German schools will study the Russian language with TSU methodology

8 July 2016

Tomsk linguists led by the Anglo-Russian scientist Peter Mitchell developed an effective advanced training course for teachers of the Russian language utilizing the method Storyline. It enables learning Russian through actual situations of the Russian reality: the participants are invited to try on the role of the seller in a supermarket and a passenger on the bus and live them out during dialogues.

The Storyline method is widely used in such countries as the USA, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Hong Kong, Thailand, and others. However, its adaptation to the training of the Russian language teachers was invented in Tomsk, and the method has been successfully tested in the training of international students.

The founder of the first Russian scientific school Storyline is Peter Mitchell, Vice-Dean for International Relations at the Faculty of Foreign Languages, a native Englishman who took Russian citizenship. It was he who had the idea of adapting the methodology to the Russian reality. Among the typical situations in the course developed are a shopping trip, giving money for bus fare, lunch in the dining room, and others.

- Students create their own characters, take on roles and live them out, communicating exclusively in Russian, - said Peter Mitchell. - These students show results higher than those of students who studied by other methods.

He explained that the method works more effectively than others because of the emotional involvement of students in the process: performing a task, they are able to express themselves actively and creatively. In addition, working with real-life situations, they have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the cultural environment of another country and experience some national features in practice.

The new methodology is already in demand in other countries: 41 Russian language teachers from high schools in Lower Saxony (Germany) took the advanced training course of the programme at the TSU Faculty of Foreign Languages. And in September, Peter Mitchell will travel to Germany to discuss the work of the course for teachers in Lower Saxony on a regular basis.