Volume:2, Issue: 3

Nov. 1, 2010

Dear friends, colleagues, authors and readers of the journal,

Unfortunately, I am addressing you in this capacity and from this website for the last time. After long discussions and many painful thoughts, we have made a decision that the journal should be closed. This is not an easy decision to make but it feels that at this point it is the only right one.

Twenty-five journal issues is a lot, and at the same time it is not much at all, of course, depending on your point of view. Still, we can only hope that through the journal we have managed to bring attention to a number of critical and undeveloped issues in education in the United States and Russia.  Since everything remains online and free, you will have a chance to continue reading and perhaps finding some new ideas and inspirations there.

In conclusion, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to each and everyone who made this journal happen for nine years – our authors and readers, members of the Editorial Board and reviewers – without you we would have never succeeded and gained an audience from over 140 countries. Special thanks go to the journal web designer Alex Minakov whose skills and patience were exceptional. Thank you so much! It has been my honor and privilege to serve you all!

Always yours,
Tatyana Tsyrlina-Spady,

In This Issue
A Letter to the Readers
Tsyrlina-Spady, Tatyana [about]
Dear friends and colleagues, Due to your efforts and interest, our journal is gradually growing and developing. We are already facing what is called a critical age for every child – 6 years which means it’s time to think of starting school and entering a new phase of life. It is not coincidental that in this sixth journal issue we are talking about elementary school issues and the period of life when practically everything changes for children. But don’t worry – we are not planning any revolutionary changes, more so, we believe that the only right way is gradual development. For the first time we introduce new Russian Education Standards to the Western readers and continue our conversation about other changes that are happening in Russian schools today. Because of a very fruitful cooperation with an old and prestigious Russian educational journal Elementary School (Nachalnaya Shkola), we can publish some of the minutes of their roundtable devoted to the State Education Standards of the Second Generation and the “Schools of Russia” teaching set. Don’t miss reading this.
Vasily Porphirievich Vakhterov
Boguslavsky, Mikhail V. [about]
At the beginning of the 21st century, the pedagogical legacy of Vasily Porfiryevich Vakhterov (1853-1924) continues to attract the attention of educational decision makers regarding the problems involved in improving the educational and formational work of elementary schools. His life’s work reflects a brilliant chapter of progressive development of pedagogy, elementary schools, and the democratization of the entire Russian national education system. Vakhterov, a Russian intellectual who came from among ordinary people, devoted his impressive life to the passionate promotion of knowledge and to a selfless devotion to the idea that “Learning is light; ignorance is darkness.” His name is inseparable from the highest achievements of the “silver age” of the pedagogical sciences. It is a component part of that entire cultural era.
The Elementary School Experience and Principles of Learning
Scheuerman, Richard D. [about], Ellis, Arthur K. [about]
The authors introduce and describe five important principles of learning. They also show that if elementary school teachers accept and use these principles, then they can expect high academic results and other improvements in the social/moral fabric of their classrooms. This will also help to promote a love of learning.
Teaching Models: From Dogmatic Teaching to a Personalized-Strategic Model
Uman, Arkadiy I. [about], Fedorova, Мarina А. [about]
This article is an attempt to introduce a new approach to researching teaching with the help of teaching models. Such an approach allows to revise the field of practical teaching and to come to some general conclusions both for a certain period of time and for the whole period since didactics became an independent science. The term “model” as explained in the Big Encyclopedic Dictionary, is defined as “any image, analogy of the object, process or a subject that can be used as either their substitute or their representative” [1, p.822]. Following this definition, one can say that a teaching model is a summarized teaching image that presents a general picture of the educational reality, depicting its structure and functions at a given moment. A teaching model as a theoretical concept can be defined with the help of didactic categories. It also allows to present a «level of sophistication» of the teaching theory in general and in particlular, and it could be used as the most wide basis for the further research in the field. Historically, no teaching model remains stable, it moves on together with the social and school development; and what is more, it allows to review and measure a teaching process at any given moment. It also allows to predict the future changes which are based on the tendencies of development of educational theory and practice. This by itself might give some new insights into the future development of the field.
Implementing the Second Generation Russian Education Standards
Kondakov, Alexander M. [about]
In 2009 the Russian “Elementary School Journal” hosted a discussion on the new education standards. Various authors and educational authorities explain key aspects of the standards and the main vehicle for conveying them in Russian schools.
Methods of Teaching Russian in the Writings of Pyotr O. Afanasyev
Telkova, Valentina A. [about]
Pyotr O. Afanasyev (1874-1944), Doctor of Education, is one of the most authoritative figures in the methodology of teaching Russian, a field to which he dedicated almost fifty years of his life. For twenty-seven of these years he supervised elementary and middle school teachers, helping them via the spoken and written word to achieve outstanding results in their classrooms.
