Maria Kozyar lives in western Ukraine in Ternopil. She teaches the Ukrainian language to not only students who live in Ukraine, but also those who live in other European countries and even in America.
The interview with Maria was held through Instagram Live and lead by Marina Sheikman.
Maria, what are the special features of the Ukrainian language? How is it different from other Slavic languages?
Some of the features that differentiate the Ukrainian language from other Slavic languages as well as make it unique are:

1) the vowel sound [e] doesn't soften the consonant that comes before it, for example: теплий, село, небо;

2) hissing, lip and [r] sounds at the end of a word are always hard, for example: плащ, голуб, повiр;

3) in the Ukrainian language, there is a complex future tense of verbs, for example: писатиму, читатиму, працюватиму;

4) alternation of consonants [g], [k], [h] and [s], [ts], [s] in case nouns, for example: нога‒нозі, рука‒руці, вухо‒вусі.

5) In the Ukrainian language, unlike in other eastern Slavic languages, the noun has 7 cases, one of which is vocative.

6) In the Ukrainian language, there are many synonyms. For example, the word "horizon" has 12 synonyms: обрій, небозвід, небосхил, крайнебо, круговид, кругозір, кругогляд, виднокруг, видноколо, виднокрай, небокрай, овид.

7) One of the special features of the Ukrainian language is that it is rich of diminutives: водичка, легенький, гарнесененький, миленький and more.

8) Ukrainian is a very harmonious language. It avoids the confluence of hard to pronounce consonant and vowel groups.

‒What you have mentioned are the special features of the Ukrainian language? That's how it is different from other Slavic languages?

Yes. These are the spacial features of the Ukrainian language. It belongs to the Indo-European language family and East Slavic group of languages. The features that I have listed are the ones that differentiate it from other Slavic languages.
Maria, tell me about yourself. How did you come to teaching?
There are many teachers in my family. That's probably why this profession is easy for me. My father was a mathematics teacher, his sister was an elementary school teacher, my godmother. My cousin is also a teacher and my nice is a P.E. teacher. From a very young age I loved to read and had no trouble with humanitarian subjects. That's why I went to Ternopil Pedagogical University of V. Gnatyuk, studied hard and graduated with excellence. After graduating, I started working in a publishing house as an editor. I worked there for 8 years, received valuable experience in editing texts and translation, which helps me in my teaching work. Then I started working as a tutor for the Ukrainian language and literature. Later, I finished an online course for elementary school teachers and received a certificate. Now, I teach elementary school students. But I love to help high school students with preparation for The Unified State Exam more.
What kind of difficulties do people experience while learning the Ukrainian language?
I think that the difficulties are the same as when learning any other languages. Firstly, it needs to be clarified who's difficulties: adults or children, Ukrainians or foreigners? Foreigners usually have difficulties with phonetics (pronunciation and stress of words) and with grammar (because their native language differs grammatically from Ukrainian).

Russian speaking Ukrainians mostly have trouble with phonetics, it's hard to speak Ukrainian for them and they have a language barrier. They learn how to confidently and freely speak.

Children have trouble with motivation. They need to be interested in order to want to learn and establish a regular schedule in order to learn regularly and have results.
Tell me about your teaching methodology, your students and their results.
I use an individual approach and my own teaching methodology that helps to quickly and easily improve the knowledge of students. The knowledge of psychology also helps me, which I study in my free time from work. In particular, while working with children I sometimes use metaphorical maps, a psychological instrument. I took an online course on metaphorical maps and have a certificate. The highest result among my students that I have prepared for the External Independent Evaluation is 198 points.
What are the secrets to a successful completion of the External Independent Evaluation?
Secret #1. You need to make a schedule of preparation for the evaluation, determine the deadline before which you need to repeat the learned material and not procrastinate even if you are not sure about your knowledge.

Secret #2. I recommend that you find a good tutor or teacher who will help the student prepare for a higher score than the student would by themselves.

Secret #3. Use study guides. They will help to understand hard material.

Secret #4. Follow the relevant news about the evaluation. Register on certain websites that will give useful information and help to understand the process of testing.

Secret #5. I recommend to take a practice evaluation. It will help the students determine their level of knowledge and understand what they need to work on.

Secret # 6. It's necessary to rest before the evaluation. The last day before the exam is not effective. It's better to rest and get enough sleep before the test.

Secret #7. Don't panic! Before the test, I recommend to calm down and set yourself for the best. This will; surely help you, no matter how corny it might sound! Dear students, believe in yourself and you will succeed. I wish you success and high scores!
Which courses do you offer today?
Primarily, I offer a course for preparation for the Ukrainian language and literature External Independent Evaluation that I conduct remotely as well as in Ternopil. There are individual and group classes. I also prepare for the State Final Certification (4th and 9th grade). Teach the Ukrainian language to foreigners. I have worked with students from Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Russia, Georgia, UAE and USA. I also work with students in grades 1-11 on the school program and with adults. By the way, my oldest student is 70 years old and he lives in Russia.
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