Cultural Approach To Professional Foreign Language Teaching

Abstract

The authors concentrate on students acquiring knowledge of different languages at the university on the professional background. The process of acquiring foreign language in non-linguistic classes is described. The central idea in this process is to develop students' capability of speaking different cultures languages in the focus of their future professions considering intercultural approach. It’s important to connect professional approach with cultural background in education. The idea of a student’s personal development in the educational process is accentuated. It should be closely connected with vivid components of culture: stereotypes, dressing, eating habits, manners, etc. Students wish to learn how to become aware of special strategies for cross cultural communication. We live in a planetary world and relations with people of other cultures is badly needed. Culture influences verbal and non-verbal communication. It filters our view of reality, makes sence of what we see and do. It directs our behaviour. Of particular importance is learning a foreign language in the focus of culture. Cultural immersion helps students to grasp professional, business, and academic matters efficiently and communicate with foreign collegues successfully. They also try to understand business matters from the cultural point of view and represent themselves as equal copartners of global processes.

Keywords: Authentic materialcultural backgroundeducational renewalprioritytransnational polylogue

Introduction

Educational process in universities is a complex multi – dimensional unity. To get better knowledge and greater competency in learning foreign languages, students should find in the cultural world something that joins specifically-professional to cultural.

It is very important to teach students special strategies for cross cultural communication. The idea of students personal development in the educational process is of great importance. It filters their view of reality, makes sense of what they see and do. It directs their behaviour.

Training professionally – competent specialists who are able to take independent decisions is the most effective way can improve economic, political and legal environment in Russia. In such a way teachers try to form students’ motivated professional thinking. “In foreign language teaching culture is now recognized as a priority in the focus of the renewal of education” (Alyavdina, & Margaryan, 2013, p. 5).

Teaching a foreign language is becoming an important and often necessary component of a specialist future activity. It must be culturally – oriented and give as much positive results as possible.

Problem Statement

Current system of education foresees the mission of good specialists professional training in the framework of cultural communication with people of various nationalities. The leading element of such interrelation are studying social traditions, mentality and linguistic culture. “This direction is especially relevant for higher educational institutions in the context of the Bologna agreements” (Andronkina, 2018, p. 141).

The development of interethnic polylogue matters in the process of the European integration by means of learning foreign languages from the cultural anticipation. Scientists are in the rummage of the best educational ways and methods of training a tolerant specialist, who is able to accept the values of different cultures. Introducing students to foreign cultures to expand and deepen intercultural communication is the teachers’ main task in this regard. “At the present stage transnational polylogue, which helps to overcome national prejudice and fosters intercultural understanding between various peoples, is becoming an important component of a cultural development strategy” (Goodwin, 2008, p. 13).

Educational establishments in Russia and abroad promote the development of transnational polylogue as the means of a foreign language and linguo – environmental studies. A person seeks to communicate with people of different cultures. So, he is to master definite perception, cognition, values and actions of different cultures to be real representative of his own culture integrating it with new joint cultural experience.

Advanced educational programs envisage a foreign language study from the functional point of view. Knowledge of the language is important, but it must be used as a tool of real cultural communication. Burning question of the day is the demand of teaching foreign languages in new culturally based conditions. The most important factor is grasping the idea of different cultural values and the language. Theoretical knowledge of the language and practical skills are of great importance. The meaning of this or that utterance in a specific context is an important factor. The world of language study itself, the knowledge of the country, of people, of their customs and traditions must not be forgotten in this respect.

Every English lesson must become a practical meeting with other culture, through its main carrier — language. Every foreign statement must reflect a foreign culture. Each word must be conditioned by this or that language culture. It creates a peculiar impression of the surrounding world. Training of future specialists must be accomplished by the real professional personal growth in the framework of life expectations and awareness in a socio-cultural communication. The educational central line is to avoid boring drills and training and obtain real knowledge of the subjects he/she is interested in. This should be facilitated by friendly atmosphere, which is also necessary for training students in the focus of culture. Students’ attention should be drawn to the ethnic peculiarities, and special common trends.

The existence of different cultural approaches to the foreign language teaching gives wide range of opportunities to the perfection of teaching and upbringing methods (Koshel et al., 2019). In this connection, careful analysis of these methods and activities at high school in the direction to cultural and creative upbringing of students should be given. In this relation such American scholars as Christison and Bassano (2013), Clyne (2004), Field (2003), Goodwin (2008), Hyde (2008) should be mentioned. As for our Russian researchers of cross-cultural communication, we must point out Gazman (2009), Berdichevsky and Solovyova (2006), Passov (2009), Konishev (2019) and some other.

