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I. Ainoutdinova, A. Blagoveshchenskaya

Kazan Federal University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
This paper explores some prospects and limitations of bridging the gap between two educational approaches, i.e. teacher-centered and student-centered models, intended to support the efficacy of teaching and learning of English as a foreign language (EFL) at university level in Russia. Today English language is undoubtedly being perceived by the world community as an important instrument of international communication equally serving the needs of everyday life and professional purposes. It is not surprising that most of universities in Russia follow the global trend and try to compile their courses and curriculum activities with account of increasing requirements for effective ways of foreign language acquisition being crowned by a high level of language proficiency among their students.

For many years, the traditional teaching style of English or teacher-centered approach has been dominant in higher education in Russia. At the same time, the opponents of this conventional EFL training method insisted that in a traditional classroom students may only act as passive learners or recipients of teachers’ knowledge with zero perspectives for educational growth. Many researchers and practitioners of that sort tried to publicize only the negative sides of the teacher-centered approach thereby detracting its positive effects and evident advantages. Conversely, the majority of scientists and practitioners hastened to exalt another approach, widely known as a learner or student-centered. Recognizing all positive aspects of a learner-centered method, we still aim to compare these two approaches from the perspective of teaching / learning foreign languages at Russian universities.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze and document some major beliefs and practices of Russian teachers in both teacher-centered and student-centered educational environment; examine the relationship between these opposite instructional and managerial approaches and students` final learning outcomes; clarify the conceptual apparatus related to teacher-centered and student-centered modes of training; highlight advantages and disadvantages of both approaches, etc.

The methodological framework of the study rests on the social, pedagogical, integrative and comparative approaches allowing accumulating best teaching strategies of using the aforementioned approaches by top universities. The main result of the study is the design of an integrative model of educational environment that enhances the quality of foreign language education and increases the level of language proficiency among the university students.