The second parent: Ideologies of childhood in Russian pedagogy manuals

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Education, Childhood, Pedagogy, Russia, Soviet


The collapse of the Soviet Union saw deep reforms in the educational system and, with the new market economy, in the presuppositions about training and employment that underpinned it. But this article argues that contemporary Russian teacher training materials nonetheless reproduce Soviet understandings about childhood, education, and the state. Comparing discourses about teaching in Russian, Soviet, and American resources for prospective teachers reveals that differences between Russian and American teaching practices stem not from economic differences, but different conceptions of the social purpose of education. Discourse analysis identified patterns in representations of children and teachers in widely-used Russian teacher training textbooks, mainstream American teacher training textbooks, and Soviet pedagogical writings. This analysis revealed that contemporary Russian textbooks, in contrast to their Soviet counterparts, represent the function of education as helping prepare a child to enter society qua capitalist workforce. But the materials differ from American textbooks in their depictions of the responsibilities of teachers, the role of the state, and the rights of children in primary schools. In these respects, Russian textbooks sound much like Soviet ones.


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How to Cite

Garey, A. A. (2022). The second parent: Ideologies of childhood in Russian pedagogy manuals. Journal of Childhood, Education & Society, 3(3), 260–274.