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August 2019 - Year 21 - Issue 4

ISSN 1755-9715

Language, Teaching and Interaction: Reflections on the Concept of Language Present in Brazilian Teaching Documents

Sweder Souza is a Master’s student in Linguistic Studies at the Post-Graduation Program at Federal University of Paraná - PPGL/UFPR. Participates in Research Group: Intercomprehension, Didacts of Plurilingualism and Language Policies (FLORES/UFPR/CNPq). E-mail:









The interactionist and dialogical perspectives of language govern the theoretical presuppositions of teaching, in an attempt to modify the work with the language, thus opening space for the use of contextualized language practices articulated to the reality of the subject. Thus, questions such as the concept of language should be analyzed, since language should be seen as functioning linked to social interaction. According to the proposal of Geraldi (1984), according to the theoretical-methodological bases based on an interactionist perspective, it is known that it cannot treat the language as a homogeneous and immutable phenomenon, once the language is alive. A traditional view of grammar teaching, for example, has shaped a rigid methodology and as we know it today, somewhat retrograde.

In this sense, the school, and even the University, has the task of contributing to the development of oral and written oral skills of the students. This process, according to some of the guiding documents (such as National Curricular Parameters (NCPs), Complementary Educational Guidelines to National Curricular Parameters (NCPs), National Curricular Guidelines (ONC), National Curricular Common Base (NCCB) etc.), should be interrelated with the concept of language underlying the teaching-learning process in the context of the mother tongue classroom, and may provide reflections that provide the textual-discursive extension of the subjects.  

It is understood, therefore, that teaching-learning activities on issues involving language assumptions, do not only encompass semantic and formal aspects, but rather encompass the complex relations of textuality, as inherent competence of the subject in their social relationships.

Within these assumptions, this work seeks to articulate some concepts of language present in the guiding teaching documents, such as those mentioned above.


What do the official teaching documents in Brazil say?

The school scenario began to change from 1997 onwards, with the publication of National Curriculum Parameters (NCPs), whose objectives propose a re - dimensioning of the theoretical- methodological foundations for the teaching of mother tongue, which emphasize the need to subsidize classes in an interactionist conception of language (Bakhtin, 1995).

Thus, to teaching-learning, they become interested in linguistic uses, that is, the living, authentic and dynamic language. That felt the d, Law Guidelines Bases (LGB), document dated 20/12/96, but is only regulated by National Curricular Guidelines (NCGs) on 6/1/98, press for basic education for citizenship, as can be seen in Section IV - Art. 35, section § 8: “The contents, methodologies and forms of procedural and formative evaluation will be organized in teaching networks through theoretical and practical activities, oral and written tests, syllabi, projects and activities   on-line, in such a way that at the end of High School the student demonstrates: I - mastery of the scientific and technological principles that preside over modern production (Included by Law nº 13.415, of 2017); II - knowledge of contemporary forms of language (Included in Law No. 13.415, of 2 017) (Brazil, 1996: s/p)”.

Such objectives propose a re-dimensioning of the theoretical-methodological foundations, making connections with the NCPs that guide that all language carries within itself a “[...] a vision of the world, pregnant with meanings and meanings that go beyond its formal aspect. The study of the formal aspect alone, disregarding the contextual, semantic and grammatical interplay of the nature and function of language, uncouples the student from the intrasubjective, intersubjective and social character of language. [...] It should be emphasized that language at school becomes an object of reflection and analysis, allowing the student to overcome and / or transform the meanings conveyed (Brazil, 2000: 6-8)”.

Even if: “Any grammatical, stylistic, textual analysis must consider the dialogical dimension of language as a starting point. The context, the interlocutors, discursive genres, resources used by the interlocutors to affirm the said / written, social meanings, social function, values ​​and point of view determine ways of saying / writing. The passions hidden in the words, the relations of authority, the dialogism between texts and the dialogue make the scenario in which the language assumes the main appeal (Brazil, 2000, p. 21)”.

And this quote is based on Bakhtin (2006, [1979]) when he states that: “All spheres of human activity, however varied they may be, are related with the use of the language. It is not surprising that the character and modes of this use are as varied as the very spheres of human activity [...] . The statement reflects the specific conditions and purpose of each of these spheres, not only by its thematic content and its verbal style, that is, by the selection of resources in the language - lexical, phraseological and grammatical resources - but also, and especially for its compositional construction (p. 179)”.

