Of all the many-sided subjects,
education is the one which has the greatest number of sides.
John Stuart Mill
Currently, much effort is devoted to changing the contents of the educational syllabus of technical universities to bring them closer to the actual needs of the labor market. The modern graduate should be able to solve not only problems in his professional field, but also ensure the transfer of culture in the broadest sense, cooperate with international colleagues, participate in international scientific conferences and take part in joint projects.
Teaching a foreign language to technical university students, it is necessary to remember that the main purpose of education is to acquire and further the development of professional language competence, including knowledge and skills necessary for adequate and effective communication in various fields of professional and scientific activities. The development of foreign language skills and abilities should be pursued via the use of interdisciplinary links with other disciplines studied at university. The interdisciplinary approach implies teaching within the scope of various subjects or different sciences.
The interdisciplinary approach to foreign language teaching provides a number of advantages; it:
- creates a strong positive motivation to learn a foreign language;
- develops educational and cognitive competence;
- expands the horizons of students;
- develops a culture of thinking, communication and speech;
- encourages natural language acquisition;
- develops educational potential and readiness of graduates to communicate with international colleagues on professional issues;
- furthers professional orientation of the learning;
- develops skills of working with foreign language professional literature;
- motivates reading;
- contributes to the development of writing skills (annotations, reports, scientific papers, etc.) [1, 2, 3, 6].
Interdisciplinary teaching promotes integration of ideas from relevant disciplines, advances problem-solving skills, develops self-efficacy, self-confidence and promotes realization of personal professional objectives . Interdisciplinary approach enables learners to recognize contrasting perspectives, think critically, synthesize and re-examine the world we take for granted . It helps teachers introduce learners to subject content from different perspectives, increases the level of active engagement and promotes the recognition of the value of what they have learned. Working with professional literature in foreign language classes enlarges professionally-oriented vocabulary and grammar, makes learners confident in discussion of their professional topics and provides meaningful contents.
Despite its many benefits, there are some disadvantages of interdisciplinary teaching; it:
- is rather complex;
- is inappropriate for learners without a mature basis in any contributing discipline;
- distracts learners from essential disciplinary competence;
- offers a wide-angled course;
- has relatively high cost of the course .
In conclusion, it may be noted that the use of the interdisciplinary approach is very important in the global era and encourages students to search through and analyze information from different areas. It promotes the solution of issues using knowledge from different spheres and favors the development of research skills. Moreover, interdisciplinary approach trains learners according to international standards, prepares them for participation in academic mobility and for productive cooperation on the international labor market.
1. Попова Н. В. Профессионально-ориентированный учебник по иностранному языку нового поколения: междисциплинарный подход. — СПб., Изд-во Политехн. ун-та, 2011. — 248 с.
2. Попова Н. В., Степанова М. М. Междисциплинарный подход к преподаванию иностранного языка в непрофильной магистратуре // Материалы второй международной научной конференции «Актуальные проблемы науки и образования». Ставрополь: СевКавГТУ, 2010. — С. 76–81.
3. Adeyemi D. A. Justification of a multidisciplinary approach to teaching language in Botswana // The journal of language, technology & entrepreneurship in Africa, Vol. 2. No.1. 2010, P. 8–20.
4. Benson Th.C. Five arguments against interdisciplinary studies // Issues in integrative studies. 1982. No. 1, Pp. 38–48.
5. Davis J. R. Interdisciplinary courses and team teaching. Phoenix: American Council on Education/ Oryx Press Series on Higher Education. 1997.
6. Stapleton P. Language teaching research: promoting a more interdisciplinary approach. http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/68/4/432.abstract (accessed April 28, 2015).
7. Why teach with an interdisciplinary approach? https://serc.carleton.edu/econ/interdisciplinary/why.html (accessed April 28, 2015).