Монография (часть 1) Ростов-на-Дону 2001 Федоров А. В

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9. Short English Variant of the Main Book’s Materials

9.1. Russian Media Education: from 20s to the Information Age

This work was supported by the Research Support Scheme of the Open Society Support Foundation, grant N 18/2000
One can say that first hearth of film education in Russia appeared in 1919 when a film school was opened in Moscow. Important components of general media education in this country in the 1920’s were film clubs and clubs of young journalists, amateur film-photo-studios. In 1925 the Soviet Cinema’s Friends Society (SCFS) was organized. A lot of well-known Russian directors like Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Dziga Vertov and others were in the Central Council of this society. There were about 50 SCFS’ amateur studios in Moscow that had film cameras and – 93 in St.Petersburg (8, p. 7). Similar clubs where films were shown, watched, discussed and made, lectures, exhibitions were held worked in Astrakhan, Vologda, Rostov-on-Don, Voronezh, Tomsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk and other cities. On the initiative of the Central Council of SCFS in Moscow the special educational course for club leaders from different cities were opened. Zarkhi, Romm, Pudovkin and other Russian filmmakers were teaching there. Lectures that were taught there men were published like teaching aid books. The first All-Russian Conference of SCFS was held in 1928 with delegates from 60 cities. For several years SCFS published its newspaper “Cinema”. In 1930 this society included 110 thousand members. The SCFS’ statutes distinguished the following objectives: to study the mass audience and to teach by the means of cinema, to help film & photo non-professional enthusiasts, to use films at schools, etc.

Simultaneously the media education of pupils and students by the means of press was developing. “The government supported this process, pursuing two main goals: the spread of the communist ideology and the liquidation of illiteracy of population (almost half of the country’s population couldn’t even read). These two goals were closely connected with each other. The role of media in Soviet society was increasing rapidly. Dozens of newspapers and magazines published by different schoolchildren’ – and youth unions appeared. Kids-journalists often joined the clubs where professional journalists taught them to prepare articles for newspapers and magazines” (19, p. 29-30). Schools in almost all cities of Russia issued some kind of press or school papers in the 1920’s.

However many of the creative attempt in Russian media education were abolished by the Stalin regime in 1934, when SCFS was closed. Since the late 30’s up until early 50’s on the whole the propaganda film-activities only were allowed. Amateur photo and film studios and clubs for children and youth, and school newspapers as well, were turned into decision looked like a paradox: why to close the mass organization that was under strict ideological control and its goal to spread socialist ideas and to build the new society by the means of film & photo art? Though there were reasons for that. In spite of the strict censorship, the debate clubs of SCFS developed in this way or another not only the creativity of children but also the critical thinking of the audience. Therefore they could provoke undesirable for the regime thoughts about not only press, cinema of photos, but about the life in the country in general, about its social structure. Also cameras of some non-professional SCFS members could shoot something not very pleasant, not sanctioned by the authorities…

It was not until late 50’s – early 60’s that media education was given a second birth in Russian schools and universities. The amount of institutions where courses of film education were taught was growing (Moscow, Petersburg, Voronezh, Rostov, Samara, Kurgan, Taganrog, etc.).

Beginning 1957 film clubs began to appear again, uniting thousands of the “The Tenth Muse” lovers of different ages. In 1967 in Moscow the first big seminar of film club’s leaders from 36 cities took place. A statute of many clubs included not only the watching and discussion of films, but studying the history of cinema, works of outstanding masters, sociological research, etc. (17, p. 52-54).

By 1967 there were about 4 thousand small amateur film studios and circles (8, p.38). Some of them became sort of media education’s complexes. For examples, they did sociological research about the role of cinema in people’s life, studied the history of cinema, organized film shows and discussions of the watched films, exhibitions, made documentary, feature and animated amateur films and so on. The movement of school journalists and photographers was also given a new start.

The social and cultural situation in Russia at that time made for the great interest in cinema among school children and teachers. Video and PCs were only dreamt of in science fiction novels. Films were seldom shown on TV, and in fact there were 1-2 TV channels). Cinemas were crowded therefore (statistics showed that a person was about 18 times in the movie theatre per year, and of course, school children went to the movies much more often than that). For many Russians the screen was the only window into the world, cut through the still thick “iron curtain”. Thank to the production of 8- and 16-mm cameras the amateur film studios movement developed very active until the early 1980’s. Instructors or teachers of such clubs were taught at the Moscow Institute of Culture, faculties of social sciences at some Pedagogical Institutes and Universities. The number of clubs and studios grew from 5 thousand (1974) to 11.000 (1983), and the number of members of these youth groups grew from 60.000 to 120-130 thousand people (8, p. 53-60). In the second half of the 1980’s many of these clubs began to use the videotapes for making films, that was, no doubt, easier and cheaper.

“Curriculums for the basics of cinema art for schools and pedagogical institutes was written in the ‘60s-‘70s. These programs were on principle different from many programs of other subjects: their authors avoided of strict regulation, dogmatic approach (…). It was emphasized in these curriculums that the contact with art should bring the joy. One more important peculiarity of the programs on cinema art was that the task was not to prepare specialists in one small field, because the country doesn’t need 50 million film critics. The objective of cinema pedagogic was to widen the spiritual, cultural world of school children, to develop their personality” (1, p. 4-5). I absolutely agree here with professor Ilya Waisfeld who said that “classes of media teachers can be described as dialogue. An old “teacher-centered” scheme, where a teacher is a source of knowledge and a pupil is its receiver, is broken. Both pupils and teachers get a bigger field for creativity, improvisation, for game activities. A game is treated as kind of a reality model. It helps to grasp the inner dynamics of a film, its deep roots” (1, p.5).

