Research article
Issue: № 4 (12), 2017


The article deals with foreign language teaching conditions in large groups, as well as possible ways of mastering skills and abilities of using language as a means of communication on the example of a business situation. Special attention is paid to the use of interactive and discussion method of teaching in the process of mastering Intercultural and business communication in foreign language for Master programs in an economic university. The authors analyze the process of integration of case study method into traditional way of teaching foreign languages in non-linguistic university.


In the educational context, the problem of efficient organization of classroom and autonomous work still occupies a special place due to several factors. Among them, it should be noted, first of all, is the increased share of the use of new information technologies, which is connected with the outer frame of the educational process, and meaningful parameters of activity of the subject of study. Another important factor is the didactic paradigm that determines the status of a student characteristics, taking into account the relationship and interdependence of the major participants of learning and teaching  process, in other words, the teacher and the student. Empirical studies suggest that the position of the student in terms of implementing their own individual capacity, even with optimal training course, is often blurry, hazy, deliberate and determined enough. This circumstance is due to the fact that the concept of learning process until recently has been associated directly with the performance of a plurality of student tasks (activities), leading to the achievement of a certain predetermined (usually Tutor) specific purpose. It is important to emphasize that the goal itself and the path to achieve it should not be given by a teacher. They can be the result of independent decision-making on the part of the student.

The democratic changes in our society and Russian access to the international co-operation necessitate changes in the approach to the study of foreign languages ​​in high school. The concept underlying the formation as one of the components must assume real mastering graduate foreign language. The solution to this problem is possible if:

  1. awareness of the need for ownership of the learning side of language;
  2. availability of methods and tools to accomplish the task.


Special and not very developed area in the methodology of teaching foreign languages in non-language high school is the organization of training on the subject "Intercultural and business communication in foreign language" for teaching oral speech to a group of students graduate. Such students often reconvene studying a foreign language after a long break, and learning perspective is evaluated very skeptical by them. However, from year to year the number of students wishing to attend the elective course is rising. Due to objective reasons the course can last  maximum  30 hours per academic year. The reality is that the course is based on the study of course literature, but students are attracted, first of all, by the opportunity to develop oral communication skills.

The purpose of the analysis of specific business situations (case analysis) is to allow students (levels pre-intermediate and intermediate) to develop the skills of speaking, reading, writing and listening skills in a foreign language, as well as to expand their knowledge about the economy and finance of other countries. Case analysis method is widely used in business schools and corporate training courses, and also has been chosen by the department of foreign languages (PRUE) because it gives possibility not only to convey to students the language and country information, but to actively involve them in the process of problem solving, find capacious formulations and convincing arguments, avoid mistakes in discussion style and discussion etiquette norms (for instance, Russian students tend to overuse the modal verb ‘must’ which can sound rude to English-speaking people) and all this in a foreign language specialty. All kinds of activities mentioned above are an integral part of everyday business life.

Thus, the basis of the method is the involvement of students in the workflow class. Their active participation in this process is a crucial factor in improving their knowledge in the field of specialty and language development of linguistic material. If the method is applied and the teacher, and students perform carefully and accurately, the results can be quite impressive - the student gets the opportunity to debate and even think in the foreign language, as well as better learns the mechanisms of the market economy. Another advantage of case analysis is that many students remove the internal psychological barrier to their active speaking, and participating in classes with exercises attracts the attention to any linguistic error. It is even more essential in the course of Intercultural and Business communications where the attention is drawn mostly not to grammar and lexical structure of the language, but to cultural aspects. It is well-known that a language mistake (which is not totally misleading, of course) has less long-term consequences as a cultural one.

Also, there is an important reorientation - now the main responsibility for success depends on the students, not the teacher, due to the reason that the teacher shifts from controlling and supervising function, to the function of interlocutor, so the motivation comes not from the outside of the teacher, but from the students themselves, which makes most classes in the language of specialty and business situations in a foreign language much more effective.

Moreover, case study method is well-used during assessment process. As traditional exam being stressful for students, especially for students with high anxiety level, case studies may assist them in being at ease even during examination and avoid high level of stress thus making the results of the examination more objective and accurate.


A modern graduate student as well as an external student is a well-established personality, and they have a definite place in the society and in the professional community. At the present time, when the students work for private and small companies, firms and other commercial organizational structures, they have motivation and increased interest in learning a foreign language as a mean of communication with foreign intermediaries, agents, and other language users. This fact should be taken into account in the program of teaching foreign languages, including the Intercultural and business communication in foreign language course, as it, in all likelihood, will be central to the modification of the program: to whatever specialty students are not taught, it will still be associated with such concepts as market, marketing, contracts, agreements, contractual obligations, trade advertising, advertising methods, etc. “The foreign language speaking implies communication in a foreign language in the space of a foreign linguistic culture, as well as the use of language to achieve specific communicative purposes. Now comes forward the problem of defining a set of competences needed to achieve the specific goals of intercultural interaction” [1].

 For example, the etiquette - from the Greek "custom" - a set of rules relating to the external manifestations of attitudes towards people, behavior in public places, forms of address and greetings, manners and clothes, also included in the program of the discipline as integral part of cross-cultural education. Inability to behave in society, at work, in the company when a person creates a certain reputation, which complicates his relationship with people and affects his life. It is important to teach future professionals such relatively simple things as body language, greeting rules, peculiarities of interaction with opposite sex, behaviour at the reception, during negotiations, official meetings. They would seem as small  trifles, but all of them are useful to know and remember, as nuances are of great importance in the business world, government circles, embassies, and in everyday life.

