EducaCentre Russian Language School offers a wide variety of courses which are flexible and easy to modify to suit our students' needs. However, there are some fundamental principles of Russian language teaching that feature in every course.
These principles derive from the most recent research in the field of psycholinguistics and are based on the theory of natural order of language acquisition, i.e. the theory of how the human brain stores language items and how they can be easily recalled on demand.
The main principles can be outlined as follows:
- Students start speaking Russian language immediately! Each lesson constitutes a complete cycle of learning the language items needed to handle a particular real-life situation in Russian. After each lesson students have at their disposal vocabulary and grammar that they'll need to use in everyday life. The vocabulary and grammar in question is practiced in role-plays under the teachers' control to make sure the new material will be memorised in the appropriate context (including cultural context)
- We believe that to learn to speakyou need to speak freely, even if you make mistakes. Experimenting with language in controlled classroom situation reduces the risk of being misunderstood in real life. EducaCentre's teachers use feedback strategies gradually so that accuracy is not achieved at the expense of fluency. However, at some point students will be challenged to be accurate (e.g. when making presentations or a public performance)
- We teach practical grammar through communicative tasks, even those traditionally presented as 'you-will-have-to-learn-it-yourself' items such as cases, reading and pronunciation rules, conjugations and others. Rules and paradigms are useless if they take five minutes to remember - a person you are talking to will forget the question by the time you finish going through the whole set of endings to choose the correct one. We hold a strong belief in situational grammar which always works out when you start talking to people.
- We teach modern conversational Russian. Of course, it is the Russian of an educated native speaker, but there is a considerable difference between the norms of conversational and written Russian and we teach to use them when appropriate. Formal communication is also included in higher level courses, especially Business Russian but we never teach our students to speak and write as Dostoevsky's or Chekhov's contemporaries used to.
- We provide our students with up-to-date knowledge of contemporary Russian culture and some understanding of the recent past which can be useful in dealing with the 'mysterious Russian soul'.