One of the most important tasks of higher educational institutions is the training of specialists to be able to adapt to changes in their professional life. At the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the 21st centuries, some methods for developing foreign language competence, needed for their future professional activity, were created by teachers. However, the effectiveness of these methods has not been studied. This fact has aroused the authors’ interest and generated the idea about the necessity to conduct scientific research in order to identify the most effective methods of teaching foreign languages for special purposes. Methods: The given research paper is based on the analysis of Russian and foreign scholars’ scientific works covering the problem of teaching foreign languages for special purposes to the students of humanitarian professions, as well as on the basis of the results from questioning students of bachelor degree programs who study foreign languages for special purposes in the field of humanitarian professions, and also of the results from questioning teachers specializing in teaching foreign languages for special purposes. Results: In the students’ opinion, the most effective methods of teaching foreign languages for special purposes in the field of humanitarian professions are the following: discussion, ICT (information and communication technologies), and SCRUM (framework that helps teams work together, encourages team to learn through on a problem). According to the interviewed teachers’ opinion, the most effective methods are discussion, ICT, and round table. The “dilemma” method is the least effective according to the students. As for the teachers, the less effective method is CLIL (content and language integrated learning). Conclusions: The study showed some common views among teachers and students concerning the effectiveness of methods of teaching foreign languages for professional purposes, such as discussion and ICT. The effectiveness of the discussion method is explained by the fact that it allows the integration of students’ knowledge from different areas when solving a problem and provides an opportunity to apply language knowledge and skills into practice. This contributes to forming students’ ability to think clearly, to perceive information critically, to highlight the main idea and find the means and arguments to confirm and substantiate it, and, consequently, to improve the understanding of any theoretical material. The use of ICT in the educational process allows the efficiency of the educational process itself to be improved significantly and leads to new approaches and organizational forms of educational work. In fact, while preparing educational programs and creating didactic materials, special attention should be given to the implementation of ICT methods and discussions in educational activities. Nevertheless, the respondents’ subjective opinion should not reduce the scientific value and effectiveness of other methods of teaching a foreign language for professional purposes. The authors of the paper believe that methods that have not found much support from students and teachers should be studied more thoroughly and carefully. To this end, it could be recommended to organize special training seminars that would allow teachers to be informed of new methods of teaching foreign languages for professional purposes, of their particularities, and to help their active implementation in the learning process.
Concept mapping is a popular tool for knowledge structure assessment. In recent years, both the amount of research about concept maps and their measurement ability have grown. It has been shown that concept maps with different types of tasks, for instance, links between concepts given or selected by a respondent, provide information about the different aspects of students’ knowledge structure. This study explores features of concept mapping with and without a list of concepts. At first, eleven masters students constructed concept maps with a topic on statistical data analysis and, after three weeks, repeated the task with the same topic and a predefined list of concepts. Both types of concept maps were evaluated using traditional scoring indicators and indicators from the network analysis. All indicators were tested for significant differences, and then the content of these maps was analysed. Results show that the list of concepts forced respondents to construct more connective maps, which is related to a more developed knowledge structure. Moreover, it is easier for them, when including even abstract concepts, to define their role in the domain. However, respondents use concepts and group them in different ways depending on the instruction. It seems that respondents feel a “list stress”, which leads to differences in the content. These findings demonstrate the possibilities of using different concept mapping tasks for learning and assessment.