Teaching Slavonic Languages

Practical support for teachers in higher education

Areas of work

About the site

Who is this site for?

This site is intended as a practical guide to dealing with some of the situations likely to be encountered by those teaching a Slavonic or Eastern European language in higher education, with specific reference to academic institutions in the UK.

If you have been, or are aiming to be, appointed to a university post involving the teaching of a Slavonic or Eastern European language, you will probably already have some of the following:

You may be a professional or experienced language teacher, someone starting out in a language teaching career, or a linguist, translator or interpreter undertaking teaching as an additional activity. Or you may be in an early-career academic post in a related subject, eg literature or cinema studies, involving some language teaching.

Whatever your level of qualification or experience, we hope you find this website useful. If you are starting out as a teacher of a Slavonic or Eastern European language, this site contains guidance for getting your teaching under way with minimal stress and maximum enjoyment.

If you are an experienced teacher, what you find here will be familiar and hopefully it will enable you to evaluate your own teaching and compare your methods with those suggested in the guide.

What is the project about?

The project is intended to give practical support to prospective and early-career teachers of Slavonic and East European languages. For the purposes of this website, this term ‘Slavonic and East European’ refers to those languages covered by the CEELBAS region.

Whilst Russian belongs to this region, and is not excluded from this project, this web site will place greater focus on other Slavonic and East European languages. Russian has become a mainstream language in the UK, is being taught in schools and in a relatively large number of UK universities, and has much better training and resource provision than some of the other languages of the region.

Slavonic languages are variously given names such as ‘minority languages’, ‘languages of the wider world’, ‘less commonly-taught languages’ and other euphemisms. What they all have in common is low availability of courses in UK universities, relatively poor provision with resources (eg commercially published textbooks, online materials) and few opportunities for teacher training, mentoring and other types of support which focus specifically on the issues which relate to those languages.

Additionally, teachers of these languages who are native speakers and who, one can assume, gained their training and initial experience in an educational system outside the UK, have limited training opportunities (language-specific, updating skills, in-service training, or for the creation of online materials) to prepare them for teaching in the UK.

A logo representative of CEELBAS, the Centre for East European Language Based Area Studies.

Further reading