Preparation For Intercultural Interaction In Modern Russian Higher Education

Abstract

The intercultural orientation of modern social thought is implemented in educational policy, considering a modern university graduate as a person, not just possessing specific competences and knowledge, but also capable of cooperating and constructive multicultural dialogue, interacting with people of different cultures and knowing the system of socially significant world values. In modern pedagogical science, considerable experience has been accumulated in preparing students of different specialities for intercultural interaction, forming and developing the tolerance, intercultural communicative competences, educating the younger generations in a multicultural world. Nevertheless, the issue of preparing would-be specialists for intercultural interaction in the context of the content and language integrated environment remains poorly developed today. So, the main aim of our research is to consider the modern Russian higher education from the point of view of the process of preparing would-be specialists for intercultural interaction for determining the degree of their readiness for the adequate intercultural dialogue.

Keywords: Higher educationintercultural interactionmulticultural societywould-be specialistslanguage training

Introduction

At the turn of the second and third millennia, it became obvious that Russian society is developing along the path of searching for a national idea, actual values and meanings. Many moral values and attitudes are rethought, there is a rejection of age-old traditions, there are new moral guidelines corresponding to the spirit of the time. This process covered various spheres of public life in all countries of the world. Today it is impossible to find nationalities that would not have been influenced by other cultures or the wider world social environment. The described phenomena are reflected in the rapid growth of cultural exchanges and direct contacts between state institutions, social groups, social movements and individuals from different countries and cultures

Problem Statement

It is necessary to note that the changes taking place in the modern world economic and socio-cultural space contribute to the growth of intercultural interaction, the expansion of cooperation in international educational projects, and professional contacts between representatives of different cultures. All this requires university graduates to be professionally competent, whose inherent indicators are fluency in a foreign language and norms of intercultural communication.

In this regard, when teaching a foreign language, priority is given to the problem of preparing students for intercultural interaction as an important condition for their integration into a multicultural society.

The preparation of students of non-linguistic faculties for cooperation with representatives of foreign companies, the successful integration of the personality into the totality of world and national cultures, the intellectual and communicative development of the personality of future specialists as the goal of education are reflected in the State educational standard of higher and professional education and the Law of the Russian Federation “About Education”.

Research Questions

Modern pedagogical science has accumulated considerable experience in preparing for intercultural interaction among students of various fields, in the formation and development of tolerance for representatives of other cultures, intercultural communicative competencies, and the upbringing of younger generations in a multicultural world.

However, the issue of preparing students of non-linguistic faculties for intercultural interaction in subject-language integrated environment remains poorly developed today.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the research is to study the modern Russian higher education and the process of preparing would-be specialists for intercultural interaction in the context of the content and language integrated environment.

Research Methods

Russia's accession to the threshold of the XXI century is accompanied, first of all, by the development of a democratic society, a constitutional state, and a market economy in the country. These national interests are also in tune with the global trends of globalization, integration in all spheres of public life, transition to an information society, acceleration of economic development, expansion of intercultural interaction. These factors activate mass migration of the population, aggravation of interethnic conflicts, the growth of global problems, the spiritual crisis of society.

The powerful system of multicultural and international education, which functioned for many decades in the USSR, is losing its relevance. It is replaced by new values, recognized by the leading teachers of New Russia as the main guidelines of the education process. For example, Nikandrov (1999) sees one of the main goals of the educational process in the formation of a patriot of Russia, aimed at prioritizing the values of the country, while recognizing the values of other countries and cultures. Pedagogical concept proposed by Karakovsky (2008), the main reference point of the educational process proclaims world as peace and harmony between people, peoples and States.

Analysis of state documents in the field of science and education since the beginning of 2000 (the RF Government Decree № 751 "On the National Doctrine of Education in Russian Federation" (dated October 4, 2000), the Concept of Modernization of Russian Education for the period till 2020 (dated 29.12.2014 No. 2765), Federal Law "About Education in Russian Federation" (29.12.2012 No. 273-FL)) also testifies to the recognition from the part of the government of the Russian Federation the importance of forming a culture of interpersonal relations, education of tolerance and respect for representatives of other peoples and cultures.

In accordance with The Law about education of 29.12.2012, the state policy in the field of education is aimed at the historical continuity of generations, preservation, dissemination and development of national culture, education of respect for the historical and cultural heritage of the peoples of Russia; the education of Russian patriots who respect the rights and freedoms of the individual, have high morals and show national and religious tolerance, respect languages, traditions and culture of other peoples. The modern policy of the Russian Federation in the field of education has a humanistic orientation, highlighting the priority of universal values, human life and health, free development of the individual.

Findings

In the 1990s–2000s, the study of communication processes is carried out from the standpoint of an interdisciplinary approach. Communication began to be viewed through the prism of international political studies. Subsequently, the theory of translation, methods of teaching foreign languages, comparative cultural studies, sociology, etc. are distinguished in separate branches of scientific thought. The founders of the study of the laws of intercultural communication in Russian science and education system are considered to be foreign language teachers and linguists, who for the first time spoke about the insufficiency of foreign language proficiency alone for effective communication with representatives of other cultures. The experience of intercultural communication did not exclude the occurrence of conflicts and misunderstandings and exacerbated the problem of the lack of excellent knowledge of foreign languages for a successful and effective dialogue with representatives of other cultures and nations. It became obvious that in the absence of practical skills of intercultural interaction, the implementation of this dialogue is not possible. In this regard, a new discipline – "Intercultural communication" - was introduced into the curriculum of a number of domestic universities. The introduction of this discipline is primarily due to the need to prepare students for effective intercultural contacts at the level of everyday interpersonal communication.

