Objectives. The problem of tolerance is becoming vital in the process of studying at any institution of higher education as the modern society needs specialists having both a high professional level and ability to manage events and interact with people. It necessitates naming a complex of measures aimed at the development of students´ tolerant behavioral skills.
First of all, it should be noted that in 2001 the Government of the Russian Federation adopted a federal program entitled "The formation of the basis for a tolerant mindset and the prevention of extremism in the Russian society". The aim of the program is to form and spread social tolerance which is to define the stable behavior at the individual and group level in conditions of the social stress .
The program implies conducting a series of measures in many Russian regions. These measures include activities aimed at the formation of a tolerant consciousness like seminars, master-classes, group trainings, exhibitions, contests, discussions on tolerance and sport activities with representatives of different social groups.
Methods. One of the methods intended to the improvement of students´ tolerant behavioral skills includes group trainings on the base of the emotional leadership in higher educational institutions, such as colleges, institutes, universities and academies. Before carrying out the training it is useful to identify and discuss goals as well as the content of the project within teaching staff. Special attention should also be paid at lecturers´ willingness, readiness and competence (including an emotional one) to accomplish the training course as well as cooperate with others.
Summary. There are different variants of conducting the group training. On the one hand, classes can be included in the regular timetable. On the other hand, they can be given off-hour. Both possibilities have their advantages and disadvantages. The former ensures better attendance but is fixed within a time-limit of a regular class. The latter allows varying the time of the end of the training class but it can become a reason for poor attendance. Therefore, there can appear some negative impact on the improvement of the whole group and, eventually, the results of the training.
Tolerance training can be flexible, i.e. lecturers can change exercises, include other tasks and exclude those which the group is not ready for.
The group trainings influence personality development strongly. So, it would not be useless for the group to create some ethical rules to follow at the classes. The rules contribute to comfort and secure atmosphere.
Soldatova G.U., Shaigerova L.A., and Sharova O.D. suggest the following rules as an example :
Participants´ motivation is an important factor for making the project a success. Lecturers must be able to involve audience from the beginning. They can create a range of business games improving group cohesion, mutual trust and interest in tolerance. In this case, the term is becoming clearer and more meaningful to the participants of the training.
Another measure for inspiring audience´s motivation is making a display of thematic posters or holding a wall newspapers contest. It allows focusing more attention on the problem of tolerance as well as inducing audience to think over their attitude to life, interrelationships, and reasons for the intolerant behavior.
Within the project aimed at the development of tolerant behavioral skills it is essential to mention the International Day for Tolerance (November 16th) to participants as many people do not even guess of the existence of such a day. Owing to UNESCO efforts, "tolerance" has become international lately and is considered to be a key notion in a range of world´s problems.
"It is filled with special meaning... it reflects intuitive perception of mankind unity, interdependency of all people, it means to respect human rights (including the right to be different) and refrain from harm as it implies harming all people and self-harm" .
In addition to above mentioned measures, travelling abroad promotes students´ tolerant behavioral skills. It is a good opportunity to immerse oneself in another culture with its own peculiar history, traditions and customs. Students can become interested in more active ways of interaction like sport activities, international camps, walking tours, parties, going to cinemas, theatres, taking part in festivals, and arranging meetings. It evidently brings an excellent students´ motivation who are striving for positive interaction and development of the highest possible level of mutual understanding and cooperation.
We can´t help mentioning the fact that higher educational institutions should bring students to follow moral standards which require to follow the idea: "treat people the way you want to be treated".
Unfortunately, the development of tolerant behavioral skills is unsystematic, inconsistent, and irregular. During studies lecturers hardly ever talk about tolerance. They do not apply a multitude of existing methods and techniques for tolerance development at English classes. From our point of view, the fact is closely connected with both a lack of methodical recommendations and insufficient skills. Lecturers frequently feel unwillingness to integrate main methodological and didactic material with additional ones.
