Are the tools and supports you use to teach a language a crucial element of your teaching?

What's clear is that to to learn to speak English, Spanish, German, or any other language (especially Portuguese) effectively, the tutor plays a big role.

Let's not forget about the origins of Portuguese and where it is spoken. Here's a little round-up.

There are eight members in the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa (CPLP): Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, The Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and East Timor

It also shares official language status with Mandarin Chinese in Macau, a former Portuguese territory which was handed over to China in 1999.

Beyond his or her personality, commitment, and passion for teaching, the tutor's approach and the tools he or she uses make a big difference when trying to captivate students and help them develop their language skills.

In the digital age, and with the digital infiltrating schools and universities, digital tools are gaining more and more ground. Nonetheless, varying language learning materials and tools is very important for effective teaching.

Portuguese tutors will discover that all tools will be useful to help students learn to speak Portuguese in a pedagogical and fun way.

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Giving Portuguese Classes via Your Computer

You can easily prepare or give Portuguese lessons via online tools.

They are essential in many ways, but computers and the internet can be your allies when teaching Portuguese as a private tutor.

Whether you use online resources to prepare your classes or help your students do their studying independently, there are many websites dedicated to learning Portuguese.

You will find a lot of resources and online courses to use during your Portuguese tutoring:

  • Grammar lessons,
  • Vocabulary cards,
  • Conjugation,
  • Spelling rules,
  • Training exercises,
  • Study material (texts, video, audio documents...)
  • Idiomatic expressions,
  • Pronunciation exercises
  • ...

Overall, the websites dedicated to learning Portuguese or Brazilian Portuguese that you can consult are full of useful elements for your private lessons.

These include:

  • essential for teachers, this site includes free classes and exercises, but also over 200 exercises and free online tests,
  • dedicated to Portuguese, this website is complete in every way. It not only contains classes to progress with writing and speaking Portuguese, but also incorporates many links to alternative resources,
  • grammar, spelling, vocabulary but also learning pronunciation,
  • online courses and exercises, a dictionary...Here's a site that can be useful for your students for their revisions. Why's that? Because with a simple click, you can directly listen to the answers to the exercises.

One good thing to remind your students is that if you know Spanish, Italian or French, you’ll notice some similarities with Portuguese. For example, each tense has six different endings.

Some sounds can be harder to pronounce, but generally, pronunciation mistakes won’t change what you actually meant! Learning websites online can help with these mistakes.

Use these websites as much as possible with your student during class to have him or her learn directly how to use these great tools!

Also discover the rates of Portuguese courses...

Teaching Portuguese with an Application

Some mobile apps are designed to teach languages, and can also prove to be complementary to your classes.

Who hasn't downloaded one of these apps to try to learn a language before going on vacation?

Despite their good intentions, we doubt they got very far with the app in the end. On the other hand, with the support and encouragement of a private tutor, the apps become indispensable tools for rapid progress.

With the iPhone and the iPad, you can learn Portuguese anywhere...

Yes, despite all your efforts, if you are only spending one hour with your student, then progress may be very slow. So tell your students to download a mobile app in order for them to study more regularly without them having the impression that they are working.

There's nothing we can say here--apps are very practical indeed...

They can be used on the bus, during lunch breaks, in the evening, on the couch...The apps give students a good opportunity to use their time to revise a little vocabulary or work their accent every day for just 10 minutes.

For this to be effective, it is important that you carefully consider which applications are useful and encourage students to use them wisely.

We will not name them all, but among the most successful apps there are Babbel, Duolingo, or Busuu. They are free and creating a profile is customized according to the student's level. Remember that these tools remain playful.

Tips for your Portuguese lessons: instead of giving students paper assignments, give them exercises to accomplish on their smartphone!

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Using Podcasts to Teach Portuguese

Podcasts - both audio and video files - are also essential supports for making classes more lively. Private tutors can easily choose to use them as a studying element for their class.

There are different types of podcasts: some in Portuguese, some in Brazilian Portuguese. All podcasts can be adapted to the student's level and profile.

