Integrated courses as a new and effective way of teaching

The problem of integration of a foreign language with other subject areas, including contents of the subjects of the natural cycle, is attracting more attention of both our local didactics and methodists. Increased attention of teachers to this problem is explained by their aspiration to raise foreignlanguage culture of the society. As it is generally known, it is rather low. Theoretical and practical searches of intensification of the foreign language

teaching process are being conducted, including, naturally, English language as the most widespread and very attractive by a number of other reasons. One of the directions of these searches is a problem of connection of the foreign language teaching in connection with students’ education in ecological area.

Integrated courses help to form a integral picture of the world at schoolchildren’s minds, where a foreign language performs a specific function it serves as the means of cognition and communication. Such courses assist versatile and integral development of children due to the combination of upbringing, educational and developing capabilities of different educational subjects. In addition, the integrated courses extend the content plan of foreign language teaching and lead to forming and development of wider interests of children, their aptitudes and abilities to different types of activities. Finally, these courses create terms for the motivated practical application of foreign knowledge, skills and abilities and give an opportunity for the children to see the results of their labor, get gladness and satisfaction from it. Besides all this, creation of the integrated courses solves the problem of development and introduction of methods of speed-up education and educating in a way, which is important in modern terms, when humanity is searching for the ways of educational process terms reduction [1].

This idea appears actual, however until now little-studied. Integration as the organic compound of educational subjects is examined in methodology in the light of both content interrelationship and the strategy of teaching. The circle of the discussed questions within the framework of the integrated course may touch different scientific areas, including various crucial issues of the present. In the integrated courses given there is an attempt to follow the natural way of cognition of the child’s surrounding world, concluding that the world around us is a single unit, and the most effective kind of education is this teaching the integrative unit. In this case a foreign language is the means of expression of idea about objective reality, properties and laws of which are object of the other disciplines, consequently, and the content of educational disciplines can be the reason for communication in a foreign language [2].

Integrative courses are built taking into consideration the particularity of connection and character of interaction of the foreign language with one or the other sphere of life, with the priority and actual problems of today.

Here a foreign language comes forward not only as means but also as an equitable aim of teaching. Complex approach to integrative courses organization allows revealing and forming a complex of concepts and abilities, general for different subjects.

For example, at the initial stage integrated courses are not only possible, but also desirable. So presently, education from the age of six has become widespread in our country. When arriving at school, social status of a child changes: he becomes a pupil. It requires change of behavior, revision of attitude toward his responsibilities, changes of character of his occupation, namely change of the whole lifestyle.

Work on the integrated course shows that there exists a way to solve the problem of individual approach in teaching. Along with that, the basic level of any course can be flexible: at lower levels of learning, schoolchildren’s subject component of integration prevails as an effective method of improvement of memorizing and increase of studying motivation. For children with the high level of learning the integrated course is used as an additional method of studying a foreign language at key, final, optional lessons on the passed themes, which helps to develop interest and hold students’ knowledge. Necessity to search new, effective methods of teaching, facilities, stimulating learning of educational material has been always realized in the methodology of teaching foreign languages. One of such methods, as researches of the integrative teaching foreign languages show, is, for example, vivid character of educational material [3].

Creation of integrated lessons is in a certain measure decision to the problem of development and introduction of advanced teaching and learning methods, which is important in current conditions, when humanity is searching for the ways of educational process terms reduction. There is a type of integration that concerns techniques and methods of conducting lessons. First, it is related to computers and the Internet, used in educational process that possesses truly unlimited potential of all pedagogical process components integration. Use of the multimedia technology should be recognized as one of the effective ways of integration into modern educational process. They are electronic media, CD and video information that allow going back, pausing for information, and connecting new channels of material perception.

Practice shows that informational technologies in teaching English have a range of advantages comparing to others, allowing listening to the authentic texts, developing reading speed while performing the test tasks, increasing motivation in language learning, to develop literacy and regional studies erudition at the expense of exploring a large number of video and audio material.

Among the variety of innovative forms and methods of English lesson conduction, as practice shows, the most effective is a teaching technology in cooperation and combination with a mini project method. Integration of these methods of educational activity allows not only to achieve success in the optimal material mastering but also to create conditions for speaking activity of every pupil. Limited time of the lesson does not allow executing the whole project at the lesson with high quality, so use of mini projects as an element of integration allows generalizing the studied material and discussing it until the end of the lesson. Integrating technology of critical thinking and traditional communicative method is effective and expedient in teaching English to students.

Lately development of home education is characterized by the varied innovative activity of schools. One of the directions of personality-oriented education, along with the differentiated education and variant organization of educational process is formation of teaching process on integrative basis. Integrative teaching activity is a specific kind of pedagogical activity, where one or the other integrative task of educational theory and practice area are satirized.

"Foreign language + Ecology” can become one of the possible integrated courses in schools and classes with advanced study of foreign language and at optional lessons at the senior level of education.

