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The History of Awareness Campaign
Press Releases  ¦  21/10/2015  ¦  Belgium Belgium

The author of this work is Ruth de Souza Godinho, Brazilian, 64, real estate entrepreneur by profession, children's educator by formation, painter by hobby and currently self-student on brain development by main interest.

The reason that led Ruth to collection, selection and organization of the material that composes today this campaign was a recent and difficult personal experience, which she likes to call "my reconstruction".

Ruth never managed to learn a foreign language although always have been a bilingualism enthusiast. In the 80s Ruth coordinated a child development project in Porto Alegre / Brazil where children from 1 and a half year already learned English. She arranged for her daughter Daniella to study English since childhood and, after graduating in civil engineering, Daniella went to England for an improvement course of 3 months. During this time she applied for a doctorate in sustainability at a UK University and got a grant for a 3 years course.

Ruth had never separated of her daughter for a long period before and became exceedingly sorrowful, but considered the great opportunity this would be for Daniella encouraged her to accept. Before the end of the first year Ruth started to feel depressed because of her daughter's absence and become increasingly unmotivated to work and do social activities.

So she tried to move from city to be closer of other family members but the situation continued unsustainable to her. She was sure that some solution needed to be found.

At this period her daughter began to work in a large multinational company and could no longer travel frequently to Brazil. Then both thought that the solution would be Ruth learning to speak English and thus to stay part of the year on each continent.

 Ruth - then aged 58 - decided to do an English course at a good private school attended by young people in her City, Florianopolis - Brazil and even hired a tutor to assist with the homework. She also bought many exercises books and began the task that she knew difficult for her, but not impossible

She could understand and follow easily the exercises in class but was not able to retain the learning as her classmates. This situation caused great stress to Ruth until the point of stopping her lessons.

 Once again mother and daughter took a joint decision and opted to try a "language immersion" for Ruth. They organized a six months journey for a course in England where students from around the world always succeed; but again none of the Ruth's classmates had more than 35 years.

Again the results were not achieved and the stress of living all the time among people with whom she could not communicate yet made Ruth need to sleep around twelve hours per day in order to keep herself other twelve in activity.

 After a break of three months in Brazil she returned to England (nor in Brazil) and tried again for another three months in another course with poor results once more.

Then she began to realize that when she could translate understandably what she was studying, she didn’t forgot anymore. Also with the pronunciation she realized that she needed to hear and repeat often the same sounds in order to be able to play them properly.

Because there weren’t courses with translation to Portuguese in England she decided to try self-learning materials and also use translation services to read, work and study via internet.

As just few years before this experience with the English she had studied pedagogy in Brazil in a class of young people with success, she realized that something into her brain differed from the young brains just in relation to languages learning. Then she decided to investigate what it was.

 After that, her daughter had moved to Brussels and Ruth spent the months which she was in Europe researching on the brain, while studied English alone. The online work with translator became gradually easier and she could help her daughter with researches on sustainability at same time.

Finally Ruth was making some progress with the English, but was still far from fluency. She was much better with writing.

As the theme was very comprehensive Ruth decided to focus the researches on the relationship between the brain and languages learning, at first just to understand what was wrong with her but she never could dream that would find such amount of important information that not only would give her the answers needed for herself, but also could turn her in the knowledgeable of the answers that can change the lives of a large number of people in the world, at all ages.

 In relation to her personal difficulty in learning English, the conclusions of the studies found by Ruth were not very encouraging because they were all agreeing that the ability to learn a foreign language gradually decreases with age and even considering the impossibility of that happening after fifty years. This discovery did not discouraged Ruth because - after two years of studies - she already could feel her progress with the English and knew that even if it would take a long time, she would still speak English fluently; and not only speak but also write.

To the extent that she advanced in the research, not just more her specific situation mattered but also all subjects related to the main question (brain X Language learning) were becoming important to her.

The development of children's brain for her background as educator, the prevention of degenerative diseases because her father had died with Alzheimer disease, and the other brain benefits in all ages for her daughter (who is already learning French) and for all other people who she already had known and still can come to know. In fact, from the half of the work forward, for all those she doesn't know yet and also all those she never will know.

The study subject was fascinating and the sources seemed inexhaustible. Ruth decided to select the collected material firstly checking the sources and considering only the reliable information.

The amount of material was such that she had to sort by subject, initially in a simple three themes division but soon she treated of make a proper organization to facilitate the search by others. She enlisted the help of her daughter who suggested the campaign through social media and offered to start with tweeter and facebook.

Mother and daughter worked for over a year in their spare time and for this purpose Ruth needed learning how to use power point. This achievement was very fruitful for Ruth because helped her to relax her brain of the continuous effort with the English.

 When the tweeter's followers have reached 2000, Ruth already didn't needed to use the translator all the time because she already understood almost everything that she read. She still continued having problems with the memorisation and pronunciation but some quality audios repeated over and over again were gradually solving this issue.

 The initial enthusiasm by disclosure of the material through social media gave way to frustration in realising that they wouldn't be able to reach the expected number of people with their homemade action and also because they didn't have more freetime to dedicate to online activities.

As the broad disclosure of the material that could to achieve large numbers of people worldwide was still their main goal, they concluded that would need donate the campaign for a pro-multilingualism organization that could have structure proper for this task.

They spent a long time looking for without much success until discover the “Polliglot4” website which seemed them perfect .So they decided to try. Daniella searched those in charge for the project and showed the material. Some more meetings were made and some adjustments were required but the donation was finally accepted.

 Today Ruth already speaks a "little English", good enough to survive in Brussels where continues studying and reaching daily progress. Was she who personally wrote this story.

She still uses translator as her helper and needs someone better than her in English to make the final correction, because she constructs the sentences thinking in Portugues firstly and uses lots of needless words, besides make many mistakes in grammar and spelling also. But she is working hard to improve in all these areas.

 In relation to her brain which could no longer learn English because of age, confirming the researchs about its plasticity, managed to build new ways to perform this impossible task.

And all its other cognitive functions were strengthened along the process, and now Ruth has more ability to attention and memory, and plays much better her mental tasks of study and work.

 Ruth knows that something has changed in her brain, and that this change was for the better. Because of this she is already beginning to study Spanish in order to take the best advantage of this possibility, received as a gift still in skillful time.

Regarding the research Ruth intends to continue to look for new materials and grouping them in series for sending to "Poliglot4". She would like to count on the collaboration of the website visitors to bring website links able to help her in this work.

European Federation of National Institutions for Language Club de Madrid Culturelink
EUNIC in Brussels European Coordination of Independent Producers (CEPI) Federation of European Publishers
European Association for Terminology Federal Union of European Nationalities European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA)
EUROCLIO CMFE (Community Media Forum Europe) European Publishers Council
RECIT Fundación Academia Europea de Yuste Literature Across frontiers
Eurolang Europa Esperanto Unio - EEU European Federation for Intercultural Learning
European Forum of Vocational Education and Training European Theatre Convention Mercator European Network of Language Diversity Centres
EEE-YFU European Council of Artists (ECA) ALTE
European Council of Literary Translators' Associations Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE)

"(c) 05/02/2011 - Disclaimer - Copyright European Union National Institutes for Culture" "This website has been funded with support from the European Commission. " This website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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In the long term I think that being multilingual is of great importance to understanding why other people from different countries act differently.

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