IMPROVING THE TEACHING STANDARDS OF RUSSIAN AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE: URAL FEDERAL UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE
The article describes one of the Ural Federal University’s (UrFU) large-scale international projects aimed at implementing double-degree educational programmes for the students of North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power (NCWU, China) in terms of their language preparation. With Russian being the language of instruction in the third and fourth years of the programmes, the students are supposed to acquire B1 level of Russian by the end of their second course. However, when they arrive in Russia to complete their education, the level of their language competence proves to be unsatisfactory, which impedes their academic progress, hence the need to improve the teaching standards of Russian as a foreign language (RFL).
In view of this urgent necessity, the current situation of teaching RFL to Chinese students was thoroughly analysed revealing one factor that might have played the role of critical importance in the ineffectiveness of teaching and learning. A considerable difference in the professional background of the RFL teachers as well as in their understanding of the RFL course aims appeared to be one of the major reasons for the insufficient learning outcomes. To address this issue a Teacher Training course for the RFL teachers was designed on the basis of the successful UrFU experience of teaching English as a foreign language (EFL).
Prior to the coming academic year, the RFL teachers who are planning to work on the UrFU international project in China will participate in this course with a view to developing unanimous criteria for RFL teaching and increasing the effectiveness of their work. For this purpose, a methodological manual on teaching RFL has been created aiming to help teachers use the communicative methodology and course designers do research to find out whether this methodology applies to and is equally effective in teaching RFL as it is in teaching English as a foreign language (EFL). The authors intend to report the results of this research in further publications.