The primary methodical purposes of this course are the following: perfection of the communicative-cognitive abilities directed to systematization and deepening of knowledge on ecology in our country and in the countries of the studied language and exchange of these knowledge in terms of foreign speech communication in a monologue and dialogue forms, further development of ability to independent understanding and estimating concrete ecological problems.

It is necessary to stop at details of these two aims content of the integrated course, where both components a foreign language and ecology have autonomous independence and identical importance for personality formation and development. In order to answer the question, in what way, foreign language teaching must be conducted in the given course, and how the ecological knowledge and common speech abilities acquired in native language can be “included”, it is necessary to consider a few aspects.

Subject-content aspect

During its consideration, it is necessary to introduce a concept "minimum knowledge", by which they understand a volume of factual and theoretical knowledge on the topic, necessary and sufficient for the student to be able to talk on basic questions of theme without special preparation. Thus, "minimum knowledge" includes theoretical and factual blocks of knowledge.

By the theoretical block, we mean the minimized, consciously close-settled system of knowledge of ecology bases that allows carrying out the analysis of concrete ecological problem. Desirably, this system of knowledge should be presented visually through pictures and generalized charts. So, the theoretical block of knowledge for ecological development of senior class’s students with advanced study of foreign language includes the following information: composition and structure of ecological activity in general; directions of ecological activity; system of institutes, carrying on activity, related to ecology [4].

For the factual block of knowledge for the indicated contingent of students, it is necessary to take information about concrete subjects, processes and phenomena, existing and going on in the field of ecology, specifically:

  1. About representatives of different directions, various types of ecological activity;
  2. About ecological organizations, carrying on ecological activity

Language aspect

It includes foreign lexical-grammatical means of expressing theoretical and factual knowledge in the field of ecology. Thus, the facilities expressing theoretical knowledge are:

Names of general ecological conmeans corresponding to semantic intention of a talking (writing) person [4].

cepts with a strong thematic affiliation required in the field;

  1. Words and phrases that represent goals and objectives of ecology;
  2. Words and phrases that indicate general ecological processes;
  3. The words and phrases indicating environmental impact on the person;
  4. Words and phrases denoting the communion of man to the environment.

The following units belong to lexicalgrammatical means of expression of factual knowledge:

  1. Words or phrases denoting specific ecological processes, institutions;
  2. Words and phrases that express the importance of environmental protection for all mankind;
  3. Words and phrases that show active protection of the environment from various negative influences;
  4. The words and phrases that denote advantages / disadvantages of environmental performance.

Aspect of knowledge presentation in unity with its means of expression

In the integrated course of cognitive type, such as the course of "Foreign language + Ecology" rational distribution of linguistic resources in vocabulary notebooks plays an important role.

The record of the linguistic material content considering the logical-semantic and logical principles of syntactic structure of speech can help the students in the formulation of the subject content of speech and at the same time, help to "guess".

Essence of these principles consists in the following. All subject content of the course is divided into large logical-semantic blocks and small blocks, existing inside large logical-semantic blocks. Language material in these blocks is distributed into three groups that correspond to the most general semantic categories: subjectness, sign, and functioning. Thus, a speech matrix is created for the construction of speech work, where horizontal rows contain the elements of syntactic model of sentence construction, and vertical rows allow producing the selection of language

In other words, a student gets the set of original substitution tables that he can use both in a process of education at the integrated course and after completion of this education for registration of in detail-semantic content of speech works created by him and for decoding of in detail-semantic content of texts read.

Communicative aspect

Aspect of knowledge verbalization described above about the subject of speech through the lexico-grammatical facilities systematized in the dictionary notebook of students, is a very important moment in work on ecological theme in this integrated course. However without addressee consideration, it is just knowledge verbalized by foreign means. It is going to be included in communication process with the purpose of informing of the listener or with the purpose of affecting communication partner by offering own opinion or impression. Thus, integrated course the “Foreign language + Ecology” supposes transfer of basic functions of communication (cognitive, regulative, value-oriented and etiquette), that the student has mastered within the framework of base level of the foreign language learning, on new subject contents. Thus, the amount of necessary verbal facilities, and also the used forms and receptions of work are strictly correlated with the real schedule of educational time.

Text aspect

Cognitive character of the integrated course "Foreign language +Ecology» supposes wide use of text material, because the text, on the one hand, is the source of acquisition of the knowledge (theoretical and factual) included in a minimum knowledge in questions of ecology, and on the other hand, it is the source of means expressing this knowledge. In addition, this text material is characterized by a communicative orientation, as the knowledge acquired by students target not only at the increase of their information level but also at the exchange of these knowledge in the process of communication. In other words, text material of the examined integrated course is designed to accomplish three goals [4]:

  1. To systematize theoretical knowledge and accumulations of factual knowledge on questions of ecology;
  2. To accumulate foreign means of expressing these knowledge;
  3. To form ability in using these knowledge for the solution of different communicative problems in the socio-cultural sphere of communication.

