1. After watching this overview, students can begin to explore personal reflections on education found in primary source interviews, as many interviewees reflected on the Soviet educational system.
- The A-Schedule Life Histories include an “Education Section,” with questions such as “Did you like school?” “What were your relations like with your teachers?” and “What were the libraries like in your schools?“ A complete list of questions asked in this section can be found on pages 8–14 of Appendix C of the Manual of A-Schedule Materials.
- In B Schedule, Volume 20 “Professions Schedule,” interviewees were asked to describe the “Material Conditions and Personal Satisfaction of Teachers,” among other occupations. Reflections on school came up naturally in many other sections of the interviews, as well, such as the Nationalities Schedule (Vol. 7 of B-Schedule interviews) in which ethnic minorities such as Azerbaijanis, Kalmyks, andBuddhists reflect on their experiences of assimilation in Russian-language Soviet schools.
2. Begin by having students survey 5–10 sources by using the search function or selecting particular subjects from the interview list (see sidebar for suggested subjects).
Have students keep track of their reading by noting:
- Name of interviewee
- Age and gender
- What they said they liked about school
- What they said they disliked about school
Ask students to answer the following questions:
- What similarities do you see in their feelings about school? What differences do you see?
- How does this compare to your own experience at school?
3. After recording notes about several interviews, ask students to select one individual who they will represent in a roundtable discussion. In groups of 3–5, have students sit in a Socratic seminar circle and respond to the following questions:
- What do you like best about school?
- What do you like least? What would you change about it?
- What can American schools learn from Soviet schools?
- What can Soviet schools learn from American schools?