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Bilingualism and culture

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Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 719
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2003 8:58 pm    Post subject: Bilingualism and culture Reply with quote

First, a note of thanks to the posters on here. This board is a bit of a goldmine. Cool

I'm taking my Trinity cert. this August and am planning to come to Russia.

It would be possible for me to spend a few months, maybe longer, before taking up a job .. my savings would allow it - although like anyone I'm going to think long and hard about eating into them.

My question is: do you think it's worth spending extra time before you start work in Russia building up your knowledge of the language (especially) but also the culture?

For example, if one scouts around a bit, one can find various offers of accommodation-for-teaching and such.
Alternatively, of course, you can spend a bit more and enrol on intensive language courses.

What bothers me about diving straight into teaching for one of the big chain schools is that you will be thrust immediately into 'survival mode' .. I can't imagine you would get any chance to really learn the lingo, for example, except in a superficial way (perhaps good receptive skills and poor productive skills Smile )

Any thoughts on the matter appreciated.

PS If one did this, would it be possible to buy a multi-entry visa for 12 months from one of those visa-arranging firms?
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer

Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 2:46 am    Post subject: 6 of one, half dozen of the other Reply with quote

Dear waxwing:

Would it be good to learn a bit of the Russian language before diving into the classroom? Heck yes!

But ... there are several ways you can do this without having to spend any money.

First, almost every language school I can think of offers its teachers some kind of in-house language instruction. It's usually free [like a perk] or at least at a very big discount from normal fees.

The second option, and the one I chose, was to make use of the internet. If you haven't already been there, check out the links in the subcategory "Learning Russian" in the Master Links Index and you will find a range of websites [from the basic, to the more advanced] which will get you on your feet in no time. Several of these websites also include audio files, so you can actually hear correct pronunciation.

If you spend a couple of months studying Russian on the internet with all of the available free resources out there, you can learn a lot ... and hold onto your savings and/or put them to better use. Like maybe buying an electric hot water heater for the bathroom, or a good winter parka, or a date with Svetlana. Cool

One final thought: The vast majority of students you will teach expect you to be a complete idiot when it comes to Russian. i.e., you are not expected to translate or speak Russian in the classroom. Ever. If you want to speak a little Russian in class, that's fine, and your students will love you for it, but that's your call.

For the beginner-level students who need everything translated, you will always have a Russian co-teacher who will do the dirty work for you. When you walk into the classroom, students know that it's time for English. OK, maybe bad English, but you'll survive.

Just my 2 cents for ya. Wink


PS: Let the school arrange your visa for you, regardless of whether you come to study Russian or to teach English. They know the ropes and have the connections to renew your visa if necessary.
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Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty much agree with Kent except on the presence of an assistant in the absolute beginner classes. I worked in Russia for 5 years. At the beginning I spoke zero Russian and by the time I left a somewhat embarrasing intermediate. In all that time I often had classes who spoke no English at all and on occasion didn't even know the Roman alphabet. I never, never once used a word of Russian and never had an assistant - it's not necessary. As Kent rightly said - your students don't expect it.

However, do learn as much as you can before getting to Russia.
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