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Russian and American educations: a comparison

Watch+for+Dasha+Eremeeva%27s+columns+in+The+Pony+Express+this+semester.
Watch for Dasha Eremeeva's columns in The Pony Express this semester.

Watch for Dasha Eremeeva's columns in The Pony Express this semester.

Watch for Dasha Eremeeva's columns in The Pony Express this semester.

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Editor’s Note: International Student Dasha Eremeeva is writing a column this semester for The Pony Express. We asked her to write an essay describing the Russian system of public education.

These are the most significant differences of American and Russian education.

Education in these countries is very different. Almost every country in Europe has the same system of education as  Russia (Belarus, Ukraine, Poland). I will base my essay on my own experience and I will tell you some interesting facts about how students study on the other continent of the earth.

To begin with, in every Russian, classes start on September 1 (in the USA – the end of August). The students, usually with their parents, come to school and bring flowers to their teachers.

Also, we have 11 years of school compared to 12 in the USA. Higher education in Russia is similar to the U.S.: four years of university for a bachelor’s degree, and two years more to get a master’s degree.

In the school/university/college students are assigned to groups for the whole period of studying. The group consists of about 22-27 people and they go to every class together (in the USA – in every class you have a different group). So, for all 11 years of a school students study together.

Assessments in Russian school are numeric, from 2 to 5, rather than using letter grades. So the best is 5 (in the USA – A) the worst is 2 (in the USA – F).

One more important difference is Russian students don’t choose classes every semester by themselves (in the USA – you choose classes by yourself). A school administrator does it for them.

In addition to this, in Russia we don’t have an online program for all classes as “Canvas” here. We use more paper work, we write down everything that the teacher tells us in class, and then learn it, we write our homework in our notebooks and give it to the teacher for checking out.

A few (maybe weird for Americans) features of Russian schools:

When a teacher (or director of a school, or another teacher) enters to the room, students stand up to show respect to the teacher.

All students have private diaries, where they write down all classes and what they need to do for homework. The teacher put a grade on this diary and can leave comments for a student.

In Russian schools there are meetings for parents. During these meetings, teachers tell about the program for a year, and about how their children are doing in the school. (Children always with great emotion await the return of parents from these meetings, because they are scared that the parents will know that they got a lot of bad marks, or their behavior was bad, or they missed some classes).

When the teacher says to the students: get the piece of paper…… Everyone knows, it means it’s time for a quiz or a verification work. And everyone starts to try to learn everything about this class for two-three minutes. They know it’s impossible, but anyway they try!

Usually first 20 minutes of a class is a checking of homework. These are the most terrible minutes of a student’s life. The teacher goes through the list of the students and looks for somebody she wants to answer. Meanwhile students drop their heads into textbooks and pray that they are not asked. I guess it’s so funny for a teacher to see only the napes of her students’ necks.

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Russian and American educations: a comparison