L. Gura: "Those who see future opportunities will get what they want"

Interview with Lidiya Mikhailovna Gura, the director of the Humanitarian and Pedagogical Institute

Teachers… They teach us to talk, write, think, create, live in society and professionally prepare us for adult life. Teaching teachers is a special task and the person who is responsible for this task in Sevastopol is the director of the Humanitarian and Pedagogical Institute, Lidiya Mikhailovna Gura originally from Siberia.

- Lidiya Mikhailovna, why did you come to Sevastopol?

- My husband was sent to work here 25 years ago. I graduated from the Ho Chi Minh Institute of Foreign Languages in Irkutsk. My qualification is a teacher of French and English, I defended a thesis on the theory and history of pedagogics. After graduation I worked in secondary schools in the Republic of Buryatia and then in the Irkutsk Pedagogical Institute. In Sevastopol I worked as the director of the City Humanitarian University and at present I am the director of the Humanitarian and Pedagogical Institute of Sevastopol State University.

- What nice memories can you share from your student years?

- When I studied at the Faculty of Roman Languages we had a remarkable subject – ‘A Course of French Civilization’ and it was delivered by teachers from France! It was great to learn about the history of the country and traditions of the nation from native speakers! At that time there were also international clubs, where it was possible to learn a foreign language better, talking to native speakers without needing to go abroad and working as guides and interpreters in VAO ‘Intourist’ during a practical work period of study.

- What would you like to change in the teaching methods of the institute today?

- First of all to use digital technology and create an individual curriculum for each student. This will allow them to develop personal qualities that are required ‘here and now’.

- How well are graduates of the institute prepared for real work?

- We try to form professional competencies in our students, to give them good knowledge, remembering the words of a great Russian pedagog Ushinski, who said that ‘an empty head does not think’. Apart from that we leave 22-24 weeks in the curriculum for practical work. We have contracts with employers, first of all they are institutions of educational and social spheres. There is also an opportunity to correct main and additional academic programs following feedback from the further vocational training of pedagogs in Sevastopol.

- Lidiya Mikhailovna, there can be a lot of street advertisements with grammar mistakes. What in your opinion can be the cause of such illiteracy?

- You know, I am also displeased with that problem. Probably, this is connected with the fact that people read less books, write less with a pen and type more. A computer underlines mistakes and a person only corrects them. It’s good that a literacy test for different population groups is now held in Russia. By the way, it was the Department of Journalism and Slavonic Philology of our University that carried out ‘Total Dictation’ for the first time in Sevastopol. There were so many people who wanted to write it that the auditorium could not accommodate everybody.

- Did you write the dictation?

- I was going to do that, but I could not because I had to take care of organizational matters. The teachers checked the dictation until late in the evening. The results turned out to be not very satisfying. But the fact that there were a lot of people of different ages inspires and indicates a big interest towards literate writing.

- What plans do you have for the future and what is necessary to fulfill them?

- I consider my main task to be gathering and preserving the best experience that has been accumulated for many years, but this is not enough. I am all for innovation and creativity. The institute should be not just up-to-date, but, perhaps, even ahead of its time. To do this we need to increase the variety of academic programs, obtain a license for programs such as ‘Journalism’ and ‘Linguistics’; we consider promoting projects and services that give an economic effect: translation, teaching foreign languages to different population groups, etc. Those who see future opportunities will get what they want. As we say in Russian, “keep putting one foot in front of the other”.