Information for Instructors
Welcome to our e-textbook PodorozhiUA!
This textbook is designed for beginners’ levels of Ukrainian, for an English-speaking [but not necessarily] university/college audience. If used as the main textbook in a beginners’ Ukrainian class, the suggested time frame is a 26-week-long course with three 50-minute classes per week and students completing three lessons on their own via online self-study.
Please note that this textbook may be adapted to other contexts and structures of delivery. We can provide some alternative scenarios; please contact us.
As a note, the textbook may also be successfully used by individual learners, as it offers a guided step-by-step approach towards progression in language learning. Therefore, the textbook could be used by any individual not necessarily associated with an educational institution for self-learning and self-practice purposes.
With PodorozhiUA, we strive to meet the needs of modern learners, make our Ukrainian language course more engaging to post-secondary students, and promote Ukrainian Studies. Our resource allows students to maximize practice of speaking and interactive skills in a collaborative environment during in-class sessions, and to increase students’ engagement in the learning process, which is paramount for any learning success. Most importantly, through our materials, students receive exposure to the target culture and learn how to successfully communicate with native speakers in various contexts. The textbook additionally provides students with an opportunity to develop their computer and learner autonomy skills. Therefore, by addressing students’ desires for more technology in the classroom, the pedagogical implications of this textbook go beyond language learning to inform overall educational practices.
In developing this textbook, our main goal was to integrate a learner-centered approach into our students’ learning experience. The novelty of this textbook is its blended-learning format, which allows for a combination of face-to-face instruction/learning and online self-learning with self-practice. As an instructor, you are most likely aware that this approach is becoming increasingly popular in academia for its effectiveness in delivery and learning outcomes.
The approach used in designing the textbook under consideration is communicative and task-based, the key elements of which are to aid students in developing critical-thinking skills; to provide them with guided opportunities for reading, speaking, listening, and writing; and to assist students in acquiring sociocultural understanding through the incorporation and use of authentic materials in the learning and teaching processes. Based on this approach, the learning and teaching materials provide opportunities for students to practice various skills in the language in a range of contexts, which simulate an array of environments likely to be encountered in everyday situations of the target culture. That is, this textbook includes diverse cultural materials, as well as facts and issues that Ukrainians or those interested in Ukraine may encounter in everyday life and day-to-day communication. The content, organized into 26 chapters, focuses on a number of topics normally found in a beginners’ language textbook, including personal information, family, place of living, travelling, appearance, shopping, sports, seasons and weather, holidays and celebrations, food and diet, health and medicine, and work and leisure, to name a few. The topics are chosen in order to accommodate learners’ functional and practical needs for everyday communication at a beginners’ level.
PodorozhiUA is built using the WordPress platform. It is designed as responsive and mobile- friendly, which means it can be easily accessed and used on any device (desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone). The textbook is highly interactive and uses rich media such as interactive quizzes and video and audio materials. Some of its more advanced features are included specifically for an educational/university setting. These include course registration, gradebook, and restricted access to parts of the course (such as instructor materials); it also allows instructors to track students’ progress and students to track their own progress. The textbook does not depend on any external web services. It is highly portable and can be packaged, duplicated, and easily moved to any hosting server that supports WordPress.
From our experience, we are aware that Ukrainian keyboards always present challenges to our students. In our textbook, we attempt to assist both instructors and students with this challenge. We prepared some helpful information in the very first online lesson 1.2.
The glossary is a mini-dictionary of key vocabulary found in the textbook.
The reference is provided for student self-study, in a format that we hope will be easy for students to use. Please note that this brief reference covers mostly those grammatical points that are presented in the textbook.
Please note that we provide very brief grammatical explanations throughout the textbook, including in online self-study stations. In line with our approach outlined earlier, we do not believe in instructors lecturing on grammar during class time, which should be spent on practice and communication.