One of the most productive methods of teaching is primal (emotionally intelligent) leadership created on the investigations in the field of emotional intelligence which can be the base for developing the emotional cross-cultural competence, including tolerant skills. So, future specialists can get the main skills in this sphere at universities and develop them, taking into consideration the constantly changeable professional context.
At the same time this method demands primal leadership skills of lecturers who should become leaders themselves and demonstrate emotional skills, appropriate behavior and activity in groups of students especially at the initial stage of education.
The concept of emotionally intelligent leadership is absolutely new as it is based on the idea of emotion management and aims at making response as the main motivating factor in the process of education. Up to now this aspect of teaching process has been treated as insignificant and has been ignored by educationalists. Moreover, emotions have been considered to be intolerable at work. Still, modern investigations come to prove their exceptional importance because any leader motivates his or her followers, influences on the problem interpretation, proposes variants of solution and even emotional reactions to it.
D. Goleman, R. Boyatzis, A. MacKee have determined the following set of emotional intelligence skills :
1. Personal skills - skills including emotional consciousness of self: an adequate self-esteem and analysis of emotions and their influence, realizing one´s strong and weak points by using one´s own experience.
The founder of American Leadership Forum J. Jaworski states: "Before you can lead others, before you can help others, you have to discover yourself."
Self-control is another important quality. One must be positive, control his/her negative emotions, be flexible to changes, persistent, full of initiative, active not to lose a chance. Emotionally intelligent leadership includes the positive vision of the situation and future.
2. Social skills - skills determining our consciousness of others, where empathy is a decisive factor for achieving the main goal of the leader, i.e. making response, understanding other people, their position and problems.
Progress in the development of students´ tolerant behavioral skills is observed within the framework of the given measures. Due to the fact that students tend to copy their lecturer´s behavior, he/she needs to demonstrate tolerant behavioral skills himself/herself.
Social sensitiveness, or empathy, plays a key role in achieving the main lecturer´s goal - getting response that helps to recognize group values and priorities. Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person´s feelings and emotions as if they were your own.
One of the ways of turning passive empathy into an active one is exploring it in the communication context. In this case, empathic listening means both auditory perception and listen-with-an-open-heart perception when words, intonation, and proxemics (the branch of knowledge that deals with the amount of space that people feel it necessary to set between themselves and others) are perceived.
S.Covey defines such empathic listening as one of the qualities of highly effective people: seek first to understand, then be understood .
Polycultural education context is determined by the following aspect: economically, empathy is the great art and can be a platform for effective polycultural communication and relationships. It is rather difficult to have an intercultural dialogue. Mistakes and misunderstanding are not rare. Empathy, in this case, serves as an antidote for developing nonverbal communication skills and decoding emotional messages hidden behind words.
Conclusion. From our point of view, adoption of above mentioned measures can make it possible for students of higher educational institutions to learn how to build stable interpersonal relationships and to reach the highest level of mutual understanding. Such measures also help to develop tolerant behavioral skills and result in improving effectiveness of such approach at English classes.
Polycultural context defines the novelty of such methods as teaching is processed at the English language classes. The content of educational portfolio identifies the students´ professional context.
Generally speaking, foreign language teaching is a good platform for the development of intercultural communication competence as it means mastering both linguistic and wide communicative skills in the polycultural context.
However, special attention must be paid to the fact that the process of communication is multidimensional, i.e. it is interpreted as an interaction at the subjective level: lecturer /student relationships, student / student relationships and so on. It means that there is a need for developing imaginative and effective methods which are going to consider personal characteristics of all interacting parties and create favorable conditions for managing people. One of which is emotional leadership.
At the same time, such training methods include the educational function which is aimed at the development of tolerant behavior towards representatives of different cultures both at the intercultural and the intracultural (different social and professional groups) levels .
Beketova Anna P., Post-graduate Student, Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Economics and Management, Ural Federal University, ANNishuarA@yandex.ru
Scientific supervisor: Kuprina Tamara V. Professor of Russian Academy of Natural History, PhD, Associate Professor of Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Economics and Management, Ural Federal University, firstname.lastname@example.org