The Genesis of the studied problem allowed drawing a conclusion about the increased scientific interest in the postulates of multicultural pedagogy. Consideration of foreign experience of formation and development of multicultural education is devoted to the work of Khukhlaeva, Khakimov, and Khukhlaev, (2017), Dzhurinsky (2016), Suprunova and Sviridchenko (2013), Khakimov (2012).

The analysis of bases of realization of multicultural education is carried out in Dautova's (2004) researches, Ershov (2000), Kolobova (2006), Makaev, Malkova, and Suprunova (1999).

It is noteworthy that a lot of researchers highlight and emphasize tolerance as the main characteristic of a person capable of comfortable life in an intercultural environment. So, for example, dissertation researches of Likhacheva (2008), Mirotvorskaya (2004), Pastukhova (2004), Khuzin (2009), Korotkikh (2016) and others are devoted to the study of manifestations of tolerance in children and adolescents.

In general, the end of the XX century is characterized by: 1) the interest in the problem of intercultural communication, mainly from linguists and teachers of foreign languages; 2) understanding of the relations between language and culture, culture and communication, national conditionality of communicative behaviour, as well as general issues of intercultural communication theory; 3) interdisciplinary approach to the study of foreign languages and communication processes.

The beginning of the XXI century is associated with the steady harmonious development of the education system, due to innovative global changes in science and technologies of education, reforming the economy and management of this process. In order to support positive changes in the field of education by Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation dated December 29, 2001 № 1756-R was adopted the "Concept of modernization of Russian education for the period till 2010", outlining the main trajectory of the reform process. The concept of reforming the education system in the Russian Federation pursues the main goal-improving the quality of education at all levels, expanding access to education for low-income segments of the population, as well as rural residents. The implementation of this Concept involves a number of steps, including the development and implementation of education standards for all levels, from preschool to postgraduate, strengthening the material base of educational institutions, improving curricula and curricula, increasing attention not only to the education of children and young people, but also to improving their health, etc.

Within this period of the studied problem there is a reorganization of higher education. This process is determined by the recent accession of Russia to the Bologna Convention, which envisages the creation of a single educational space in Europe by 2010, as well as increasing the mobility of students to exchange professional knowledge and experience not only within our country, but also at the international level. In this regard, the role and purpose of teaching a foreign language in high school has changed dramatically. It becomes insufficient just to teach the future specialist to solve elementary communicative tasks, it is necessary to prepare him for the implementation of communicative tasks in professional activity in the conditions of intercultural communication. The described fact actualizes the necessity of teaching foreign languages using technologies of interdisciplinary integration.

In general, it should be noted that at this time "intercultural communication" receives the status of an academic discipline, its educational and methodological support is carried out. In many leading universities of the country the specialty "Linguistics and intercultural communication" is opened and gets wide popularity.

Among the higher educational institutions conducting research in the field of intercultural communication, the leading position is undoubtedly occupied by MSU. Named after M.V. Lomonosov, the lecturers and scientists of which are engaged in the development of both theoretical and practical aspects of intercultural issues. In addition, MSU named after M.V. Lomonosov actively supports scientists of other universities in development of educational programs of the specialty "Linguistics and intercultural communication". On the basis of this University is published the first textbook on intercultural communication (Ter-Minasova, 2000).

During this period, Europe and Russia are actively developing linguodidactics, containing in its content intercultural aspects of teaching individual languages. Galskova and Gez (2008) – the authors of the first manual on linguodidactics, devote their research to the influence of various aspects of culture on the process of teaching foreign languages. Galskova and Gez (2008) discuss about the emergence of a new direction in the domestic communicative methodology, which we refer to the "socio-cultural approach", "integrated country studies", "cultural studies approach", "intercultural learning".

A significant contribution to the formation of intercultural communication as a discipline in Russia makes Safonova (2014), who focuses in her research on the interaction between the level of proficiency in native and non-native languages and the movement of the individual in his multicultural development from one degree to another. It should be noted that in her research Safonova (2014) relies on current world concepts in the field of linguistic training, highlighting the presence of a number of negative trends that can prevent the successful implementation of the foundations of cultural and intercultural development of the individual in the practice of linguistic education (Safonova, 2014).

Special attention in the domestic pedagogical science is the position of Pluzhnik (2016) most accurately, in our opinion, formulating the content of the concept of "intercultural communicative competence", which means the ability to interact on the basis of sociocultural and linguistic norms and universal cultural values; to overcome conflicts in the process of contacting the professional cultures and styles; to use variable skills based on empathy (Pluzhnik, 2016).

Separately, we would like to note the dissertation study by Bystray (2006), devoted to the study of a special type of human activity for the implementation of the acquired knowledge, skills and values of interpersonal interaction with representatives of different cultures and nations. The scientist characterizes this process as intercultural competence.

Conclusion

The analysis of the studied problem in the pedagogical theory and practice allows drawing a conclusion that is still not clearly defined points of contact of process of professional training and of academic subject "Foreign language" in the training of students of non-linguistic faculties to intercultural interaction, despite the fact that in recent years has increased the interest of the state and society to the problem of improving the quality of education of managerial staff of Russia, in particular, to the problem of formation of skills of intercultural interaction in professional activity.

Thus, the beginning of the XXI century is characterized by the following: 1) processes of globalization and integration, emphasizing the importance of recognizing equality, tolerance, understanding and respect people of all races and faiths; 2) the social order of the state and society to prepare professionals ready to effective intercultural interaction; 3) increasing interest from the scientific and pedagogical workers to technologies of subject-integrated learning as an integral means of preparing students for intercultural interaction

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia Boris Eltsyn, Ekaterinburg, Russia.

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

31.10.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.10.05.443

Online ISSN

2357-1330