30 April 2020
For over a decade now, foreign teachers have been working in the staff of the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (head of the department Zhuravleva Yevgeniya). This has been made possible by the opening Center for the Polish Language and Culture on the initiative of Poland Embassy, which has been operating in the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics since 2011. Since then, on the recommendation of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange NAWA, Polish language teachers started to come to the university, who taught Polish as an elective course of educational programmes «Russian language and literature» and «Philology: Russian language» as well as optional classes, which can be attended by students from any faculty. Over the years, different teachers had worked: Tomasz Piontek (2010-2013), Magdalena Zakrevska (2013-2014), Malgojata Begus (2014-2016), Maria Ioanna Ksenzhek-Zamlevska (2016-2017), Daniel Zatorski (2017-2019), Agnieszka Jermolowicz (2019-2020). The activity of the foreign teachers are coordinated by Department of International Coopertation.
During that relatively short period working at our university, a foreign teacher Agnieszka Jermolowicz gained respect among the colleagues of the department and students who study the Polish language.
As a specialist, Agnieszka Jermolowicz, constantly applies new methods of language teaching in her classes, uses the multimedia equipment available at the Center for Polish Language and Culture, which helps to achieve high results. Over the current academic year, many different events have been held related to the culture of the Polish people and the community of Kazakhstan and Poland. Students, under the guidance of a teacher, were able to take part in several competitions in the Polish language and win prizes.
The isolation during the pandemic, related quarantine period did not frighten Agnieszka Jermolowicz, she stayed in Kazakhstan and started to continue to learn the Polish language, but now in online. It became clear how pressing the issue: What is the most effective and productive way to teach online? How do you follow the program and at the same time accompany the learners on this wonderful adventure, which is education and self-development?
Agnieszka Jermolowicz is remembered as the most difficult moments of life to force to think: “As reality shows, none of us was ready for such a shock. Getting started online was not easy. It was filled with uncertainty and the search for the most significant solutions and answers - how to transfer traditional learning to virtual space most effectively, which platform to choose, how to motivate students who attend optional classes, and how to cope with their own emotions related to isolation in someone else’s, although and a very friendly country for foreigners?”
But answers and solutions were found, moral support came from the Embassy of Poland, teachers of the department, students. Also, according to the schedule approved at the department, there were optional classes with students of the beginning and continuing groups, but now on the Zoom and MS Teams platforms. Of course, everything is not so simple, but the teacher tries to diversify classes with non-standard tasks, creative ideas and innovative teaching methods.
That’s how Agnieszka Jermolowicz thinks about it: “I keep explaining to myself that this is a transitional state, and in the current situation, distance learning is the safest model of education, and it certainly has its drawbacks. Recently, during a lesson in which we discussed the development of the Polish-Kazakh “quarantine” mini-dictionary, in which we had to focus on new words summarizing the quarantine days, the Internet connection was constantly interrupted. At such moments, every time I try to calm myself and remember three points. Despite the difficulties, I try to conscientiously carry out my work, I want to devote time to my students, share my knowledge with them, show empathy, and help and support them. I try to remember that a lively young man sits on the other side of the screen. A man who has his own emotions and feelings. A person who does not know what the future will bring us and when the pandemic and the isolation associated with it will end. A man who does not know when he will meet friends. A person who does not know if the Internet connection will be disconnected during the lesson, for which he may be very worried and whether he will again have to share the computer with his family.
Let us be demanding, but also understanding. Let’s focus on the relationships, because this is one of the factors influencing learning efficiency”.
On April 22, Agnieszka Jermolowicz, together with students, took part in an international online conference organized by the Institute for Social Development and Entrepreneurship (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan), devoted to the discussion of urgent problems of online education and prevention of coronavirus among young people. From the Polish side, Radek Budzynski, a Polish language teacher at the Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland), a representative of the Center for Polish Education Abroad ORPEG, came out for video communication.
Students of «Russian philology», «Information systems», «Translation business», «Russian language and literature» took an active part in the work of the conference (Kamila Kolmarova, Shakhista Oktamova, Temirzhanova Dina, Baldikova Altynai, Slamkhanova Akerke, Nurmukhanova Aruzhan, Oserbai Nurdal) and a student from the Polonia Sunday School Violet Filipenko, acting at the GA «Polacy» in Nur-Sultan (Chairman Elena Rogovskaya). The event was very useful for all participants as well as for enhancing international cooperation.
Speaking to colleagues and students from different countries, , Agnieszka Jermolowicz said: “Let’s remember that, in the age of modern technology, access to knowledge is no longer a problem, but a challenge for us is the creation of groups in which knowledge can be shared, in a friendly environment, on how to solve specific problems, learn from each other. Summing up, I want to wish all of us that the time of interrupted Internet connections, a time full of uncertainty and anxiety about tomorrow, be over as quickly as possible. See you soon at the ENU!”
We also wish great success to our foreign colleagues who, at this difficult time, are working with us for the development of information and educational space! And we still have many interesting meetings, scientific discoveries and educational events ahead of us!