The International Center of Russian Language - РГГУ.РУ
The International Center of Russian Language

Methodology: A Flexible Model of Foreign Language Study

Over the course of many years the RL Center has developed a flexible model for the study of foreign language. At the heart of this is a methodological model that combines communicative and cognitive approaches to the instruction of foreign language. The goal of this model is to teach students how to creatively use the building blocks of language in order to maximize their communicative and critical thinking abilities when using the Russian language.

This flexible approach aims to identify and utilize the unique strategy of foreign study that best matches the individual needs of each student.

Students at the RL Center have a great deal of choice in how to approach studying Russian. They are offered a wide variety of programs that are adapted for people from different professional and academic backgrounds, with varying levels of proficiency in Russian, and designed in accordance with the desired length and form of study.


The RL Center offers two types of programs:

I. Programs aimed towards achieving basic competency in the Russian language at a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level. These core courses include:

  • Practical Phonetics
  • Communicative Grammar
  • Conversational Practice

Throughout their duration these core courses cover all fundamental aspects of proficiency in a foreign language: speaking, listening, reading and writing. In this manner, these core courses aim to improve linguistic, oral, communicative and cultural competency.

For more information on the aims and content of these core courses for learners at different levels of Russian proficiency please see the section entitled “Core Russian Language Courses.”


II. Programs catering to the academic, research, professional and personal interests of students. These are specialized elective courses in which study of the Russian language furthers political, business, cultural, or professional pursuits.

These courses aim to improve not only students’ linguistic, communicative, and cultural proficiency, but also their proficiency in a specific subject.

A sample list of specialized courses is included in the section “Elective Courses.”

The list of specialized courses changes every semester, and their content varies based on the composition and interests of each specific group of students.

Mastery of Russian as a foreign language requires the sustained development of students’ skills and proficiency in keeping with Russia’s accepted standards for six levels, which correspond to the six-level scale used by the Council of Europe (indicated in cursive):

  1. Elementary level (elementary communication - breakthrough)
  2. Basic level (pre-threshold level - waystage)
  3. Level 1 (threshold level - threshold)
  4. Level 2 (advanced, post-threshold level - independent)
  5. Level 3 (level of professional communication - competent)
  6. Level 4 (level of native proficiency - mastery).

The Russian Language Center assesses levels of language proficiency based on the results of tests at the beginning and end of programs of study. The outcomes of language study are reported in a document published by the International Students’ Office of the Russian State University for the Humanities. The Russian Language Center also offers preparation for government certification through the Test of Russian as a Foreign Language (TORFL).

This flexibility of this approach allows the RL Center to provide every one of its students with individualized instruction that encompasses:

  • Personalized selection of core and specialized courses
  • Designing personalized programs based on individual and group backgrounds and the preferred length and intensiveness of study
  • Guidance in selection of the most appropriate form of study: group or individual lessons
  • Creating a program according to students’ preferred length and intensity of study, along with their preferred academic load, with courses varying from 10-20 hours per week and from two weeks to two semesters or more


Types of Study Programs

The RL Center offers different types of study programs: group or individual programs, daytime or evening classes, and semester or short-term programs, including those that take place when other institutions are on vacation.

Great importance is attached to working with students outside of the classroom. Some courses on Russian language and culture have included lessons that take place in the metro, museums, parks and other cultural sites of Moscow and the surrounding region.

An intensive cultural program includes excursions to museums, exhibitions, concerts, films and performances in Moscow’s theaters. These events are organized and designed with the involvement of RL Center faculty.

The RL Center hosts a debate club and seminar entitled “Russia and the World” in which foreigners and Russian students discuss topical questions of contemporary politics and culture.

There are also opportunities that prepare students for presentations at a variety of international conferences. Conference materials, including a collection of student presentations, are usually published.

For graduate students and applicants to graduate school the RL Center offers a preparatory course for the Russian as a foreign language exam required to pursue advanced degrees at Russian universities. In the final stages of this seminar participants present their academic research and take part in an international roundtable at an annual conference hosted by the university. The papers from this conference are usually published in an annual collection of graduate research that is at RSUH.


Means of Instruction

Classes are conducted in specially equipped classrooms and media rooms at RSUH. Students at the RL Center have library and reading room privileges and access to the university’s internet and IT resources

The RL Center also has its own academic and pedagogical library containing print, audio, video and assorted media resources. Instruction at the Russian Language Center employs the latest language teaching methodologies and materials published in Russia and abroad.

The academic resources used in study are regularly updated with original materials prepared by the faculty of the RL Center.

In addition to providing classes in Russian as a foreign language, the RL Center is home to academic and methodological research. The majority of our instructors have degrees and qualifications in the fields of philology and pedagogy.

The RL Center regularly hosts international conferences dedicated to the theoretical and pragmatic issues of foreign language acquisition. Past conferences have included:

  • “Language and Culture in Linguistic Study” (2001)
  • “Informational and Educational Resources in the Teaching of Language and Cultural Studies.” (2007)
  • “A Flexible Model for the Study of Foreign Languages: Problems, Trends, and Outlooks for the Future.” (2010) 



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