Dr. Richard M. Robin
Professor of Russian
Department of Romance, German, and Slavic
The George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052, USA

Click here for my CV

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What can I tell you about myself, other than what's on my Curriculum Vitae? My area is methodology of language teaching with emphasis on Russian.

I began studying Russian in 1968 as a freshman at Georgetown University. I spent the summer after my sophomore year and the fall semester of my senior year at Leningrad State University.

In the mid-1970s as graduate school in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. and then taught at the University of New Mexico and SUNY-Oswego before coming to GW in 1981.

My interest in foreign languages started when I got a shortwave radio for my eleventh birthday, at the hight of the Cold War, a year before the Cuban missile crisis. I still remember the first Russian words I heard: "Говорит Москва" — "This is Moscow speaking..." However, like most high schools, ours didn't offer Russian. So I contented myself with Spanish until college.

Russian at GW. "Knowing" a foreign language is not the same as being proficient in speaking and comprehension. And as a teacher, I have to set goals for my classes that are based not on grammar to be covered, but rather on real-life skills to be acquired. For example, I tell my first-year intensive students:

  • Have a simple face-to-face conversation about yourself, your family, and your interests. 
  • Deal with simple transactional situations (shopping, travel, daily schedule, and so on).
  • Read simple items in a newspaper, such as weather reports.
  • Understand simple television broadcasts, such as game shows, short news items about familiar events, etc.
  • Write an e-mail to a friend.
Listening to Moscow — 1965

In the Soviet Union — 1971