Teaching the Generation Z representatives is a complex problem since the traditional teaching practice, including the Russian language and the culture of speech, does not adequately take on the peculiarities of mosaic thinking and predominantly visual perception. At the same time, the importance of the extraordinary speech competence formation for the future professional dictates the need to rethink the approaches and teaching methods. The foundation for this rethinking is the cognitive and psycho-emotional characteristics of Generation Z, which should be understood by the teacher as a given, and considered as advantages, not disadvantages. The author analyzes the results of his mindfulness and short-sample technique and describes some Russian language and culture of speech tasks. The main principle of them is the reverse method, the studying Russian speech culture opposite tack. The modern scientific improvements make it possible to explain the causes and essence of the generation Z features. These allow the teacher not to retrain students, but to learn their skills himself and from this position to increase their speech competencies in a comfortable psycho-emotional environment.
There are necessary for the complete training of highly competent specialist disciplines of the humanities sciences. And Speech culture is one of them. Language proficiency is essential to be an expert in any activity should it be academia or business. The high-end talent is obliged to present his work results thorough familiarity with a language. And while we are speaking about Russian Speech Culture, it may be his mother-tongue language or secondary language (e.g. business language). Anyhow, the university graduate should be the master of behaviours in speech culture aspects (such as normative (prescriptive), communicative and ethical aspect).
The complexity of the problem is that there are no and cannot be once and for all accepted techniques and methods for achieving this goal. Of course, there are classic techniques designed to help anyone become a good speaker. But it is necessary to make a strict selection of those that will be most productive for a given field and consider the students psycho-emotional and cognitive characteristics. We should like to dwell on these last.
It is especially important, as we can study the Generation Z (Merriam-Webster), and how much they are not like us in the way of thinking, perceiving the world, concerning life, to others and ourselves. That we name "mosaic thinking", visual perception, equating it with the superficial perception of information and characterizing it as a deficiency, a deviation from the norm, for generation Z is the norm. This norm arose from the changing conditions of existence and the changing rhythm of life, “what is changing in a child under the influence of social and cultural shifts” (Feldstein, 2011). And it is intended to help a person of the 21st century prepare for the future. Anybody needs to treat the cognitive and psycho-emotional characteristics of generation Z exactly this way (McCrindle & Wolfinger, 2014; Sapa, 2014). It is too important to understand the difficulties they face when comprehending the world with a tool there is no instruction yet.
The generation that study universities currently (the so-called Generation Z) is characterized by specific features. First, researchers mark mosaic thinking (clip-way of thinking (Molchanova, 2019, p. 10) as the main cognitive feature of their perception. “Clip thinking as a clip culture product is a mass society and global informatization product, as a concomitant process of massification” (Kraynov & Shalaeva, 2020). Secondary, the visual perception predominance among this generation representatives becomes the basis for revising the requirements of correct and grammatical speech and lofty rhetoric. “The ability to form a thought brightly and attractively comes to the fore, while the same requirements are imposed on educational information; … as far as the visual perception is dominant for the majority of students, all guidelines were developed with wide visual means usage - so-called “attractors” to define the most important topics of a lecture”. (Kornuta et al., 2017, pp. 75-79)
The questions about using these cognitive features of modern students and considering their psycho-emotional attitude to the subject of study come to the fore. And this is the topicality of the research question
I think everyone will agree that it is often the language norm contravention, speech errors, linguistic variation, and not perfect use of words or correct speech production, a performance that commands great attention, for popular literature particularly (Solganik, 2016). It is very problematic to achieve the attractiveness of a well-formed text only by verbal means. Undoubtedly, one can use non-verbal and paraverbal means, but this also needs to be taught to the student. And before teaching him to use the norm contravention and the variation of the linguistic unit as an attention-getter and ice breaker one, it is necessary to teach the student to distinguish the true eloquence from outright speech errors.
On the other hand, while studying Russian Speech Culture, one is to create speech competence and linguistic performance according to three main aspects of this student course. There are prescriptive, communicative and ethical aspects, which provide the most understanding, communicating, propriety and courtesy respectively. There is also the third item of undergraduates perception specific features that tend to be offset by professional skills and speech habits – Russian-speaking and Russophone students dead sure they know the Russian language sufficient for any activity: studying, scientific workflows, professional activities, social conversation, creative work, so on (such as psycho-emotional way learning results in harmfully loyal attitude towards speech quality (both oral and written communication). That is why their criticism level of the media sources and some educational and nominally educational resources texts quality is low.
