- You Need to Get Harder,
says Kevin Cancellaro to the students at the Joint HSE-NES program in economics.
Kevin Cancellaro, New Economic School, teaches College Writing courses at HSE-NES Joint Program. Here is what he has to say about the program and what students tell about his courses.
Kevin Cancellaro: I’ve been teaching in the Joint Program for about three years now and have had nothing but positive experiences with the students. I’ve taught several courses at all levels of proficiency, from basic English to the more advanced 300 level courses. Russian students are good debaters and some of the most fun I’ve had is teaching Critical Debate for intermediate students and English for Business Negotiations, both of which bring out the best in them. I also teach core writing classes every year and I’m constantly and pleasantly surprised at how well the students improve from their start in 100 or 200 level classes to the completion of Introduction to College Writing.
I came to teaching through my interest in applied linguistics and second language acquisition. Before I came here, I had lived and taught in several countries, mostly in Asia, Europe, Turkey and America but I had never studied a Slavic language or learned much about Slavic culture. So coming to Russia was a natural next step for me. Some aspects of living in Russia have been a challenge but the most important thing, I think, for any teacher is the quality of the students and the program because that is what we deal with on a daily basis, so with that in mind, the lack of cheese and the odd political situation don’t quite hit as hard as one would think.
From the students’ perspective, most tell me that they like the Joint Program because it is one of the only program in Russia that allows them to choose electives. This is something that we take for granted in America and it is a very important part of any undergraduate liberal arts program. And they respond well to this. I have never had a class in which a hand was not raised to participate, which is a rare thing and helps keep the classes moving along and interesting. I also get a lot of visits from students, current and former, who have questions or just feel like talking. I have no set office hours; students email me and set up an appointment whenever they can. I think this system works well because they are really busy and their schedules are usually packed.
Alexander Dorofeev, HSE-NES Joint Program, class 2017, currently visiting student at HKU, Hong Kong:
Yes, you probably have to get harder to take a course with Kevin. He is not a teacher who puts up with idleness and carelessness. You have to work. Work harder. But Kevin pushes you for a reason. He wants you to do the best you can, and he will help you. Kevin’s commitment to his courses is as serious as he demands from his students, and that is what makes his classes so engaging. You have a lot to learn from him, and not only the language.
Kevin has lived in more countries than you can show on a map and speaks more languages than you’ve heard in your life. He could have taught Introduction to Cooking or Fiction Writing (Kevin’s first novel about early 20th century Shanghai is about to be released), but his current courses at HSE are Introduction to College Writing and English for Business Negotiations. You have to be quick to enroll; there are always more students who want to study with Kevin than there are places available. No doubt, you would totally appreciate studying with him. If you can manage pass.
However, if you can’t make it to a course, you can still meet Kevin at the HSE Aikido Club — he is a Yoshinkan Aikido Black Belt, and offers sports classes for HSE students, faculty and staff. But remember. You have to get harder. Understand?