О курсе

Данный курс разрабатывался на протяжении 10-ти лет. В основу методики преподавания легли как передовые технологии, так и традиционные методы обучения, что обеспечивает, с одной стороны, активизацию учебно-познавательной и мыслительной деятельности, внутреннюю мотивацию и субъектность в обучении и, с другой стороны, прочное усвоение знаний и формирование умений и навыков.

Содержание и организация занятий основаны на психологическом аспекте усвоения знаний:


  • восприятие
  • осмысление
  • запоминание
  • применение
  • закрепление
  • обобщение
  • систематизация.

Структура курса:

Модульная система содержания и организации курса позволяет реализовывать принцип преемственности и прочности обучения. В рамках одного модуля учащийся имеет возможность первичного и вторичного закрепления лексико-грамматического материала. Каждый последующий модуль помимо усвоения новых знаний обеспечивает активизацию лексики и грамматики предыдущих модулей. В завершение каждого модуля предлагается промежуточное тестирование, позволяющее отследить прогресс учащегося.
Содержание курса представляет собой сборники тестов за 2007-2012 гг. а также авторские разработки на закрепление, обобщение и систематизацию материала этих сборников, и формирование умений и навыков применения этих знаний.



“Marker-Card” System of Vocabulary Workout in Teaching English

as a Means of Forming Students’ Learning-Cognitive Competence


Modern pedagogical and psychological science considers that the process of education in contemporary school might be successful only if the student is viewed as the subject of teaching and learning. The student’s active position in the educational process is maintained through activity and competence approaches [1]. Traditional methods of teaching, though they are still substantially effective in the scope of forming skills, seem unproductive in motivation, development of thinking and forming the ability of self-training. The problem of reproductive methods is based on the global tendency of the transfer to the “information” society. American scientists have stated that the amount of information which comes down to theaverage contemporary New-Yorker within a day is equal to that which used to come down to the average New-Yorker within all his life three hundred years ago. What does this mean for a teacher? What may a teacher expect of the student? The volume of the human’s short-term memory hasn’t increased within the last decades; meanwhile the amount of information he or she has to deal with has become enormously big. After school the student comes home and starts operating numerous sources of information, which replaces the knowledge he or she has acquired at the lessons.


 Thus, working with students on the vocabulary nowadays is unlikely to be effective if a teacher uses only the student’s memory through reproductive methods as our short-term memory is unable to handle such a big deal of data. In our opinion what should we use as the guides leading new knowledge from short-term memory to the system of subjective experience (long-term memory), are intellectual operations, such as association, comparison, deduction, syntheses and suchlike. In the contemporary theory and practice of teaching there are plenty of methods and modes which activate those intellectual operations in the student’s mind. The author has made an attempt to generalize the most effective traditional and active methods and modes of teaching in the ‘Marker-Card’ system of vocabulary work-out, which may be used at the optional extras for highly-motivated students and partially at the core lessons of English.


The idea of vocabulary workout through ‘markers’ and ‘cards’ appeared in 2008 during preparing students of the 11th form for the centralized exam and the Olympiad at the optional extras. Within several years the approaches, methods, forms and modes of teaching which the author used during his classes constituted the ‘Marker-Card’ system, which is now being successfully applied in the process of teaching highly-motivated students in Grammar School 29 of Minsk.


The system got its name from the word ‘marker’, meaning something deserving attention. We call ‘marker’ a lexical-grammar unit, which we come across in a text, article, video fragment, which is of interest to us in the scope of novelty, or complexity, or non-standard usage, or figurative meaning, or inconsistency towards the mother tongue. So-called set expressions and word combinations are ‘markers’ automatically. For example, in the rain is a typical ‘marker’ as this word combination has another preposition in the Russian and Belarusian languages. Learning those things by heart is of no use nowadays for the reasons mentioned above. So, the system supposes a number of activities, allowing the student to activate the intellectual operations which will maintain the transfer of the ‘marker’ from short-term memory to the subjective experience, which ensures the ability to use it in speech and in different types of writing tests. And, speaking and grammar skills in their turn will perform as a means of teaching and learning. The structure of the system comprises five blocks which correspond to the stages of the objective process of acquiring knowledge and forming abilities and skills. They are: perception, comprehension, application, consolidation, generalization and systematization.


