Лавриненко Д.Г. General problems of foreign language teacher training in Ukraine

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Лавриненко Дарина Геннадіївна – студентка Педагогічного інституту Київського університету імені Бориса Грінченка, напрям підготовки «Початкова освіта», кафедра іноземних мов і методик їх навчання Київського університету імені Бориса Грінченка

Стаття розглядає загальні проблеми підготовки вчителя іноземної мови в Україні. Досліджує головні питання організації навчального процесу з іноземної мови: «чому навчати» і «як навчати», тобто висвітлює проблему форм і методів навчання іноземної мови у процесі підготовки вчителя.

Ключові слова: підготовка вчителя, іноземна мова, методи та форми навчання, навчальний процес.

Статья рассматривает общие проблемы подготовки учителя иностранного языка в Украине. Исследует главные вопросы организации учебного процесса по иностранному языку: «чему учить» и «как учить», то есть освещает проблему форм и методов обучения иностранному языку в процессе подготовки учителя.

Ключевые слова: подготовка учителя, иностранный язык, методы и формы обучения, учебный процесс.

The paper considers the general problem of foreign language teacher training in Ukraine. It is еxplored major issues of the educational process in learning a foreign language: "what to teach" and "how to teach", i.e. it is discovered the problem of the forms and methods of teacher training foreign languages in the process of educating teachers.

Key words: teacher training, foreign language, methods and forms of teacher training, educating process.


Relevance of the topic

Every few years, new foreign language teaching methods arrive on the scene. New textbooks appear far more frequently. They are usually proclaimed to be more effective than those that have gone before, and, in many cases, these methods or textbooks are promoted or even prescribed for immediate use. New methods and textbooks may reflect current developments in linguistic/applied linguistic theory or recent pedagogical trends. Sometimes they are said to be based on recent developments in language acquisition theory and research.

The analysis of research

Similarly independent academic work is defined by V. Zyahvyazynsky, P. Pidkasysty, O. Volkov, T. Lumpiyeva that independent work of students is planned and executed tasks with methodic guidance of teachers, but without his direct involvement.

N. Havrysh said that the term “independent work” used in scientific papers within the meaning of specific forms of the educational process, how the individualization of the learning process, learning how educational material. So, R. Yesipov, I. Lerner, P. Pidkasystyi define autonomy as the ability to perform individual tasks and solving cognitive tasks. Here are examples of self-treatment of various scholars: independence is: 1) conscious motivate actions and their justification, resistance to impacts and harmful influences, the ability of people to determine the most objective basis, to act so, but not otherwise (V. Krutetsky, A. Petrovsky, S. Rubinstein); 2) productivity of mental processes (P. Blonsky, A. Matyushkin, N. Menchynska, A. Smirnov); 3) strong-willed action that characterizes the mental activity, a sign of active personality, his ability to cognitive search (A. Kovalev, R. Lemberg, G. Shchukin); 4) the ability to think, see and propose new questions, new problems and solve them by own forces, the ability to navigate in this new situation (D. Bogoyavlensky, A. Brushlynsky, V. Davydov, M. Makhmutov); 5) integrative quality or the quality of the individual (A. Shcherbakov, M. Didora, N. Didus); 6) displays life personality in various forms (A. Pinkevych).

The purpose formulation of research

The first component of “what to teach” is habits and skills which pupils should acquire while learning a foreign language. According to the aims of learning this subject they are: hearing (listening comprehension), speaking, and writing. The level of habits and skills is determined by the syllabus for each form.

So, the aim of the article is to consider general problems of foreign language teacher training in Ukraine.

The main material

A student who starts studying Methods will be puzzled by the variety of «methods» he may come across in books and journals and , of course, there are good grounds for this. At different periods, depending on the aims of teaching and learning a foreign language, new methods sprang up. In each case the method received a certain name; sometimes its name denoted logical categories, for example: the synthetic method (synthesis), the analytic method (analysis), the deductive method (deduction), the inductive method (induction), sometimes the method was named after the aspect of the language upon which attention was focused as in the cases of the grammar method, the lexical method, the phonetic method. A third set of methods received their names from the skill which was the main object of teaching. Among these are the translation method (translation), the oral method (oral language). Sometimes the method got its name from the psychology of language learning: in this category the following names occur: the intuitive method, the conscious method, the direct method. Finally, the method was sometimes named after its inventor. Thus we find: the Amos Comenius method, the Jacotot method, the Gouin method, the Berlitz method, the Palmer (West, Fries) method [5, p.48].