In this way, the NCPs established reading, writing, orality and linguistic analysis as the axes of teaching, removing the primacy of predominantly grammatical teaching. Thus, one of the goals of mother tongue classes is to promote the field of grammatical competence beyond the school boundaries, that is, to solve the problems of life, to access to knowledge and cultural goods and full participation in literate world

On the other hand, the Educational Guidelines Complementary to the National Curricular Parameters - Languages, Codes and their Technologies (NCPs+), set forth some criteria: “The present work proposal for the discipline of the Portuguese Language in Secondary School was conceived from some criteria, which we will begin to list. [...] A third criterion concerns a certain reliance on traditional nomenclature and content, often excessive. It is considered more significant that: the student internalizes certain mechanisms and basic procedures linked to coherence and cohesion of which he memorizes, without proper understanding, a series of subordinate or coordinated names of sentences; special attention to the training of readers, including the classical works of our literature, which maintains the tradition of all literary schools, with their respective author styles (Brazil, 2002, p. 70-71) .

The National Curriculum Guidelines (NCGs), dated 2006, guiding the focus of writing as literacy and abilities it covers makes it clear that even within the same culture and the same language the language practices differ, i.e., "[ ...] the forms of each language vary according to the users and the context in which those languages ​​are used; the forms of language also vary with factors such as age, gender, region of origin, social class , etc. d and its users (Brazil, 2006: 101)" .

According to the guidelines of the NCPs and NCPs+, the production of meaning must be articulated in the context of collection, volume or manual, the point is that many of these proposals, although well intentioned, do not succeed and end up falling into the good and normative and prescriptive perspective.

The 2013 document, which brings together the new National Curricular Guidelines for Basic Education, establishes the guidelines that the National Curricular Common Base (NCCB) must take responsibility for, ie, guide the organization, articulation, development and evaluation of proposals pedagogical aspects of all Brazilian education networks (Brazil, 2013).

Thus, NCCB, in relation to the Portuguese Language component, dialogues with documents and curriculum guidelines produced in the last decades, seeking to update them in relation to recent research in the area and to the transformations of language practices occurred in this century, due in large part to the development of digital information and communication technologies (TDIC).

We assume here the enunciative-discursive perspective of language, already assumed in other documents, such as PCNs , for which language is "a form of interindividual action oriented towards a specific purpose; a process of interlocution that takes place in the social practices existing in a society, in the different moments of its history (Brazil, 1998: 20)”.


Rupture: Dialogism and Interactionism

The publications of the Circle of Bakhtin give a breath to this discussion (through some key concepts such as discourse, language, dialogism, utterance), since they are of great value for the activities with texts, since it can be unveiled and work with the critical-reflexive consciousness of the subjects.

In this sense, according to Bakhtin (1997 [1979]), since subjects, constituents of the world, come into contact with innumerable statements in their daily lives and apprehend words, they give them value tones to them, from what is heard from the other.

Thus, when one grasps the words of the statements of others, one plunges into the living stream of communication. The meaning of words occurs in the interaction, that is, a part attributed to who produces this statement and a part of those who read / hear this statement, the interlocutor. In this sense, the notion of word bridge is based half a half, half in the producer of the utterance and half in the co-producer of that utterance, listener or reader.

As the whole word is "taken" from the utterance of the other, we are inevitably dialoguing with other utterances and vice versa. But the point is that in multivocality there are different voices for the utterance. And that is what the documents then m understands that the statements are not isolated from other statements. The work with the language will/must understand that these statements are in relation with so many other statements. So what was written, for example, in working with the text, is in relation to other texts.

To say things, it is necessary to talk with a number of other texts produced. In Dostoevsky's Poetics , Bakhtin (1997 [1961]), analyzes his poetics relating the "various" Dostoevsky: the writer, the literary, the journalist, and the religious. This relationship occurs through the access of several other texts, at different times. The central question is not only to analyze a text , as is the proposal of many of the guidelines of the Documents , not in view of a written standard, how can be confused many times, but rather establish relationships, by dialogue.

As in various instances of the subject, whether in religious practice, school, university etc., according to this perspective one can better understand many questions of what is said or written, since it relates to other discourses.

The idea is not to be or not coherent, but to dialogue, intending. We do not look for what has or is not common in the writings, but it is observed that there are tensions between the sayings. And at certain times there can be huge contradictions, because it depends on what is at stake.

In a writing practice or textual analysis in school, for example, it is the identity of the learner who is at stake. If the activity is the writing of a text of religious theme, or analysis of a certain text that deals with religion, it is this identity that will be at stake, that is, the student will negotiate the positions, be it in the written or analysis activity of text, but at home, for example, this identity will not be at stake, thus negotiating which identity is highlighted in that context.

According to these assumptions, present in the Brazilian educational documents and, according to Geraldi (2015), the (...) that start from the dialogical conception of language, and that take it as a constitutive activity of the languages ​​in their sociolinguistic sense and of the consciences of the speaking subjects ("the word conceives its object"), must lead to a more of the linguistic resources mobilized in the construction of any statement, so that one can thus "revise the forms of language in their common linguistic comprehension" even if these understandings are made in an initially intuitive way (p. 391).

