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In Moldova, as Demand for English Grows, Teachers Try Best They Can

AA: I'm Avi Arditti and this week on Wordmaster: another in our recent conversations with English teachers from around the world. These are teachers I met in Seattle at the annual convention of the TESOL association. TESOL stands for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Every year I ask some of the teachers I meet what it's like to teach English in their country. This week, the spotlight is on a former Soviet republic of four million people in Eastern Europe.

VIKTORIYA GALIY: "My name is Viktoriya Galiy and I am the director of the International Language Training Center in Moldova. And Moldova, it's a very small country between Ukraine and Romania. And our school has been operating since nineteen ninety-four. And we teach English -- predominantly in English, but also German, Romanian, Italian.

"And we also are going to expand and add a few more languages, like Spanish and French. And we teach English to adults, to the sixteen and older, but also we have teenagers and younger learners, like four-and-a-half through six years old.

"What it is like teaching in Moldova? Well, it is not easy, because I would say that we don't have native English speakers, teachers. That's one thing. And then another thing is it's -- the difficulty is to train our local teachers, because again we would like to be more exposed to international programs, but again we don't have those.

"But I would say that the interest [in] English is growing, and rapidly. Maybe it's because of the European Union that is out there, close to Moldova, getting closer to Moldova. But I would say mostly it's because young people, they would like to study English and go study abroad, or use English in their work in those companies that are international companies.

"Again, the interest is growing because in Moldova, the special thing about Moldova is that French was the language that people would study in schools and universities. And whenever it is something that comes up in English, so people had difficulty. And, again, now the interest is growing, and so now like French is not that popular, of course, and English is like [the] number one language."

AA: "And how much influence are you seeing of slang, of American slang, from movies, from television, or maybe from e-mails, among the young people in their writing?"

VIKTORIYA GALIY: "It's huge. Absolutely huge. And especially with like small kids. Sometimes they come and they say something that the teachers do not understand and then parents say, oh, you know, we watch these cartoons, and that's why the kid picks up language from cartoons or movies rapidly. And you know we even have these workshops, like Saturday workshops for free for our students, and slang, American slang, was one of our topics, just because there is interest among students and this is something that we needed to explore."

AA: "Well, as an English teacher, how do you feel about that, when students use it? Do you teach them the proper context or when it's OK to use slang and when it's not?"

VIKTORIYA GALIY: "Of course, we have to teach slang, but within the appropriate content, right? The thing is that we are far away from that contact, as teachers. That's why -- this is one of the problems that we face. We would like to know more, to hear more about slang, and using slang in everyday speech. It's just the thing that we don't have is the opportunity every day."

AA: Viktoriya Galiy is executive director of the International Language Training Center in Chisinau, Moldova.

So far in the past few weeks, we've brought you English teachers from Iraq, Libya, the United States, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and now Moldova. These segments can all be found at our Web site. Go to And our e-mail address is I'm Avi Arditti.