Academic journal article International Education Studies

Adaptation of Foreign Students to the Foreign Culture Learning Environment Using the Six Thinking Hats Method

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Adaptation of Foreign Students to the Foreign Culture Learning Environment Using the Six Thinking Hats Method

Article excerpt

Abstract

The contemporary life is characterized by various ways and forms of communication, sometimes but not always successful and leading to conflict situations. When a man occurs in the environment, alien to him, he meets misunderstanding and is overwhelmed with incomprehensible emotions as if he were covered with an avalanche. He has to solve problems that seem quite unnecessary, not reasonable to him. As a result-the increased state of anxiety, which is warmed up by weak knowledge of the foreign language and cultural and social aspects. A foreign language teacher, whose task is to search for optimal teaching methods, oriented to the expectations of the group and facilitating favourable adaptation of each student with mental and social experience, characteristic only of him, is very helpful in this case. A set of methods, as a teaching approach offered in this article, has shown itself to good advantage as one of the rational and optimal methods used by a teacher who is not afraid of risking. The method assists foreign students in being involved in the university learning environment enabling them to use the most of interpersonal activity potential and basic motivation to perceive a foreign culture in the shortest possible time and with minimum losses.

Keywords: adaptation, Russian as the foreign language, effective communication, parallel thinking, literary characters, cross-cultural competence

1. Introduction

In the years two thousand the interest in the Russian language has been resumed. Learning Russian has acquired some practical value (an illustrative example is China). According to the China Association of Teachers of the Russian Language and Literature, in 1999 the Russian language was studied by three thousand Chinese, for five years this figure grew twice and by 2008 it was 12 thousand people, and by 2011-already 25 thousand people. The geography of teaching Russian in China shows that Beijing counts on cross-border cooperation-the higher education institutions, where the language is studied, are concentrated in the north-eastern part of China. The similar situation is in Finland where since 2009 the program for the Russian language expansion since the eighth grade has been working at the municipal level in some south-eastern provinces of the country bordering Russia. In Poland the interest in the Russian language returned in connection with opening of the area bordering Kaliningrad. It is believed that the modern generation of learners treats the Russian language without prejudice (Nakamura, 1999; Berdichevsky, 2000).

More and more foreign students come to Russia on exchange programs every year, and there is an urgent task for teachers of Russian as the foreign language not only to intensify the learning process but also to search for effective uncommon ways of foreign students' adaptation to the new environment.

The foreign students' adaptation to the new environment is understood as acceptance of cultural differences, smoothing a psychological barrier between the culture of students and the culture of a recipient country. Also the problem of ethnic origin and personal status, which the foreign students arriving in a foreign country are no less concerned about, should be solved.

The Russian scientists mainly covered the problem of foreign students' adaptation from the didactic point of view. Investigations into the issue by Ivanova and Shiryaeva (Ivanova & Titkova, 1993; Shiryaeva, 1980), and also Vitkovskaya and Trotsuk (2005) deserve attention. At the same time, analyzing the writings of foreign researchers (Bochner, 1982; Brisling, 1993; Camilleri, 1997; Clément & Noels, 1992; Clément et al., 1994; Coelho, 1962; Gaudet & Clément, 2005) and also relying on our experience at the higher school, we can say that the role of such an important competence as cross-cultural in adaptation of foreign students has been insufficiently covered by the Russian scientists. …

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