An Overview of Language Teaching at Kaunas University of Technology

Author(s): Regina Petrylaite
Institution/Organisation: Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania (LT)


Language learning has institutional support: – the number of credits allocated to language learning has not been reduced so far;
More adequate language learning facilities have been opened:  all the 11 faculties and International Studies Centre have computer labs designed especially for language teaching;  - the number of students in a group has decreased (from over 30 to about 25/20 students)
The Centre of Foreign Languages has been encouraging language teachers to create new language modules as well as implement them in distance learning. 

The pedagogical skills and motivation of the language teaching staff add to the motivation of learners.

The integration of computer programmes and Internet resources into the syllabus makes it possible to update language learning and enhance learners’ motivation. Regular surveys of students’ evaluation of the computer programmes have always shown positive or even enthusiastic results, and this is the main encouragement for further work and experimentation in the area.

Success factors due to the academic policy of one particular faculty, namely the International Studies Centre:

  • all academic courses in the above mentioned faculty are delivered via L2 (thus, future graduates are equipped for mobility and professional life in international environment);
  • Lithuanian students of this faculty have all the suitable conditions to communicate in L2 in both academic as well as everyday situations: tandem learning with incoming mobility students or students from different linguistic backgrounds is being implemented here - students from nine different foreign countries study together with Lithuanians;
  • after two years of fundamental and general courses in the foreign language the faculty provides its students with opportunities to study at any of eight Western European universities according to the partnership agreements;
  • currently, students of this faculty are offered 4 work placements in Fachhochschule Kiel, they can choose from 57 places in 28 foreign universities).

The University hosts the National committee of the International association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE). The association provides opportunities for KTU students to have internships abroad and for foreign students to have training in Lithuanian enterprises. This year students were offered 25 work placements in 13 countries.

The linking of language learning to students’ employability:
The annual event ‘Career Days’ held at KTU is a large fair designed for Lithuanian and foreign companies as well as KTU students. Students get an opportunity to get acquainted with the labour market, to get into direct contact with company representatives, to find a job or work placement, and companies can find prospective employees. Attractive catalogues with information about all the participating companies in several languages are offered for students’ study before the meeting and discussion. In the ‘Career days 2008’, 118 Lithuanian and foreign enterprises took part. Companies are eager to employ students with competence in several foreign languages.

KTU students’ participation in mobility exchange programmes is competitive. One of the most significant and relevant eligibility criteria is the language proficiency level, which makes it one of the major factors for language studies. Only after the language assessment are they allowed to participate in the selection for the mobility programme at their respective faculties.

Access to the target language sources may contribute to students’ motivation for self study and personal development: the library of KTU has subscription world databases: universal  ones, as Science Direct, Academic Search Complete (EBSCO), SpringerLINK/Kluwer, SAGE Journals Online, and specialized ones, e.g.: IEEE / IEL, ACS Publications, Institute of Physics Publishing (IOP), Annual Reviews, Emerald Engineering etc.

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