INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO LANGUAGE STUDIES IN TRAINING MASTERS AT UNIVERSITIES IN RUSSIA
The need to create an effective interdisciplinary university environment seems to be urgent in Russia today due to the global and domestic challenges facing the nation. Rapid changes in all areas of life determine high social demand for professional preparedness of future specialists and their willingness to meet the needs of the day. The ability to establish cognitive links between diverse concepts and ideas, as well as disposition to create meaningful connections between different subject areas, is becoming very useful and beneficial. However, there is a contradiction between the need to implement this very popular in the West interdisciplinary approach into the educational process at university and the low awareness of the academic community of Russia about all pros and cons of this pedagogical innovation.
The prime feature of this approach in education is its power to facilitate learning outcomes of university students through building links and conceptual connections between various ideas and facts across different disciplines. Learning and teaching in the interdisciplinary paradigm allows fast and efficient transition of skills and knowledge gained in one discipline to another. In addition, it enhances learning and hands-on experiences, develops collaboration and cooperation, encourages students' critical thinking and problem solving skills, thereby preparing them for life and professional career. “An interdisciplinary approach” is the basic concept of our research. We can define it as a core of an integrative university curriculum, which generates understanding of multiple topics related to various disciplines and areas of life. It normally emphasizes process and meaning rather than product or content by presenting theories, methodologies and perspectives from two or more disciplines.
The aim of this work is to identify and analyze most common features of an interdisciplinary approach, its adaptability, timeliness and effectiveness for universities in Russia. For these purposes, during the empirical stage of our research a special interdisciplinary e-course “Translation of Natural Science Texts” for Masters of Kazan University, majoring in Linguistics, has been created and implemented. The course is in English and has a modular architecture. Each module has a recognizable structure and consists of texts on biology, chemistry, ecology or medicine. It is supplemented by video lectures, thematic tests, project assignments, news boards, forums and chats. The course is deployed on the university e-platform, being quite popular among the students.
The methodology of the work is based on a comparative analysis of such theories as behaviorism, constructivism and connectivism as well as on communicative, collaborative and competence-based approaches. The results of the work may be of interest to teachers, educators and e-learners who support innovations and feel free to create, collaborate, communicate both online and offline.