The Portuguese groups have had a very successful period this year despite and partly because of the restrictions which have been imposed over recent months.
After several years of meeting together we have been able to overcome the challenges of Covid-19 by the use of Zoom to continue our weekly meetings online. In fact our numbers have increased since April.
Zoom has proved to be a valuable means of providing continuity and has many features of which we have taken full advantage. For example it is possible to record either the whole of part of meetings and we are able to record members reading passages from the current weeks reading or exercises. These are then edited and each member’s contribution forwarded to them after the meeting so that they can hear how their mastery of the pronunciation of this difficult language is progressing. It has also meant that members can still attend meetings when away from their homes.
Portuguese language classes are a rarity and not only within the U3A. Zoom has enabled us to include members from U3As elsewhere in the country and we are already in touch with members from Lancashire, East Anglia and the Cotswolds. Our group leader is in Portugal in September and October and intends to meet representatives of the Portuguese U3A in Lagos with a view to creating opportunities for an interchange of ideas and information through Zoom.
Due to the variety of levels of competence in the language we have been running three groups, beginners, improvers and advanced intermediate each week which has proved to be quite a challenge.
This year will have seen a number of groups like ours being able to take advantage of the internet for reasons which we had not considered before it became necessary, which proves that – A necessidade aguça o engenho – necessity is the mother of invention!