Полоцкий государственный университет

Polotsk
State
University

On May 23-24 2019, Polotsk State University held the XI Junior Research Conference “European and National Dimension in Research”. This well-known both in Belarus and abroad scientific event united 200 participants that demonstrated scientific perspectives to the world in an understandable language.

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This year the conference was carried out within International Days at PSU that was the main feature. If earlier “Junior Research” was a day of the English language, now it is an opportunity for lecturers and students to master their English speaking skills and improve their scientific competences. Due to the International Days at PSU, our international guests took part in the conference as well.

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Vice Rector for Research, PhD in Engineering, Associate Professor Dmitry Glukhov started the plenary meeting with a welcoming speech. He stressed the importance of English in promoting junior researchers’ scientific developments as well as professional and career development.

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Later, the “Falling Walls” international stage winner, who represented Belarus in Berlin, was the first to take the floor. Master’s student Egor Trambitsky presented his work “Breaking Walls of Wall Breaking” about a topical scientific development connected with the diagnostics of buildings, facilities and structures.

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Maria Slonimskaya, associate professor at the Department of Business Accounting and Finance, Logistics and Management at the Faculty of Finance and Economics, has recently defended her thesis and has already presented the results of her survey in the report “The Survey for Networking Development in Vitebsk Region”.

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As always, native English speakers presented their reports as well, but this time, they were American programmes scholarship holders.

Alana Felton (Fulbright scholar from Vitebsk State University named after P. M. Masherov), who has visited Polotsk State University for several times earlier and who has already participated in various events held by the Centre for Foreign Languages Study, has told the audience about her experience in teaching English in her report “From Student to Teacher: What I've Learned through My Language Journey”.

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Nicolas Gordon (US Department of State programme, National University of «Kyiv-Mohyla Academy», Kiev, Ukraine), who is an experienced teacher in his country and abroad, shared his experience and observations in his presentation “Experiencing the Virtues of a Student-centered Learning Environment”.

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Christine Hahn (US Department of State programme, Minsk State Linguistic University) demonstrated her work “The Role of English in the 21st Century” showing that nowadays the English language is not only a means of communication and a catalyst to economic development, but also an important tool for intercultural dialogue.

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The following day, the work of the conference continued in the sections. In addition, our American guests provided a number of seminars for the university and schools teachers of English. Elizabeth Lewis (Belarusian State University) and Francisco Resto (Donbass State Pedagogic University, Sloviansk) joined Alana Felton, Christine Hahn and Nicholas Gordon in this initiative.

Alana Felton (VSU named after P.M. Masherov): “I like Polotsk State University very much. It’s my favourite university in Belarus! I have come to English Clubs at PSU before and this is my fifth or sixth visit. It's really beautiful here: ancient buildings, lovely interiors. In addition, excellent teachers work here.

During my presentation, I shared my experience gained during my studies and foreign languages teaching practice. I will show my development as a teacher based on my observations and will try to give advice to the colleagues. I suppose my experience in Belarus will be of use to them”.

Christine Hahn (Minsk State Linguistic University): “I like being here and taking part in your conference. The aim of the US Department of State for the teachers of English is to meet new people and promote the English language. We will be happy to get acquainted with teachers and students and keep in touch with them.

Besides, tomorrow we are holding seminars for the English language teachers. This, of course, will promote their professional development and will give them an opportunity to talk to native English speakers. That’s why we came to Polotsk”.

Nicholas Gordon (National University of «Kyiv-Mohyla Academy»): “I work as the Head of English Writing Center at National University of «Kyiv-Mohyla Academy». It is a great honour to participate in an English language conference at Polotsk State University.

The English language is indispensible in academic career. Within the context of a globalized society, English is a lingua franca. As Christine has already noted, it is also important to establish contacts, exchange experience and ideas and promote cultural convergence. Nowadays, it is not possible to live without disagreements. But here we feel incredible hospitality and see a wonderful opportunity to work with the students and teachers”.

Veronika Markevich, staff member of the Department of Information, Education and Culture at U.S. Embassy in Belarus: U.S. Embassy has been taking part in the conference for several years. American teachers that are now in Belarus and teach at Belarusian universities under the Department of State programmes, provide presentations at plenary meetings and seminars for the conference participants. Scott Roland, the Head of a diplomatic mission, took the floor at the plenary meeting in 2016 and was given a warm reception.

This year, teachers from the USA will take an active part in the conference. Among them, there are also two Fulbright scholarship holders who are now working in Belarus under the Fulbright programme. In addition, among them there are three senior lecturers working under the Department of State English Language Fellow Program: from Minsk State Linguistic University, National University of «Kyiv-Mohyla Academy» and Donbass State Pedagogic University  (Sloviansk, Ukraine). Our three fellows are giving presentations today and providing seminars for the English language teachers from Polotsk region tomorrow. We hope that the teachers will start the new academic year equipped with the weapons of knowledge and energy.

U.S. Embassy in Belarus informs students and teachers about various events and exchange programmes offered by the United States Department of State. We are very pleased that the programmes always find the people who would like to participate in them. It can be seen that people are interested not only in their personal development but also in the development of the university, city, region and country”.

Anna Nanos, specialist at the Department of Social and Information Technologies and Services: “Master-classes delivered by the American lecturers aroused great interest. There were 50 English language teachers from Polotsk and Novopolotsk, not counting the guests from Vitebsk. Of course, it couldn’t do without presents: our American guests had brought interesting books and teaching materials.

Master-classes participants got acquainted with a large number of efficient techniques for teaching schoolchildren and students. I liked Alana’s lecture about American culture. Further, I was very impressed by Nicholas Gordon’s speech. He offered the task ‘The Diamond Poem’. We were given two antonyms and we were to find synonyms or associations: two adjectives, three verbs and two nouns. A large range of other games and interesting tasks were shown to us by our international guests.

I liked the fact that all the speakers were not providing monologues but interacting with all people present. Francisco Resto expressed an important thought that the role of a teacher had been changed. It is not an information source anymore, because Google is a good one. Today, the main task of a teacher is to teach people to study. During the master-classes we could make sure one more time that it is really so!

XI Junior Research Conference “European and National Dimension in Research” has become a part of history. We hope its participants were inspired both to improve their skills in academic writing in English and overcome the language barrier in everyday communication.

See you in 2020!

Vladimir Filipenko
Photos: Tatiana Ivanova