UNIVERSITY-DEGREE PROGRAMS FOR TEACHERS AND THEIR ALTERNATIVE CERTIFICATION: PROS AND CONS AT A GLANCE
The paper focuses on the alternative certification status in the current education system. The research goal is two-fold and aims to explore the situation in the national administrative frameworks regarding the teachers' certification with further focus on teachers' opinion on their alternative certification. The research methodology combined desk and field studies. The relevant literature review aims to explore the topic within international framework. The international and national policies, academic research findings are subject to comparative study. Further the opinions of Russian teachers who are foreign language trainers at Russian institutions and business entities were subject to sample analysis. Totally over 130 respondents took part in the survey regarding their experience in preparing for certification exams and further sitting at such exams. The survey used an open-ended questionnaire. Cluster and discriminant types analysis were applied. The SPSS was used for data processing. The findings confirmed the research preliminary hypothesis that argued for solid professional background for language teachers: they are supposed to hold a relevant university degree that in turn should be supported by alternative qualification in Foreign Language Didactics. Moreover, some critical comments were voiced regarding the content of the exam materials and assignments regarding their generalized nature and consequent lack of targeted approach to teaching foreign language for particular audiences, in particular contexts, for particular purposes, etc. The survey confirmed the importance of alternative certification for teachers' continuing professional development, external evaluation of professional competence, and stronger competitiveness on educational market.