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Teaching methods

Our students' ability, requirements and individual learning styles vary greatly and so do our methods of teaching. We will not assume that you know the letters of the Russian alphabet, the grammar or the best way to learn new words.

We do not assume anything at all before we meet. Having met, we will work with you to agree the best method and strategy for your learning. Our experience and the information you provide give us an idea of what would work best for you. So if you need to 'survive' in Russia on a short holiday or a business trip, and you do not have time to do any homework due to family or business commitments, we can devise a suitable intensive course of at least 3 – 4 lessons per week prior to your trip. We would use the so-called "intensive method of teaching" where you learn set phrases to be able to get around, order food in a restaurant or book a taxi. You would role-play various situations, play language games to learn key vocabulary and attempt to communicate simple concepts.

On the other hand, if you're preparing for an exam at a university, we would base the learning programme on the syllabus. In this situation we would recommend that you have perhaps one or two lessons a week. We'd focus on the grammatical features that you may have found challenging in your classes or we could work on texts or practise the speaking part of the exam. If you are novice to learning a foreign language, we offer a variety of teaching methods to suit your learning style. Based on your preferences and interests a course would be designed, learning materials agreed and regular lessons arranged. This way you will have a clear programme and be able to make steady progress.

Just to give you more specific examples of our teaching methods we use, here is list of KEY features that we have found to be fundamental to language acquirement and progression:
  • Use Russian from the very first lesson and use it ALWAYS
Total immersion works because your brain switches off the ‘English’ mode and switches on the Russian speaking part of it. This feature gives you constant exposure to the language. The more you hear and speak it, the better it is for language acquisition. The so called 'Input', how much you hear of the language equates to 'output', how much you can say.
  • Discovery
Use mime, pictures, gestures and any body language that will help comprehension rather than translation. We believe language acquisition takes place if you are encouraged to discover things for yourself, as it leads to better retention in the long run.
  • Little translation
Can be used for low frequency words only. This is to ensure that you are not left guessing the meaning of infrequently used words for too long.
  • Repetition, repetition, repetition...
If our heads were computers which could be loaded with certain information, learning languages would be a walk in the park. However, the human brain tends to forget something that is rarely used. Therefore, repetition signals the brain that this word or phrase is important and needs to be retained for future use.
  • Encourage learner’s autonomy
In Russian we have a saying "Даже птицы, высидев и выкормив птенцов, учат их летать". "Even birds having sat on the eggs and fed the chicks, teach the chicks to fly". That is to say you won't always have a teacher by your side. We encourage you to use the context and your intuition to make an educated guess where you don't know a word or a sentence. These skills will always be with you and you will never stop using them.
  • Create friendly, warm comfortable environment
Research has shown that our brain works better if there's no tension in the body. It doesn't mean to say you should be half asleep but certainly not uncomfortable. We realise the importance of this and try to create the environment in which you will feel relaxed and happy.
  • Encourage mistakes
Some polyglots (people who speak many languages) say that in order to learn a foreign language they make 100 mistakes a day. Mistakes are good because it means you feel confident enough to make them. Some people are confident regardless of the situation, others are confident when they feel at ease in a small group of familiar faces and in a non-judgemental environment.
  • Motivate
We will only teach what's interesting to you. Anything that is relevant to your situation and language requirements will be relevant and will motivate you. This is why it is important to understand your requirements when we first meet. Of course we aim motivate you with our enthusiasm and desire to see you progress, but the best students are self motivated!
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Teachers

Most of our teachers are native Russian language speakers. However, we do have non-native teachers some of whom have lived in former soviet states who are remarkably talented and have succeeded in learning Russian themselves. They're familiar with all the ins and outs of the language. They'll share the secret of how to speak and understand Russian with you.

You will find that our teachers are far from accepted image of a language teacher of your former school days. They're quite the opposite – fun, supportive, easy-going but at the same time very professional and knowledgeable.

What makes our teachers different?
There are many Russian teachers in the UK but very few excellent teachers. At the Russian Language Centre we always look for the best. Here are the qualities we that we demand of our teachers and this is why they are so special:
They:
  • Are qualified and experienced
  • Make the course interesting
  • Teach good pronunciation
  • Explain clearly
  • Speak good Russian
  • Show interest in every student
  • Are fair to every student
  • Show great patience and diplomacy
  • Possess excellent organisational skills
  • Are qualified and experienced
  • Are easy-going and friendly
CRB checked
All our tutors are CRB checked. This is especially, if you're looking for Russian language lessons for your children.
Learning materials
When we say ‘Learning Materials’ at the Russian Language Centre we don't just mean books and dictionaries, but a whole array of tools that will help you to grasp the language. In our centre we use; Video, Audio, Flash Cards, Talking Dice, Realia Objects (Real Life Objects), News Articles, Songs, Quizzes, Games, Tests and many more.
If you have further questions about any of our courses or activities, please, do not hesitate to contact us or request a call back. We will be happy to assist you.