Virtual Classroom Visits from Russian Native Speakers
SRAS’ “Поболтаем!” series is here to help you:
- Give your students authentic new material to work with (the “work” is on us!)
- Encourage your students to interact with young Russian speakers as part of class
Whether your classes are online or in person, we’re all pretty versed with Zoom and other tools now, so let’s take advantage of that and get your students interacting with their Russian speaking peers. “Поболтаем!” translates as “Let Chat!” We hope all your students will be inspired by these informal chats to become “болтуны” (chatterboxes).
Preparing your students for success
In the Поболтаем! series, young peer tutors “enter” your classroom via live video chat and engage in a simple and fun discussion with your students on a pre-determined topic. These are the same tutors working on our peer tutoring program and, in some cases, our classroom takeovers. As an instructor of any higher education or high school class, you may request one complimentary Поболтаем! session per semester per class.
To ensure your students are prepared and comfortable, we will send in advance a link to a page with the following preparatory materials:
- A video introduction of himself/herself
- A list of helpful vocabulary and phrases related to the topic
- A list of questions the students should be prepared to answer/discuss
What might this look like? Take a peek at the examples below.
Sample subjects and prep materials
Topics, vocabulary and discussion will be structured for group level. Some topics currently under development are: music, sports, Russian slang, holidays, the animals I live with, jobs for students, family, hobbies, social media, cooking, fashion . . . and more! We’d also love you to contact us with your ideas about what would fit best with your lesson plans or your students’ interests!
On the designated date and time (between 9am and 2pm CST), everyone tunes in and the peer tutor leads discussion and interacts with your students. The peer tutors leading discussion are trained in working with learners of Russian and know some English, so they can facilitate simple discussion and motivate your students to participate.
Discussions will typically take on the following format:
- 5 min: introduction to topic
- 15 min: discussion, students answer and ask questions
- 5 min: wrap-up
We’re happy to bring you one complimentary session per semester in exchange for the opportunity to share with your students a bit of information about our study abroad options. If you are planning a faculty-led program in the future, this is a great way for us to help you recruit for that.
Contact us today about scheduling your complimentary Поболтаем! session. If you like it, we can talk about bringing you and your students more of this type of classroom support with peer tutoring or a even a “classroom takeover!” We are always happy to host a Zoom Study Abroad info session with US and overseas SRAS staff.
Thanks again to (SRAS Assistant Director) Josh Wilson for being so helpful with getting us started! At our concluding discussion class yesterday I asked the students to write and then present five “Kliuchevykh slov” about their experience. Several of them wound up referencing Josh’s comments about trying to observe without judging, which he made during the Moscow Walking Tour. Thanks for helping me teach this course!
The SRAS guides were excellent! They really knew their stuff and were able to relate the history of the places we visited in an interesting and inventive way. It was obvious they had a lot of experience working with American students.
A long overdue thank you for the wonderful trip you and your staff planned for the Drew group in St. Petersburg. I have never had a trip where NOTHING went wrong. It was a terrific experience from start to finish, your staff was superb and St. Petersburg Economics University was a marvelous host. We enjoyed each and every lecture and guide, and the many fine added touches. I would love to do this again.
Renee, the work that you do is so far beyond any kind of formal service or trip planning in your vision, scope, and ability to think of absolutely everything and anticipate potential problems in advance. You clearly have a gift for this.
We had a great time overall. The students were super impressed with SRAS — the guides, the accommodations, the excursions, etc. The guides were super knowledgeable and kind–the only thing that would improve the tours is volume. They tend to speak quietly so a few people who can’t hear lose interest. But we loved the Hermitage art project and Novgorod, and the bunker, and going behind the fountains at Peterhof, and the boat to Peterhof… We loved everything!
My Dear Renee, I am still in Kazakhstan but can report back we had a perfectly splendid time in Kyrgyzstan. The students and I want to collectively buy a little plot of land and a yurt or house in the village at the base of the mountains. They loved their families and I fell in love with Kenzhe, we want to include her in our documentary. I will be in touch over the next two weeks. Forever grateful to you.