Practical Support for Teachers in Higher Education

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About this site...

Who is this site for?

This site is intended as a practical guide to dealing with some of the situations likely to be encountered by those teaching a Slavonic/East European language in higher education, with specific reference to academic institutions in the UK.

If you have been, or are aiming to be, appointed to a university post involving the teaching of a Slavonic/East European language, you will probably already have some of the following:

  • native competence in the language
  • near-native or very good competence in the language (acquired through formal study, gaining a degree, heritage etc.)
  • an academic qualification in the relevant language and literature (the term ‘philology’ is used in many countries) gained in the country of origin
  • a qualification to teach the language as a first language to native speakers
  • a qualification to teach the language as a foreign (FL) or second language (SL)
  • experience of teaching the language as a FL or SL in the country of origin
  • experience of teaching the language outside the country of origin, particularly, in the UK.

You may be a professional and/or experienced language teacher, someone starting out in a language teaching career, or a linguist, translator or interpreter undertaking teaching as an additional activity. Or you may be in an early-career academic post in a related subject, e.g. literature or cinema studies, involving some language teaching.

Whatever your level of qualification or experience, we hope you will find this website useful. If you are starting out as a teacher of a Slavonic/East European language, the site contains guidance for getting your teaching under way with minimal stress and maximum enjoyment. If you are an experienced teacher, much that you will find here will be familiar, but, perhaps, will enable you to evaluate your own teaching and compare your methods with those suggested in the guide.

What is the project about?

The project is intended to give practical support to prospective and early-career teachers of Slavonic and East European languages. For the purposes of this web site, this term ‘Slavonic and East European’ refers to those languages covered by the CEELBAS region.

These languages are variously given names such as ‘minority languages’, ‘languages of the wider world’, ‘less commonly-taught languages’ and other euphemisms. What they all have in common is low availability of courses in UK universities, relatively poor provision with resources (commercially published textbooks, online materials etc.) and few opportunities for teacher training, mentoring and other types of support which focus specifically on the issues which relate to those languages.

Additionally, teachers of these languages who are native speakers (and who, one can assume, gained their training and initial experience in an educational system outside the UK), have limited training opportunities (language-specific, updating skills, in-service training, or for the creation of online materials) to prepare them for teaching in the UK.


Further reading...

Background reading

The teaching of Slavonic and East European languages presents a number of challenges which are specific to those languages. Some of these challenges are discussed on the pages of this web site, and links are given to readings on this topic.

However, the literature on good practice in the teaching of languages in general is extensive, and teachers who are starting out in their careers, or would like to extend their knowledge, would do well to benefit from the research and experience of others, both in the field of mainstream and less-widely taught languages.

A brief list of useful general texts is given below, with links to those which may be found online:

Language-specific resources

Listed below are some publications, periodicals, books and online information which teachers of individual Slavonic and East European language may find useful: