Volunteering and its influence on cross-cultural communication skills development in teaching foreign languages

Features of formation of skills of intercultural communication in the process of teaching foreign languages. The possibilities of using volunteer activities to optimize this process by integrating his educational, educational and moral potential.

Рубрика Педагогика
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 23.04.2018
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International House Linguist , Voronezh

Volunteering and its influence on cross-cultural communication skills development in teaching foreign languages

PhD in Pedagogy, Senior teacher

Parshina Y.V.


The article considers volunteering and its influence on development of cross-cultural communication skills while teaching foreign languages, thereby ensuring integration of its upbringing, teaching and moral potential

Keywords: volunteering, cross-cultural communication, teaching foreign languages


В статье рассмотрена проблема формирования навыков межкультурный коммуникации в процессе обучения иностранным языкам и возможность применения волонтерской деятельности для оптимизации данного процесса за счет интеграции его воспитательного, образовательного и нравственного потенциала.

Ключевые слова: волонтерская деятельность, межкультурная коммуникация, обучение иностранным языкам

At the present stage of society's development, where globalization and multiple levels of different cultures can be easily observed, redistribution of educational values and reference points happens inevitably. It's getting more and more significant to develop ideas of peace between different nations, respect of other customs and traditions, cross-cultural dialogue. Nowadays one of the most important tasks in education is not only formation of Russian identity, but also development of cross-cultural communication skills, which allows to co-exist peacefully representatives of different nations.

The concept «cross-cultural communication» was firstly formulated by T.Treyger and E.Hall in the work «Culture and communication» in 1954. It was understood as an aim to which each person should aspire, willing to adapt to the world in the best and most effective way [1].

Henceforth, the researches moved forward greatly in theoretical development of the matter, particularly, the most typical features were defined. Cross-cultural communication is carried out when both, the sender and the recipient of the message, belong to various cultures and realize this fact. Quite often there are communicational misunderstanding due to difference in expectations and prejudices. Most people believe that their way of life, values, believes, models of communication are equally clear and accepted by people all over the world. However, facing representatives of other cultures and finding out that habitual behavior doesn't work, they start reflecting on the reasons of the failure.

The process of globalization, currently noticeable all over the world, not only opened borders, but also broadened people's horizons in terms of communication with the representatives of different cultures. Hence, scientists' attitude to problems of cross-cultural communication was gradually formed [2]. In Russia the interest to the mentioned above matter started penetrating together with new ideas of teaching foreign languages. It became quite obvious, that it's impossible to achieve the main goal of communication, which is understanding, having only excellent language skills. On top of that, student should also have a clear vision and strong knowledge of the country's culture. According to S.G. Ter-Minasova, «sociocultural layer, or cultural component, is a part of the language or its background, if we consider it from the point of view of its structure, function and ways of mastering» [3]. intercultural communication teaching foreign

In order to teach a foreign language as a means of communication, it's necessary to establish connections with real life, to use a foreign language in natural situations. It can be reading and discussion of foreign literature, watching films, news, series, participation in foreign projects of different levels. Extra-curriculum activities in teaching foreign languages are essential, because they help to create unique communication situations, motivate and inspire students. Its quite obvious, that its necessary to develop all kinds of out-of-class activities, such as speaking clubs, lectures, discussion groups. However, some of the shortcomings of the mentioned above activities are: lack of connection with everyday life, ignoring principles of communicative activity, low level of students' motivation, initiative and independence. Frequently students don't see any sense in participating in extra-curriculum activities, because of their artificial, far-fetched ideas.

According to the ideas of A.A. Leontyev speech activity as the notion doesn't exist. «There is only a system of speech activities, which are fully connected with meaningful actions - theoretical, intellectual or practical» [4]. This point of view is supported by I.A. Zimniya «speech activity represents a process of active, purposeful, mediated by language and caused by a communicative situation, interaction of people» [5]. Based on these ideas, we can make a conclusion, that development of cross-cultural communication skills will be successful in the purposeful and meaningful situations. Its worth mentioning, that joint-activity with the representatives of other nations is on of them.

Taking into account everything that has been mentioned above, we can come to the conclusion that volunteering is one of the actual methods of developing cross-cultural communication skills while teaching foreign languages. The concepts «volunteering», «volunteer», «volunteering activity» appeared in the 20-30s years of the XX century. It's been widely spread abroad and existed in Russia in various forms (sisters of mercy, pioneers, work of the so called Timur's teams during the Great Patriotic war.)

Volunteering is an activity which is performed without any payment and aimed at achieving socially important goals, solution of any kind of problems in the society. Volunteering is a positive factor of civil society formation and is widely applied to the upbringing of young generation. Considering cross-cultural communication, we should take into account that it represents equal cultural communication of different nations's individuals with their own peculiarity and originality. Comparing different cultures the representatives try to figure out universal principals, which are used regardless cultural background. There is a natural development of cross cultural communication skills based on the desire of the students to do something useful for the community. Moreover, feelings of civil responsibility is formed along with acquaintance of students with ethnic and demographic situation in the world. It's worth mentioning, that the major conditions for forming skills of cross-cultural communication in volunteering is genius interest and motivation, as well as consciousness of personal value of participation in any kind of volunteer activities.

The peculiarity of development cross-cultural communication skills in volunteering is based on the opportunity to integrate upbringing with teaching language skills. It's also worth mentioning that socially approved activity is the leading type of activity for teenagers. In this regard, using volunteer projects in the course of teaching foreign languages is one of the most important methods of development cross-cultural communication skills.


1. G.Grushevitskaya, V.D. Popkov, A.P. Sadokhin Bases of cross-cultural communication: The textbook for higher education institutions// under the editorship of A.P. Sadokhin. Moscow: Unity-Dana, 2002. - p. 141

2. V. Brezgina Research and training of cross-cultural communication: world and Russian experience// State.Economy.Culture: set of research papers.

3. G. Terminasova Language and cross-cultural communication// Moscow:Slovo, 2000. - p.624

4. A. Leontyev Theory of speech activity. Moscow, 1971.

5. N. Zimnyaya Psychological aspects of training speaking in a foreign language. - Moscow, 1985.

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