By Jeanne Sutherland
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Additional resources for Schooling in New Russia: Innovation and Change, 1984-95
At a school visited on the outskirts of Moscow only technical translation was taught in the language. 14 However an undoubtedly high standard was achieved in foreign language instruction by the use of new methods of teaching combined with oral practice and language teaching started in the second class, good standards established at an early age by well-trained staff, better textbooks and teaching aids than in an ordinary general school, 22 Schooling in the New Russia smaller classes (usually between 15 and 20) and much greater time given to the study of the language in the curriculum.
Several of the English classrooms were equipped with a console and earphones (but no cabins) from which the teachers could monitor the 28 Schooling in the New Russia children. We did not see these being used. The teachers complained that the tapes they had were old and difficult to use. There was some inspired English teaching in the first year English class where the teacher, a young man, had the children imitating, and guessing the names of, animals, and playing games in front of the class. He would have had an even greater success had it been possible to move the customary immovable row of desks.
By the 1970s the Soviet Union had been through two cultural thaws, in the 1950s after Stalin's death and again in the 1960s. Family life was not easy but it was much easier than it had been. Under Khrushchev thousands of new homes had been built in the microraiony or new suburbs outside the large towns. Built at great speed to cope with the urgent needs of the population, and regretted later by some Moscow architects,6 the immense and ugly concrete blocks provided separate homes for Russian couples who previously had been forced to live in one room of a relative's apartment, or in communal flats, where in the 1950s as many as thirty or forty people still shared communal cooking and washing facilities.
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