This resource provides all verbs used in the textbook in an alphabetical order. Entries for the imperfective verbs provide their perfective variant, and direct to all basic verbal forms for present, past, and future tenses of both aspectual variants. Entries for perfective verbs are referenced with their respective imperfective variants, leading to the necessary verbal form tables.
Note: As an instructor, you may consider incorporating some practice of verbal conjugation into teaching and/or student practice during face-to-face classes.
Where to Find
This is an index that allows the user to search the needed information from the entire textbook. The use of this tool provides an opportunity to quickly and efficiently find the place where specific Functions of language, Vocabulary sets, or Grammar points are presented and discussed. This index will direct users to a specific trip, meeting, or station in which a particular function, vocabulary, or grammatical point is found.
In this section, you will find lesson plans, assessment samples, assessment criteria, and appendices. For details, see below under Resources and Teaching Techniques / Instructor Manual.
The course management feature may be requested by instructors who are planning to use our textbook and who need to track their students’ progress. Fees may apply as technical support is needed. Please contact us.
Information for Students
Information for Instructors
This feature is used in instructed learning scenarios when you, as an instructor, create a specific class. As an instructor, when logged in, you have access to the ‘teaching mode’, which provides you with lesson plans for in-class meetings. In addition, when logged in, you are able to trace your students’ progress, such as their completion of online lessons and their postings on forums.
Structure of each unit / trip
As mentioned above, the textbook can be adapted to various schedules. The optimal scenario would be to schedule three face-to-face classes per week and have students complete the 3 online lessons in between these face-to-face meetings. Because we have 26 units, in this optimal scenario the textbook could be completed in 26 weeks. However, as we all know, the optimal scenario is not always the case, and our resources can be adapted to other configurations.
The following section explains our optimal scenario, in which each trip is to be covered over the period of one week. According to the organization of materials, a one-week long course module consists of three fifty-minute in-class F2F learning sessions, or зустрічі (see the Figure below for an illustration of Module 1). For instance, the F2F classes take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (in the Figure below, illustrated as 1.1, 1.3, and 1.5). In the Figure below, the two online hours or станції are illustrated as 1.2 and 1.4. In this scenario, students are asked to complete these on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or before the next F2F class. During the in-class зустрічі, the focus is on speaking and interactional activities. In the online станції, the emphasis is on grammar and vocabulary introduction, review, and practice. At the end of each module, students are asked to complete an online station пересадка, marked 1.6 (see Figure below). This online пересадка is designed to summarize what students learned during the week, or in a particular module, while also preparing students for the first class of the next module (some type of written homework is also included). In the optimal scenario, students are asked to complete the пересадка station over the weekend or before the next module, as indicated in the following Figure.
Figure: One-week course organization: general structure (an example for Unit/Trip 1)
As shown in the Figure, with the blended-learning model students complete approximately three hours of independent online study and online home assignments (this amount varies from student to student) in addition to three in-class contact hours per week. A two-week organizational pattern is provided in the About section, Information about the textbook: For Students.
By the end of one semester, upon completion of units 1-13, the student should be able to:
- Communicate with others: introduce themselves and meet others; talk about where they are from, where they live, what courses they are taking, and what they like to do; discuss daily routines, weekend plans, holidays, appearance, and food
- Be able to ask simple questions and engage in simple conversations
- Be able to produce simple greetings, ask for and give directions, describe appearance; order food in a restaurant, buy groceries, make arrangements with friends over the phone; write a greeting card
- Be able to write simple texts in Ukrainian (in ‘cursive’)
- Be able to understand simple audio and video texts such as TV ads.
By the end of the second semester, upon completion of units 14-26, the student should be able to:
- Communicate with others: introduce themselves and meet others; talk about interests and professions, discuss leisure activities, shopping, eating out, discuss films, sports, and travels.
- Be able to ask everyday questions and engage in everyday conversations
- Be able to order food in a restaurant, buy groceries, inquire about interests and preferences of others, discuss trips and vacation, give advice, make arrangements with friends over the phone, compare things (groceries, films and other items), and write film reviews
- Be able to write simple texts in Ukrainian (in ‘cursive’)
- Be able to understand simple audio and video texts (such as TV ads).
