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Samartseva E.Yu. MORDEN APPROACHES TO TEACHING ADULTS THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE / E.Yu. Samartseva // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2018. — № 3 (15). — С. 23—26. — URL: (дата обращения: 08.12.2021. ). doi:10.18454/RULB.2018.15.3.5
Samartseva E.Yu. MORDEN APPROACHES TO TEACHING ADULTS THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE / E.Yu. Samartseva // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2018. — № 3 (15). — С. 23—26. doi:10.18454/RULB.2018.15.3.5


Самарцева Е.Ю.1
1Кандидат педагогических наук, Военная академия войсковой противовоздушной обороны Вооружённых Сил Российской Федерации имени маршала Советского Союза А.М. Василевского
В статье рассматриваются основные подходы к обучению иностранным языкам взрослой категории обучающихся. Даётся характеристика каждого подхода, определяются его достоинства и недостатки. Особое внимание уделяется обучению иностранному языку в неязыковых высших учебных заведениях. Автор приходит к выводу, что только путём применения комбинации различных подходов и сочетания разнообразных методов, возможно развить у обучающихся необходимые языковые компетенции.
Ключевые слова: иностранный язык, подходы к обучению языкам, обучение взрослых.
Страницы: 23 - 26

Samartseva E.Yu.1
1PhD in Pedagogy, Russian Federation Armed Forces Army Air Defense Military Academy named after the Marshal of the Soviet Union A.M. Vasilevsky
The article deals with the main modern approaches to teaching adults foreign languages. Each approach is characterized, its advantages and disadvantages are stated. Special attention is paid to teaching foreign languages at non-linguistic high schools. The author comes to the conclusion that only combining various approaches and using different methods of teaching it is possible to develop students’ linguistic competence and their communicative abilities.
Keywords: foreign language, approaches to teaching languages, teaching of adults.
Pages: 23 - 26
Почта авторов / Author Email:


In modern society, the role of language education is constantly growing. A foreign language is considered as an instrument that allows a person not only to familiarize easily in the modern world but also to fulfill his professional duties better. Besides, it gives him an opportunity to enlarge his professional and cultural outlook while studying various sources of information. Knowledge of one or more foreign languages has become a topical problem for many people. And under such conditions the search for effective methods of teaching foreign languages to adults who are aimed at solving concrete professional tasks has become really vital.


Methodology of researching different approaches and techniques of teaching English is based on theoretical analyses of scientific literature, generalization of data, pedagogical observation and practical foreign language teaching.


Foreign language as a school subject holds one of the leading positions within school education. The number of class hours intended for studying languages grows steadily. School teachers offer their students to attend additional lessons where they teach them to communicate in different foreign languages.

However, in the frames of high school learning there is another system of teaching foreign languages as a subject and as a profession. This article deals with teaching adults who has already had some educational and job-oriented experience. Despite all existing ways of getting a language education the question of organization of teaching adults still stays problematic as it has not been developed sufficiently.

First of all, much attention must be paid to the aiming of students in learning a foreign language before planning lessons. The objectives may vary greatly, everything from working and studying abroad or taking parts in international conferences to business correspondence and tourism. To make learning of foreign languages by adults more interesting and successful it is rather useful to divide them into two groups: those who learn languages in order to read and write in them and those whose aim is to communicate a foreign language fluently. The main missions of the first group will be to extract information from the text and to represent the information in a written form according to specified parameters. As for the second group of learners, their main missions will be to understand the speech and to develop communication.

The leading speech activities of the first group will be reading and writing and the second group will deal mainly with listening and speaking. But it doesn’t mean that those who study in the first group will not be taught how to speak a foreign language and the students of the second group will not be taught how to write in a foreign language correctly. Such approach allows choosing such methods of working with each group which will help to reach the ultimate goal successfully and in a very short period of time.

