New York Times Education Supplement: Strangers in a Strange School

Some Solutions (in Education) Are Both Simple and Drastic at the Same Time Has anyone read the New York Times Education supplement from 9/18/11, especially the article called Strangers in a Strange School? I was impressed by an article from the New York Times magazine,  Sunday Sept 18, 2011.  (The education issue).  There is a story about an American couple  in Russia that sent their three children to a unique Russian school.  The children did not speak Russian when they started, and received no special classes in Russian Language. (However, when you read the article you will see they did get some special treatment.  For example when the youngest child was being teased in class, the principal instructed the teacher to teach the class exclusively in English.  The students who previously teased the American quickly understood how frustrating it was to not know the language and soon stopped the teasing). The school is called New Humanitarian School is run by a man named Vasily Bogin.  Bogin set up a system of “curators” a kind of tutor for groups of children.  Here in a nutshell is what he did: (It is brilliant).  He has 2 to 3 teachers who do not teach but oversee 10 to 15 children in each grade. These teachers observe classes and notice when problems occur, (and deal with them).  They stay until 6 pm to work with children on their homework.  These curators eat breakfast, lunch and snacks with the children and everyone is served meals in a cafeteria where “comfort food is served by doting cooks”. The idea of  having extra adults around to help  the main teacher deal  with problems  (academic or  otherwise) as they arise is simple. But it is  “drastic” in the sense that these teachers are extras, and are often cut when budgets are slim.  In the long term, such investments are invaluable. For a fascinating story of one family’s educational adventure read the whole article: Strangers in a Strange School by Clifflord Levy in this week’s 9/18/11 New York Times Magazine.