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Common Problems of Russian Speakers in English

Common Problems of Russian Speakers in English | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Learning English in Russia is a very popular time-spending. People learn English in various ways.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Elizaveta A. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Learning at school:

in most schools learning English is obligatory and most pupils do not understand why they should learn English. Mostly teachers at school do not have any enthusiasm when teaching, as a result, they only stick to soviet course books. They do not create any activities for the class. According to most of my acquaintances, the only things they did in the classroom were: Translating texts, passing tests, reading aloud some of the texts and that’s it. No games, no flash-cards, no videos. And that’s why when having grown up they understand that they need English but didn’t get enough skills at school. So this is a lack of enthusiasm for school teachers.

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Learning in the university:

Most university programs have English for the first two years obligatory. Here we see more variety of activities: Watching films, reading articles, speaking to native speakers, making presentations and attending conferences in English.

But due to some lack of enthusiasm and sleep students do not use the opportunity they have. That results in C-marks in the diploma and not solving the problem of the need for English in the future. Now they don’t have enough motivation to learn because they are always stressed by the session or the professors. In the university professors do not motivate students either and that’s why it all turns into just passing the exam and forgetting everything that has been learned for it the next day.

Learning on their own:

I know there are people in Russia that try to learn English on their own. How do they do that? They buy course books or tutorials and study. These are highly motivated people that don’t have enough money for language schools or teachers.

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But when the time passes most of them lose motivation because of some reasons:

  • They don’t have time
  • They have trouble understanding and there is no one to explain and help them
  • No teacher results in a conflict, because there is nobody who controls the process and no one to do the homework for.
  • They didn’t achieve the goal promised by the book and become disappointed.

Taking private lessons:

This does cost more than going to a language school normally. But still, this is somehow effective because all the attention of a teacher is devoted to the student. However, I see a huge problem here: People do speak only to a teacher. They don’t speak English with other people. There is a lack of language practice and that’s why people go to the next stage or variant.

Learning in the language school:

Here students do have much practice because those schools mostly work with a communicative approach and that means they try to speak 80% of the time in the class if possible. But in most schools that way people only learn how to use simple grammar structures because obviously teachers are not allowed to explain rules by themselves and, having a lack of teaching skills, they have students that do not understand the language taught and only use the simplest to understand.

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So there are the following problems in learning English by Russians:

  • Lack of teachers’ motivation and creativity
  • Lack of learners’ motivation on all the levels
  • Lack of speaking when paying for a private teacher
  • Lack of grammar mostly in language schools who sometimes do not understand teaching approaches in the right way.

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