March 12th. The main news of the day. President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokaev said that the government is starting to implement special preventive measures because of the coronavirus. In this regard, it was decided to transfer higher education institutions to distance learning.
We will not claim to have accepted the news with ease and without fear. But the current situation in the Republic and around the world did not give us another choice. It was not only about the quality of education, but also about the safety of the health and life of our students.
Therefore, since that time, the main term DISTANCE LEARNING has come to the forefront of our professional vocabulary.
Everyone knows that distance learning is a global practice and it has long been one of the forms of education in many universities. The widespread use of innovative technologies in the learning process has already in some way changed our traditional idea of education. And all would be well. But ... All these factors have a place to be, if this happens as planned, thought out, in stages. And our case was from a number of extremes ordered by the coronavirus. So the pandemic has seated everyone home. But the closure of the university does not mean the termination of classes.
Modern technologies create many conditions and opportunities for everyone to receive continuing education in the digital educational space. Of course, in the beginning there were several difficulties and causes for concern. This was especially true of foreign students who for certain circumstances remained in our country. There were several reasons for such concerns. Questions have arisen: starting with how they will continue their stay and study in quarantine? And ending with elementary, but no less important in this situation: who will help them with the purchase of necessary sanitary facilities and obtaining information about quarantine measures?
It should be noted that during such a period, the burden and responsibility for the accommodation and safety of foreign students increased for the educational institution as a whole and the Center for the Development of International Cooperation and Multilingual Education in particular. Director of the Center Meiramova Saltanat Akimovna carried out daily monitoring and constant visits to foreign students in the hostel. They were also provided with the necessary sanitary safety equipment: masks, gloves, disinfectants, etc. And during the period when the hostel was temporarily closed for local quarantine, the necessary food delivery was organized for them. Not a single student was left without attention during this difficult period. The hostel’s commandant and the hostel’s doctor also regularly examined students, providing them with the necessary medical care.
Just a couple of days to understand the situation and to adapt to the new conditions, and foreign students had already begun to continue their studies. Let this training be in a new format, let it be at a distance, but still it continued. It was impossible to procrastinate in this matter. Students had just begun to get used to Russian speech, to Russian words, they’d barely begun to express their thoughts in sentences and texts. All these efforts of the teacher and students were not allowed to disappear.
Each teacher will say that distance learning is much more difficult and energy-consuming for remote participants in the learning process. And for students of a foreign language - it is doubly more difficult. Online learning is not just a recorded lecture. It is still necessary to study new material, build a system of questions, develop special tasks, and consider issuing home-made material.
Given these features of distance learning of foreigners to the Russian language, a special learning algorithm was built:
- prevalence of speech practice in the classroom;
- competent structuring of educational material provided with illustrations;
- selection of the most optimal model of a remote lesson in technical features;
- development of a specific way of showing educational material;
- preparation of a glossary on the topics of distance learning;
- development of tasks for each educational element of the lesson;
- focus on the result, and not on the passage of the planned training program.
These and other features of distance learning are said by the Russian language teacher for foreigners Moldakhmetova Saltanat Satkozhanovna: “Of course, it is difficult to learn a foreign language without leaving home. But, nevertheless, such training is bearing fruit. I tell my students that this is also an experience. And from all you need to extract only a positive result. Of course, there are difficulties: sometimes the Internet connection fails, it is not always possible to connect right away, not all students have a computer, and the phone does not always have good screen visibility. We work through the Zoom platform, some individual lessons I spend in the WhatsApp application using video communication. Zoom has more options for demonstrating training material. But it has a minus. After 40 minutes of free time you need to close the program and then reconnect. But, if you do not take into account these difficulties, then there are pleasant surprises. For example, I see that some students have become more independent in learning new material. Distance learning is the first large-scale experience not only for our university, but for the whole world. And I'm sure that we can get out of it as winners. By and large, the matter is not in the training format, but in the people themselves. If they have no desire to learn, then the form of training itself is no longer important. And if there is a goal, then they will achieve it by any means”.