In this sense, what is imbricated is that the way of understanding and teaching it depends on the conception of language. As Antunes (2009) points out, having as language conception "an abstract, virtual system only, unveiled from contexts of use, without feet and without face, without life and without soul, 'odorless, tasteless and colorless', the results are not will be satisfactory (Antunes, 2009: 34, emphasis added)''. Thus, there will be "a decline in verbal fluency, in the understanding and elaboration of more complex and formal texts, in the ability to read symbolic language, among many other losses and reductions (Antunes, 200 9: 34)".

Interestingly, the language construct (gem) is understood in its interactional function, so it is possible to verify that the language, for the performance of social interactions, is organized in relatively stable genera (Bakhtin, 2006 [1929]) and materializes in oral and written texts. Only this conception gives us the inspiration to base a reflexive teaching.



According to this context, the official documents, when indicating the axes of teaching, initially propose the conception of language and assumed: the interactionist, understood in its interactional function, it is possible to verify that the language, for the performance of social interactions, organized into relatively stable genres (Bakhtin, 1997 [1979]) , and materializes in oral and written texts. Only this conception of language can be based on reflective teaching and the abandonment of mechanical and artificial practices.

And this theoretical and methodological assumptions, may again be sent to the design language proposed by Bakhtin (1997 [1979] ), as living and historically evolving in concrete verbal communication, different from an abstract linguistic system of forms of language that occurs individually in each subject, that is, the substance of language is constructed by the social phenomenon of verbal interaction, through the enunciations (Bakhtin, 1997 [1979]: 124).

Likewise, discourse is understood as "[...] the language in its concrete and living integrity, and not language as the specific object of linguistics, obtained by means of an absolutely legitimate and necessary abstraction of certain aspects of concrete life of discourse (Bakhtin, 1997 [1979] : 81).

Thus, if language as a discourse is understood, it will not be possible to unlink subjects, social spheres, ideological positions, etc., that is, if the concept of language is linked as an object of linguistics one cannot have dialogic relations , since this relation cannot occur among the elements in the language system, such as words, prayers, morphemes, etc.

Therefore, once the Bakhtinian presuppositions are linked to the axes of teaching, we can infer strong contributions to the understanding of language functioning, starting from an inductive perception until we arrive at a conscious reflection and systematization.

The subjects perform strategies of reading and writing and at the same time reflect the questions of language analysis in an interdependent relationship according to the apprehension of the linguistic knowledge that we interact in the most varied sociodiscursives situations.



This study was financed in part by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico - Brazil (CNPq) – (Finance Code: 132442/2019-1) and by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brazil (CAPES) – (Finance Code: 001 - 88882.181006/2018-01), within the scope of Postgraduate Research/Master in Letters/Linguistics Studies of the Federal University of Paraná.



Antunes, Irandé. (2009). Língua, Texto e Ensino: outra escola possível. São Paulo: Parábola.

Bakhtin, Mikhail.; Volochinov, Valentin. (2006 [1929]). Marxismo e Filosofia da Linguagem: Problemas fundamentais do método sociológico na ciência da linguagem. Trad. Michel Lahud e Yara F. Vieira.12ed. São Paulo: Hucitec.

Bakhtin, Mikhail. (1997 [1979]). Os Gêneros do Discurso. In: Estética da Criação Verbal. 2ª ed. São Paulo: Martins Fontes.

Brazil. (1996). Lei de Diretrizes Bases (LDB). Brasília: Ministério da Educação, Secretaria de Educação Básica.

Brazil. (1997). Parâmetros Curriculares Nacionais (PCNs). Brasília: Ministério da Educação, Secretaria de Educação Básica.

Brazil. (2000). Parâmetros Curriculares Nacionais – Ensino Médio (PCNEM). Brasília: Ministério da Educação.

Brazil. (2002). Orientações Educacionais Complementares aos Parâmetros Curriculares Nacionais – Linguagens, Códigos e suas Tecnologias (PCN+). Brasília: Ministério da Educação.

Brazil. (2006). Orientações Curriculares Nacionais (OCN). Brasília: Ministério da Educação, Secretaria de Educação Básica.

Brazil. (2017). Base Nacional Comum Curricular (BNCC). Brasília: Ministério da Educação, Secretaria de Educação Básica.

Geraldi, Wanderley. (2015). O ensino de Língua Portuguesa e a Base Nacional Comum Curricular. Revista Retratos da Escola, Brasília, v. 9, n. 17, p. 381-396, jul./dez.


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