Research Questions

Research methods in sociocultural education in foreign language teaching are considered in the research as the content of language education updating in modern sociocultural context. The terms of teachers and students communication in this process are examined in the focus of sociocultural regulations. Foreign language cross cultural education should be considered on the basis of cultural environment. It should be regarded as a priority in the process of teaching.

The following burning problems are to be solved in the article in connection with the cultural approach to the students education and upbringing:

  • the scientific approach to this process;

  • the cultural influence on the educational process;

  • the methodology;

  • the background knowledge received.

Purpose of the Study

The students’ sociocultural competence formation in the sphere of professional communication at different stages of teaching English is the central objective of the research. It’s an urgent task to put the student at the front line of the educational process.

Searching productive pedagogical tools for implementing the sociocultural approach in foreign language teaching faces the question of the relationship between educational traditions and innovations. In this regard, the article considers the application of the sociocultural approach in three aspects:

  • as a traditional component of the English course structure;

  • as an innovative component of the classes using authentic films and television programs containing thematically relevant and socially significant material for developing linguistic-communicative skills;

  • as the factor awakening students creativity, developing their freedom in the choice of subjects, teachers, etc.

Solving these problems is difficult and demands teachers empathy, which can be explained as the ability to put oneself in the place of other persons, to help, to be useful (Hirsh et al., 2003).

Research Methods

Increasing students’ motivation in foreign language learning by elaborating new programs and approaches is an urgent problem nowadays. This problem can be solved by different methods:

  • classical educational methods (teaching by reading country study texts, translating and retelling them, learning grammar material, etc.);

  • teaching foreign languages by modern methods (accompanying educational process by computer presentations, videos that take a considerable part in the formation of socio – cultural competence, theatrical episodes, shows of the national character);

  • modelling different vital situations for business communication, case study, project work, integrated classes, etc);

  • PC and information technology (multimedia technologies).

After all, outdated methods are simply not suitable for the process of cross-cultural communication. ICT methods provide a great opportunity for teachers and students to go beyond the standard techniques, and contribute to effective self – learning. Multimedia technologies are a set of different types of information representation in the digital environment (Bibler, 2013). Texts, graphics, audio and video information are collected in a single multi – touch interactive file that is intended for presentation to the audience. This method influences an auditory perception, visually appealing display of text blocks, possibly with additional animation. Various devices are used for this purpose: PCs, mp3 players, mobile phones, tablets, etc. The main purpose of this method is to interest and hold the attention of students for a long time.

Findings

The socio – cultural process should be undertaken on the scientifically based platform. It means that the teachers working in the framework of cultural approach to foreign language education must have methodological and cultural awareness. They must draw students' attention not only to the linguistic features, but also to the comparison of ways and habits of their native country with foreign culture.

Educational process in DSTU takes place in the context of cultural approach. Important events such as celebrations of Christmas, New Year, Easter, etc are held at the DSTU “Foreign Languages and Cultures” chair (Koshel et al., 2019). This activity is undertaken both in class and during extracurricular time. Comparison of different cultural ethos and rituals gives much useful information. Teachers educate the students how to be culturally aware. They learn much interesting information about holidays, festivals, ceremonies which are held in our country and in English speaking countries, compare them, make conclusions. In such a way the students obtain the so – called cultural potential.

Students try to take part in different conferences, adolescent bouts and congregations. They want to manifest their convictions, demands and beliefs. It can be very important for their development.

Thus, in a foreign language lecture room, different important issues are considered. All these methods help to introduce culture in the profession.

It also testifies for personal self – assessment in cultural background. Culture is one of the main elements in pedagogical process nowadays. It is defined in the context of sacred indicators, which are necessary for the personal and professional growth (Artemyeva et al., 2015).

Conclusion

Students cultural erudition and fosterage will become the guideline in overcoming crunch and empowering our country to reach new horizons in industry, politics and culture. Russian high school must revitalize its national culture. Simultaneously “the issue of intercultural interaction between countries and peoples remains the key” (Gazman, 2009, p. 8). This fully corresponds to the professional personality formation in the socio – cultural context.

Today, the intercultural approach to foreign language teaching is an integral part of higher education. It envisages direct contact with another nation’s sociocultural reality. This factor can and should affect students’ perceptions of cultural values. It represents a chance not only to train speech acts and actions that are authentic for a foreign cultural environment, but also contributes to the activation of thinking processes that allow breaking existing prejudices and stereotypes both in relation to one’s own and foreign language culture.

References

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

27.05.2021

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.02.194

Online ISSN

2357-1330