26.04.2016 19:38

FSS students: We want more language classes

Autor: Dominika Sladká | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

Most of the surveyed Faculty of social studies students think it is important for them to know more than one foreign language. Are they satisfied with the offer of language classes at Masaryk University?

There are two types of language classes for FSS students at Masaryk University. There is the four-credit compulsory foreign language course, which every student needs to complete before s/he can go to the state exam. But there also exist optional, usually two-credit language courses, into which every student of the FSS (or possibly any MU student) may enrol.

The survey of selected FSS students revealed that one quarter have already attended some of the optional language classes and 46 percent of students have not attended them, but they want to. The survey, conducted among twenty-four randomly selected students, was focused on comparing their experience and opinions on language courses at MU.

Half of the respondents reported they miss something in the offer of optional courses. Most of them would be happy if there were more classes for beginners, with some reporting it is pity that “beginner courses take place in autumn semester only”. However, a quick search on the Internet reveals that there are in fact some language classes for beginners offered by the MU Language Centre in spring semester.

“I would like to have some Czech course for Slovaks. I study journalism, so I want to speak Czech well,” said one of the surveyed students. Another student responded he would be interested in advanced French focused on the conversation.

Petra Trávníková, assistant professor from FSS division of the MU Language Centre, said: „I believe that the offer of foreign languages at the MU Language Centre is really varied. Over the recent years, we have tried to specialize and tailor the courses more to our students’ needs. There has been a shift away from grammar towards concentrating on language skills as well as study skills (giving presentations, conference skills, academic writing, learning English autonomously, videoconferencing, studying abroad, etc.) and there are new interesting courses on the way (e.g. English for journalists, psychologists, environmentalists, etc.) We are trying to adopt a more creative approach in our teaching. Apart from traditional European languages, there are also commercial courses of Chinese or Arabic offered.”

The survey showed that only 44 percent of the surveyed students who have already attended compulsory language course think their language level has increased. Some of the respondents would appreciate more exercises focused on grammar, while some others would like to do more reading, conversation or more academic subjects in compulsory courses. However, fulfilling different students’ desires and wishes and reconciling them with university regulations can be a hard job for the teachers. In addition, it is clear that the course content depends on seminar group and teacher.

The majority of respondents also think it is important for them to know more than one foreign language and 71 percent report their interest in taking an optional language course. Others prefer a different way of learning languages.

Petra Trávníková has a clear view on this issue: “Even though I teach only English, I am a fervent proponent of studying other languages as well. Nowadays, English is a must, you cannot do without it, but it is the knowledge of other languages that will get you far and help you, for example, when you look for a job. You can take up a language at any age, but it is definitely a good idea to study it while you are young! The most efficient way to do it is highly individual; I really like the idea of my colleagues at the Faculty of Arts, who offer language counselling- it always helps if you are advised by an expert. Do not be afraid to ask your teacher for advice on what you can do to improve your knowledge of foreign languages. Or you can find out for yourselves; you can go to any language class at the Faculty of Social Studies and see if you would like to enrol in it next term. “

Klíčová slova: language, survey, students, FSS

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