The meeting attracted more than 300 representatives of the largest universities of the region. Today being fluent in English is necessary not only for linguists and diplomats, but also for all researchers regardless of their field. Using the universal language they share their experience and learn new ideas generated by colleagues from other countries. They also participate in academic mobility and communicate with students while giving lectures as well as interact with speakers at scientific workshops and seminars. That is why modern Russian universities offer their students effective English language courses headed by high-grade specialists.

Before creating something new one has to determine main goals and choose a strategy to follow. Currently successful foreign language teaching is a process guided by innovative thinking, supposes ITMO University speaker, Yulia Ryabukhina, Head of Chair of Foreign Languages. The crucial point of her presentation is that successful educational process is rooted not in forcing students but in teachers` specific way of thinking, which guides studying. As a language specialist, the speaker defined the word “innovative.” At first sight it sounds too general, but if to understand what concepts are covered by this, the whole idea of innovative thinking seems reasonable and applicable.   Innovation is related to but not the same as invention. It means that a teacher doesn`t have to spend time for reinventing the wheel. His goal is to find solutions meeting all modern requirements and needs. It means to share relevant information in an interesting way, attractive for students. The relevance of given information can be determined by the students` feedback. Through analyzing results as well as asking students, teachers understand how easy or difficult their classes are, how interesting or formal, how informative or not they are.

Yulia Ryabukhina, Head of Chair of Foreign Languages

Furthermore grammar, speaking and listening tasks are only parts of a class. There is also something else. Dealing with tasks and making progress students have to be taught how to apply knowledge to their research. For instance, if a student can translate a text from student book it means that he can also translate an article in scientific journal; if he or she can speak English fluently during a class it means that it will be easy to communicate with other researchers at an international conference. The teacher`s role is to explain that English language opens doors to career growth.    

Steve Taylore-Knowles

While Ms. Ryabukhina talked about goals that can be achieved using innovative way of thinking, Steve Taylore-Knowles, author of several Macmillan`s best-selling student books,  showed what can help to achieve these goals. The modern world, as foresaid, is absolutely unstable. Most of global changes are caused by technological process that improved living standards and modified our minds. With new opportunities we also faced new challenges. One of these tasks is a how to get the information. On the one hand, we are given various digital sources but on the other hand, we should know how to use them. Mr. Taylore-Knowles managed to apply this widely discussed concept to English language studying. Living in today`s reality we navigate, evaluate and create information almost only through technologies.  It leads us to digital literacy issues that become more and more important nowadays. The speaker noted that digital competencies are socially learned, not innately developed. Why don`t university classes become the best place to capture them?

“Why do we forbid students to use their phones in class? Phones have become something necessary in everyday life so let`s make them use devices to get the information. It is a pretty good idea to make technologies a part of English language classes,” concluded Yulia Ryabukhina at a round table after the conference, at which speakers and guests continued to discussed teaching practices.