João Nemi Neto
João Nemi Neto, Ph.D. (he, ele, él) is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University in New York, where he teaches courses in Portuguese language, Brazilian and Lusophone cultures, queer theories and gender identities.
His writing deals with sexuality, effeminophobia, and LGBTQAI+ representation on television and cinema. He also studies queer pedagogy, language, and gender identities in foreign language teaching. His latest book is “Cannibalizing Queer: Brazilian Cinema between 1970 and 2015” (Wayne State University Press, 2022). His latest publication is “The Role of Language in Including LGBTQIA+ Identities in the Foreign Language Classroom” (IGI Global, 2023). He has also published with Daniela Jakubaszko articles on queer theory and Brazilian telenovelas.
João is also a writer and translator. His latest novel is “Os dois piores anos da minha vida,” published in 2021 in Brazil (Quase Oito Editorial). His most recent translation is a collaborative work with Ben De Witte: “In the Name of Desire” by João Silvério Trevisan (Sundial, 2023). As a poet, he wrote Corpos (Giostri Editores, 2017) and collaborated with a collective of Latin American writes for The US without us (Sangria Editores 2015 and “Tente Entender o que tento dizer. Poesia: HIV/ AIDS” organized by the poet Ramon Nunes Melo.
As a foreign language learner myself I consider vital to engage the students in an environment that allow them to relate to a historical, political and linguistic system that sometimes could be far from their reality. For that, I rely on the importance of having students participate in activities that are not only culturally and linguistically relevant but also intellectually challenging and rewarding for everybody involved in the learning process.
When one learns a foreign language, one is not only learning a set of syntactical and semantical rules. With the structure of the language, it is important to recognize the power one acquires when able to express oneself in another language. Curricular Topics should be presented in relevant manners to students, presented in a diverse set of ways, so students are able to engage themselves in different activities throughout the course. Teaching a language is beyond the grammar books and manuals. Teaching a language is exposing students to a different life style, to literature, poetry, music, politics, art and so on. By that, I don’t necessarily mean that a teacher should be an expert in every single area of knowledge, but should be able to acknowledge different interests and learning styles from the students, especially in higher education levels where students are preparing themselves for their future careers.
Along with the topics mentioned above, another important trait of my educational philosophy is the respect to the students as citizens of international communities. A classroom must be a safe place for everybody to express their ideas in a respectful manner. My teaching style tries to blend the students’ cultures while maintaining a respect for their individual characteristics. By listening carefully to the thoughts and concerns of others, a place of trust and respect is guaranteed and hence, learning is achieved.
Concluding, a language-based class should be a place of free communication, a space where students are comfortable enough to express themselves in the new language and also be able to understand more than grammatical rules, but also understand how important the studies of languages, literatures and cultures are important to one’s development as a student.