Posted on 30 April 2003
Top Russian education officials have been working with the Department of Educational Studies at the University of York since 1996, to make Design and Technology education in Russian schools more active and child-centred. The work has taken York personnel to many of the furthest parts of the Russian Federation.
Professor Vladislav Balov the Rector (Vice-Chancellor), of the Komsol'sk-na-Amure State Pedagogical University, arrives at the University of York on Wednesday (30th April) to continue talks on developing a new course for training Design and Technology teachers.
He will work with University staff on a pilot which, if successful, will be extended to other parts of Russia. He will be accompanied by Professor Mark Gurievich, Head of the Faculty of Technology and Enterprise at the Nizhny Novgorod Institute for the Development of Education.
They will be talking to Visiting Fellow James Pitt who has been involved in the work for the last six years. He has seen his role change as his Russian colleagues have taken responsibility for training and dissemination. He said: "To start with I was working with classroom teachers as they tried our new methods of teaching technology. The next phase was training them to develop their own materials, and then training them as trainers. My main role now is quality assurance, and supporting the Federal Strategy Group which co-ordinates activity."
He added: "Over the years we have worked on teaching methods, text-book production, and in-service teacher training. The First Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Victor Bolotov, who is the architect of many of Russia's educational reforms, has now asked us to look at the pre-service training of technology teachers - the last piece of the jigsaw.
"Historically, teachers were trained to communicate facts and skills. Relatively little attention was paid to teaching methods and classroom practice.
"Educational policy in Russia has changed dramatically and now aims to develop each child as a creative person capable of life-long learning. We want to examine the way teacher training can be re-structured, making learning through projects a central focus, and looking at the likely costs."