Volume:5, Issue: 3

Aug. 15, 2013

In This Issue
A Letter to the Readers
Tsyrlina-Spady, Tatyana [about]
The idea and the topic of this journal issue were born long ago. As you probably noticed, we have already touched upon innovations and innovative methods in education in different educational institutions many times before but only now we are able to present to you the whole journal issue fully dedicated to the topic, “Innovations and Innovational Approaches in Education.” It feels that due to the journal topic and number (if to count from the very beginning, this issue is NO. 13!) we are facing here quite a few novelties. To start with, we are introducing a new section in the journal which would be represented by one of the journal founders and inspirers, a famous Russian scholar, publisher and editor, Vladimir M. Lizinsky, whose brilliant mind and sense of humor will, hopefully, impress every reader. By the way, looking for an interesting title of his section, we have finally decided not to invent anything special and leave it as is, “Thoughts on Education from Vladimir Lizinsky.”
A Conceptual Manifesto of "Our New Schools"
Lizinsky, Vladimir M. [about]
Keeping in mind the key descriptive word (ideal) for any “presentation of an ideal,” then a description of “our new school” should start with the belief that it should be a school where respectful treatment of the moral, spiritual, mental, and physical health of all its inhabitants is always placed foremost. This school will be a place where the best of conditions are created for the development, creativity, and productive activities of all its students. It is an institution where the best ideas for instruction are based on a full understanding of the essence of the comprehension process. It will have no connection to the perpetual squeezing of the juices of rote memory that has been all too common a feature of our past. This new school is a place of tolerance soaked through with the spirits of freedom and democracy. “Our new school” will not commit the “sin” of substituting itself for parents in the formation and education of children. No! It will be just the opposite. The new school will collaborate and coordinate with parents from all walks of life to form a model and aesthetic for the lives of their children. As a matter of fact, in this school, parents will be members of the educational “collective” working together for the good of their children. During the entire course of their child’s school life, they will help to discover his/her needs, requirements, wishes, and talents together with the school. This will result in the children studying and learning and being so proud of this school that they will graduate and eventually bring their own children and grandchildren to study here.
Nadezhda Popova's "School of Life"
Boguslavsky, Mikhail V. [about]
Nadezhda Ivanovna Popova (1877-1964) can certainly be called one of the best Russian educators of the past though she was hardly considered prominent in official circles. It happened so that in my previous papers prepared for this journal, I tried to cover more famous thinkers and educational practitioners. Finally, time has come to talk about one of the few Russian teachers-pioneers who made a difference in the field of Russian education. Popova was not under arrest in the 1930s, and one can say that her life was relatively good in comparison with those (from 1920s-30s) who faced the tragic fate of spending their days in Soviet GULAGs. But let us try not to jump to conclusions – Popova’s life was never a bed of roses and she had to drink its cup to the bitter end. Popova realized her calling relatively early, and at the age of 16, she started working as a teacher in a Moscow municipal elementary school. By this time she had already graduated from the famous Mariinsky female gymnasium, mastered three foreign languages, and received a teacher’s certificate. Some years later she entered and successfully graduated from the History Department of the Moscow higher training female college. While studying there, she met with some brilliant thinkers of her time (Boguslavsky, Soloviev, 1992). By 1905, Popova became one of the leaders of the All-Russian Teachers’ Union and an organizer of its Moscow office.
Common Core Standards: How They Will Change American Education
Pierson, Melinda R. [about]
The United States began requiring assessments for all students regarding their achievement in the early 1990s. This education reform movement focused on common knowledge of core subjects across grade levels. However, states held different standards which could be problematic if a student needed to move from state to state. In addition, educators realized that employers and colleges were beginning to demand higher level skills of high school graduates. Thus, the need to develop one set of national standards became a prominent need. The Common Core Standards began to be written in 2009 with a release date of June 2, 2010. The majority of states reviewed the new standards in the areas of English language arts and mathematics and adopted them within a few months. A total of 45 states and three territories are currently implementing the new standards, but in many different ways. The federal government offered incentive programs with a focus on education reform grants called Race to the Top. This provided a major push for the Common Core Standards to be adopted by the states as they would not be eligible for additional reform money without the adoption.
Education and Sustainable Development: A Case Study of the Role Amish Play in Training and Supporting East African Food Production
Edgington, William D. [about], Hynes, James W. [about]
During 2011, faculty of Oklahoma State University (OSU) and a member of the faculty from Sam Houston State University (SHSU) collaborated to deliver a U.S. Department of State-funded Citizens’ Exchange Grant for Food Security Fellows project. Through this endeavor, faculty from SHSU made contacts with Ugandan faculty from several universities and a successful farm equipment manufacturer/manager (M) in Kampala, Uganda. During the initial visit, it was determined that food security was a primary concern in Uganda – especially in the northern regions (a post conflict area). During that initial visit, it was first observed and then confirmed from multiple sources that, while subsistence farming was the predominant mode of agricultural production, there existed a genuine interest in learning how to increase food supplies in a sustainable scale appropriate way without using combustion engine powered equipment. In M’s equipment manufacturing facility, for example, a significant portion of annual sales was made to small farmers throughout the country who would benefit from an increase in the use of animal powered equipment. While many of the tillage and grain processing tools were represented, there were obvious gaps in the utility and efficiency of the implements when compared to those offered for sale to farmers for use on small farms in the United States. This was especially the case when reviewing the equipment designed for use with animal power. He indicated an interest in learning how to construct scale appropriate equipment for use with the available draft animals in Uganda; that is oxen and donkeys. Thus begun the conversation of him traveling to the United States to observe and learn.
Innovative approaches to teaching foreign languages in Russian lyceums and high schools in the second part of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century
Vetchinova, Marina N. [about], Gerasenkova, Polina V. [about]
In the past, Russian secondary schools, especially lyceums and high schools were oriented towards training students to master a foreign language, comprehend foreign culture and literature. It is a well-known fact that the Russian national elite of the 19th century often preferred communicating in French even within the exclusively Russian language environment. The present world situation makes us look back and try to comprehend a many-centuries’ experience, including the one in the sphere of teaching foreign languages. A perfect basis for it could be studying the development of the Russian society and the conceptions of culture in the second part of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century. Since the second part of the 19th century the Russian empire was involved in the accelerated capitalism development process with a subsequent transition into an imperial phase, which to some extend, corresponds with the current situation in the Russian Federation (development of capitalism at the end of 20th century and search for Russia’s place in the contemporary global world). The second part of the 19th century became the time of a rapid industrial rise, development of science and technology, culture and education. Under the influence of science development, changes in economic relations and cultural exchanges the knowledge of a foreign language became essential as a basis for comprehension of another culture, advanced concepts and technologies. Not only the language itself was valuable but also the opportunity to approach another nation’s ideals, its cultural and scientific potential.
Creating a Climate of Giftedness to Promote Achievement
Biggs, Donald A [about]
Many problems in the education of inner city youth stem from issues of representation (Biggs & Colesante, 2000; Bruner, 1996). For us, representation is about how we treat students. It is a moral issue, the resolution of which can negatively or positively impact the lives of children, and those who are responsible for their care. As Buzzelli and Johnston (2002) explain, "representation is not merely a matter of presenting generalized information about huge numbers of peoples categorized in particular ways; it is also a question of reflecting the lived experience of the children in the classroom. To the extent that children's experiences are not represented, their lives – in the richest sense of the term – are not present in the classroom either. And this is a moral matter" (p. 102). We are interested in how the meaning ascribed to students and their behavior (how they are represented in an educational setting) structures how educators think about them and their needs, and how this shapes the activities that are developed for them. These are moral considerations which have real consequences on the lives of children in educational programs. Labels like "at-risk" or "low performing" can close off the possibility that their skills and abilities might not be the major obstacles to their academic achievement (Brannon, 1991).