Suggested Grade Distribution
The final grade is calculated on the following basis:
Participation (Preparation and Participation):
IN CLASS (10%), ONLINE (10%)……………………………………………….. 20%
Students are expected to actively participate in class work, to complete all of the assignments from online ‘stations’ and online ‘transfers’ on time and to be able to participate prepared in class (if absent or online component is not completed, 0%)
Written work (homework assigned on a weekly basis)*…………. 15%
Quizzes (weekly)**…………………………………………………………………. 12.5%
Forum posts (weekly)***………………………………………………………… 2.5%
Mid-term oral exam (week 6)****………………………………………….. 5%
Mid-term written exam (week 6)……………………………………………. 15%
Final oral exam (last week of classes)…………………………………….. 10%
Final written exam (last week of classes or during exam period). 20%
*Written homework assignments are found in each transfer, that is, 2.6, 3.6…..15.6 online lessons.
** These are suggested on a regular basis, beginning with unit 3, on a weekly basis. Samples are provided in the Instructor Manual.
*** In several online stations, students are asked to post on forums. Instructors can monitor and trace student forum posts if logged in and subscribed to the Instructor dashboard.
****Samples of all oral and written exams are provided in the Instructor Manual.
Resources and Teaching Techniques (section For Instructors)
We welcome you as an instructor to contact our team in order to create an instructor’s profile. This profile will enable you to access a bank of instructor resources, including lesson plans, printable instructional materials, language games, and handouts for classroom activities. You will also have access to various assessment tools designed to accompany the textbook.
Every trip in the textbook is designed to provide a clear roadmap through the material for both instructors and students. For you, as an instructor, we have prepared in-class lesson plans, which can be either printed or accessed electronically. First, you are advised to create an instructor’s profile.
If you prefer your in-class manual printed, you can download it in PDF format and print it as needed. These files are found in the Instructor Manual.
After creating an instructor’s profile, instructors who do not wish to print the textbook can open a particular in-class ‘meeting’ electronically, switching the view to the ‘teaching mode’ ON [a red bottom at the beginning of each meeting]. If the ‘teaching mode’ is open, the lesson plan with various instructional tips becomes visible and easy to navigate in preparation for teaching and during actual teaching.
In this ‘teaching mode’, you as an instructor will find various suggestions on how to present particular activities, vocabulary, grammatical information, and also language games and some additional classroom activities.
For in-class instruction, it is best to use the ‘teaching mode’ OFF by projecting the textbook to your students and while working with your students on in-class activities. The students will see the same display as they would in their textbooks, in front of them.
In the ‘teaching mode’ we offer you some ideas on how to create specific warm-up activities, which are crucial for setting the tone of your in-class interaction and atmosphere. Please also note that when students begin writing on forums from unit 3 onward, the forums become a great springboard for a number of warm-up activities.
Please note that the pedagogical design of activities and tasks associated with vocabulary and grammar differs between the in-class and online lessons. In the online format, vocabulary and grammar are introduced generally by viewing, listening, and reading texts. Following these instructional activities, students are offered opportunities for practice through a series of training exercises. In-class, students also work with vocabulary and grammar, but in an interactional rather than instructional manner.
In-class lessons often feature a particular Grammar in Focus section. This grammar is not explicitly presented to the students, but through an inductive approach. This mode of presentation begins in unit 4 when students are more or less comfortable with Cyrillic and the basics of Ukrainian. For instance, in meeting 4.5, students are provided with the Grammar in Focus: Nouns in the Locative Case. The table provides the endings, but some endings are missing. Students are tasked with completing this table through a series of activities. Before seeing the Grammar in Focus table, students work with exercise 1, which is a listening activity. First they listen to the text and underline the names of professions. They then share their results, after which they proceed to reading the text that they have heard in pairs or groups. While reading, they are asked to supply the missing endings in the table for places of work, which is the locative case. These types of activities are collaborative, and may be done in groups or pairs. While searching for the necessary forms in the text, students notice these forms in context, and while completing the table, students notice and discuss the ending patterns for the locative case. Only after this does the instructor go over the table with the new forms, normally using the choral repetition of all forms. Exercises that follow focus on practicing and producing, when students form and use the new grammatical forms in specific contexts. Note that in 4.5, another Grammar in Focus, the conjugation of the verb працювати, follows a similar presentation: students go back to the initial text in exercise 1, find the missing endings for this verb in order to complete the table, and then follow with practicing and forming the various verbal forms in additional contexts.