It should be noticed that the process of teaching a foreign language must be organized on the basis of the main pedagogical principles taking into account the psychological peculiarities of adult learners. Under psychological peculiarities, the following features are meant:

different fears (e.g. “I am not good at languages”, “I won’t be a success in learning English”, “I am afraid to be the worst in the group”, “My memory is poor and I will never memorize much information”, etc.);

overestimated self-rating (e.g. “I’m the superstar”, “I am the best in my group”, “My knowledge of English is perfect”, etc.);

inclinations to self-administration;

very high rate of independence in actions and taking decisions;

purposeful behavior;

the ability to work in group.

Therefore, the teaching of adults must be based on such pedagogical principles as personalization, teamwork, the priority of self-education, practical orientation of classes, and the use of the previous experience. One of the most important aspects in teaching adults is the position of a teacher who must be not only a consultant but also a partner, an assistant.

As usual at the very first lesson the teacher tells the students about the system of teaching and training at the lessons and also about the technology of independent work at home. There are a lot of adults who are sure that it is possible to learn a foreign language only attending lessons. They are certainly mistaken. And the mission of a teacher is to reveal the importance of independent work. He or she must persuade such students in the necessity of independent work if they want to reach their objectives.

Many adults have been out of learning practice for a long time as they have grown up. So they have to recollect and learn again all the educational techniques. In the classroom it is the teacher who organizes and directs the process of learning, but at home students will have to plan and realize their own actions themselves in order to do the tasks correctly.

You should also pay attention to such contradiction as the existence of external motivation for studying foreign languages determined by professional requirements and very often low level of internal motivation connected with negative experience of school education and the absence of real wish to study. Besides, when grown-ups become aware of the fact that the process of studying foreign languages require much time, patience and efforts, they begin thinking that they will never be able to cope with this task. And the mission of a teacher is to make them understand the importance of small steps towards the success in learning, to create the so-called motivation of “small success” on the way to great goals.

Nowadays there exist several approaches in teaching foreign languages the main of which are the following ones:

1) linguistic and country study;

2) linguistic and cultural;

3) ethnographic;

4) social and cultural;

5) intercultural.

The approach based on linguistic and country study was the first attempt of the integrated learning of foreign languages in Russian school of teaching technique. The founders of this approach, E. Vereshchagin and V. Kostomarov, developed and proved the necessity of simultaneous studying of national culture of the people and their language.

The study of a language with the aim of finding out its national and cultural peculiarities has become the subject of this approach. In the context of this approach the main source of information is the lexical structure of a word. Therefore, the main attention is paid to the study of the equivalent lexical notions, basic vocabulary, terminology and phraseological units.

The detailed analysis of the possibility of using such approach at high schools where foreign languages are not considered as a future specialty proves that there are no research works devoted to the use of this approach in the process of teaching students at non-linguistic educational institutions. It is mainly connected with the fact that the course of studying foreign languages at such high schools is professionally determined and it is impossible to use a lot of material of linguistics and country study at the lessons. Besides, there are few lessons of foreign languages at these high schools and it will not allow solving those tasks even if they are set up. This makes it possible to admit that the described approach is most often used for teaching future linguists and language teachers.

Another approach, linguistic and cultural, appeared with the development of such a science as lingo-culturology. The supporters of it are V. Vorobyov,
V. Krasnykh, V. Maslova, Yu. Stepanov, V. Teliya, etc. According to V. Maslova [4], the subject of lingo-culturology is the language units which acquire symbolic, figurative meaning in culture, i.e. non-equivalent vocabulary, phraseological units, symbols, speech patterns, language behavior, etc.

It should be noticed that in the theory and practice of language teaching there are research works of young researchers where the main attention is paid to linguistic and cultural approach in the process of teaching foreign languages both at secondary schools (N. Mishatina) and at linguistic high schools (M. Suvorova, T. Pavlishak). As for non-linguistic high schools, there are practically no works describing the use of such approach in the process of language teaching there. It is considered rather problematic and difficult as it requires deep knowledge of a foreign language for making research of the national culture. It is not considered the end in itself while learning languages at non-linguistic high schools.

The founders of ethnographic approach (M. Byram, V. Esarte-Sames, Ch. Kramsh, G. Zarate) expressed the idea that language and cultural teaching must not only lead to the acquisition of some background knowledge but also develop students’ ability to adjust to new speech situations. According to M. Byram, in the process of teaching a foreign language special attention must be paid to “the preparing students for something unexpected instead of training them in that material which is quite predictable” [11, P. 8].

