The basic medium of instruction at GRIAT is the English language. English has a unique and dominant role to play in the world. There are an estimated 1 billion people in the world that can speak English either as a native language or a second language. There are many different aims when teaching English and it might differ when teaching it to native speakers or second language speakers.
The main objective of teaching English at GRIAT is split into 2:
1. The Language Aspect: includes words, sentences, paragraphs, pronunciation, spelling and grammar.
2. The Literature Aspect: includes the expression of ideas, feelings and experiences.
When looking at the Language Aspect, there are 4 main skills that need to be developed; reading, writing, speaking and listening. At the same time as developing these skills, the student needs to use the language correctly, this involves using grammar correctly as well as establishing the appropriate relationship between the different linguistic components.
Some cognitive objectives would be contributing to the student’s personal, intellectual and professional growth.
During the English education students are prepared to the IELTS Academic exam because it is required by the German partner universities to have at least 6.0.
The IELTS test assesses your abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking – in less than three hours.
There are two types of the IELTS test: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Listening and Speaking are the same for both tests, but the subject matter of the Reading and Writing components differs depending on which test you take. The Listening, Reading and Writing components of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them. The Speaking component, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. Your test centre will advise.
The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Test format – Listening
You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions.
• Recording 1 – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
• Recording 2 - a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
• Recording 3 – a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.
• Recording 4 - a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.
Assessors will be looking for evidence of your ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of an utterance and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas.
Test format – Reading
The Reading component consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers' opinions, attitudes and purpose.
IELTS Academic test - this includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.
IELTS General Training test - this includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.
Test format – Academic Writing
IELTS Academic test
Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. There are two tasks:
• Task 1 - you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
• Task 2 - you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.
IELTS General Training
Topics are of general interest. There are two tasks:
• Task 1 - you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
• Task 2 - you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.
Test format – Speaking
The speaking component assesses your use of spoken English. Every test is recorded.
• Part 1 - the examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
• Part 2 - you will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
• Part 3 - you will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.
GRIAT students are also offered an opportunity to learn and enhance their language skills in German. The Centre for German language at GRIAT was opened In September, 2015. The main objective of the Centre is teaching the German language to all GRIAT students. Here the students can also learn more about the grant programs of DAAD, familiarize themselves with the history, culture, education and research in Germany, participate in various German cultural events and build cross-cultural bridges between the two countries.
During the first and second semester all students get obligatory 90 minutes German classes per week in groups with maximum 15 learners. In the first academic year all students mostly achieve the level A1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. At the German partner universities the students should be able to continue German classes with level A2 or higher, at the end of the program should be the possibility to speak German on level B1. During the lessons in the first academic year the main focus is on communicative skills: Students are encouraged to speak as much as possible so they can get along in every day life and university setting during their stay in Germany. Working in groups, games, role play, station learning and action orientated training of means of verbal expression enable a high proportion of speaking time of each learner.
In the course of the classes students get the possibility to discover intercultural differences in the academic settings and in every day life and develop suggestions or thought-provoking ideas to cope with them. Learning material based on the specific needs of the GRIAT students to be prepared for their stay in Germany was developed and supplements text books as Panorama, Studio 21, Menschen and Themen Neu used during the lessons. The main language of the lessons is German, questions and grammatical explanations are also made in Russian or English.
A part of the intercultural preparation of the students for their semester is done during the lessons building on the classical topics of language education for beginners; for example while talking about daily routines and planning different understandings and handling of deadlines and making appointments with scientific advisors are addressed. Cultural events, for example on traditional celebrations or music culture, are more focused on language acquisition. Students also take active part in team workshops , quizzes, small presentations or the like.