Please note that with respect to presenting new vocabulary and some new grammatical forms, we suggest using the so-called ‘five-step-technique’ (Tschirner et al.), and in the ‘teaching mode’ we guide you through the following five stages, presented below in general terms (please also see the relevant Video). The five-step-technique works best with an overhead projector as all students concentrate on the same set of images, and we suggest using the textbook projected on a large screen during in-class instruction. The images are presented in a table format, and the number ranges between 4 to 12 images.
In summary, this technique of new vocabulary and grammar presentation is organized into five consecutive steps:
Step 1: Presentation
This is an initial presentation of the new material in context. In this phase, you simply present the new vocabulary items or grammatical points while pointing at the images on your projected screen. Your speech should be clear, not rushed, and with pauses after each sentence, in which you present a particular word or a phrase in focus. Use very short, but connected sentences and provide a lot of repetition (based on your feeling of your student audience, of course). Make sure to present all items given.
Note: for self-learners and for student review options, this presentation of new vocabulary and/or grammatical points is also provided as an audio, which accompanies this type of activity.
Step 2: Receptive recall or reception
During this phase, students are asked to simply recognize the new vocabulary or phrases without yet producing them. Students concentrate receptively on the new items that the instructor presents in the question. In the textbook, we use either numbers or people’s names under each picture. With sequences of numbered pictures, you can ask: Де яблуко? [pause] Один?, Два?, Шість? Students, recognizing the word яблуко and seeing that this image is labeled with number 6, produce the number, in this case 6, of the picture of яблуко. Similary, if pictures are marked with names, then students would be asked to say а name. You would ask: На кому синя сорочка? [pause] Оксана? Петро? Яніна? After your question and prompts, students shout an appropriate name, for instance Петро, if the picture of синя сорочка was labeled with the name Петро (please note that students are not required to produce the correct case ending of the personal name, на Петрові; the focus here is on new vocabulary of ‘clothes’ and students are asked to receptively concentrate on the new vocabulary items). It is important to go over all new items, as in the presentational phase.
Step 3: Choral repetition
This phase is designed to practice pronouncing the new vocabulary and phrases, preparing students to use the new items productively in the next phase. The instructor models the new items and all students repeat them. If need be, either all or certain items may be repeated depending on your student’s reaction. This stage is the place to focus on correct pronunciation with all students together, without singling out any particular students. But, if you feel that certain students need more practice, repeat the choral repetition with all the items, perhaps varying the order of items.
Step 4: Productive recall
This is the phase of production, in which the instructor elicits the new vocabulary or phrases either by asking questions or by prompting students to produce a new item. For instance, if an image of яблуко is labeled 6, the instructor may simply say шість, and the students will produce the necessary new word that they’ve learnt – яблуко. Or, with clothes, the instructor would say the name of a person, such as Петро, and students would produce синя сорочка, because the name Петро accompanies the image of синя сорочка.
Alternately, and we would suggest trying this only after your students become familiar with this type of presentation, you can display the same image set but without new vocabulary or phrases spelled out. In the Instructor manual, you will find in-class Appendices, which provide images for this presentational technique.
Step 5: Personalization
In this phase, students apply the new words and phrases to their own situations, following a particular pattern. Here students may be asked to list items, to write them down, or to ask and answer questions. They could be asked to produce first the new items they have just learnt, followed by items that are relevant to a particular focus of this activity. In our textbook, the patterns for the personalization phase are provided in the five-step-technique activities.
