/he is living or what her/his education is, as long as s/he has some digital skills and knowledge of the English language).
The goal of this work is to discuss the strengths and challenges of the beforementioned course, based on some proposals on instruction in second language (e.g. Ellis, 2005; Kumaravadivelu, 2006) and online teaching (e.g. Guitert Catasús, 2019), as well as on its piloting with some learners during the second semester of 2020-2021.
First, we will point out the main ideas that were drawn from the research literature and that will support the analysis. Second, we will present the macrostructure of the course and the (micro)structure of a unit, while simultaneously showing how the course contributes for developing the communicative skills online and which challenges should still be overcome. Then, the course functioning will be illustrated with a specific unit. Finally, a synthesis of the course’s strengths and challenges will be presented.
Period30 Nov 2021
Event title2.º Congresso Internacional: Inovação e Tecnologia no Ensino de Línguas
Event typeConference
OrganiserUniversidade Aberta
LocationLisboa, Portugal
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Distance education
  • Non-native language
  • Português de Viva Voz / Portuguese Live