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Сведения об образовательной организации Во исполнение постановления Правительства РФ № 582 от 10 июля 2013 года, Приказа Федеральной службы по надзору в сфере образования и науки от 29 мая 2014 г. № 785

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Lecture by Professor Svetlana Grigorievna Ter-Minasova on the Russian Tradition of Foreign Language Instruction

On March 21, 2019, Svetlana Grigorievna Ter-Minasov, Dr. phil. habil., Professor Emerita of Moscow State University, gave a lecture on particular aspects of studying and teaching foreign languages in Russia, at the Saint Tikhon´s University campus on Ilovaiskaya Street.

In Russia, Prof. Ter-Minasova observed, people have always loved foreigners and foreign languages, perhaps due to the country´s huge Eurasian geographical extent. Moreover, at various points in its history, different languages were preferred: German in the 18th century and French in the 19th. Latterly, in the 20th century, English became the “global” language due to the influence of three “empires”: the British Empire, the United States of America, and the Internet. In the mid-19th century, particular recognition was given to the importance of studying modern foreign languages in schools, according to principles formulated by Deplagne, a teacher at the University of Kazan. Among other things, he emphasized the advantage of having Russian teachers who are proficient in foreign languages and have lived abroad, while, according to him, a foreign teacher ought to be familiar with the native language of his students. Deplagne´s propositions, in the view of Prof. Ter-Minasova, has not become any less relevant today.

In addition, Prof. Ter-Minasova discussed particular aspects of intercultural communication in the Soviet era and in our own time. She elaborated on the concepts of “national identity” and “national character”, and touched upon the differences between the psychology of Russians and foreigners and upon teaching ethics. As Prof. Ter-Minasova said, cultural barriers are much more difficult to overcome than linguistic ones, as illustrated by many curious cases related to people´s poor knowledge of other cultures.

Prof. Ter-Minasova said that the main requirement for teaching a language well is love for the subject and, even more important, love for one´s students. She expressed the conviction that language teachers should not be too strict and be afraid of acknowledging their mistakes, since theirs is a very difficult subject to teach, especially psychologically. The “authoritarian” style that traditionally characterizes Russian language teaching does not encourage success, which she claimed her personal records and extensive experience as a teacher have confirmed.

Concluding her lecture, Prof. Ter-Minasova responded to a range of questions, discussed her autobiography “Notes of a Dinosaur” and performed a work of poetry taken from it. The two-hour event came off highly dynamically and wrapped up with a round of wild applause.

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