"Russian is not hard": how to help students stop worrying and start talking. Interview with Cindy Martin.

We interview our guest, Cindy Martin, an Associate Professor of Russian at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Martin is an active ACTFL OPI certified Tester and Trainer She is the author of numerous publications, including an Intermediate-level Russian textbook Welcome Back!.

Podcast host Dr. Natalie McCauley and her guest discuss a number of topics related to language teaching, specifically:
- How student body changed in the past 20 years and what teachers can do to cater to a more diverse audience.
- How Dr. Martin helps her students embrace discomfort and how she shows them that Russian Language is not hard (it just takes longer to acquire it for English speakers).
- How current grading is punitive in nature and ways to design grading system that encourages students’ growth in the language.
- What activities work best for classroom space and which ones are best for homework.
- How to use pre-speaking activities to help students talk non-stop for the duration of the entire class
- How Cindy uses technology to improve students’ speaking skills.

You can also listen to the podcast on Itunes, Spotify or Stitcher

Podcast host:
Dr. Natalie (Natasha) McCauley is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian Studies at the University of Richmond and the current director of the UR Summer Study Abroad Program in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Since she began teaching Russian in 2012, Natasha has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and the University of Michigan, where she finished her PhD in 2018. What Natasha enjoys most about teaching Russian studies, whether language, literature and film, is the experience to help students not only learn about a different region and culture of the world, but also learn to think critically about the ways societies are structured, including how this is reflected within languages. Her research interests include gender and sexuality, contemporary television and media, and affect theory.