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Challenges in teaching business Russian to advanced learners: a case-study


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Abstract

The paper will examine problems associated with teaching Business Russian to Advanced Learners at Regent’s University London and identify appropriate methodology and techniques to address them. According to CEFR for Languages, advanced learners are those who have achieved ‘effective operational proficiency’ (C1) or ‘mastery of proficiency’ (C2). It means that these learners should ‘understand a wide range of demanding longer texts and recognise implicit meaning and also express their ideas fluently and spontaneously’ (C1) or ‘understand virtuously everything heard or read with ease and be able to summarise information from different spoken and written sources’ (C2). Typically, advanced learners of Russian at Regent’s University struggle to fulfil most of the above criteria, for a variety of reasons: (1) students are deemed to have become advanced learners after returning from their SPA (Study Period Abroad) in Russia, but sometimes the SPA has an effect of lowering the students’ overall level of the competence; (2) the ‘advanced learners’ do not properly understand more complex grammatical phenomena and are unable to use complex grammatical constructions, e.g. participles, gerunds, numerals; (3) they fail to acquire political vocabulary, to enable them to understand or summarise political or business news; (4) their speaking skills are inadequate; (5) they generally lack motivation to achieve a genuine advanced level in Russian language; (6) they lack effective strategies to enable them to learn a foreign language in an organised manner; (7) their writing skills are weak, especially for academic and business purposes. The paper will also provide a detailed overview of the grammatical phenomena necessary at this level of language proficiency as well as practical examples of exercises designed to achieve it.

Keywords

problems, teaching, business, Russian, learners, Regent’s university, London, methodology, techniques

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