To decide the first problem the following types of texts exist:

а) texts-tables,

  1. texts-charts,
  2. textsdetailed plans,
  3. texts-pictures, and also paintings, pieces of music, songs, and theatre performances and et cetera, performing the function of a text as an ecological information generator.

To decide the second problem, textsdeterminations of basic ecological concepts, texts-biographies of the most prominent representatives in the ecological area, textsdescriptions of concrete directions in ecology are assisting.

To decide the third problem, the textsexamples of monologue and dialogue speech, and also texts-collogues are used.

So, we considered a few aspects allowing to present the integrated course "Foreign language + Ecology" as an invariant. Certainly, this course may have a few variants depending on a social demands and addressee. In schools and out-of-school educational institutes it can be used as an independent course in classes with advanced study of a foreign language, or as " building" on to the basic course of foreign language, or as the special course in the specialized classes with ecological direction at the senior level of education.

Using this integrated course, it will not be very difficult for the experienced teacher to create any other integrated course on this basis, certainly taking into consideration the features of integrated subject. Such subject can be either history or biology, or geography or any other.

Carefully analyzing different sources on this issue, and conducting a number of the integrated lessons, it is possible to make a conclusion that the brilliant future is waiting for integrative education. It is necessary to ground this statement.

As practice shows, students’ interest to the foreign language learning goes down with the years of studying. At the initial stage students, show large personal interest in the study of this subject, probably by the reason of its novelty, and specifics of this stage of education. However, at the middle stage the additional search of motivation is required. The decline of students’ interest is explained by the specific individual, age-related and socially conditioned characteristics of schoolchildren. In addition, exactly at this time the students’ levels of training the foreign language become clearly determined, individual possibilities of overcoming the difficulties in their study, interfering influence of the mother tongue.

It is considered that one of the reasons for loss of interest at most students is absence of natural necessity and real opportunity of the subject application. The use of the different integrated courses can solve this problem in a way. For example, the course “Foreign language + Ecology” gives opportunity to establish contacts with schoolchildren who are members of different clubs, environmental organizations from different foreign countries. By means of foreign language, it is possible to put right their communication, exchange experiences, et cetera. For every student it is very important to feel effectiveness of language mastering, possibility to use it in practice. The integrated courses give certain opportunities in this way. They allow connecting activity in foreign language with other types of activities. It can be labor training, play, and cognitive activity. Different creative collective affairs corresponding to the specific integrated subject match directly the psychological characteristics of children of any ages. They are viewed as a dominant active idea for the course construction that can be a strong motivating factor and stimulus for achievement of higher level of mastering a foreign language. Schoolchildren can realize and feel in reality that practical language proficiency is required from them, that it really helps them to satisfy the cultural or professional aspirations, social activity now, but not one day in the future.

Integrative courses are built taking into consideration the specific of connection and character cooperating of foreign language with one or another sphere of life, with the priority and actual problems of today. Thus, a foreign language comes forward not only as means but also as an equal aim of education. The complex approach to organization of integrative courses allows finding and forming the circle of concepts and abilities, general for different subjects.

It is also necessary to notice that in the complex of tasks that the integrated course allows to decide, priority of educator aim acquires a special value. For example, considering the same integrated course "Foreign language", here the aim is teaching ecological culture to schoolchildren, that is viewed by us as dynamic unity of ecological knowledge, positive attitude toward these knowledge (ecological options, values) and real activity of a man in environment.

The work on the integrated course shows, that there is a way to solve problems of individual approach in teaching. Thus a base level of any course can be flexible: at the low level of learning, the subject component of integration prevails as an effective method of improvement of memorizing and increase of schoolchildren’s motivation of studies. For children with the high level of learning the integrated course is used as an additional method of learning foreign language at general, revision, optional lessons on covered themes, which helps to develop interest and holding students knowledge.

All of the above demonstrate the positive features, advantages and new opportunities that are integrated into a course of foreign language learning. It should be noted that the given scientific work focuses on formulation of the problem. Description of specific program of these courses can make up the content of specialized monographs and authorial developments.



  1. Bim I.L., Biboletova M.Z., Vaysburd M.L., Yakushina O.Z. The problem of basic education level in a foreign language in high school. "Foreign languages at school" 1990. # 5, p. 16.
  2. Bim I.L., Markov T.V. "A possible approach to the programming of a foreign language". "Foreign languages in school" 1992. # 1, p. 3.
  3. Milrud R.P., Ravinskaya S.V., Denisenko, O.A. Imagery as a psychological and pedagogical basis of the integrated course" Foreign Language + children's literature. " Foreign languages in school "1995. # 6, p. 18.
  4. Zagornaya L.P. About the integrated course development. "Foreign Language + Art Development," Foreign Languages in School "1992. # 3-4, p. 5.
Year: 2012
City: Oskemen
Category: Philology