Institute of International Education for study and Research of

V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

The Department of Ukrainian and Russian as Foreign Languages


The Department of Russian as a foreign language – now the Department of Ukrainian and Russian as foreign languages of the Center of International Students Training, – for the time of its establishment, is the second department of Russian as a foreign language in Ukraine and the fifth among the countries of the former USSR. It can rightly be called the one of the founders of the RFL methodology. It started working in September, 1961, when the first 150 foreign students, citizens of Iraq, arrived to study in KhSU.

The first staff of the department counted 21 teachers: Y.A. Ligacheva, L.V. Selivanova, Z.A. Litovkina, V.A. Lebedeva, G.E. Varvarinskaya (Maevskaya), A.M. Gutorov, E.V. Vitkovskaya, T.Y. Parkhomenko, V.A. Demenko, L.P. Cherkasova, Z.A. Filippova, L.A. Parmakyan, D.S. Bekirova (Skoryk), M.M. Cherneckaya, L.M. Ovcharenko, V.P. Pedan, I.F. Kobtseva, V.M. Shevelev, V.G. Melikhov, V.V. Levitsky, V.G. Storozhenko.

The 1960s and 1970s were in its history, as well as in the history of other departments of Russian as a foreign language (RFL) of the Soviet Union, years of searching ways and methods of teaching of the subject, which was absolutely new for the people teaching it – Russian as a foreign language.

The first students studied Russian language on textbooks from Moscow and Kyiv. But life demanded the creation of own textbooks. The first textbook on the Russian language (rotaprint edition) for the students of the preparatory school of KhSU was manual, the authors of which were E.V. Vitkovskaya, Y.A. Ligacheva, Z.A. Litovkina, L.V. Selivanova, Z.A. Filippova, M.M. Cherneckaya, and it published in 1962.

The variety of ways, in which the formation of the department went on, gave rise to the creation of many creative scientific and methodical groups, due to the joint efforts of which the department succeeded in formation of its scientific and methodical image, its methodical school.

But the most urgent task was to create manuals and textbooks, adequate to learning objectives of students of the preparatory school.

A group of teachers that studied methods of teaching phonetics foreigners was created. The phonetic aspect was paid considerable attention. The result of the group’s effort was the creation of an introductory-phonetic course which, since that far time, had necessarily preceded studying the Basic course in Russian language by foreigners.

In those years, the preparatory school of KhSU worked out a unique subject – the musical phonetics. It was the result of joint activity of specialist teachers on singing and Russian language teachers. Music phonetics is designed to solve important learning tasks (improvement of pronunciation skills, teaching of phonetics, development of phonetic hearing, automation of pronunciation skills) with the help of music.

Rhythm and melody, as one knows, are great helpers in any activity. They came assisting foreigners in study of the Russian language. The department can be proud of textbooks on music phonetics, their quality, content and the fact that there are no analogues of such manuals in other preparatory faculties.

There was not only the task on creating science-based theoretical and methodical basis of teaching foreigners Russian before the department. It was necessary to know how to teach students of the preparatory school to communicate in the Russian-speaking environment and, above all, how to prepare them for studying in Soviet universities, where they, equally with Soviet students, could study their chosen specialty.

Thus in the teaching methods of RFL, the notion of "language of the specialty" emerged. There appeared a necessity of professionally-oriented textbooks and manuals on the Russian language, the purpose of which was to educate students linguistic peculiarities, lexical, grammatical, stylistic, which are found in the language of specific subjects and academic disciplines which it was necessarily to listen in high schools on the specialties chosen by students.

In the 1980s graduates of the RFL department of Philological School of the University came to the department. It was a huge influx of young, fresh forces, which differed by enthusiasm, love for their specialty, high professionalism, and careful respect to traditions.

Over the years of the Department existing its teachers worked in long-term missions in many countries: Afghanistan, England, Algeria, France, Canada, Guinea, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Japan, Uganda, Denmark, Poland, India, Finland, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Mali, Cambodia , Hungary.

Teachers of the department took an active part in the scientific and practical conferences of the all-Union and international scale, the International Association of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature. Our teachers’ reports and presentations in Prague, Budapest, Sofia, Moscow, St. Petersburg made a significant and recognized contribution to the development of the USSR Russian studies. The department entered the international orbit.

Over the years, from the date of its opening up to the present time the department has passed a long and fruitful path of development and formation.

In the present 28 faculty members work in the department. There are 5 associate professors, 17 senior lecturers, 6 lecturers of the department staff. Seven candidates of sciences worked in the department.

In 2006, the department was renamed department of Ukrainian and Russian as foreign languages.

Since 2006 the PhD in philology, associate professor E.S. Valit has headed the Department of Ukrainian and Russian as foreign language (preparatory phase).

In connection with its renaming the department has set for itself an entirely new direction in the work — teaching Ukrainian as a foreign language. The first and important step has been made: at the department the textbook "Ukrainian for foreigners" (authors A.B. Chistyakova, L.I. Seliverstova, T.N. Laguta, 2008) has been written. For many years, teachers of the department have been conducting an facultative on the Ukrainian language, which causes great interest of foreign students.

In 2011, the author collective of L.I. Seliverstova, T.N. Laguta, T.V. Klochko, A.A. Yaschenko created a book for reading "Read about Ukraine in Ukrainian, Russian, English" under edition of E.S. Valit.

In 2014, the book was republished with additions and changes: getting the new author Chu Ying (China) involved Chinese translation of texts and dictionaries-thesauruses were added.