For example, you can use the Practice Portuguese site, where you will find a large number of podcasts for beginners in Portuguese. Semantica portuguese or Portuguese Pod101 are also very interesting for studying Brazilian Portuguese.

Students will enjoy these podcasts and be able to follow the mini-series, which helps them to progress while having fun. It's also very rewarding to realize that even with a beginner level, you can watch videos in Portuguese.


For immersion in Portuguese culture, there's nothing better than watching videos on TV channels.

It depends on the profile - and may be especially for students with a more advanced level - but watching TV is a great element of Portugese language learning. Portuguese television channels such as RTP (Rádio e Televisão de Portugal) offer numerous online programs. This is also your opportunity to discover Portuguese culture and the news of the Portuguese-speaking country.

Who knows, your students may be passionate about Brazilian telenovelas...

Why not also find out what the diplomas are to teach Portuguese?

The Help of the Recorder When Teaching Portuguese

Beyond Portuguese grammar, conjugation, or vocabulary (all of which allow us to reach a level where we can use Portuguese independently), one of the difficulties generally met by the pupils learning the language of Camões has to do with the pronunciation and the accent when speaking the language!

Even if Portuguese is a Latin language, it is not easy to learn Portuguese pronunciation...

Between the dodgy phonetic rules, the open and closed sounds, the nasal elements of the language...There are many confusing elements for a pupil starting Portuguese courses.

Private lessons are an opportunity to strengthen the oral practice of the Portuguese language. In group lessons, it is not always easy to become familiar with the pronunciation and to practice speaking to other students. In a private one-on-one course, on the contrary, the dialogue is always favored around a conversation with two people. The student will gain confidence and receive personal advice in order to find the correct pronunciation, rhythm, and tone.

For faster progress with speaking, there is a particularly useful tool: the recorder. A student will practice rolling his r's, or pronouncing the nasal vowels in order to realize what progress has been made. It is also interesting to see how you speak in the language. As in school, this method of learning is very effective.

It's a good way for students to train on their own, at home, with a technique called:

  • the parrot technique
  • or else "shadowing."

We listen to a sentence in Portuguese and repeat it in the same exact way, trying to reproduce its pronunciation, but also its rhythm and tone. By repeating things over and over and having a record of our evolution with pronunciation, we can more easily compare the two versions in order to see what needs to be perfected.

To learn a foreign language, it is  necessary to speak a lot and to impregnate oneself with the language's sounds. Listening to the radio, music, watching movies in the original is certainly a first step. But in order to gain fluency, the dictaphone is an indispensable ally.

It will always be a great help if you are looking to prepare a Portuguese course!


Offering Vocabulary Sheets in Portuguese

Speaking is the key to learning a language, but to speak, one needs to enrich one's vocabulary.

This is one of the major challenges that learners face. Beyond the rules of Portuguese grammar, the conjugation of verbs, Portuguese phonetics and etc., there are also Portuguese words...

Before going on a trip to Lisbon or Sao Paulo, do some vocabulary cards.

Once you master some Portuguese grammatical bases, the main place where you will evolve quickly is with the practice of vocabulary. To quickly expand your lexicon in Portuguese, vocabulary cards are a safe bet.

Often proposed thematically, they must be learned in order to be memorized in the long term. The cards are therefore very useful for reviewing vocabulary regularly. It is repetition that facilitates memorization.

The ideal is to set daily goals to progress in the language. For example: learn new words without forgetting to review those learned the days before.

The advantage of vocabulary cards is that they are easily customizable according to your learner's profile, his  or her age, and objectives:

  • An adult who wants to learn Brazilian for professional use will be able to target the vocabulary specific to the company or a sector of his or her activity,
  • A person who learns Portuguese to travel will be interested in the practical vocabulary that will be useful to him or her everyday to organize his or her stay,
  • The university student will have to learn the vocabulary corresponding to his or her school program,
  • ...

To make classes interesting and effective, the idea here is not to focus on a particular tool, but to use them in a complementary way according to the objectives you have set with your student.

Teaching methods are evolving rapidly and new tools are emerging regularly. Don't forget that there is now a learning trend with board games which young learners are sure to enjoy!


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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.