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  Designed by the Center for IT in Education
"REPETITOR MultiMedia"

for the English Language Office (ELO) of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow

Welcome to the Shaping the Way We Teach English in Russia Visual Guide for Teachers and Trainers. It is designed to guide teachers and trainers through a collection of 18 video clips of teachers in their classrooms. The video clips are available on DVD-ROM. This Guide, visual promo materials and Teachers’ Forum can be found at The Guide builds on the Shaping the Way We Teach English teacher training material developed by the University of Oregon and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. The Shaping the Way We Teach material is not for sale and is available without any cost at

This Guide is based on a “pedagogy of questions” rather than a “pedagogy of answers.” In short, the Guide offers a series of questions that intend to guide teachers toward viewing classroom practices in a new light and, in turn, toward finding new approaches to their own teaching. The Guide does not offer a standard approach for teaching in the classroom because it does not believe that such an approach exists.

Instead, the Guide is based on the belief that there are groups of core principles Key ELT Issues that guide a successful language classroom. These are listed in Section I. Questions have been carefully developed to help users of this material explore each of the principles. Many of these questions appear in Section II. Ultimately, users of this material will begin generating their own questions that can be used to help teachers continue to look critically and creatively at their own lessons and the lessons of other teachers.

The 18 teachers who appear in the video clips all have strengths and weaknesses. It is up to the viewers to determine for themselves which practices are effective and which are not. It is also up to the viewers to develop modified or alternative practices that can strengthen a lesson.

All video projects that try to capture classroom practice are inherently flawed in that, once teachers and students are aware they are being filmed, the classroom’s authenticity is compromised. This is the “observer’s paradox.” Anatoly Zhislin and his crew at ‘REPETITOR MultiMedia’ – Ilya Simanovsky, Dmitry Afanasjev and Victor Bindarev have succeeded in keeping this to a minimum. It is also important to keep in mind that the clips are heavily edited. Forty five to ninety-minute classes have been condensed to 15 to 30-minute clips. We have tried to capture the spirit and flow of the classroom.

This Guide would not be possible if the 18 teachers did not open their classroom to a camera crew. We hope it encourages you and your colleagues to open your classrooms to one another and to share your practices in a critical and creative light. This could be done by having the class videotaped or simply by having colleagues observe or team-teach with you. We believe that spending 30 minutes each week observing others teach and discussing the classroom practices will lead to a much improved classroom and overall system that will yield stronger results for our students

We hope that this will also lead to a more fulfilling professional and personal life.

David Fay