EARLY IN HER REIGN Catherine,… fascinated by the pedagogical ideas of Enlightenment literature, gave herself over to a more expansive thought—radically changing the very mission of the public school. The school up to then had only taught; the new school had to nurture. To use Betsky’s1 words, Catherine’s “main intention” at that time “leaned toward not so much having sciences and the arts spread among the people as implanting gentle manners in their hearts.” Thus, for the first time, school in Russia took upon itself the tasks of upbringing that up until then had belonged exclusively to the family. With this transfer of upbringing from the family to the school, a complete change of its techniques and goals was to be effected. The Old Russian family reared its members according to a definite stereotype that had evolved through the ages. At its basis lay the prescriptions of religion. Some vacillation could be noted, however, in the selection of religious principles of child-rearing in Old Rus’.2 Religion afforded two types of child-rearing to choose from: the stern Biblical and the loving New Testament… In theory, prePetrine Rus’ sometimes preached the second type, but in practice it almost always abided by the first… The principles of the Old Testament upbringing “do not spare the staff, maul the ribs, neither play nor laugh with children,” and so forth.
KeywordsPublic School Educational Reform Rural School Lower School Pedagogical Idea
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