Thus, the research question is how to accentuate the students on Russian speech culture preoccupation within the conditions of their psycho-emotional and cognitive specific. Is it possible to use traditional methods of learning (Hilčenko, 2017) Russian speech culture while training Generation Z students?
How to induce doubt about the quality of Russian Language and Speech Culture proficiency in the heads of students, but at the same time do not cause them to feel inferior?
How to get students to give special consideration to the normative aspect of speech culture and at the same time not to formalize studying Russian by the correct linguistic units and exceptions rote memorization.
Purpose of the Study
I lay down the studying Russian speech culture opposite tack considering the pseudo-confidence of students in their absolute speech competence and the predominant visual perception peculiarities and some inability to keep attention on lengthy texts for a long time.
So, I bring to notice the observation results while teaching the Russian language and speech culture to philological and non-philological major students.
I use the following research methods – both mindfulness and short-sample technique - to track the cognitive and emotional feedback when perceiving defective texts and producing response texts (writing an essay, formulating a question and answering a question, drawing up a structural abstract, etc.).
It is necessary to explain the essence of studying Russian speech culture opposite tack and investigate the advantages.
As we said earlier, there are three main aspects of Russian Language and Speech Culture studying. It was quite convenient to conduct training consistently complementing the knowledge on the normative notion - the entire set of common language means and rules from phonetics to stylistics - with information about speech characteristics and their implementation by rhetorical mode. Today it is practically impossible to offer such a voluminous educational information element as a characteristic of a style in the aggregate of linguistic and extralinguistic factors proper. And most certainly not. But if we take the ethical component that forms the verbal behaviour rules in specific situations, we can see them like short stories, some frames or scripts about speech etiquette that implemented in historically established stable linguistic models. These clips used to be typical while communicating. Additionally, mosaic thinking makes a student perceive life not as an entirety, but as a sequence of discrete events when he would tease out the most relevant constituents of this situation and play with its concepts. And conversely, a student can imagine the whole situation like some pictural phrase and designate, nominate this situation – and it is another game too.
And when the act of communication is named, and its basic elements are found out, it’s time to play with them, and put a question from one to another to get their relationship scheme, and to define the semantic compatibility and lexical valency between the words, which intend to describe this act and its elements. It is how we form a skill necessary within the conditions of predominantly visual perception - the prehension skill for grammatical phrase construction. The fact is that the mosaic thinking generation is characterized by loyalty to speech formal and logical errors if the general meaning of a phrase or text is knowable. Question-and-answer discussions illustrate us the students do not consider that meaning is a fundamental one, to violate the semantic compatibility of words, to ignore the necessary sentence auxiliary modifiers or any linking-words, that support the narrative cohesion. The main reason for this is that students patently do not determine such mistakes, and they need to learn it. It is essential to use such a feature of their mosaic thinking as a quick reaction and the ability to solve several problems simultaneously to develop the ability to structurally grammatical scanning of text to detect errors. If you teach a student, during the initial eye contact with the text, to highlight keywords in it in the complex of their connections, then you can make their understanding work with the analysis of these minimal structures by switching their mosaic attention to each of the selected elements simultaneously or sequentially. This exercise goal is to reinforce speech and grammatical patterns, schemes and constructions using and frequency in one's mind. While doing these exercises, it is convenient to start with advertising and short journalistic texts, in which violations of lexical and grammatical compatibility are encountered for the sake of emphatic expression and emotional effect.
But it is necessary to maintain a balance and help the student to correctly distribute attention between the perception of meaning and structural keywords in this case. Over time, you can move on to work with longer texts. But for this, they will also have to be divided into significant fragments. Sometimes it is worth stopping the didactic approach to the text analysis and asking students to present the text as a visual image, as a picture so they can consolidate the correlation between verbal and non-verbal presentation. As our experience shows, students are happy to get involved in such a game - find a discrepancy mistake; however, it is difficult for them to correct the error and make another mistake correcting it often. At an advanced stage, you can offer defective texts to improve and rewrite. The main task in this type of exercise is to carry the text idea as close as possible (as in the traditional written reproduction) plus correct all structural and stylistic shortcomings.
