PhD D.R. Tutaeva1
Dr.Hab., Professor L.B. Andryushchenko1
1Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Moscow
Keywords: physical education and sports, foreign language, higher education, interdisciplinary training.
Background. Many universities are aware of promises and benefits of modern interdisciplinary and interdepartmental cooperation initiatives and encourage them by their policies. Thus D.P. Tsarkova, Y.G. Agapova, T.M. Pakhomova, N.A. Khalzova et al. have analyzed the interdepartmental networks in the context of the academic innovative projects, and underlined their benefits for the existing bachelor and master training systems. Historically and traditionally, foreign language departments of many national universities have spearheaded the interdepartmental cooperation initiatives. It should be mentioned, however, that in spite of the growing interest in the interdisciplinary and interdepartmental cooperation in many universities (including cooperation of Physical Education and Foreign Language Departments) most of the relevant issues are still largely underexplored.
Objective of the study was to analyze benefits of a practical interdepartmental cooperation model tested by the Physical Education and Foreign Languages Departments of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics (PRUE) and offer a cooperation project design and management strategy to facilitate progress of students and faculties of the both Departments.
Methods and structure of the study. For the purposes of the study (that was had been run in the period of 2013 to 2018), we collected and analyzed the departmental reports for the period and completed a questioning survey of five university sub-department heads working in close cooperation with the Remote Education Department. Based on the study data, we offered a new interdepartmental cooperation model to facilitate the joint project activity.
Study findings and discussion. The Physical Education and Foreign Language Departments of Plekhanov Russian University of Economics are affiliated with its Humanities Center which core mission is to develop the humanities education policies for the university. Presently the new interdepartmental cooperation model gives a special priority to the following fields: theoretical and practical education activity; academic research projects for students and faculty; and the sub-departmental corporate cultures. The interdepartmental cooperation model helps the Foreign Language Department faculty upgrade and expand the education curricula. Thus, a special emphasis for the last few years in the academic Sports and Healthy Lifestyle course of the Remote Education Department was made on the issues of self-reliant project activity in the following fields: Olympic Games; Confederations Cup; FIFA World Cup; League of Nations; healthy lifestyles; doping issues in sports; sport celebrities etc. Cooperation with the physical education specialists helped the Foreign Language Departments diversify the curricula by video reports of sport events with commentaries in foreign languages, sport-specific glossaries of terms and expressions, visits to the international sport events, textual bilingual reports of the events etc. New competences in modern physical education and sports facilitate students’ academic progress, and glossaries are used to make abstracts of their theses. Many students appreciate the practical experience of volunteer services for the sport events with contribution from the university, join fans groups and then share this practical linguistic and social experience with their peers at the university and in the social networks (including the foreign ones) both to activate the education process and contribute to the academic physical education and sports.
In addition, students are encouraged to contribute to the academic research projects, report at the scientific conferences and publish their study reports on the issues of physical education sports and healthy lifestyles in foreign languages. One of the great examples of such cooperation and contributions is the annual International Theoretical and Practical Online Conference ‘Humanities at Economic University’ (hereinafter referred to as the Conference) that have been hosted since 2012 by the Foreign Language Department with support from the Humanities Center and Remote Education Department of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. Thus the university bachelors’ and masters’ participation in the 2015-16 Conference was estimated at 28.9% of the total number of reports on the subject, with 22% of the student reports co-authored by the academic physical education specialists. However, later on the organizing committee of the Conference decided to restrict the bachelors’ participation at sacrifice of the Conference membership and popularity. Recommended by experts for publication in the 2017 Conference proceedings were 84.6% of the total reports submitted on the subject.
The interdepartmental cooperation was recognized particularly beneficial for the corporate cultures of the both PRUE Departments, with the foreign language teachers actively involved in the sport events hosted by the university and the physical education staff members having practical support in their efforts to advance their sport- and national-culture-specific linguistic competences.
Conclusion. The new interdepartmental cooperation model piloting experience helped improve the interdisciplinary support culture and standards. It is now traditional for the faculties of the Physical Education and Foreign Language Departments to meet prior to every academic year to work out the priorities and goals of the interdepartmental cooperation for the year, discuss the joint projects and share the project responsibilities. The meetings produce theoretical and practical guiding materials for the full-time/ mixed/ correspondence course students; update the students on the practical benefits of the interdisciplinary cooperation in the academic physical education and foreign language courses; offer frame schedules for the joint projects; harmonize practical contributions and share responsibilities of students, faculty and department management under every project; analyze the project implementation process, reports and accomplishments; make plans for the future projects etc. Every project offers a basic 36-hour linguistic course for the university physical education specialists, with the Foreign Language Departments course curriculum giving knowledge of the sport-specific foreign scientific glossaries and reporting styles; basic requirements to abstracts in foreign languages; foreign scientific materials and their mining, processing and analyzing basics; foreign research databases and their application for the research purposes etc.
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Despite the growing interest in the interdisciplinary and interdepartmental cooperation in many universities, most of the relevant issues are still largely underexplored. The article analyzes benefits of a practical interdepartmental cooperation model tested by the Physical Education and Foreign Language Departments of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics in the period of 2013 through 2018. The model testing data and analyses were supported by a questioning survey of five university sub-department heads working in close cooperation with the Remote Education Department. The new interdepartmental cooperation model was found beneficial as verified by the growth of the faculty’s research and publishing activity in the physical education and sport domain; expanded pool of applicants for the foreign grant supported projects; and improved quality of the study reports published by the journals listed in the international citation databases. Based on the study findings, we offer a new cooperation policy to facilitate the students’ academic progress and professional growth of the departmental faculties.