Richard West taught copper mining engineers in Africa for six years before returning to the UK and working at the universities of Manchester and Lancaster. Since turning freelance in 2005, he has conducted evaluations and workshops in many countries. He is a frequent visitor to Russia and in 2011 carried out (with Elena Frumina) a baseline study for the British Council entitled The Internationalisation of Russian Higher Education – the English Language Dimension, which will be published later this year.
Topic: Instant Metodichkas – less teaching, more learning
Russia has a long and strong tradition of teaching `narrow’ ESP, where the English is specifically related to the academic/professional discipline of the students. This makes the teaching very relevant and motivating, but there are usually no published materials which are specific enough to match the students’ needs. The answer has been metodichkas – specialist authentic texts with exercises and tasks produced and marked by the teacher. Metodichkas normally take many hours to create – finding appropriate texts, devising tasks and marking can take the teacher hours and hours. The materials are often passed on from one teacher to another, so that it is not uncommon to find metodichkas which are 20 years old!
There are alternatives: it is possible to find authentic texts, add tasks practising a range of language skills and which can be marked extremely quickly. The texts look more modern, the tasks are more communicative (but can include grammar and vocabulary) and the marking is more objective.
Richard will present a range of techniques and offer an example in which he found the text, added the task and marked the class’s work in less than five minutes – really!
Video recording of the plenary session
You can watch the full recording of Richard West’s talk on British Council Russia’s YouTube channel by clicking the link below:
In this interview Richard West shares his thoughts about metodichkas - specialist authentic texts with exercises and tasks produced and marked by the teacher.
Watch the interview by clicking on this link: