Friday, March 8, 2013
March 8th, 2013
One of the things that surprised me the most when it came to the Russian school system was the atmosphere of respect and authority that surrounds the classroom. The pupils almost always stood up when they were called by the teacher and everything was done according to the teacher’s instructions. Whereas in America, the focus of the classroom is on the individual student and helping him succeed, in Russia, the classroom revolves around the upcoming state exams that will either grant or deny each student the opportunity to go to a university. Every student is responsible for his or her success.
In contrast to American children, the Russian children are lively, noisy and energetic. Moreover, what impressed me the most was that the children were being taught almost completely in English. Up until coming to college, my experiences with foreign languages in school was one where the teacher spoke mostly in English and where every now and then the opportunity arose to speak in the target language. Evident too was the significance of poetry to the school curriculum as the school children not only recited poems but also interpreted modern works such as those of Vladimir Symeonovich Vysotsky. Again, even though in high school, we read and interpreted a lot of poetry, rarely did we ever present poems before the class much less did we delve on contemporary poets of significance. It is simply remarkable that in spite of the great scarcity of resources, funding and the lack of teachers, the school is able not only to function but to prepare its students for a future university career.
Noteworthy, however, is the fact that the classrooms are overwhelmingly populated with girls while few if no boys are represented in the higher levels.