Category Archives: culture

What does it feel like to be… Part 2. British!

It’s only so natural that the more the people – the more the ideas! Isn’t it what brainstorming can be all about? And crowd-sourcing?

I’m going to do PLN-sourcing, then, and again!

Like I did once, here – and it got me incredibly inspired (and 3rd time published on an exctremely local scale))!


Fantastic shares, contributions from all over the world, thoughtful, sincere, differing, controversial – JUST like people themselves (diversity, huh?=))

Finally, the education can get personal. The pages of our course units can spring to life and speak different voices – authentic voices. YOUR voices!

Seriously, I have this feeling more and more often, I realize how lucky I am and most importantly – my students are. Since we have the chance, not so often offered in our context, to learn from PEOPLE, not from paper and ink. I feel it very acutely when I start sharing some phrases I”ve learnt thanks to you (caught smth here or there in a blog, lurking through my Twitter stream, etc). By learning myself all the time, I can literally feel it I”m giving them better quality teaching. And then we’re learning together, which is the key idea of my perspective on my own teaching style.

So much for contemplation)

I promoted the idea to use real native speakers’ response in our Country Studies Culture units, and luckily it was positively welcomed.

 So here I am, addressing you once again!


What does it feel like to be British? What does it mean to you?


Share your views, whatever they are, spread the word, and this can help Russian students (and maybe many others as well – since this is an open blog!)) get to know the sense of “Britishness” first-hand! What a good thing to do, isn’t it?!=)


Thank you!



What does it feel like to be..American?

No, I”m not going to answer this question in the post. Basically, because I have no practical idea)

The reason a title like this has arisen I will explain, though.

I’m entrusted with writing another unit for a Country Studies course, “Culture in the USA”. This is going to be a little brochure, just like the previous ones I did on Education, Science and Technology. These materials are published at Physics Faculty and are used with students of Physics exclusively. This is the way university publishing works here, teachers supplement  official courses with self-written extra material – grammar, lexis, topics for discussion, loads of ESP stuff like works on Optics, Astrophysics, Thermodynamics, etc. There are textbooks in the library which provide full courses of English for students of Physics..but they were written in the 60s..unbelievable!..Am I the only one who thinks that science well MIGHT have made a little jump forward since then?..Sure not. But it’s hard work to get a course SO specific written, and published here (I hope I”ll be among the ones who will get it done though!))


 Anyway, the problem we’re facing does not only concern ESP courses. First-year students study General English and the official book (recommended and present in the library) features the Clarks and Stepanov, a Russian scientist visiting the UK, and his “adventures” (he’s lectured on the history of the country, on the sights of London, on customs and traditions and the way the British consume their meals and garden their gardens). I have to admit, it’s almost the most boring book I”ve ever seen (the top one is the notorious BONK book). Luckily, the head of the chair is a great woman who understands that we can’t help our students meet the requirements of the world they’re going to live and work in using these Soviet time textbooks. So four teachers of the chair including me are writing and putting into a test a Country Studies course to use as a supplement for Int+ students. Hopefully, it could become a decent book one day (“decent” means hard cover, colour printing does not seem to function at our faculty, so not many chances to insert pictures IN the book, I”m preparing a separate Picture File).

That was all an intro, as you might’ve guessed=)) Sorry, I think I do get carried away in the prefaces to my posts)))

OK, in a nutshell now: there’s a certain structure I have to follow, it’s rather fixed but I”m allowed to try out different novelties, which will anyway will be looked through and edited. What I”ve thought of introducing in this Culture unit is real experiences of real people..I have to shape the idea into some more or less clear form which will look good in the format already existent..but i’d love to give it a try.

And I will need YOU (if you don’t mind)=)) your views, your stories, your authenticity! This is so simple and yet could be so exciting for our students!

If you feel interested here’s the first task I”ve got for you. Regardless of where you’re currently living, if you consider yourself American, can you please in a couple of sentences write

What does it feel like to be American to you? What does it mean to be American? 

I can’t wait to read some’ll be quoted in the beta-version of my brochure properly, and you can link to your blog or website if that looks appropriate!

Thanks a lot in advance, I hope my idea will get going, well if it doesn’t..I will think of something else 😉