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Gradskova, Yulia:

Russian discourses on childcare and preschool education centers – from “Soviet education is the best in the world” to what?

In the center of the presentation is the analysis of the changes in the discourse of pedagogy and practices of the preschool centers .  Beginning of the democratic reforms in Russia in the early  1990s  ended with the Cold War  limitations for  the circulation of information and knowledge with respect to  educational psychology and pedagogy as well as with respect to the ideas of the protection of the rights of the child.  The end of limitation for information together with the lack of expertise with respect to “foreign” theories contributed to the distribution of different kinds of theoretical ideas and practical know how from abroad.  The new  knowledge got to be integrated into the new educational programs (Raduga, Istoki, Detstvo and others). It also influenced  new employment of  psychologist by the kindergartens,   new guidelines for communication with parents and new programs for preparation of the educators. At  the same time lack of financing and attention from the side of the state contributed to the situation when changes were slow and many “Soviet” practices and attitudes towards “foreign” theories continued to be part of the everyday work of these centers.   The presentation looks at the publications of the main magazine for preschool education – Doshkolnoe vospitanie – for analysis of the discursive changes. The analysis of the changes of practices is made on the base of the interviews with parents and educators.  The analysis shows that in spite of the apparently wide distribution of the international knowledge with respect to modern principles of childcare post-Soviet pedagogy continues to show suspicion toward knowledge “from abroad” while everyday practices of childcare still have low degree of the influence of the discourse on the rights of the child.

Thursday 29 Oct 13.45-15.45 SESSION 2
Panel: The Politics of Pedagogy: the Role of Education in the Cold War