The first block of the system is dedicated to identification of  ‘markers’ and deals with perception and comprehension. At this stage the student’s major task is to single the ‘marker’ out of the sentence answering the question ‘Why is it a ‘marker’?’ and ‘In which types of tasks may I encounter it in the test?’ For example: We enjoyed skiing while we were on holiday. There are two things in the sentence which are of interest to us, so there are two markers: enjoy doing (the verb enjoy demands the gerund) and on holiday (the absence of the article). The first one may be met in such tasks as ‘verb forms’, or ‘paraphrase’, or ‘open cloze’, or ‘correct the mistake’; the second one may appear in ‘insert articles or prepositions’. The major value of such an activity is in so-called individual search for knowledge, maintaining the student’s subjective position in learning and activating critical and deductive thinking. Also, the activity promotes self-motivation to learning as it puts the student in front of intellectual difficulties, which responds to the child’s natural curiosity. The first block initially supposes cooperative work of the teacher and the student. Gradually, the student is given more self-dependence until he or she is able to perform independently. And, as the final step, identification of ‘markers’ is given as a home task.


The second block is directed to actualization of ‘markers’ and takes place at the stage of application. Here, the teacher creates conditions for using the markers in speech. So, speaking skills act as the means of teaching. There are plentiful methods and modes of teaching which are suitable for this activity. The main point is to let the student work out different situations where he or she could use those markers. Some of the modes which are the most effective in our opinion will be presented in the further examples.


The third block is the most important as it deals with practicing and supposes individual and independent work. This activity is performed in the frames of consolidation. The task offered is making a ‘Marker Table’, which allows activating the student’s grammar skills. The essence is that the student works out the marker in different grammar structures, making up short sentences. The example of a ‘Marker Table’ will be provided later.


The fourth block is devoted to control and self-control. Here, the teacher maintains generalization of knowledge and abilities. The main part in this block is performed by ‘Card’ – a sublimated test directed to the final consolidation and generalization of the vocabulary. The essence of a ‘card’ is that it demands ‘reverse’ identification of the marker and contains mostly problem and developmental tasks providing different intellectual difficulties which promote activation of corresponding intellectual operations. All this ensures a solid skill of using the marker in speech and various types of tests and development of thinking and forming the student’s capability of self-education. The example of cards will be presented later.


The fifth block deals with reflection and promotes the final stage of acquiring knowledge and skills, such as systematization. The student is offered to write an essay which is to contain all the worked out markers. This activity is preceded by the analysis of the mistakes which have been made in the ‘card’. After that the essay is recommended to be learnt by heart, which is rational as it has been composed by the student independently and his or her memory should work as well. This activity allows the ‘markers’ to finally occupy their places in the student’s system of knowledge and skills in his subjective experience.


Block 1. Identification. The stage of perception and comprehension.




Block 2. Actualization.

The stage of application.




Block 3. Practicing.

The stage of consolidation.




Block 4. Self-control.

The stage of generalization.




Block 5. Reflection. The stage of systematization.



Scheme 1. Scheme of the structure of ‘Marker-Card’ system 


Now, here is an example of the application of the ‘Marker-Card’ system. A fragment from an authentic text is taken as the initial material. So, the work in the frames of Block 1 is initiated. 


Amateur actress Margaret Davies knows what it is to suffer for her art: over the past few years she has played characters with arthritis, severe depression, thyroid disturbances and mysterious dizzy spells. Davies is a simulated patient, her roles based on real case histories but replayed as authentically as possible to medical students as part of their course in communication skills.


