Elementary Russian Teachers – Olga Toshalovskaya, Liza Karpuzas, and Irina Yusopova
Competency in a foreign language is a valuable life skill and a powerful tool both in societal communication and as a means of personal reflection. Learning a foreign language and literature is a creative process that encourages the development of imagination and creativity through self-expression. Students benefit from having access to different cultures, literature and languages.
Russian as a second language is offered five times each week for students in grades 2 through 5. Classes are divided into three proficiency levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. A Russian Culture and Civilization class is offered to native Russian speakers.
The Russian department uses a standardized curriculum and prepared exit outcomes for all three proficiency levels. Teaching at each level follows international standards and lexical minimums. These documents are recognized in the world system for the study of foreign languages.
The teaching methodologies, classroom activities and technology used by the Russian department feature a communicative competence approach to language learning. The main aim of the Russian program is communicative, however grammar and vocabulary are dealt with in detail.
Students need to be empowered to comprehend language through listening and reading, and to express themselves with increasing confidence through speaking and writing. In Russian class they will become acquainted with Russian culture, customs and people through poems, songs, proverbs, fairy tales and cartoons. Cultural context is an integral part of the language teaching.
Students are encouraged to communicate in Russian whenever possible outside of school (while shopping, on the metro, watching television, etc.). Most importantly, we want the language learning experience to be enjoyable and to encourage students to continue to learn languages in the future.
Textbooks and supplemental materials are available for students in different grades and language levels. The Russian department also has a Russian library with a collection of books for reading and audio-visual materials.
The Russian department offers after-school activities and prepares a Russian assembly every year.