FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING STANDARDS: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS
The current decade has seen a rise in the intensity of transformations in the Russian education due to the need to integrate into the international academic environment and keep up with the best international academic practices. Enhancing the competitiveness of the higher education institutions on the world academic market and propelling them up in the global university rankings is yet another reason for educational reforms.
Most of the transformations in Russian education pertain to revising the existing and adopting new educational standards that are the basis for curriculum design at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education.
In view of foreign language proficiency (especially English as a lingua franca of global science and education) becoming a crucial requirement for school leavers and university graduates, the need arises to considerably improve the quality of language teaching, which, in the authors’ opinion, should be done primarily through training effective foreign language teachers. This requires revising the standards and subsequently the teacher training curricula taking into account international experience in this area.
The authors analysed the current Russian higher education standards for bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes for training future foreign language teachers and compared them with Cambridge English Teaching Framework as an internationally recognized benchmark. The results of the analysis showed that the structure and content of the standards, as well as the logic and philosophy behind them, are different, with Russian standards lacking the detail essential for developing teacher training programmes that would make their graduates effective language teachers, competitive on the international market.
The authors believe that educational standards for language teachers cannot be so general and leave so much room for interpretation as the current version does. Instead, they should provide explicit and clear guidance to curriculum designers since it is foreign language teaching that lags behind the advanced global trends compared to other subjects.