In some cases the methods bear coupled names: they represent two sides of teaching, for example, the leading aspect of the language and the skill the pupils acquire (the grammar- translation method), or the name of the author and the language activity which is the main aim in teaching – «Fries oral method», «the method of teaching reading by West». We may find even such names as «hear-say-see-say-read-write method» and others. It would be impracticable in a short chapter such as this one to give a classification of methods. All that one can hope to do is to select for comment those methods which have had a long history and have influenced the contemporary methods of foreign language teaching, and live on in them. This brief review will deal with: 1) the grammar-translation method, the oldest method of teaching foreign languages which had its origin in Latin schools; 2) the direct method which began to be widely used in schools in the 1870`s. 3) contemporary methods [3, p.34].

Methods of foreign language teaching is understood here as a body of scientifically tested theory concerning the teaching of foreign languages in schools and other educational institutions. It covers three main problems: 1) aims of teaching a foreign language; 2) content of teaching, i.e. what to teach to attain the aims; 3) methods and techniques of teaching, i.e. how to teach a foreign language to attain the aims in the most effective way.

Methods of foreign language teaching is closely related to other sciences such as pedagogics, psychology, physiology, linguistics, and others.

Pedagogics is the science concerned with the teaching and education of the younger generation. Since Methods also deals with the problems of teaching and education, it is most closely related to pedagogics. To study foreign language teaching one must know pedagogics. One branch of pedagogics is called didactics. Didactics studies general ways of teaching in schools. Methods, as compared to didactics, studies the specific ways of teaching a definite subject [4].

Thus, it may be considered special didactics. In the foreign language teaching, as well as in the teaching, of mathematics, history, and other subjects taught in schools, general principles of didactics are applied and, in their turn, influence and enrich didactics. For example, the so-called «principle of visualization» was first introduced in teaching foreign languages. Now it has become one of the fundamental principles of didactics and is used in teaching all school subjects without exception. Programmed instruction was first applied to teaching mathematics. Now through didactics it is used in teaching many subjects, including foreign languages [2].

Teaching a foreign languages means first and foremost the formation and development of pupils` habits and skills in hearing, speaking, reading, and writing.

We cannot expect to develop such habits and skills of our pupils effectively if we do not know and take into account the psychology of habits and skills, the ways of forming them, the influence of formerly acquired habits on the formation of new оnes, and many other necessary factors that psychology can supply us with. At present we have much material in the field of psychology which can be applied to teaching a foreign language. For example, N.I. Zhinkin, a prominent psychologist in his investigation of the mechanisms of speech came to the conclusion that words and rules of combining them are most probably dormant in the kinetic center of the brain. When the ear receives a signal it reaches the brain, its hearing center and then passes to the kinetic center. Thus, if a teacher wants his pupils to speak English he must use all the opportunities he has to make them hear and speak it. Furthermore, to master a second language is to acquire another code, another way of receiving and transmitting information. To create this new code in the most effective way one must take into consideration certain psychological factors [3].

Effective learning of a foreign language depends to a great extent on the pupils` memory. That is why a teacher must know how he can help his pupils to successfully memorize and retain in memory the language material they learn. Here again psychological investigations are significant. For example, the Soviet psychologist, P. K. Zinchenko, proved that in learning a subject both voluntary and involuntary memory is of great importance. In his investigation of involuntary memory P. K. Zinchenko came to the conclusion that this memory is retentive. Consequently, in teaching a foreign language we should create favourable conditions for involuntary memorizing. P. K. Zinchenko showed that involuntary memorizing is possible only when pupils` attention is concentrated not on fixing the material in their memory through numerous repetitions, but on solving some mental problems which deal with this material. To prove this the following experiment was carried out [2].

Students of group A were given a list of words to memorize (voluntary memorizing). Students of group B did not receive a list of words to memorize. Instead, they got an English text and some assignments which made them work with these words, use them in answering various questions. During the next lesson a vocabulary test was given to the students of both groups. The results were approximately the same. A test given a fortnight later proved, however, that the students of group B retained the words in their memory much better the students of group A. This shows that involuntary memorizing may be more retentive under certain circumstances. Experiments by prominent scientists show that psychology helps Methods to determine the role of the mother tongue in different stages of teaching; the amount of material for pupils to assimilate at every stage of instruction; the sequence and ways in which various habits and skills should be developed; the methods and techniques which are more suitable for presenting the material and for ensuring its retention by the pupils, and so on.

