Methodology of educational process

This section is to provide you with a brief description and rational of the educational process.

The program of studies is characterized by the use of individual approach to the learner. A special course is designed depending on the purposes, level of English, age, professional experience, and expectations of the learner.

Correspondingly, to apply for the course each of the potential students should (1) take a test, (2) fill in a questionnaire and (3) be interviewed. This is necessary for two main reasons. Firstly, to define the level of English the learner has. Secondly, to design an approach to the studies, that is most effective and suitable for the learner.

The test is designed to determine the:

  • level of English grammar,
  • ability to understand the meaning of English text,
  • ability to understand the meaning of English speech.

The complexity of the entrance test is geared towards the suggested level of the learners’ knowledge of English.

The questionnaire is formed to determine the main learning skills and styles of the potential student; his/her cognitive abilities and personal capacity in the spheres of comprehension, understanding and memorizing new material.

The main aim of the interview is to define the learner’s purposes, terms, expectations, available time and particular preferences in the approach to the language studies.

Based on the results of the test, questionnaire and interview, the teacher and the potential student are to agree upon the learning material, the main methodology and principles of the educational process.

As soon as, the overall purpose, level of language knowledge, and period of studies are defined, the teacher offers a particular program with the suggested terms and results to the learner for consideration. This part of introductory process is essential since the student’s clear understanding of the main direction of the studies will help him/her to concentrate on both the immediate task that is placed for him/her now and overall goals of the whole program. We believe that each learner needs to see the way in which the material is “incorporated” into the overall educational context and the role it plays in reaching the main purposes.

The methodology includes a whole range of different methods and techniques, directed to guaranteeing the effectiveness of the educational program. The combined approach to foreign language studies provides the learner with the necessary skills for his/her successful use of English, ability to: think and speak; comprehend speech audibly; understand grammatical structure; read and write; to have a rich vocabulary and good pronunciation.

For this purpose, in addition to the main material in the course…

The teacher uses a record library. This is to help the students develop listening skills and get used to comprehending not only the teacher’s English, but English spoken by people with different accents and pronunciation. All audio material is digitized. This lightens the teacher’s work in the class (there is no need for rewinding traditional tapes) and student’s use.

A reasonable part of the educational process uses PowerPoint presentations that help students learn new words and grammatical constructions with graphics and pictures.

Each student has an opportunity to watch movies in English. Sometimes, an emotional empathy for the hero of an interesting film helps a student to transfer new words and expressions into the long-term memory.

From the beginning of the studies, we stress practical use of the foreign language, and the process of memorizing not only individual words but whole phrases. One of the most useful techniques here is the “card system”, which we encourage our students to use.

All students are given an opportunity to learn the language by the means of music and songs. Depending on musical preferences of a learner, we can sort out the most interesting and suitable songs for studies. Since songs contain the living language, a student develops both the skills of comprehending foreign speech and learns new phrasal constructions of contemporary language.

The lessons are designed to increase the learner’s skills of extensive and intensive reading. In this regard we tend to use texts of various types, genres and complexity. Among such might be documents, original articles, episodes of narratives and publicist texts in English.

In addition to all that has been said, depending on the desire, ability and purposes of the students, we use:

Situational

This is to model a certain lifestyles and professional situations. In applying the Situational method we tend to use role games and dramatizations, in which the students portray conventional characters and play different acts. In this context, the day-to-day settings (such as meeting people, going to a cafe, going on holidays, traveling, being ill, etc.) are mostly conducted in the general English course. The Business English course, correspondingly, uses business situations (such as meetings, conferences, negotiations, presentations, interviews, agreements, etc.). The atmosphere of such lessons is mostly informal, because we believe this atmosphere assists both the development of speaking skills and overcoming the language barrier.

Communicative

The main peculiarity of this method is that the teacher purposefully does not use student’s native language during lessons, i.e. the students have to communicate to the teacher and each other in English only. Grammar rules and the meanings of unknown words, in this case, are explained by the teacher by the means of gestures, pictures, and graphics or by the words and expressions familiar to the students. It is considered to be one of the best methods to help students to begin to even think in English.

Discussion

This approach involves debates and discussions relating to interesting and sometimes controversial topics. In a relaxed and unconstrained atmosphere this method exposes students to open dialogue and expression of personal thoughts and opinions. The exchange of spontaneous questions and answers among learners assists them in the development of fluent and natural speech and increases their active vocabulary.

Cognitive

The students are provided with exercises that imply finding mistakes, putting words in correct order, matching, comparing, etc. This approach involves the student’s memory, logic, ability to think analytically, figuratively and abstractly.

Besides constantly broadening vocabulary, we tend to provide the students with a solid grammatical base. This is particularly important for those learners who prefer “always” to see logical sequence, who need to learn the “logic of the language”, and clear phrasal constructions to express themselves. To help these kinds of students, we combine the explanation of grammatical structure (by the means of schemes, tables, PowerPoint presentations), examples and practical applications in special exercises.

One of the most important principles of our program is systematic testing that is conducted in each stage and level of studies. This provides us with an objective assessment of the success of the chosen methodology and allows the students to see their personal progress in the overall educational process.

Back to top