 Contacting in a business practice is usually built and maintained exclusively by mutual interest and utility. For this purpose, people meet, considering the process of negotiating as normal daily work. There are so-called protocol negotiations or courtesy visits. They are not organized to discuss or solve a specific problem and to establish personal contacts or to express the attention to the partner on any occasion.

The main feature of business etiquette is courtesy like an indispensable feature of etiquette. Prevention of coarseness and vulgarity in all its manifestations, rules of greetings on seniority, respect for table of ranks and position are also vital.

Taking into account national peculiarities: salutations; restraint, the inadmissibility of familiarity, familiarity, self-control in difficult situations; softness of manners, ability to argue, sense of dignity, national pride, the ability to say "yes" and "no", as well as national features in dispute; respect for women; inadmissibility of pressure someone else's authority in the dispute and tolerance.

Today, to be honest, justice, a sense of duty, responsibility, initiative, positive attitude to subordinates; rigor, demanding of themselves and others, hard work, the ability to take decisions are not only commendable, but also profitable.

Unfortunately, representatives of foreign business notice that in some cases, their Russian counterparts own poor command of the rules of business etiquette, making it difficult to achieve the desired business results, leading to the disruption of existing agreements, in a substantial delay in the ongoing negotiations.

The practical value of this study lies in the possibility of using the method for the selection of business cases in the context of learning intercultural communication in the Russian context, and to use language profile as the basis for selection of the content of learning intercultural communication in the process of curriculum development.

It can be used separately as well as together with the electronic practicum on cross-cultural communication developed in PRUE. “The practicum is to become part of virtual educational environment embracing all three levels of higher education. Put in the form of a project with the purpose of making a final presentation the practicum provides both precise instructions for autonomous working with texts and interactive exercises and methods of self-control. This electronic academic material uses teaching methods which enable learners to master language skills as well as discourse and cross-cultural communicative skills. It can be used at any faculty of the university both in bachelor, master or post-graduate programs and in supplementary educational programs” [2].

The transition to market relations, the integration of our economy into the global, knowledge and compliance with business ethics are very important for the successful promotion in the external market.


Selecting and supplying problems of lexical and grammatical material in the methodological manuals and orientation sessions with students, as well as the organization of classes are relevant and have not been resolved to these days. One of the ways to improve the teaching of foreign languages and improve its performance is to specify and clarify the lexical material subject to mandatory mastering. The absence of a list of vocabulary in specific contexts of learning has the negative impact on solving the problem of dosing the words on the steps, modules and individual classes.

The question is, in what form this balance is presented in the methodological manuals and orientation sessions, it is very important to maintain and develop the students' motivation in learning to read texts and communicate effectively in everyday practice. This can be solved by purposeful selection of cases that could cause interest due to the relevance and originality of content and level of needs of students, as well as exercises for the development of speech and case studies offered to students.

The method of selection and further use of case studies underwent approbation at PRUE within the discipline "Cross-cultural and business communications in a foreign language" during 2013-2017.

Table 1


Objects of a research and studying

Methods of collecting information and data



Goals and objectives

Planning and timing

Expected results of CS

The study all available public information about the companies, including print materials and Internet sites

The study of promotional materials

Interviews with management of companies












Corporate needs of intercultural foreign language professional communication

Requirements of business in general now and taking into account plans of further strategic development

The structured interviews with the management

Studying of internal documentation of the company: strategic development plan, organogramma and schemes of business processes

Requirements of structural divisions, departments or activities of the international companies

The structured interviews with heads of departments

Studying of internal documentation of the companies: functions of structural divisions and departments, internal rules

Questioning of personnel

Observation of work of departments

The needs of the workplace or position

The study of internal company documentation: job description

Employee surveys

Focus groups with employees

Monitoring individual employees

The individual needs of students





Role-playing games and simulations

Testing of language knowledge, skills of students

Testing of cross-cultural competence of students

Portfolio of written foreign-language professional communication Questioning of students






The analysis of the obtained information

Recommendations about overcoming "language barrier"

Language profile of the student

Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data and information gathered

Systematization of the obtained data and analysis

Presentation of results in form of charts, tables and graphs for statistical analysis


To sum up, analysis of language needs cannot be limited only to the study of the actual language needs of the learners, it needs to include a combination of factors that characterize the target situation of use of a foreign language in a professional intercultural context. It is better to begin with the introduction of new words and phrases, supported by illustrations or an audio recording, solutions offered for situations in professional topics and small informative texts. Also, it’s important to create a basic vocabulary, which can become a great support in monitoring and assessing students. Because a small number of hours is allocated for the orientation sessions, a teacher must develop methods of teaching rationally and carefully so that students can get the most of linguistic information in their specialty and professional activities. Error correction should be kept to a reasonable minimum (communicative and meaningful) to avoid violating the logical connection in discussion. Ideally, one case can be used for two classes, two academic hours are allocated for general discussion and work with linguistic realities, remaining two - just to work with the format of the case that students prepare at home.

The proposed method is the urgent need in developing a modern, competitive educational services in the field of training in intercultural communications, because traditional diagnostic language needs of the learners does not allow to investigate the language needs of professional communication target environment, often ignoring the needs of the client-customer. Using this method allows a comprehensive analysis of language needs, including linguistic needs of the customer-customer and customer-user, and to ensure professional and social order.

Of course, the method requires a serious regular preparation for classes by teachers and students, and in addition, the teacher must understand at least the basic business realities, to be ready to manage debates and decision-making on economic and financial issues. This method has been successfully used by teachers of foreign languages at PRUE.


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