(This technique is adapted from Tschirner et al.)
In summary, the five-step-technique allows for interaction initiated by the instructor, which gradually transfers to students, during which students individually or collaboratively personalize and practice newly introduced vocabulary or grammar elements.
 Tschirner, Erwin, et al. Kontakte: A Communicative Approach, 7th ed. McGraw-Hill, 2013.
- Without looking at a script (ask your students to look at you or at the board), students listen to the recording and are asked a question for general understanding – either a simple question or multiple choice (in initial units, questions and answers could be in English)
- During second listening, students are usually asked to follow the script and circle or underline specific vocabulary or add some missing forms. They may be asked whether certain information is Правда or Неправда.
- The next phase is practice and/or production, in which students are asked to practice similar dialogues or create similar texts with their partners.
The in-class lessons provide ample opportunities for students to engage and create with the language, and to practice and produce the newly-learnt forms and structures from both online and in-class activities. When students are asked to work collaboratively or in pairs on communicative activities, we strongly suggest that you have the appropriate patterns visible on the screen and always in front of students, regardless of whether they are sitting and working with partners or walking around the room. These patterns are provided in the textbook in each in-class meeting.
- After choosing their role, students scan through their own role card, to become familiar with the text and its overall content.
- Student A reads their text and Student B enters the missing information, or as in this exercise, answers questions based on the text read by Student A.
- Students check their answers and make necessary corrections.
- Students switch roles and work on other similar readings.
Writing activities are presented in both online and in-class lessons. In the online stations, students are asked to type, using the Ukrainian keyboard. Activities in which students learn writing=typing and spelling are Learn, Speller, and Stop.
During the first four units, in the online stations, a special emphasis is placed on handwriting in cursive, which some students in today’s world do very well, but for others may be challenging. In the online stations we created handwriting videos, under Handwriting, which students can watch before they copy a variety of texts.
At the completion of each unit, during the last self-study transfer (1.6, 2.6….14.6 etc.) students are asked to complete a written assignment in the section What to submit. As an instructor, you should inform your students about how you would like to receive these assignments. We recommend that students complete these in handwriting, to best of their abilities, and bring these to you for assessment.
Note: To what extent you would like your students to master cursive writing is entirely up to you as an instructor; after all, today’s learners do not handwrite very much in any language, let alone using the Cyrillic script. Our textbook provides the tools, but the decision is yours!
In the in-class sections, we also provide opportunities for writing. We strongly suggest that students work on these writing activities in collaboration with each other. As you become familiar with this textbook, you will see that many in-class activities are designed in such a way that they could work for either communicative speaking or writing activities. For instance, a common activity, usually at the beginning of a lesson is similar to the following: “Work with your partner. Make as many sentences as possible, using the words from each column…”. While this could be a nice ice-breaker at the beginning of class, you may want to return to this activity later in a lesson, asking students to write down sentences they create, providing them with extra writing practice.
Activities that could easily be used for in-class writing are normally presented toward the end of the in-class meetings and are mostly collaborative and creative writing tasks on a particular topic, such as: “Write a film review, using such-and-such constructions,” or “You are planning the trip of your life. Describe your plans in great detail.”
Appendices are downloadable and are available in Word format for easy editing and formatting by individual instructors. They could be used as visuals for presenting the five-step technique, especially for Phase Four, the productive recall.
Appendices also contain supplementary materials that could be printed for in-class language games, reading tasks, and other conversational activities (name tags, mixer-party IDs, borsch ingredients, etc.) that work best if students are presented with handouts.
In the blended-learning model of instruction and learning, assessment is important and can be done in several ways.
Participation: online and in-class important
In order to encourage and/or motivate students to complete the self-study lessons and review the material from the in-class meetings, assessment is paramount.
In the online stations, we have built in several assessment tools that allow students to self-assess their progress, allowing also you, as the instructor, to trace students’ completion of the online stations. Each online lesson ends with a Final stop, which students must complete prior to coming to the next in-person class.
