II Всеукраинская научно-практическая конференция «Актуальные проблемы преподавания иностранных языков для профессионального общения». Том 1

Rudnytskykh O.

Dnipropetrovsk National University named after Oles Honchar, Ukraine


Studying English as the second language is the process which can’t be limited only by formal education any more. Students of higher educational institutions study English not only in the classrooms where they are guided by their lecturers, but also going abroad to be enrolled into summer-schools courses or taking home-based private classes or even visiting different language courses. Reading books, listening to songs and watching films in English is also needed to be taken into account.

A modern market demands fluency in English, so studying the subject formally has been gradually transformed into a life-long learning model.

There are many ideas now about what learning styles should be followed and what teaching models should be applied.

Students practically has moved from didactic styles to different forms of instructions; English classes look more like a mixture of seminars and case-study learning, where independent speaking is encouraged and individual tasks are a common thing.

According to the researchers the very logic of life-long learning suggests motivation of students to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses. It means that teachers, in turn, should respond to these strengths and weaknesses, since retention and achievement rates in formal programmes are likely to rise and

‘learning to learn’ skills may provide a foundation for lifelong learning.” [2, p. 9]. This idea is supported by the statement that becoming more independent in their learning, students could counterbalance the negative effect of lower contact between lecturers and learners and develop more effective learning strategies which they can use outside formal contact time. [2, p. 9]

 Discussing these problems would be impossible without defining the meanings of “formal”, “non-formal” and “informal” education and their correlation.

The term “informal education” comes together with the life-learning concept.

Widely spread the term “life-long learning” became in 1968 in the reports of UNESCO.

As for the origin of “informal education” which is the inherent part of life-learning, it is dated back to 1950 when Malcolm Knowles published his book “Informal Adult Education”. The notion of informal education (specifically adult informal education) was around educators even before – in 1946 it appeared in the first full-length treatment of informal education published by Josephine Macalister Brew. But it was Malcolm Knowles who made a significant add to the literature.

In 1972 UNESCO decided to make life-learning as a basic principle for their reforms and informal education equaled more conventional one since then.

The best known definition for all of the terms comes from the work of Combs, Proccer and Ahmed, published in 1972, where formal education is defined as the “hierarchically structured, chronologically graded 'education system', running from primary school through the university and including, in addition to general academic studies, a variety of specialised programmes and institutions for full-time technical and professional training” [1].

Non-formal education in its turn is defined as “any organized educational activity outside the established formal system – whether operating separately or as an important feature of some broader activity – that is intended to serve identifiable learning clienteles and learning objectives” [1].

Informal education in this system is “the truly lifelong process whereby every individual acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experience and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment – from family and neighbours, from work and play, from the market place, the library and the mass media” [1].

 It should be mentioned that formal education was usually set against non-formal and informal ones. But as integral parts of the life-long learning process these two types of education complete each other.

Non-formal and informal education is a laboratory where new technologies are tested and new standards are set. If new technologies are competitive they are adopted by the state formal and private educational institutions. Coexisting with a formal education informal and non-formal ones become the subject of standardization although using different standards and approaches to them. It could be said that standards for formal education emerge and develop within the realm of the informal one. Which means that formal education is caused by the standardization, but the standards themselves may appear in the field of non-formal and informal education.

In conclusion it should me mentioned that modern tendencies in teaching English assume eliminating the contradiction between formal and non-formal and informal education. Taking into consideration formal and informal education as equal part of the whole learning process ensures the individual approach to every student and the teaching process itself.

The purpose of life-learning is to provide not only knowledge, but also experience of independent learning. As a result we may bring up a personality who is ready for a further development and ready for the cross-functional activity. This person will be able to set his/her purposes and find effective ways to achieve them.

The list of references:

1. The encyclopedia of informal education [Web resource]. – Access mode: http://www.infed.org/ biblio/b-nonfor.htm

2. Learning styles and pedagogy in post 16 learning. – UK: Learning and Skills Research Centre, 2004.