Within this approach, the main point is the ability to understand behavior of other people and to cooperate with representatives of other cultures who possess a different set of values. Independent research (together with a teacher, perhaps) and the interpretation of a “strange” culture allow students to analyze their own culture, evaluate it, and understand it from the point of view of a casual observer.

Speaking about social and cultural approach to teaching languages developed in Russia in the early 1990ies by Professor V. Safonova, it should be pointed out that the priority is given to “teaching in the context of cultural dialogue” [7]. It means that the process of teaching implies the creation of such conditions of studying native and foreign cultures simultaneously which provides for development of communicative skills. According to V. Safonova, “the teaching technique must focus on training students as the participants of a cultural dialogue” [7, P. 166].

The basis of the intercultural approach is the idea of the necessity to prepare those who study foreign languages for an effective conduct of intercultural communication. There are a lot of research works of  Russian and foreign scientists which describe the ideas of intercultural teaching at secondary and high schools both linguistic and non-linguistic (M. Evdokimova, G. Maslikova, I. Pluzhnik,
N. Solovyova, O. Syromyasov, I. Tretyakova, V. Furmanova, I. Khaleyeva;
G. Heinrici, J. House, H.J. Krumm, E. Kwakernaak, E. Oksaar, D. Roesler,
F. Schmoee, etc.).


The analysis of scientific literature has proved that it is the intercultural approach that suits the language teaching at non-linguistic high schools most of all. It is determined by the fact that the course of studies at high schools is professionally oriented. Therefore, as I. Pluzhnik stated in her research work, “the missions of the language teaching must be mainly determined by the intercultural competence of students during their professional training in the situations of intercultural business cooperation. Speaking about business culture it is necessary to take into account intercultural differences, common characteristics of various cultures to choose the style, strategies and tactics of communication in cross-cultural business situations” [5] and to prepare future professionals for it.


In conclusion, it must be mentioned that in practice it is necessary to combine various approaches and to use those methods of teaching which are the most effective in a particular situation. Besides, teachers who work with adults, should take into consideration that the effectiveness of this or that technique within a certain approach of teaching depends on its conformity with a stated problem, teachers’ skills to regulate time for the use of this approach and the quality of organization of the preliminary training which demands careful study of questions for discussion, development of students’ skills and their communicative abilities.

Список литературы / References:
  1. Гладкова О.К. Проблема обучения взрослых иностранному языку // Педагогическое образование в России. – 2014. – № 6. – С. 93-95.
  2. Дикова Е. С. Cовременные подходы к обучению иностранным языкам в неязыковом вузе // Филологические науки. Вопросы теории и практики. Тамбов: Грамота. – 2011. – № 4 (11). – C. 65-69.
  3. Елизарова Г.В. Формирование межкультурной компетенции студентов в процессе обучения иноязычному общению: дисс. … д-ра пед. наук. СПб., 2001. – 371 с.
  4. Колшанский Г.В. Лингвокоммуникативные аспекты речевого обращения // Иностранные языки в школе. – 1975. – № 1. – С. 13.
  5. Красных В.В. Этнопсихолингвистика и лингвокультурология. М.: Гносис, 2002. – 281 с.
  6. Маслова В.А. Лингвокультурология. М.: Издательский центр «Академия», 2001. – 208 с.
  7. Плужник И.Л. Формирование межкультурной коммуникативной компетенции студентов гуманитарного профиля в процессе профессиональной подготовки: дисс. … д-ра пед. наук. Тюмень, 2003. – 335 с.
  8. Райхштайн А.Д. Национально-культурный аспект интеркоммуникации // Иностранные языки в школе. – 1986. – № 5. – С. 10-14.
  9. Сафонова В.В. Изучение языков международного общения в контексте диалога культур и цивилизаций. Воронеж: Истоки, 1996. – 237 с.
  10. Тер-Минасова С.Г. Язык и межкультурная коммуникация. М.: Слово/SLOVO, 2000. – 263 с.
  11. Томахин Г.Д. Лингвострановедение: что это такое? // Иностранные языки в школе. – 1996. – № 6. – С. 22-27.
  12. Фурманова В.П. Межкультурная коммуникация и культурно-языковая прагматика в теории и практике преподавания иностранного языка (языковой вуз): дисс. … д-ра пед. наук. М., 1994. – 475 с.
  13. Byram M. Investigating Cultural Studies in Foreign Language Teaching. Clevedon: Multilingual Mateers, Ltd., 1991. – P. 8-17.