Teaching to Work with a Book at a Literary Reading Lesson in Elementary School
Tikhomirova, Ekaterina A. [about]
The goal of reading instruction in elementary school is to create an active reader, equipped with reliable reading skills, who will be ready to use books in further studies and self-education. Modern children have changed significantly since the time when the existing public education system in Russia was originally designed. In the first place, the social situation of child development is different. Earlier, children used to get information about the world, society, man, and nature primarily from school classes. Now the mass media have gained a crucial influence in shaping the young generation’s outlook. A broader point of view and greater erudition are undoubtedly the modern child’s winning points. However, growing amounts of information may have a negative influence on the child’s personality development. Incoming information is often confusing, excessive, and may not conform to the child’s age and psychological characteristics. TV, movies, and the Internet are obviously pushing reading further away from children’s lives. Books, especially classics, are far from being a priority of theirs. As a result, they may develop learning problems caused by poor text analysis in various genres, undeveloped inner plans of action, as well as, difficulty with logical thinking and imagination. Just like during past national, massive literacy campaigns, the mission of the contemporary school is unfortunately put forth as “teaching the child to read”-purposefully, consciously, and creatively.
Helping Older Students Become Fluent Readers - Response to Intervention
Avant, Rue [about]
In educational circles there is a saying that children “learn to read” in K-3, and after that they “read to learn.” Unfortunately for many children such as those from impoverished or English Language learning backgrounds, this is not the case. Children who are reading below grade level in the upper elementary grades (4th and 5th grade) and middle school (grades 6th, 7th and 8th) often have a difficult time in school. The phonological weaknesses of children with the most common form of reading disability require that they receive reading instruction that is phonemically explicit and systematic. When older children lack the grade level reading skills it is difficult for them to catch up to their peers. In grades 4–8, reading expectations change to applying sight-word and decoding skills, gained in earlier grades, to content-area information. Many older children, however, need more practice with basic decoding skills as well as continued emphasis on comprehension of what they are reading.
When Will Our School Learn to Take into Consideration Life’s Lessons?
Konysheva, Natalia M. [about]
For the first time in an article of pedagogical content, we are forced to use specifically medical terminology. It is a fact that the “general pathological frustration” of our children in the system of education in our homeland was noted in a report by a doctor of medicine, V.R. Kuchma, director of the Scientific Research Institute for Hygiene and Wellness of Children and Teenagers of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences made at an All-Russia seminar for the preparation of new educational standards in October of 2007. His speech, based on many years of medical statistics, to all intents and purposes confirmed and generalized the troubled observations of teachers and parents of students in recent years. The numbers for healthy children have fallen off precipitously.
School Problems Through the Eyes of a Neurologist: a reply to Professor Konysheva’s Article
Laskov, Vitaly B. [about], Laskova, Irina V. [about]
Professor Konysheva’s article “When Will Our School Learn to Take into Consideration Life’s Lessons?” describes with great concern the “pathological frustration” of our children in the national system of education in Russia. Carefully selecting every word, the author adds to her diagnosis one more term, which does not leave any hope – “general pathological affection,” thus highlighting the systematic nature of this morbid process. The use of medical terminology and our own parental experience, as well as our profession as university instructors, give us the experience to offer our own point of view on the most painful issues raised in the author’s article.
How Does a Russian Rural School Live Today?
Baiborodova, Ludmilla V. [about]
Rural schools constitute about 70% of all public schools in Russia today. There are regions and territories where the number of such schools is even 80%, e.g., in the Vologodskaya Region. 40% of all school age children study there. In comparison with urban schools, rural, and especially remote rural schools are very different. Some of them are stable, productive, and provide quality education; others are desperate in their constant search for material supplies and professional teachers. This can be explained by their secluded location, poor economic state of the local community, and a decreasing number of students. Such factors have a serious impact on the status of the school, its financial and staff stability, on the organization of the teaching process as well as on the children themselves and their personality formation.
Creativity and Teaching Social Studies in an Elementary School
Reno, Kristen [about]
As part of our Social Studies curriculum in Chatham NY, as well as most schools in New York State, we study other countries and their culture as it is both similar and different from ours. As educators in a country where we embrace many different ethnic groups, religions and ways of life, presenting different traditions are crucial to understanding who we are as Americans and how our own culture and traditions came to be. We provide opportunities for the community to guide us through what they see as important traditions and customs.

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