Developing interest in constructive communication as part of moral education in high schools
Stepanov, Pavel V. [about]
As both research and pedagogical practice show, one of the results of moral education is a developed interest of high school students in the ways of constructive communication and their striving for acclaiming these ways. In this process, constructive communication among students may be considered an important value. By the term constructive communication we understand such communication that allows to reach out for somebody and also to receive this person’s agreement with different partners and, particularly, to find ways out of different conflicts, which will satisfy all the parties involved. Our research (Pyotr G. Averianov, Elena L. Petrenko, Sergey D. Polyakov, Inna J. Shustova) tends to answer the question, how a teacher can stimulate this interest and develop necessary skills (Averianov et.al., 2010). We base our experimental work on the stages of psychical development presented in the works of a famous Russian psychologist Daniel Elkonin, and the theory of the developing educational activity by Vasily Davydov.
The Walden Project: A Lesson in Autonomy
Freeborn, Dan [about]
As a high school literature teacher, I feel compelled to do more than tell my students what books mean. When my students read a great book, I want it to move them the way it moves me. I want it to change their lives. This paper is an attempt to share a project I have developed over the last ten years with 15-year-olds in an international setting at the American School of Madrid, a project that I think has worked well more than once for me, but also a project that could have numerous iterations, variations, and applications. It is intended to be a re-creation of a famous experiment in living conducted and recorded by one of the greatest and most independent American thinkers of the last 275 years, Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau was born in 1817 and died in 1862. When he was 38, he moved for two years to a small cabin that he built himself on the shores of Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. His purpose was to experiment with his own life by cutting out everything that he thought was an unnecessary distraction or burden. He wanted to stop complaining about life until he was really sure that life itself, not his decisions, was the cause of his complaining.
Thoughts about "Ballroom Dance Culture"
Khorosh, Valentina A. [about]
As a high school literature teacher, I feel compelled to do more than tell my students what books mean. When my students read a great book, I want it to move them the way it moves me. I want it to change their lives. This paper is an attempt to share a project I have developed over the last ten years with 15-year-olds in an international setting at the American School of Madrid, a project that I think has worked well more than once for me, but also a project that could have numerous iterations, variations, and applications. It is intended to be a re-creation of a famous experiment in living conducted and recorded by one of the greatest and most independent American thinkers of the last 275 years, Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau was born in 1817 and died in 1862. When he was 38, he moved for two years to a small cabin that he built himself on the shores of Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. His purpose was to experiment with his own life by cutting out everything that he thought was an unnecessary distraction or burden. He wanted to stop complaining about life until he was really sure that life itself, not his decisions, was the cause of his complaining.
Janush Korczak's Road to Moral Education
[about]
Teaching and educating are professions based on interpersonal and social relationships, and the latter by their very nature ‘teach’ behavioral norms and values. Teaching and education entails developing learners’ ethical orientation, either directly, consciously and intentionally or indirectly and unconsciously and/or both. In this essay I intend to share major features of an educational approach that achieved a relatively extensive success in assisting young people, children and adolescents (ages 8-14) in engaging themselves in and actually realizing significant progress in their ethical growth. The specific approach and set of educational practices I have in mind are those of the outstanding humanist educator of Polish and Jewish origins, Dr. Henryk Goldsmidt, known to the world by his pen name, Janusz Korczak (1878/9-1942).
Developing tolerance in adolescent school students
[about]
The development of tolerance is probably one of the most critical modern problems in Russia, the country with a multiethnic and multi-religious population, well known for a number of issues in the sphere of multicultural relationships. A traditional approach to multiethnic education, an education in the spirit of respect towards other cultures presupposes introducing students to different information sources about other ethnicities, as well as developing their respect towards human rights and cultural pluralism through the standard school curriculum. But there is little if any data which will show teachers how they should approach such issues as social stereotypes, cultural centrism, xenophobia, etc. – issues that certainly slow down the process of developing patience in teenagers. There is no answer to the question, what kind of conditions should be created for students to overcome personal barriers that prevent the development of tolerance and patience? As our practice and research shows, a mere fact of providing students with more information about different ethnicities and numerous world cultures, as well as about human rights do not necessarily mean that the problem will be solved.

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