From our experience, we would strongly suggest that you assign a particular percentage for online class participation. In the suggested Grade distribution we offer above, 10% of the final course grade is given to student online completion of self-study lessons out of 20% for class participation grade.
In-class participation (in the suggested Grade distribution, 10% of the final grade) assesses student preparation for class and their active engagement in class.
To further encourage student completion of the online lessons, they could be given a certain percentage for their completion of forums. In the suggested Grade distribution above, students earn 2.5% by completing the online forums built into the online lessons.
As noted under Writing activities, the transfer online lessons usually end with the section What to submit, asking students to complete a homework written assignment. Instructors should communicate to their students about how they expect these assignments to be completed and handed in.
To ensure that students regularly review the material covered in class and online, we strongly recommend weekly or bi-weekly short (4-6 min) in-class quizzes, samples of which we provide in the Instructor Manual.
In the Instructor Manual, we offer sample tests, which can be used throughout the semester. The Manual includes four tests, which are designed to assess listening and reading comprehension, grammatical competence, cultural competence and speaking and writing proficiency. Tests 1 and 3 are designed to be administered in a fifty-minute in-class session, and tests 2 and 4 are designed to be administered in a 100-minute in-class session during the exam period (but could be modified). Students can prepare for these tests in the online stations by completing the pre-tests, four of which are incorporated into the Manual. We have also designed game-like sessions for the in-class review. In order to assess students’ oral language production, we suggest conducting four oral exams, samples of which are also found in the Instructor Manual. Rubrics for oral exam assessments are also provided. An overview of tests currently built into the textbook is given below (this can be modified, if needed):
Unit 6: preparation for and Test 1 (oral and written)
Unit 13: preparation for and Test 2 (oral and written)
Unit 19: preparation for and Test 3 (oral and written)
Unit 26: preparation for and Test 4 (oral and written)
If you remind your students about consistency in their learning routines, you will definitely witness greater retention rates and overall satisfaction and success of your students.
The Instructor’s Manual provides the option of a grade book for your specific class. If set up, this feature allows you to track individual students’ progress, completion of the online stations, and participation in online forums.
This feature may be requested by instructors who are planning to use our textbook and who need to track their students’ progress. Fees may apply as technical support is needed. Please contact us.
Research by the Authors
The following publications are our own research studies that relate to this textbook project. Particularly interesting are our findings and analysis of student perceptions.
Nedashkivska, A. “Student Perceptions of Progress and Engagement in Language Learning: The Blended-Learning Model (The Case of Ukrainian).” Journal of the National Council of LCTL 2019, 25: 21-66.
Nedashkivska, A. “Developing a Blended-Learning Model in an L2 Classroom.” Akbarov Azamat, ed. Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 1 (3). IBU Publications: International Burch University, Sarajevo 2015, 1(3). ISSN 2303-5528, 22mspp.
Sivachenko, O. and A. Nedashkivska “Technologically Enhanced Language Learning and Instruction: Подорожі.UA: Beginners’ Ukrainian.” Less Commonly Taught Slavic Languages: The Learner, the Instructor and the Learning Experience in the Second Language Classroom (The North American Context). Special Issues of East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies 2017, 4(1): 119-127.
Sivachenko, O., and A. Nedashkivska. “Zmishana model’ vyvchennia ta vykladannia ukraïns’koï iak inozemnoï: iak student spryimaiut’ novu model’? [The Blended-Learning Model in Learning and Teaching Ukrainian as a Foreign Language: How do Students Perceive this Model?]” Cognitive Linguistics in Interdisciplinary Context: Theory and Practice, Conference Proceedings, Cherkasy 2016: 114-115.
Note: In our two co-authored studies listed above, we report on the development of our textbook, discuss the main principles of pedagogical design of the model, and address challenges associated with its piloting. Since the publication of those articles, the general design has been changed to a more user-friendly and sustainable interface.