The department continues the best traditions of Russian language teaching to foreign students who have been laid by founders of methods of teaching Russian as a foreign language.

An important achievement of the department in recent years is the creation of the complex of teaching manuals. Two basic textbooks on the Russian language approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine are created:

  1. Чистякова А.Б., Джурко Э.Н., Петренко И.П. Русский язык для иностранных студентов. 6-ое изд. – 2008
  2. Чистякова А.Б., Варава С.В., Джурко Е.М., Петренко И.П. 1201 русский глагол. Учебный словарь-справочник
  3. Витковская Э.В. Русский язык: Учебник для иностранных студентов подготовительных факультетов. – 2002

Currently, the department is working on an educational complex of new generation created by teachers of the department:

  • Друг: Русский язык для начинающих: учебное пособие для студентов-иностранцев. Вводный курс (Варава С.В., Джурко Э.Н., Петренко И.П. под ред. Зайцевой И.П.)
  • Друг: Русский язык для начинающих: учебное пособие для студентов-иностранцев. Основной курс. В двух частях (Варава С.В., Джурко Э.Н., Петренко И.П. под ред. Зайцевой И.П.)
  • Сборник контрольных работ к учебному комплексу «Друг» (Валит Е.С., Варава С.В., Джурко Э.Н., Комарова В.Л., Пушкарева Е.Н.)
  • Говорим по-русски. Учебно-методическое пособие по развитию устной речи студентов-иностранцев (начальный этап) (Валит Е.С., Джурко Э.Н., Петренко И.П.)

Within each study group one is making work on teaching students profession language — "Scientific style of speech". In total there are 5 sections on specialization of students at the departmen:

  1. humanities (linguists, translators);
  2. economic (economists, lawyers);
  3. engineering and technology;
  4. biomedical (biologists, physicians, pharmacists, psychologists);
  5. art (artists, musicians, choreographers).

In all sections the students use educational manuals for scientific style of speech, created by teachers of the department.

The introduction of modern technical learning tools into the educational process is very important in the practical work of the department. Computer classes, where the teacher works with a group in classroom hours and students can independently engage in after school, are used. Teachers of the department take part in creation of the electronic textbooks, training presentations, laboratory works and tests based on multimedia. At the department copyrights multimedia presentations on the Russian grammar, thematic and regional studies presentations at scientific style of speech, mythology, folklore, ancient literature (V.L. Komarova, L.I. Seliverstova, L.V. Zadorozhnyaya, E.S. Valit) are used.

In 2012 at the department distance learning course "Russian for foreigners" (L.I. Seliverstova, S.S. Nechyporenko, I.P. Petrenko, A.A. Kolokolova, D.Y. Aleksandrov) was created. It is designed for students who wish to master the level of B-1, required to obtain a certificate of completion of the preparatory school.

Teachers of the department actively participate in international scientific conferences and seminars on the study of Russian language and teaching it to foreign students in our country and abroad. Teachers of the department involve in scientific contacts and collaborate with colleagues from 12 foreign universities.

Every year, the department organizes the International scientific and practical conference "Language teaching in higher education at the present stage. Interdisciplinary connections".

Annually, teachers of the department are the supervisor of the students of the preparatory faculty who participate in student conferences in many universities of Kharkiv.

Teachers of the department constantly working to improve their professional knowledge, pedagogical skills. To reach this goal, in 2004 on the basis of Belgorod State University they studied at the retreat seminar of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (PFUR) in 2005, at a retreat seminar of PFUR in V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, in 2007, at a retreat seminar of Pushkin State Russian Language Institute (PSRLI) on the basis of V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, in 2008 in PSRLI (Moscow, Russia).

Young teachers always have the opportunity to learn teaching methods of RFL because at the department a mentoring institute, including "School of the young teacher," mutual visiting of classes, conducting open classes, has been created.

department staff regularly hold meetings of scientific-methodical seminar where linguodidactic principles are developed and justified and then implemented in the practice of teaching Russian as a foreign language, combined aspects of general and professional ownership of this language.

Under the supervision of the leading teachers of the department the students of IV-V grades of the university philological faculty annually do pedagogical practice.

Every year teachers of the department hold the Olympiad on the Russian language, in which the best foreign students take part. It is held at the end of the school year in the following four rounds:

  1. the test items (vocabulary, grammar);
  2. the presentment of a literary text (listening, writing);
  3. cohesive plot story on illustrations (speaking);
  4. poetry competition.

All the years in our department a great extracurricular and educational work with foreign students is done:

  1. The all-faculty thematic lesson-concert "Let's get acquainted"
  2. The competition "Autumn ikebana"
  3. The thematic lesson-concert dedicated to the celebration of the New Year
  4. The exhibition of Art Photography "Winter Beauty"
  5. The all-faculty thematic lesson-concert "Ukraine"
  6. The final lesson-concert "We already speak Russian"
  7. The excursions around city and museums
  8. The excursion to faculties of V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University and other universities of the city
  9. Tours around cities of Ukraine

The department of Ukrainian and Russian as foreign languages possesses a leading position in the rating of departments on preparation of foreign students not only in the city of Kharkiv, but also in many cities of Ukraine. Textbooks created in our department, are learned by foreign university students in Kyiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Poltava, Zaporizhia , Lviv, Gorlivka, Kryvyi Rih and in many universities of Kharkiv. Now a distance course of Russian as a foreign language, which has covered several countries, the USA, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, is working.