Библиографическое описание:

Тясто А. А., Куимова М. В. About development of sociocultural competence while studying a foreign language at university // Молодой ученый. — 2015. — №5. — С. 538-540.

No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.

Mahatma Gandhi

The entry and adherence of Russia to the Bologna process in 2003 implies the change of university policy towards harmonization with European higher education. Modern syllabi are aimed at competence development.

Undoubtedly, the problem of foreign language teaching at technical universities is very challenging. Any language has its cultural heritage. Therefore, language teaching shouldn’t be limited to a certain set of rules. Studying a foreign language, students acquire new values, beliefs, behavior patterns; they broaden their world outlook, develop intellectual abilities and tolerance.

Learners who study a foreign language have to master a number of competences: linguistic, pragmatic and sociocultural. Sociocultural competence includes context, stylistic and cultural appropriateness and non-verbal communicative peculiarities.

Sociocultural competence is an integrative personal quality. It furthers the connection of theoretical knowledge with practical skills and strategies of behavior [3]. It enables to understand the context in which the language is used by native speakers and choose language forms to achieve a desired communicative effect [1, 9, 15].

Scholars put forward the following stages for the formation of sociocultural competence:

-                   acquaintance with the sociocultural environment of the studied language;

-                   acquirement of sociocultural competence in educational conditions;

-                   acquirement of sociocultural competence in real conditions [8].

Any foreign language should be taught as a phenomenon of social and cultural reality. Special attention should be given to the formation of learners’ communication skills, cultural competence and positive attitude towards another culture [10, 14]. The development of sociocultural competence in language teaching supposes a communication-oriented approach [12]. Sociocultural competence anticipates the knowledge of another culture, respect and tolerance towards others [7, 4].

Sociocultural competence includes a deep-rooted knowledge of everyday-life situations, values and beliefs. The best way to develop sociocultural competence is to immerse in the natural language environment and communicate with native speakers. As a rule of thumb, the absence of language environment can be compensated with authentic materials (real-life materials that weren’t created for educational purposes). These materials:

-                   give examples how the language is actually used by native speakers;

-                   provide authentic cultural information;

-                   help motivate learners master the language as they feel they learn “real” language;

-                   help bridge the gap between the language taught in the classroom and the language used by native speakers;

-                   prepare for “real” world communication [2, 5, 6, 11, 13].

Authentic materials can be taken from the Internet, TV programs, movies, songs, magazines, periodicals, horoscopes, menus, brochures, bills, postcards, tickets, stamps, etc.

We held a poll among 43 students of Institute of Non-Destructive Testing to find out their attitude to authentic materials. We asked the following questions:

1)      Why do you study a foreign language? I want to:

a)        travel abroad (44 %);

b)        enter a Double Degree program (25 %);

c)        participate in academic exchange programs (19 %);

d)       work abroad (12 %).

2)      Which authentic materials do you enjoy?

a)        songs (65 %);

b)        movies / video materials (16 %);

c)        the Internet (12 %);

d)       literature (novels, poetry, short stories, plays, etc.) and periodicals (journals, newspapers, magazines, etc.) (7 %).

3)      What difficulties do you encounter when you work with authentic materials?

a)        vocabulary (68 %);

b)        grammar (28 %);

c)        cultural peculiarities (2 %);

d)       realia of daily life (2 %).

4)      Why do people need to know another culture?

a)        to build relationships (49 %);

b)        to do business (37 %);

c)        to travel (12 %);

d)       to become aware of native culture (2 %).

5)      Continue the phrase: “Cultural awareness helps …”

a)        become a globally minded person (63 %);

b)        establish friendships with people from other cultures (16 %);

c)        broaden the mind (14 %);

d)       avoid making mistakes (7 %).

6)      Do you enjoy discovering another culture / customs / traditions?

a)        yes (72 %);

b)        no (21 %);

c)        I don’t know (7 %).

The obtained results revealed that students dream of travelling abroad, prefer to listen to foreign songs and watch movies, have difficulties with vocabulary and grammar, understand the value of sociocultural awareness and enjoy learning it.

Thus, to feel at home in a global world, a graduating student has to possess a number of competences from professional competences in science and technology to foreign language competences. Foreign language knowledge helps understand your own language and culture, promotes intercultural communication, provides access to foreign scientific literature, opens doors to international education and understanding of other people.




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Основные термины: sociocultural competence, foreign language, authentic materials, L. Sociocultural competence, G. Sociocultural Competence, language teaching, native speakers, language communicative competence, foreign language teaching, Куимова М. В., foreign language competences, sociocultural environment, Foreign language knowledge, natural language environment, sociocultural awareness, English Language Teaching, authentic cultural information, competence development, non-verbal communicative peculiarities, Бочарова А. С.


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