Research conducted by the British Council concerning modern continuous professional development of teachers has been analyzed. The issue concerning foreign language teachers’ professional development has been considered. Productive approach to this process that gives a teacher the opportunities to define aspects of their professional activities that are in need of improvement and introduce appropriate strategies of their own professional development has been characterized. Direct connection between continuous teachers’ professional development and the level of students’ academic achievements has been stressed. Key characteristics of effective professional development have been defined, namely: being correspondent to actual needs of teachers and students; teachers’ involvement into the decision making concerning the content and the fulfillment of professional development; provision of cooperation and teachers’ experience exchange; collegiality presupposing common work of teachers and educational establishments in general; practicality, that is the fulfillment of professional development directly in the process of teachers’ work in class; obligatory character of professional development as indispensable part of teachers’ work; constant reflection and research; prioritizing academic achievements of students as the main stimulus for professional learning of teachers; continuity of professional development and its consideration not as separate forms of work. Modern widely used forms of teacher professional development have been analyzed, namely: self-education, common lessons planning with their further analysis; professional discussions concerning new teaching techniques and the appropriateness of their application; reflexive groups for teaching experience exchange and lessons analysis (video recording of lessons or students’ works), observation/attending teachers’ lessons with their further discussion in constructive form and without formal evaluation; participation in professional learning communities to solve urgent issues concerning school work and teachers’ professional activities; common work of teachers with curricula for detailed studying of problematic issues and their elimination; common teachers’ elaboration of learning materials for definite groups of students; participation in mentoring programs; work in online educational communities It has been proved that modern professional development of foreign language teachers shifts its focus from the competency of a teacher to the level of students’ academic achievements which is the direct indicator of a teacher’s competency.
It has been substantiated that Academic English must be an integral component of ESL students’ study at foreign languages departments to achieve success as professionals and be ready to realize themselves in a demanding world of today. We have defined the main problem on the way to it, namely the insufficient provision of the Academic English discipline in curricula of foreign language departments or its absence. The necessity to elaborate a syllabus for Academic English discipline being taught throughout all the course of study has been substantiated. Educational programs of Academic English in a number of foreign educational establishments of Great Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia have been analyzed and their defining features have been outlined. Strategies and conditions for effective teaching of Academic English have been characterized. It has been defined that in general, in spite of slight differences in the topics covered by different EAP programs, all of them are aimed at: developing strategies and vocabulary for reading and understanding academic texts; finding, understanding, describing and evaluating information for academic purposes; developing active listening and effective note-taking skills; building on language skills to describe problems and cause-and-effect; gathering a range of information, using the skills learned, to integrate it into a written report; engaging in peer-to-peer feedback before finalising one’s piece of academic work. Requirements for students’ achievements at the end of the course have been determined. As a basis for Academic English syllabus elaboration has been chosen a course by M. Hewings and C. Thaine (upper-intermediate and advanced levels). On its basis we have defined units to be covered by the course as well as skills to be developed. Recommendations as to better and more efficient teaching of the discipline have been outlined.
The paper outlines the peculiarities of Applied Linguistics as a branch of science and specialty provided by universities worldwide. Its scope, relevance in modern labour market and immediate relation to communication and language studies have been analyzed. Its advantages as a flourishing educational program for tertiary education and as an occupation in modern digital world with diverse realms of communication and language application have been substantiated. A wide range of activities pressuposed by Applied Linguistics study have been outlined: researching language in classrooms (classroom-based research); work with different kinds of written and spoken texts (corpus linguistics); approaching language learning (learner autonomy); testing and assessment of language learning; expanding vocabulary (including multiword expressions); dictionary making; interpretation and translation; studies of bilingualism and multilingualism. It has been determined that five most important concepts are basic for understanding the relation of Applied Linguistics to language and communication studies: Functional Linguistics, Language and its Application, Communicative Competence; Cognitive Discourse Analysis, Conceptual Blending Theory, and Contemporary Discourse Analysis; Barriers in Specialized Translation fields and their overcoming (by means of technology); Linguistics and Culture; Language hierarchy, authority, policy, and planning. Applied Linguistics program in tertiary education provides students with necessary studies in relation to language and communication in terms of language communication, its components, conditions of successful communication and cooperation; language etiquette; speech codes, their switching and mixing; speech acts and their types; context of culture, situation and co-texts; assembling and working with corpora; researching collocations and units of meaning. Undergoing the program of Applied Linguistics in tertiary education students can broaden knowledge of linguistics and language; deal with contemporary issues concerning the diversity of languages and cultures in societies; learn and teach foreign languages; eliminate language and communication gaps between people of different cultures; enhance the development of languages and communication skills.
The article deals with an urgent issue of necessity to enhance professional training of future foreign language teachers. It has been substantiated that the only way to assess its quality is to use a set of professional standards. Theoretical substantiation of the standards elaborated by TESOL, as well as their step-by-step process of elaboration, have been studied. These standards served as a model for developing standards of foreign language teachers’ professional training in other countries. On their basis the standards of foreign language teachers’ professional training, as well as indicators of teachers’ performance for each of them, have been formulated as a role model for other countries which pay special attention to foreign language teachers’ training. The main difficulties of the standards implementation have been defined, as well as their possible solutions. One of the most urgent issues raised in the article is the necessity to elaborate a detailed system for assessing teachers’ correspondence to the standards and to adjust the existing training programs to them. Conclusions about productivity and efficiency of the conducted research can only be made after the standards approbation throughout the complete foreign language teachers’ training program that is 4-6 years (depending on the degree - Bachelor or Master). Still, at this stage of our research it is quite clear that one of the possible solutions to the problem of the necessity to elaborate a detailed system for assessing teachers’ correspondence to the standards and to adjust the existing training programs to them is involvement of stakeholders of different levels to elaboration of the standards (from future teachers to educational authorities). The practical value of the presented material is that it can be used by other countries for elaborating their own national standards.