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Maltseva Svetlana, School of Teaching and Learning
Dr. Karen L. Newman, Faculty advisor
Maltseva Svetlana is a visiting Fulbright Development scholar from Russia. She is working with Dr. Karen L. Newman in the School of Teaching and Learning during the 2008-09 school year. In 1994, she graduated from the Chita State Pedagogical Institute in Siberia and earned a diploma with istinction. Since that time she has been teaching English. She started her teaching career at the Teachers' Training College and later joined the Foreign Languages Faculty at the Zabaikalsky State Pedagogical University. In 2003, she studied Internet Technologies at the regional centre of the Internet Education Federation, upgrading her technology skills. In 2004, she earned a certificate in “Quality Control in Teaching Foreign Languages: Modern Methods and Techniques.”
The importance of English as a tool of international communication hardly needs to be stressed. As Russia gradually becomes part of the interdependent global economy and increasingly engages in political, environmental and cultural activities across borders, students realize that they cannot succeed without knowing a foreign language.
Russian students are becoming more and more willing to acquire adequate language skills once they decide to pursue academic careers or seek employment in public and private companies (for example, in marketing, public relations, production, research and development departments, and as clerical staff members).
However, 76.9% of Russian employers complain that the availability of specialists with appropriate knowledge of English is "insufficient" and 59.4% are disappointed with the graduates' level of English (British Council, 2002).
The reason for students' poor knowledge of English may be attributed to a number of factors, such as the use of outdated methods, limited access to resources, or even to teacher-centered methods of teaching. The use of new, student-centered methods is becoming increasingly important in Russia due to the policy approved by Russian educational authorities to implement a system of quality control in each educational institution. (Federal Education Act, 2004).
As a result, data-driven learning and computational methods, known as corpus technology in teaching foreign languages, have become vital for Russian teachers.
The major field of my study and research is teaching business English with language corpora, or data bases of high-frequency words and language tropes. This technology makes it possible to quickly and efficiently build a corpus of a useful size and to explore it using readily-available software, such as Multi-Concordance + Quiz Builder. My research focuses on developing selected texts from the corpus (on such topics as business organizations, marketing, management, finance, accounting and auditing, banking, advertising, business law, etc.); selecting active vocabulary and grammar examples; and selecting concordance lines to illustrate lexical or grammar peculiarity of the word.
The first stage of the research consists of obtaining data to investigate to what extent this method is used in English classes (both general and professional) at Ohio State University and other American universities. Data sources include publically-available information on the Internet, classroom observations, and one-on-one interviews with English teachers.
The data analysis and findings of this research will be used for composing and publishing recommendations on the use of language corpora, and suggesting a detailed description of the types of concordance line exercises. It can be taken as a principle in preparing a course of lectures on new methods of teaching business English for Russian students.
This research will contribute to my classroom activities and those of my colleagues by helping to modernize the requirements in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). It will also contribute to advocating for the allocation of additional resources for teacher professional development in Russia.