The project at Leicester University is in the vanguard of a campaign to put such skills at the centre of medicine rather than at its periphery. As senior lecturer Brian McAvoy explains, "Good communication is not just the icing on the cake. It's an essential part of being a competent physician."


Doctors' failings in this area are legendary. It is a rare patient who has never encountered at least one example of impatience, indifference, abruptness, tactlessness, insensitivity or just downright rudeness. All too often bedside manners are indistinguishable from bad manners.


Doctors are familiar with the communication problem. Dr David Pendleton, editor of the book ‘Doctor-Patient Communication’, carried out a study in the Oxford region and found that the doctors thought there was a barrier in about a quarter of their consultations. Key factors included the patient being a lot younger than the doctor, the patient being very tense, confused or shy and the patient being of a lower social class. The sex of either party did not seem to matter, nor did the length of the doctor's experience. In McAvoy's sessions a student's tutor and peers can comment on his approach and the "patient" can step out of role and join the discussion. Davies and her fellow actors are informed about the character's personality as well as medical history. In this way students can be prepared for aggression. Sessions are replayed on video later. McAvoy believes the feedback from a simulated patient is invaluable. "Real patients may be afraid or embarrassed to say, for instance, that the spontaneous hand on the shoulder was very much appreciated or that they disliked the way the doctor wouldn't look them in the eye." [2].


The ‘markers’ are underlined, so it depends on the level of training of the student – whether he or she has done it by him- or herself or in cooperation with the teacher. The main question of the activity is why the underlined word or word combination is a marker.


At the second stage actualization of the markers takes place. Students are offered to work out the ‘markers’ in speech.


Level I. The students are gradually put into the atmosphere of communication in English. ‘Drill’: Have you ever encountered cases of aggression against you? Do you know what it is? We guess you disliked it, didn’t you? ‘Guess the marker’: If a person expresses it he or she lets us know that he doesn’t care (indifference) and so on.


Level II. This level of tasks supposes implementation of skills of unprepared speech. ‘Interpreting practice’ (one student translates from English into Russian, the other one – from Russian into English): – Sir, we are interested in cooperation rather than trade. Wehopeourfuturerelationshipswillbebasedonmutualunderstanding. – Я уверен, что существенной составляющей нашего партнерства станут навыки делового общения. ‘Discussion’ (Students are given a statement and then they are offered to a) support it, b) contradict it and      c) make a conclusion using a certain ‘marker’): People nowadays are increasingly getting hooked on mobile telephones. Support: in the vanguard. Contradict: indistinguishable from. Conclusion: insensitivity. ’Free talk’ (Students are offered a topic and they are presenting an idea on it in turn using the ‘markers’ which are gradually introduced by the teacher): What makes a personality? - impatience, indifference, abruptness, tactlessness, rudeness.


         Level III. This level initiates student’s creativity and resourcefulness. ‘Situations’. Two or three students are offered to play out a real situation. Each response is to contain a following ‘marker’ which is offered by the teacher. The major value of the task is that the student is both to use a demanded marker and follow the dialogue in a logical way (recommended for highly-trained students). A doctor and a patient. – look smb. in the eye, either side, at least, comment on, invaluable, length. ‘Story-telling’. This supposes group work. Students are given a beginning of a story and their task is to develop and finish it using definite markers. Jack is an ordinary clerk in an ordinary office in London. He is sick and tired of his routine and blank way of life and once he decides to change the current state of things. – familiar with, carry out, join smb., smth., on video, mysterious, disturbance, so do I / nor (neither) do I.


         After the activities directed to actualization of ‘markers’ students fulfill the following stage supposing consolidation through the ‘Marker table’. The columns of the table are filled in depending on the grammar topics which are currently ‘active’ or on the aspects which cause personal difficulties (subjective aspect). The student is to make up sentences of his or her own and fill them in the table cells. The last two columns are obligatory to fill in if possible.























