Navigating the Language Assessment Road(s) in Pandemic Times: Lessons from Brazil

Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Brazil Languages Center

When Robert Frost wrote the poem The Road Not Taken1 in the beginning of the last century, he must not have imagined that the iconic last stanza calling readers to blaze new trails, travel the less-traveled roads as a way to celebrate breaking paradigms would resonate until today. The COVID-19 pandemic, which reached Brazil in March of 2020, has disrupted the usual models of academic support and therefore posed a number of challenges to language pedagogy (Ross & DiSalvo, 20202). Stakeholders, administrators, teachers and students saw themselves in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that closed down campuses, suspended classes and changed everyone’s (or almost everyone) modus operandi. And, as any event of such colossal magnitude, it called for immediate response of societies, pushing schools from all around the world to rush up contingency plans to face the difficulties posed by the disruption.
It is safe to say that this reality was not different in Brazil. As we enter our 5th month into this pandemic, schools are still discussing the possibility(ies) to return to face-to-face classes and making adaptions to their contingency plans as we watch numbers of COVID-19 victims continue to grow.

 

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1 […] I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. [excerpt] The entire poem is available at: https://poets.org/poem/road-not-taken. Accessed on July 17th 2020. 2 Ross, A. F., & DiSalvo, M. L. (2020). Negotiating displacement, regaining community: The Harvard Language Center’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Foreign Language Annals. 3 Available at: https://educa.ibge.gov.br/jovens/materias-especiais/20787-uso-de-internet-televisao-e-celular-nobrasil. html, Accessed on July 19th 2020. 4 Có, E., Amorim, G. & Finardi. K. Language Teaching in Pandemic Times: Experiences with technologies in virtual environments. (Paper submitted at ReDoC).

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