It is interesting to offer students to compose a text realizing the same meaning in a different presentation; the using of machine-translated texts for such correction has a positive effect. On this stage of practice “lines between lecture and practical lesson are blurred” (Kornuta et al., 2017, p. 75)
It is useful to start training by analyzing the correspondence between the advertising texts and pictures meaning and form of its presentation; inviting students to provide feedback on their relevance, ethics, and clarity of advertising texts verbal and non-verbal design. Gen Z students tend to be susceptible to manipulation, including those used in advertising; their low-level sense of empathy makes it difficult to express their own opinions if they have not yet had the experience of evaluating such a phenomenon of reality. Therefore, the teacher must be careful and as correct as possible, offering students evaluative opinion in its variability, so that, on the one hand, do not violate the ability of this generation representatives to simplify solving problems and making decisions, and on the other hand, help them maintain a sufficient level of simplicity and the complexity of their decision about the proposed exercises.
The student reduced ability to concentrate attention contributes to the fact that at the stage of mediating thoughts in words, he loses the way of thinking mediated in the inner one and moves to a linear representation of intention, when the choice of each subsequent word largely depends on the previous word, and not on the deep syntactic structures. The student seems to skip the stage of transition from internal speech to verbalization and the transformation of internal subjective meanings into a system of external expanded speech meanings turns out to be deformed.
Thus, using such a praxis to find mistakes in the formal and logical structure of texts and their fragments, presentation as a form of work with Gen Z students forms their skill in using the features of mosaic thinking as advantages rather than disadvantages, as the traditional approach interprets them. Besides, the presentation of such work as a game creates a favourable psycho-emotional atmosphere during training and does not cause negative emotions even if the student does not cope with the task. Then he perceives it as a temporary misfortune, and gambling allows him to move on in acquiring a useful skill.
It should be noted, that this form of work with students is not a panacea for visual perception, because students get tired even from playing. It is so because they are easily distracted and quickly get tired of any monotonous activity, even if it is a game. You always have to change the rules. It is not that easy. Therefore, I practice responsiveness exercises that support their mosaic thinking specificity. It can be solving simple tests, or games with words (I-spy, scrabble) that can be simplified and complicated by changing the rules of the game thematically or structurally (name only thematically related words, focus on the initial letter, the third from the beginning, on the syllable, etc.)
I want to present an exercise that invariably succeeds and evokes the audience with a positive response from and interest. The terms of the assignment allow each student to present himself as a public person, as an individual and learn something about other group members. The task provokes student to reflect in several directions at once. He uses such a mosaic thinking feature as multichannel perception and the ability to solve several problems simultaneously (Zvereva, 2018, p. 216).
The task is to produce a speech utterance based on suggested surface-syntactic structure, for which implementation the deep-syntactic structures formed. But this condition is violated by the fact that the teacher adds elements of the surface structure sequentially. That is the student does not know yet for the final design of the entire text at the beginning of speech production.
Often, at this stage, errors in the correlation of the surface syntactic structure with its internal organization may occur - such a “reverse way” of speech production may cause difficulties (Miloslavsky, 2018, p. 30). For example, I like to walk, because it is fun - it is quite good, but I like to sleep because I do not get enough sleep already contains a logical error, which later, summing up the assignment, must be pointed out to all students. As a rule, by this point, they do not remember well what others have said, so there is no need to fear that those who made a mistake may become the centre of attention of the audience. But there is also a third stage of the task when you need to repeat the phrase of the first two stages and spread it further with the help of word “though”.
The number of errors increases exponentially at this stage. This situation is connected not only with the complexity of keeping the sequence of speech elements in mind but also with a misunderstanding of meaning that is introduced with the help of the conjunction “though”. And this also needs to be paid attention to it. There are main mistakes at this stage: the deformation of the logical basis of the statement I like spring because soon it will be summer, although I do not like the heat; breaking the sequence of the presentation of the topic I like to walk because it is fun. Still, sometimes I feel sad - it is not clear here what the last part of the statement refers to - that I like to walk and be sad, or that when I am sad I don’t I like to walk; internal inconsistency “I like flowers because they are beautiful, although I don't like cacti” and others.
You can choose another phrase the game participants will continue, for example, “I want ...”, “I hate ...”, “I am happy ...”, “I am upset ...”, “I am saddened ...”, etc. At the next stage, you can use “They say that ..., and I agree (disagree) with that ..., but at the same time ...”
As a rule, the most difficult is reflexive statements “I think ...”. The task can be diversified by allowing the participants to personalize the way of verbal presentation of the phrase (for example, instead of “I like...” - “I love...”, “I am interested...”, “it gives me pleasure, joy...”; instead of “I think...” - “I tend to count...”, “I know...,” “I think...,” etc.). (Lugovskaya, 2019).
