'SPIRITUAL' OR 'ESPIONAGE' CENTRE: HOW TO DEVELOP PRAGMADISCURSIVE COMPETENCE READING A NEWSPAPER TEXT
Reading and understanding media texts is one of the aspects of second language teaching and learning which needs special attention. Understanding the media text is a complex process, as the purpose of the media nowadays has shifted from giving information to persuasion and manipulation (e.g. Fairclough 2001, van Dijk 2006, Weiss & Wodak 2007, Klushina 2014, Zaripov 2014, Ivanova 2016, Ozyumenko 2017, Ozyumenko & Larina 2017). As a result, to determine the author's intention it is not enough to possess linguistic competence, which includes the knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. To be able to see the implicit meaning of the text, second language learners need to develop pragmatic and discursive competences, to be aware of strategies and techniques of persuasion and manipulation, which are numerous and diverse, and to discern how they work in the text. To prove this, an experiment was conducted among 60 ESL students of the RUDN University, aimed at assessing their pragmatic competence and searching for some methods and techniques for working with the newspaper text in the language classroom. Implementing the Constructivist approach to language teaching and learning (Driscoll 2000, Nomnian 2002, Kurtes et al 2017), I encouraged the students to conduct a critical discourse analysis (Fairclough 2001, van Dijk 2006, 2009, Weiss & Wodak 2007) of the article Russian 'spiritual centre' set to open in the heart of Paris (published by The Guardian, 19.10.2016). The study argues that to develop pragmatic and discursive competences, work should be concentrated around thorough semantic, pragmatic and discursive analysis of the media text, supervised by the teacher, who encourages students to construct new knowledge through critical thinking. Such a pedagogical approach may contribute to educating independent, thoughtful and open-minded learners, capable of resisting the manipulative impact of mass media on public opinion.