Methods of foreign language teaching has a definite relation to physiology of the higher nervous system. I. Pavlov`s theories of “conditioned reflexes”, of the “second signaling system” and of “dynamic stereotype” are the examples. Each of these interrelated theories bears a direct relation to the teaching of a foreign language.

According to I. Pavlov habits are conditioned reflexes, and a conditioned reflex is an action performed automatically in response to a definite stimulus as a result of previous frequent repetitions of the same action. If we thoroughly study the theory of conditioned reflexes we shall see that it explains and confirms the necessity` for frequent repetitions and revision of material pupils study as one of the means of inculcating habits. Pavlov showed that man`s higher nervous activities – speaking and thinking – are the functions of a special system of organic structures within the nervous system. This system is developed only in man. It enables the brain to respond to inner stimuli as it responds to outer stimuli or signals perceived through the sense organs. I. Pavlov named this the second signaling system [5].

Consequently one of the forms of human behaviour is language behaviour, i.e., speech response to different communication situations. Therefore in teaching a foreign language we must bear in mind that pupils should acquire the language they study as something that helps people to communicate with each other in various real situations of intercourse. Hence a foreign language should be taught through such situations [2, p.17].

I. Pavlov`s theory of “dynamic stereotype” also furnish as the physiological base for many important principles of language, e.g. for the topical vocabulary arrangement.

Methods of foreign language teaching is most closely related to linguistics, since linguistics deals with the problems which are of paramount importance to Methods, with language and thinking, grammar and vocabulary, the relationship between grammar and vocabulary, and many others. Methods successfully uses, for example, the results of linguistic investigation in the selection and arrangement of language material for teaching. It is know that structural linguistics has had a great impact on language teaching. Teaching materials have prepared by linguists and methodologists of the structural school. Many prominent linguists have not only developed the theory of linguistics, but tried to apply it to language teaching. The following quotation may serve as a proof of this.

It has occurred to the linguist as well as to the psychologist that the foreign language classroom should be an excellent laboratory in which to test new theories of language acquisition [1, p.72].

Methods of foreign language teaching like any other science, has definite ways of investigating the problems which may arise. They are: 1) a critical study of the way foreign were taught in our country and abroad; 2) a thorough study and summing up of the experience of the best foreign language teachers in different types of schools; 3) experimenting with the aim of confirming or refuting the working hypotheses that many arise during investigation. Experimenting becomes more and more popular with methodologists. In experimenting methodologists have to deal with different data, that is why in arranging research work they use mathematics, statistics, and probability theory to interpret experimental results.

In recent years there has there has been a great increase of interest in Methods since foreign language teaching has many attractions as an area for research. A great deal of useful research work has been carried out. New ideas and new data produced as the result of research are usually developed into new teaching materials and techniques.

It should be said that we need research activities of the following types: descriptive research which deals with “what to teach”; experimental research dealing with “how to teach”. More research is now needed which compares different combination of devices, various teaching aids, etc. [4].


Methodologists and teachers are searching for ways to solve the problem of foreign language teaching. Some ways may be recommended. They are as follows: a) work in unison, when pupils are fold to pronounce a sound, a word, a phrase, a sentence, or to read something out loud in chorus in imitation of the teacher, or a speaker if a tape-recorder is used; b) mass work, when pupils are invited to listen to a text, to read a text silently, to do some exercises in written form, in other words, when they learn for themselves, and each does the same work as his classmates; c) work in small groups when pupils are divided info four-five groups, and each group receives a special assignment either for reading or speaking; the work results in conversation between group I and the class, group 2 and the class, etc.; d) work in pairs, when pupils sitting at the same desk have an opportunity to “talk” in the target language: reciting a dialogue they are to learn, doing an ask-and-answer exercise or making up a dialogue of their own; e) individual work in programmed instruction, when each pupil can work with the programmer he receives either through visual or auditory perception at his own pace.

So, the content of foreign language teaching or what to teach is one of the main problems the Methods deals with.


  1. Krashen S. Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition/ S . Krashen. – Oxford: Pergamon, 1982. – 34–40 p.
  2. Lightbown P., Spada N. How Languages are learnder Oxford University Press / P. Lightbown., N. Spada. – Oxford, 1993. – P. 69–111.
  3. Savignon S. Communicative Competence: An Experiment in Foreign language Teaching / S. Savignon. – Philadelphia, Pa.: Center for Curriculum Development, 1972. – P. 78–101.
  4. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary. – Oxford: British National Corpus, 2009. – 1428 p.
  5. World Book Encyclopedia Vol.3. – Chicago, 1993. – P. 48.

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