Let us analyze the task in more detail. At the first stage, the emphasis from the actual speech design is shifted towards the psycho-emotional sphere, forcing students to cogitate and reflect their emotional attitude to the subject. The complexity of their psychological movement is balanced by the simplicity of verbalization conditions. It is necessary to name a fragment of reality that evokes the student’s positive or negative emotions. As a rule, everyone can cope with this stage, sometimes there are difficulties for those students whom the team approval is important for, and they are afraid to seem either unoriginal or, on the contrary, ridiculous. The overwhelming majority of Gen Z representatives tick along the first stage of the assignment.
The second stage forces the student’s concentration on the declared image and its deepen reflection. The student must correlate subjective impressions, associative images that arise when naming a trigger word with its objective characteristics, which he has to name and to install in the appropriate syntactic structure.
This stage complexity is that the first stage operates with individual instances of subject, conscious experience (qualia), but on the second stage forced the student to explain them (which is not at all simple) and bring their description following the given conditions of our task, that is, to highlight such object qualities, the positivity of which is understandable for everyone.
The third stage of the assignment is designed to bring the student's consciousness to comprehend not too much emotional attitude as to the rules of the lexical combination of words, the grammatical structure of the phrase and the text cohesion.
The awareness of the speech production processes (The Handbook of Psycholinguistics, 2017) and considering the peculiarities of mosaic thinking helps the teacher and the student to have mutual intelligibility? And “one of the important professional qualities that any teacher should possess is the culture of his own speech” (Adilova et al., 2020, p. 80). A teacher who has a rich experience of reflection on any of the speech production stages can come closer to the Gen Z student's understanding and show him the ways and methods of “taming” the culture of speech in its state, which is conditioned and developed as a toolkit for the implementation of the features of formal-logical and analytical thinking.
But it is necessary for this, as it were, to reverse the sequence of speech production processes, to mix them, to imagine a diagram of the Gen Z internal psychological organization of the speech process not as a sequence of interrelated activity phases, but as simultaneously functioning stages connected in any order. The particular stage of speech production accentuation in the mosaic thinking is often involuntary due to the tendency to be constantly distracted by external stimuli and the appendant impossibility of prolonged concentration. But it can and should be brought up by helping the student to develop the skill of topological sorting of information and, using a computer metaphor, to teach his thinking not to use a diffusion query in the process of transition from one speech production stage to another, but to consolidate corresponding script competent possession.
Thus, we are trying to show the student's consciousness the path from an internal wordless image to its verbalization through formal logical structures and grammatical rules.
It can be shown that mosaic thinking and visual perception predominance became some kind of advantage for generation Z students. The mosaic thinking is held to imply the ability to catch the world in its completeness and integrity.
All types of knowledge are the cognition that person obtain under the active reflection and idealization of reality. And this knowledge mediated by the informational representation about it now. Every day, scientific, practical, artistic, rational, irrational and personal knowledge can no longer be simply accumulated by trial and error, learning and concentration of new necessary information. Today a person needs a different skill - to select from a huge information array from which knowledge will be structured (Palfrey & Gasser, 2008). “Additive knowledge presupposes the accumulation of new information, as a result of which knowledge itself increases. Subtractive knowledge is formed in the course of removing all unnecessary and incorrect information from the accumulated array of information". At the same time, according to Taleb (2012), today the world needs precisely subtractive, not additive knowledge. (Balatskiy, 2015, p. 143)
The constant desire of Generation Z to cover as much information of any kind as possible in this case can be considered as a way to obtain this very additive knowledge, like a whale filtering ocean water and extracting plankton from it. Our task is to help the generation to form this filter, that whalebone, which will help, even while consuming amounts of information, separate knowledge from information noise.
And for this, the role of teaching Russian language and culture of speech is invaluable, primarily due to the ability of language not only to be a tool for describing any elements of the real world but also to perform a metalinguistic function. Language appears as a self-healing, self-improving instrument, but the properties of speech are also important, manifested in the rhetorical trinity of ethos, logos and pathos, which allow a person to transform the world.
Achievements of human genius, creative insights and spiritual comprehension, deep feelings and vivid emotions are inaccessible to humanity if they are not expressed in a clear, simple and figurative language.
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01 September 2021
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The Russian language, methods of teaching, Russian language studies, Russian linguistic culture, Russian literature
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Lugowska, H. (2021). Psycho-Emotional And Cognitive Aspects Of Teaching The Russian And Speech Culture. In & V. M. Shaklein (Ed.), The Russian Language in Modern Scientific and Educational Environment, vol 115. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 152-160). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.09.17