         After that the student is offered to do the ‘Card’ for generalization of the ‘markers’. Here are the examples of some problem-oriented tasks, which can be met in some writing tests prepared for language contests for students (Olympiads).


I. ‘Paraphrase’. The intellectual difficulty is achieved through ‘double’ paraphrasing (lexical and grammatical).


It’s an ordinary thing for her to be extremely active in environmental campaigns. 


She is accustomed to        being in the vanguard         of environmental campaigns. 


II. ‘Correct the mistakes if there are any’. Several markers are used in one sentence. The student’s task is to fulfill ‘reverse’ identification and find the one used incorrectly. The difficulty is that there are correct sentences.


The expert replayed it on video at least five times but he still couldn’t say what was the problem.


III. ‘Complex choice’. The student deals with a short text where some lines lack a word, some have an odd one and some are correct. The problem is in the diversity of decisions.


Psychologists, commenting cases of aggressive behavior admit    1)__________


that when we encounter with manifestations of aggression we      2)__________


should put out the conflict rather than join it.                               3)__________


IV. ‘Three in one’. The student is to identify the ‘marker’ among three cases of usage of the key word of the ‘marker’. The additional value of such a task is that activation of the ‘passive’ vocabulary also takes place.  


There are people who can write with … hand.


No one coped with the test, and Nick didn’t succeed … .


– Would you like Cola or Sprite? – Actually, … will do.      __________


V. ‘Multi Word formation’. The problem-oriented approach is fulfilled through identification of the ‘marker’ among similar words and activation of the ‘passive’ vocabulary. The number of initial words and points in the task depends on the complexity of the ‘markers’ and the student’s level of training.


                      LIKE (4)    SENSE (3)


1) There is every ______________ that he will win the contest.


2) ____________ his classmates, Sam took his studies seriously.


3) Those steps seemed quite ______________ in that situation.


4) It was clear that the child _____________ the new toy.


5) Getting older he became more ______________ to criticism.


6) Her life was full of disrespect and ______________. 


7) They are _____________ to accept our invitation as they’re very busy now.     


VI. ‘Vocabulary puzzle’. This task is directed to the activation of such intellectual operations as association and deduction and supposes several ways of solution. 


a)From the model givenon the right make up the synonym to the proper word in the sentence.


Ex. 0)  Those who    determine   to take this course are to sign up now.  D e c i d E


1) Evidently, why they didn’t turn up was a riddle to me.              M  _  _  _  _  _  Y


2) You shouldn’t believe in all you hear – it’s just a myth.         L  _  _  _  _  D


3) I must disagree with your opinion on the matter.                  D  _  _  _  _  R


4) We highly esteem your opinion but we have another one.     V  _  _  _  E


b) From the words inserted in points 1 – 4 make up the derivatives and fill them in the gaps.


00) The arguments were      indecisive    , so no one agreed to join the affair.


5) He went to Chicago to hear this _______________ rock band.


6) His _________________ made his boss think of firing him.


7) The athlete was training with ________________ stubbornness.


8) This ________________ piece of arts evokes nothing but admiration.


c) From the words given below make up derivatives which may replace the words inserted in points 5 – 8.


000) CONVINCING         to point 00       unconvincing     .




9)    to point 5 _______________


10)  to point 6 ______________


11)  to point 7 ______________


12)  to point 8 ______________


VII. ‘Quadri-problem’. The student is offered four words. He or she is to throw away one of them.










One characteristics unites all the words (the way of word formation) and the other one unites three of them (broaden, lengthen, widen suppose changing sizes) and distinguishes one of them (strengthen supposes changing a quality). So the ‘marker’ lengthen is worked out both linguistically and logically.   


         As a final step, systematization may be fulfilled through making up an essay on a definite topic, which is to contain all the ‘markers’ and informative and logical content.


         Thus, in our opinion the abovementioned technologies not only promote acquisition of solid vocabulary and grammar skills, but also create inward motivation and form intellectual abilities which underlie the student’s learning-cognitive competence.