Highly-skilled specialists’ training for foreign countries has been taking a significant place in the educational process of V. N. Karazin National University (A. M. Gorky State University previously) since the 1960s.
A preparatory department for foreign citizens, future students of the university, was founded in 1961. A separate section consisting of 6 specialists (Zhukova L. A., Stupnitskaya M. A., Pobelenskaya V. N., Stetsenko L. I., Kobtseva I. F., Litovkina Z. A.) was set up in 1964. It was headed by associate professor Z. A. Litovkina. For several years the contingent of students increased and the number of teachers went up from 6 to 13. The department of Russian language for the main faculties was created on the basis of the section in 1968. It was a new structure relevant to the dean’s office for foreign students. Besides the above-mentioned specialists, the department included the following ones: Bashkirova M. A, Bilyk V. N., Davydova A. N., Ligacheva Yu. A., Lutsenko V. D., Pirotti N. V. Associate professor N. A. Fedotova was at the head of the department.
A. Fedotova – a generator of ideas and an example of the leader, the head of the department, an organizer and a first director of the Municipal Methodological Association, specialized in teaching Russian as a foreign language. N. A. Fedotova’s constructive work was highly appreciated. Later she was rewarded with the Peoples’ Friendship order and the Pushkin medal.
In the late sixties – seventies scientific efforts of the department were focused on elaborating Thematic complexes for the students of different faculties at the university. Much attention was given to the development of manuals for teaching speech activity in a sociocultural sphere, learning aids in culture-oriented linguistics.
In the late seventies N. A. Fedotova took the leader in elaborating the Standard Comprehensive Plan, oriented at all types of speech activity. Later it was widespread all over the country.
At the department it became a tradition to pay much attention to foreign students’ social and cultural adaptation. Linguistic Olympiads, poetic contests, literary and musical evenings were carried out, thematic lessons were conducted.
For serious constructive attitude to the educational process and successful search of advanced forms and teaching methods, the teaching staff of the department received the commendation letter of the VDNH (Exhibition of National Economy Development). At the exhibition lots of stands, reflecting the work of the department, were displayed.
The department became the Methodological Training Centre specialized in teaching Russian for foreigners.
A. Fedotova was at the head of the Municipal Methodological Association, which ran a school for young teachers.
In the period of 1984 – 2005 the department was headed by the associate professor, Doctor of Pedagogics later on, Professor A. B. Chistyakova. The department was called Language Training Department. It proceeded teaching at initial and advanced stages. During these years several dissertations were defended; Candidates of Sciences, associate professors L. B. Bey, N. P. Dotsenko, I. P. Poborchaya, V. M. Kravchenko, N. B. Pirotti developed conceptual bases of teaching Russian as a foreign language: teaching language for special purposes, grammar and reading of literary texts.
Courses of continuing education for teachers of high and secondary schools were successfully conducted at the department. A. B. Chistyakova, N. P. Dotsenko, V. M. Kravchenko, V. D. Lutsenko, T. N. Alekseyenko, A. N. Davydova lectured in the main trends of language teaching methods.
Many specialists of the department worked at foreign higher educational institutions: A. B. Chistyakova (Cuba, Mali), A. N. Davydova (Guinea), L. A. Zhukova (Vietnam), L. P. Sanina (Campuchea), V. M. Kravchenko (China), V. D. Lutsenko (Hungary, Nepal), L. A. Kuplevatskaya (Afghanistan), N. P. Dotsenko (Czechoslovakia), L. M. Udodenko (Yugoslavia), O. V. Denisova (Finland, Great Britain), O. D. Brusentsova (China), N. I. Ushakova (the USA), I. V. Petrov, A. A. Sklyarenko (China).
Graduating students of the language and literature department (section of Russian language for foreigners) (I. P. Petrenko, E. M. Reznichenko, V. B. Korobeynikov, A. I. Batsiy, N. I. Ushakova, A. L. Ruzhinskiy, L. E. Il’ina, O. N. Trostinskaya are among them) constantly joined the ranks of the language training department since 1981. Many of them succeeded in obtaining the Candidate’s and Doctor’s degrees, the titles of associate professors, leading specialists in organizing an educational process.
At present the department is headed by Doctor of Pedagogics, Professor N. I. Ushakova. She is a specialist in the theory of the textbook creation in Russian as a foreign language. For the last years the department has carried out enormous work in providing the educational process with textbooks and manuals in the Russian language for foreign students-philologists, economists, students of medical, biological and natural-scientific specialties.
Special courses, worked out by the department staff members, are:
- Country-specific studies (history, geography and culture studies of Ukraine);
- Word-formation of the Russian language;
- Stylistics of the Russian language;
- Culture-oriented linguistics;
- Methods of teaching Russian as a foreign language;
- Practice of translation.
Programs in the Russian language have been revised according to the Bologna declaration, the Integrated Standard Academic Program for foreign students (I – IV years of study) of non-philological departments and a post-graduate program for foreign Pd.D. students have been developed by the teaching staff so far.
For the time being the main trend in the department work is the development of methodological bases for teaching the Ukrainian language for foreign students: such disciplines as “Practical course of Ukrainian” for students from CIS countries, “Business Ukrainian”, “Professionally-oriented Ukrainian language” have been created. The Integrated Standard Academic Program in the Ukrainian Language for foreign students of the major non-philological departments (third and fourth levels of accreditation) has been edited. This program was approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.
Since 1997 the department has been publishing the collected articles approved by the Higher Attestation Commission (VAK) “Teaching language at higher educational establishments at the present stage. Intersubject relations”. Professor N. I. Ushakova, associate professor O. N. Trostinskaya, associate professor V. V. Misenyova are members of the editorial board. E. A. Titarenko is a secretary of the research collection.
Annual International Scientific Conference “Teaching language at higher educational establishments at the present stage. Intersubject relations” is held by the efforts of the department with the assistance of other CIE structures.
The teachers of the department are working at their dissertations for obtaining the Candidate’s and Doctor’s Degrees, constantly mastering their professional skills. Besides, a problem-oriented group, engaged in elaborating the tasks for computer testing, has been organized on the department basis. Learning aids for testing foreign students have been worked out at chemical, physical, biological, sociological, history, philology, economic, ecological, medicine, geological and geographic departments as well as at the departments of mechanics and mathematics, radio physics, foreign languages, international economic relations and tourism business, computer sciences. At present multimedia maintenance for manuals and interactive aids are created by the department staff members.
The development of international cooperation in the sphere of higher education opens widespread perspectives for perfecting foreign students’ language training at HEI of Ukraine and teachers’ professional and scientific upgrading. Hard work of the department staff members is aimed at providing foreign students’ with full-fledged training in certain specialties as well as their cultural development and sociocultural adaptation.