Some organization forms of out-of-class activities while learning foreign languages in the technical higher education institution

Galina Chernenko
Senior Lecturer
the Syktyvkar Forest Institute, Russia

Ksenia Chukileva
Senior Lecturer
the Syktyvkar Forest Institute, Russia



The article is devoted to the increasing role of out-of-class work while learning foreign languages in a technically oriented higher education establishment. In the article the definition of the independent work, its forms (individual, team, mass) and methods of its organization are given. The experience in organizing and conducting out-of-class activities in the Syktyvkar Forest Institute is also considered in this article.

Modern requirements to foreign language studies

Modernization of foreign language teaching in University is connected with the modernization of higher professional education being implemented in Russia nowadays. With changing requirements to specialist training there is a need to convert the paradigm “education for all life” into the new one “education through the life.”The main modernization objective in Russian education is to train a highly-qualified, responsible specialist who is always ready to improve his professional level and to show good results in accordance with the world`s standards. Moreover he should have communication skills to socialize with the foreign colleges.

The main aspects of professional competence in communication

According to the State Educational Standards of the Russian Federation the ability to communicate in foreign languages is becoming an integral part of professional competence of any specialist, no difference what field he/she works in.   The professional competence consists of 3 main aspects: linguistic, sociolinguistic and sociocultural.

Linguistic aspect includes general linguistic skills (pronunciation, vocabulary, basic grammar etc.). A student has to master these skills and use them in speaking, reading, writing, listening and translating.

Sociolinguistic aspect is based on the ability to organize speech in accordance with communicative goals.

Sociocultural aspect pays attention to the student`s knowledge of cultures, traditions and customs of Russia and foreign countries and the ability to talk about them in foreign languages.

Some difficulties while teaching foreign languages in a technical university

Teaching foreign languages is considered to be the priority in updating engineering education. But, unfortunately, during the educational process the foreign language lectures meet some problems. Firstly, the low level of a school foreign language preparation of a student may be considered as a main difficulty.  Secondly, the low motivation of students to foreign language studies. At last, the shortage of academic hours for teaching foreign languages in a technically oriented higher education establishment. The foreign language lecturers of the Forest Institute have always thought about these problems.

Some forms of out-of-class activities

With changing requirements to specialist training and reduction of academic hours for teaching foreign languages in a technically oriented higher education establishment there is a need to find ways for improving the educational process. We consider one of the ways is students` out-of-class activities. Out-of-class activity is a form of organization of personal study of students learning the material in the classroom and extracurricular time. The goal of this type of activity is to promote independence as important personal characteristics and professional skills of a young man, the essence of which lies in the ability to organize, plan, monitor and regulate their activities without assistance and control of the lecturer. The objectives of out-of-class activity may be learning specific knowledge, skills, consolidation and systematization of acquired knowledge, their application to solve practical problems and implementation of creative work.

Traditionally out-of-class activity is considered as a purposeful, free activity of students in the most convenient time from their point of view.  Independent   work of   students is necessary not only for education, but also for getting professional skills and experience in creative and research activity to solve different problems.

Out-of-class work gives students the opportunity to work without haste, without fear of negative evaluation from their group-mates or a lecturer, and as well as to choose the optimal pace of work and the conditions of its implementation.

Out-of-class activity depends on its organization and forms. There are 3 forms of it: individual, teamwork and mass scale.

Individual work includes such tasks as to make a report for 5-10 minutes, a presentation, to write an article etc. All students can take part in this kind of work. It can be carried out constantly or from time to time.

Teamwork might include the preparation for a holiday, different competitions among students who enjoy drawing, singing, reciting poems etc. This work joins the students with the same interests and hobbies.

Mass scale form involves carrying out of conferences, Olympiads in  foreign languages, exhibitions’ organization etc.

Experience of out-of-class activities in the Syktyvkar Forest Institute

The Department of Foreign Languages of the Syktyvkar Forest Institute has a rich experience in organizing and conducting out-of-class activities. All of them are highly valued by the students. For many years it has been holding the Foreign Language Olympiad in English, German and French languages, which consists of 3 tours.  Those students, who are interested in carrying out research work, take part in an annual Students’ Scientific Conference with their presentation in a foreign language. Moreover, we organize round-up table discussions with the students and lecturers from the universities of Finland and Germany.  The competitions of the best wall papers and songs in foreign languages are also very popular among the students of the Forest Institute.

We are sure that the out-of-class activities, conducted in the Forest Institute will undoubtedly challenge our students to know foreign language and also help:

– to develop general linguistic skills (pronunciation, vocabulary, basic grammar etc.);
– to increase competency of students in certain fields (forestry, transport and civil engineering, economics etc.);
– to develop communication and academic skill (making presentations, negotiating, writing articles etc);
– to develop speaking and writing skills;
– to challenge the students to carry out the research work.

We have searched out some personal and professional features which the students can realize during their participation in our out-of-class activities. They are:

– creativity
– communication skills
– self confidence

The students also train themselves

– to make presentations in front of the class;
– to  work individually and in a team;
– to select information from foreign recourses;
– to improve computer skills

All these skills will be very useful for an engineer for efficient implementation of professional activities in the national and international labor market.