Alfia Rakova

|Research Asst Professor
Academic Appointments

Research Assistant Professor, Director of the Language Program

I came to Dartmouth in 2007 after 8 years of teaching at Harvard. And before that I taught at the University of Iowa. During the course of more than thirty years of teaching experience, my students have helped me understand that when people learn a foreign language they are constantly confronted with choices: grammatical, lexical, stylistic, etc. This awareness, in turn, has led me to understand the importance of intention in every speech act. The instructor must help the student to define the intention behind everything which he or she wishes to express, and then proceed to teach how they should express their thoughts, feelings, and values in accordance with their intentions. Thus, my role as a teacher is to apprise the students of their linguistic options, to help them to clarify and formulate their intentions, and then to provide them with the linguistic tools necessary to realize these intentions in communicative acts. Language learners must always make choices--to use the appropriate phonetics, intonation, grammar, syntax, semantics and style--so as to express themselves and their intention(s) in the most understandable way.  As students learn how to choose from hundreds of linguistic possibilities, they gradually construct their own "databank" of expressive resources. They learn to compare different languages and different ways of expressing ideas and emotions. This is a difficult process for beginning, intermediate and even advanced students because they are still thinking in their own language and come face to face with issues like language interference or "false cognates." The role of the teacher also involves providing the students with the proper language means. This gives rise to another important issue in my teaching philosophy. Namely, I always teach my students how to master Russian on different language levels: phonetics, intonation, grammar, word-formation, semantics, syntax, and how to use language in its appropriate style.

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Reed, Room 201
HB 6085


  • B.A., MA Kazan University
  • Ph. D. Kazan University

Selected Publications

  • Motivation and Teaching Speaking Skills to American Students. Volume 9, Issue 1, March, 2024. In Cross-Cultural Studies: Education and Science ISSN:2470-1262 (Print), ISSN:2831-4077 (Online)

    Language Work with Chekhov's "The Lottery Ticket" story in an English-Speaking Classroom. Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2023. ISSN: 2470-1262 (Print), ISSN: 2831-4077 (Online)

    Intercultural Communication in the Russian Language Classroom in the USA. "East-West: Crossing Cultures." II World Congress in Real and Virtual Mode at Kyoto Sangyo University, Kyoto, Japan. October, 2019

    Student Presentations in the Russian Language Classroom. In: Cross-Cultural Studies: Education and Science Vol. IV, Issue 4, March 2019, pp. 129-134.

    Color and Culture in the Russian Language Classroom. In: Cross- Cultural Studies: Education and Science (CCS&ES) ISSN -2470-1262. Volume 3, September 2018.

    Teaching Russian to American Students Through Language Work on Films and Stories About Women. In: Cross-Cultural Studies: Education and Science. Volume 1. 2017. 

  • Роль словообразования русской разговорной речи в восприятии фильмов американскими студентами. Aspects of the Humanities in Geo-Cultural Space. Istanbul, October 2016.

  • Developing Conversational Russian Using Voice Tread Outside of Class. In:Socio-Cultural and Philological Aspects of Teaching and Research. Kyoto University, Japan, 2014. pp. 507-511.

  • Learning Language While Viewing Russian Film. AATSEEL Newsletter. December 2011, pp. 17-18.

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Works In Progress

"Lab in the Humanities". Grant received from The Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College for the Russian 27 (Intermediate Russian) course.

Selected Works & Activities

Awards & Honors

The Dean of the Faculty Teaching Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to Dartmouth and career distinction. 2011.

Certificates of Harvard University Teaching Excellence. 2001-2007.