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The Russian language

This page is run by

Larissa Valerievna Pukhova

Teacher of the Russian language, literature and rhetoric

The Russian language

How to teach literacy

Everyone is well acquainted with the expression of the famous writer K.G. Paustovski: “One may create wonders with the Russian language”. However, in practice you become persuaded that possession of the beautiful, lyrical Russian word is not gifted to all as it requires correct approaches to the study of this difficult, yet interesting subject.

Tasks and outcomes in the teaching of the Russian language

The Russian language as a subject in the Linguistics School has a cognitive-practical direction in that it gives pupils knowledge of their mother tongue and forms their language and speech abilities. Special aims in Russian language teaching in the School are the formation of language, communicative and linguistic abilities of pupils.

Language competence (i.e. pupil sensibility of the system of their own language) is accomplished in the process of completing the following cognitive tasks: to instill in pupils an academic linguistic worldview arming them with fundamental knowledge of their mother tongue and the development of a language and aesthetic ideal.

Communicative competence is acquired in the process of completing these practical tasks: the formation of accurate spelling and punctuation skills and abilities, knowing the forms literary Russian and the enrichment of vocabulary stock and the grammatical structure of speech; instilling in pupils the ability to express their thoughts in speech and writing. The outcome of learning the Russian language is its fluent use in all social contexts in which it appears.

Russian language course content

Pupils study modern literary language in the School, so, the Russian for schools curriculum contains its main points. The course follows the curriculum compiled by M.T. Baranov, T.A. Ladiyzhenska, the RAE academic N.M. Shanski and approved by the RF Ministry of Education Department of Secondary Education.

Main aims in working with the Russian language

One of the main aims of Russian language teaching is to organise how pupils will obtain clear and conscious knowledge.

The acquisition of theoretical information is aided when pupils practice using it. The most important aspect in studying Russian is learning to write correctly.

Pupils’ speech development presupposes perfecting skills in all speech acts and this is achieved through knowing the norms of literary Russian, enrichment of vocabulary stock and structuring the grammar of their speech and developing skills and abilities in expressing thoughts in speech and writing. A definite principle of developing pupils’ language skills is informing of and correcting various language mistakes.

Materials

We make wide use of our store of coursebooks, screen and audio materials including visually pleasing tables, flashcards, creative imagery and educational films. We also place great stock in pupils’ independent study by encouraging them to use reference books.

In order to raise interest in Russian and improve the education process alongside normal lessons, we employ such formats as seminars, interviews, practical lessons and consultations.

Literacy correction is a complex practical task. It is possible to lose oneself in long corridors of the great labyrinth that is Russian Orthography, Grammar and Syntactics if one does not have a guiding thread to lead one out of the darkness and into the light. However, with that thread between finger and thumb, hold on to it tighter and do not miss the chance.

USE in the Russian language

Results in the Unified State Exam, which are accepted as part of university entrance requirements, are an important stimulus in the study of any subject including the Russian language.

Is it necessary to prepare pupils specially for the USE in the Russian language? Of course, it is! A focused general revision of the material learnt in Years 5 – 9 is needed. For this purpose, 1 hour a week of the curriculum is set aside for USE preparation in the Linguistics School. During these lessons theoretical knowledge is deepened and filled. At the end of the day, pupils should just be prepared psychologically for the format of the exam, they should be able to fill in forms quickly and correctly, and to know the requirements for compositions etc. Thus, the aim of supplementary lessons is to deepen pupils’ knowledge of the system of the language and to improve their academic language and communication skills. Linguistics School pupils are not going through this test format for the first time and we can be proud that year by year results are getting better and better.

Russian Literature

Nowadays, following a time when the main aims of restructuring school education was that of humanizing education, the role of literature in personality development and in forming a system of values is immeasurably growing. “Literature gives you a colossal, a broad, the deepest experience of life, it passes a heritage on to cultured people , nurtures in them not only a sense of beauty, but also understanding: an understanding of life in all its difficulties, it serves as a conduit to other eras and peoples, it opens before you the hearts of people; in a word it makes you wise,” wrote D.C. Likhachev.

Subject aims.

Literature nourishes a person’s spiritual world and creates the conditions for forming the personality’s inner needs in its constant improvement and in realizing a person’s creative capabilities.

The study of literature as the art of words supposes systematically reading of literary works. The requirement for interaction with a book can only come about through guided acquaintance with literature and constant drawing of pupils’ attention to the thoughts and issues raised by the author.

Course tasks.

To help pupils negotiate the world not only in a worldly, domestic manner, but in a literary way too, to help them determine their attitudes to life, death, nature, and art etc. The essential principle of pedagogic practice is issue-oriented education, a dialogue with the pupil and a fully-formed reasoning out of truth. This later spills over in the pupil’s compositions, in their own words and eventually in their actions.

The essential thing is that the study of literature not merely crumble into a list of names and unconnected works, yet should become a complete corpus for a pupil. This difficult though achievable aim teaches the pupil to be a clever, astute and perceptive reader. Literature lessons offer the broadest means of analyzing a literary work: historical, verbal sketching, rendering a character pictorially, writing a film script producing a schematic diagram of the composition etc. This all becomes material, a key as it were to the opening of the literary meaning of a text and with it the words. Part of the course is to study literary criticism and learn how to conduct through the reading and writing of articles, reviews, scholarly or literary portraits and essays alongside, of course, writing literary and ‘free’ compositions.

USE in Literature

USE has been conducted for the last few years. Thus one of the main tasks of literature lessons is to assist 11th Formers to prepare for Leaving and Entrance exams, to develop skills for effective work in the subject and to develop abilities needed in order to work with the forms of the USE test. Since 2009 the USE in Literature exam format focuses on knowledge of the content of literary texts, the ability to analyse literary works in their genre-specific forms with an inclination to their historico-literary and theoretico-literary nature and also on pupils’ ability to create their own texts based on analysis and integration in their texts of literary works.