Most teachers in Ukraine are qualified to teach beginner and possibly Elementary levels. Above Elementary, most teachers are seriously challenged. Why? Good question. I have asked myself this question many times. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. The University system is to blame for most of it. Ukrainian English Teacher training at University is not what it might seem like.
Unfortunately, the standards at Ukrainian Universities are quite low. The instruction methodologies are extremely old fashioned and there is no financial motivation. Salaries at public schools are quite low. By most standards, teachers at public schools are paid at poverty levels in public schools.
One of the biggest challenges English teachers face is dealing with the lack of resources in the classroom. Most public schools are behind the times. A Ukrainian English teacher is rarely taught how to use computers.
Modern tools like computers, white screens and projectors are on a long wish list. Teachers are still forced to use outdated materials. Most students find learning English boring. The big question is “How can teachers influence the way they teach? This can be done using all available resources in and out of the classroom.
Most students have access to computers. Why not ask students to use Internet resources like YouTube and other useful sites? Even the youngest students know how to use a computer.
Ukrainian students usually start public school at the age of 7. Kindergarten is available at a much younger age. As young as 4. This is not public. Private schools are quite busy in Ukraine for those who can afford it.
So, are most Ukrainian teachers qualified to teach English to young students? The answer is “YES”. They are more than qualified to teach young students. That said, there should be more emphasis placed on pronunciation and speaking. Less emphasis needs to be placed on grammar as long as testing if fair and graded without prejudice.
Many students in Ukraine attend private language schools. The main focus at Larisa English Ukraine is speaking. All parents tell us that there is not enough speaking practice in public schools. Most of the instruction is all about grammar with very little time to speak.
At Larisa English in Mykolaiv Ukraine, both grammar and speaking are priorities. We often use a 80/20 rule with students. Eighty percent speaking and twenty percent grammar. This practice capitalizes on the grammar taught at public schools while focusing in on Speaking, vocabulary and pronunciation.