Список литературы на английском / References in English:
  1. Gladkova O.K. Problema obuchenija vzroslyh inostrannomu jazyku [Problems of teaching adults foreign languages] // Pedagogicheskoe obrazovanie v Rossii. [Pedagogical Education in Russia]. – 2014. – № 6. – P. 93-95 [in Russian]
  2. Dikova E. S. Covremennye podhody k obucheniju inostrannym jazykam v nejazykovom vuze [Modern techniques of teaching foreign languages at non-linguistic high schools] // Filologicheskie nauki. Voprosy teorii i praktiki [Philological Sciences. Questions of theory and practice] Tambov: Gramota. – 2011. – № 4 (11). – P. 65-69 [in Russian]
  3. Elizarova G.V. Formirovanie mezhkul’turnoj kompetencii studentov v processe obuchenija inojazychnomu obshheniju [Formation of intercultural competence of students in the process of teaching foreign languages]: diss. … d-ra ped. nauk. SPb., 2001. – 371 p. [in Russian]
  4. Kolshanskij G.V. Lingvokommunikativnye aspekty rechevogo obrashhenija [Linguistic and communicative aspects of speech communication] // Inostrannye jazyki v shkole. [Foreign languages at school]. – 1975. – № 1. – P. 13 [in Russian]
  5. Krasnyh V.V. Jetnopsiholingvistika i lingvokul’turologija [Ethnic psycholinguistics and linguoculturology]. M.: Gnosis, 2002. – 281 p. [in Russian]
  6. Maslova V.A. Lingvokul’turologija [Linguoculturology]. M.: Izdatel’skij centr «Akademija», 2001. – 208 p. [in Russian]
  7. Pluzhnik I.L. Formirovanie mezhkul’turnoj kommunikativnoj kompetencii studentov gumanitarnogo profilja v processe professional’noj podgotovki [Formation of intercultural competence of humanitarian students in the process of professional training]: diss. … d-ra ped. nauk. Tjumen’, 2003. – 335 p. [in Russian]
  8. Rajhshtajn A.D. Nacional’no-kul’turnyj aspekt interkommunikacii [National and cultural aspects of intercommunication] // Inostrannye jazyki v shkole. [Foreign languages at school]. – 1986. – № 5. – P. 10-14 [in Russian]
  9. Safonova V.V. Izuchenie jazykov mezhdunarodnogo obshhenija v kontekste dialoga kul’tur i civilizacij [Learning of world languages in the context of the dialogue of cultures and civilizations]. Voronezh: Istoki, 1996. – 237 p. [in Russian]
  10. Ter-Minasova S.G. Jazyk i mezhkul’turnaja kommunikacija [Language and intercultural communication]. M.: Slovo/SLOVO, 2000. – 263 p. [in Russian]
  11. Tomahin G.D. Lingvostranovedenie: chto jeto takoe? [Culture-oriented linguistics: what is it?] // Inostrannye jazyki v shkole. [Foreign languages at school]. – 1996. – № 6. – P. 22-27 [in Russian]
  12. Furmanova V.P. Mezhkul’turnaja kommunikacija i kul’turno-jazykovaja pragmatika v teorii i praktike prepodavanija inostrannogo jazyka (jazykovoj vuz) [Intercultural communication and [Intercultural communication and cultural and linguistic pragmatics in the theory and practice of teaching foreign languages (linguistic high school)] : diss. … d-ra ped. nauk. M., 1994. – 475 p. [in Russian]
  13. Byram M. Investigating Cultural Studies in Foreign Language Teaching. Clevedon: Multilingual Mateers, Ltd., 1991. – P. 8-17.

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