S. Suvorova1, I. Kotlyarova2, E. Kharchenko2, K. Volchenkova2, E. Doronina2

1Shadrinsk State Pedagogical University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
2South Ural State University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
The growth of multicultural education environment is a ubiquitous process in higher education of the 21st century. The body of international students that come to Russia from different countries grows, still the factors that influence the education process need to be detected and the methods of instruction have to be adjusted and revised correspondingly.

The authors identified the features of the education process in the multicultural environment as well as the reasons and ways of overcoming typical difficulties in the formation of communicative competence in Russian as a foreign language.

We determined three areas to study the features of education process in a multicultural environment. The first one is interference or the influence of the native language on the development of foreign language skills as at the first stage of foreign language acquisition there comes a comparison of new facts and background information. The second one is the methods of teaching and the image of a teacher. For many students the methods of instruction differ from those they have in their own countries as in Eastern countries rote learning based on the reproduction of the learned material prevails. The image of a teacher can also not correspond to that which is habitual in students’ native culture. Thirdly, the behavior of fellow students can cause misunderstanding and provoke conflicts. So, some students are irritated by too loud speech or sluggishness of their counterparts. There are distinctions in educational process organization, time the lessons start, duration of breaks, etc.

The analysis of the areas formulated above is done in the paper: that of
1) systems of native and foreign languages;
2) education process and the role of an instructor;
3) learning environment.

Special attention the authors pay to different types of communicative failures in the course of acquisition of a foreign language. On conduting the survey of foreign students from Southeast Asia studying at South Ural State University the authors studied the reasons for misunderstanding and discourse mistakes of foreign students. They also considered the possible ways of cross-cultural communication optimization.

The possible ways of sociocultural adaptation of international students are offered. They can be used to develop the courses on cross-cultural communication and as linguacultural discussions at Russian as a foreign language lessons.