However, some Russian teachers of media education still practiced outdated pedagogical approaches. For instance, A.Bernstein believed that “teaching by the mean of cinema is impossible without constant control of what a pupil sees on TV and in cinema theatres every day” (30. p. 7). Here, I think, one can clearly see the similarity with viewpoints of many American media teachers (especially in the 1940’s – 1970s) who also considered that the main goal of media education was a strict control, “information defense”, “inoculative approach”, aimed against the harmful impact of press, screen, etc.

In early 80’s there was a big experiment of introduction film education into the primary and middle school curriculum in some Moscow schools. Similar experiments on media education (on the press, cinema and TV materials) were conducted in summer children centers like “Ocean” and “Orlyonok”. As for the Institutes and Universities, lectures and practical classes for the teachers-to-be were held. Some Institutes of Teachers’ Professional Development (in Moscow, Kurgan, Tver) have also made a contribution to media education. The seminars and workshops on teaching cinema were conducted. Some universities integrated media education into courses of the aesthetic education.

Media education is not an obligatory subject in Russian schools and universities. As a rule, this course is an elective. Of course, along with the electives and clubs of media culture (cinema/video clubs) are also integrated course. In this case media education become part of the aesthetic (literature, music, art, aesthetics), linguistic (the Russian and foreign languages), historic-philosophical (history, philosophy, law) and other courses.

For example, in Voronezh Pedagogical Institute they have begun to teach a course on cinema art since 1970. Then similar courses appeared in Voronezh University and Institute of Arts, and several schools. Since 1965 the film club has been working in Voronezh. Some other Russian cities and towns (Moscow, Petersburg, Kurgan, Tver, Rostov, Samara, Taganrog, etc.) have a similar structure of media education centers. As a rule, it is a net of courses on media education in universities, teachers’ training colleges, institutes, school elective subjects, film clubs in schools and community centers.

In 1967 the Council on Film Education in schools and higher educational institutes was establishes by the Union of Filmmakers (Moscow). It was headed by film critic N.Lebedev and then by I.Waisfeld. He was the first Russian media educator who made a report on problems of media education at UNESCO conference in Rome in 1966. Some other Russian media/film educators who have begun their work in schools, colleges and clubs since the 60’s are: Ury Usov, Inna Levshina, Zinaida Smelkova (Moscow), Nina Gornitskaya (Petersburg), Stal Penzin (Voronezh), Uly Rabinovich (Kurgan), Oleg Baranov (Tver), E.Gorbulina (Armavir), Elvira Gorukhina (Novosibirsk) and others. From the very start the Council tried to consolidate the efforts of media teachers-enthusiasts from different Russian cities (Moscow, Petersburg, Voronezh, Kurgan, Samara, Novosibirsk, Rostov, Taganrog, etc.). It collaborated with the Ministry of Education, Pedagogic Academy and State Committee of Cinema specifically in publishing teaching plans, curriculums, sponsored seminars, workshops and conferences. Starting from the second half of the 60’s such conference were held in Moscow, Tallinn, Alma-Ata, Erevan, Tbilisi, Petersburg, Kiev, Kurgan, Bolshevo.

At all the stage of the media education development in Russia there were its opponents too. They were afraid that “fast and awkward accomplishment of the ideas of school film education can destroy the direct contact between the screen and young audience by its importunate interference. Thus, after special courses newly educated film critics would seek for the general critical appreciation of a cinema work – end of the pleasure of watching. Because in order to enjoy cinema one should watch films freely, without any bias. One cannot turn a visit of a cinema theatre into the obligatory school subject. It is not right to “freeze” the young audience love for the cinema” (31, p.4).

However, despite of all the difficulties, the 80’s in Russia were marked by “the process of “deepening” of media education researches; transition from the description and summing up of the pedagogic experience to the revealing of psychological and/or sociological grounds of this phenomenon; the growth of the researchers’ interest for the children’s creativity, connected with the media. Researchers began to explore media education of the smaller children. In the 1980’s their activity affected the elementary school too” (19, pp.38-39).

In the end of the 80’s the vigorous development of the video began to change of the work of clubs and amateur children’s studios. VCRs and video cameras were used more and more often for making and showing films. School’s TV studios were emerging. In 1990 the Association of Clubs of Young Journalists was established. In 1998 the Council on Film Education was transformed into the Association for Film Education. In early 90’s it joined the European Association for Audiovisual Media Education, and in the end of 90’s it was renamed in to the Russian Association for Film & Media Education.

At the same time, as it has already been mentioned, media education in Russia has come across numerous difficulties during all the time of its existence (ideological, financial, technical, etc.). In the 20’s - 80’s the political and censorship control, and the poor technical equipment of schools and higher educational institutions hindered the media education movement. In the 90’s media teachers were granted the freedom and independence for making programs and their practical introduction. But the financial ones increased technical problems of introducing media education. Many Russian schools and colleges in the 90’s didn’t have enough money for teachers’ salary, not mention the audiovisual equipment. Moreover, still just the few universities were preparing future teachers for media education of pupils…

The sudden change of the social & cultural situation in Russia (from the middle 80’s) was a serious alteration in media education’s development. In early 90’s the rest of the “iron curtain” fell down. More and more Russian were getting the opportunity to travel abroad. Cinema stopped being the only window into the world. Films (foreign films including) were not a deficit anymore; you could watch them on TV on different channels. Media repertoire was satiated with American action movies. Information about the media world could be read in hundreds of newspaper, magazines and books. By the end 1990’s nearly every urban family owned a VCR. Computers, interactive games, Internet spread very rapidly. Thus, the question arises: could a school teacher, as a rule lagging behind his pupils as far as the media production concerns, have authority in the sphere of media culture with his pupils? It’s a rhetorical question.

And still Russian media education was still developing. In May 1991 the first Russian Cinema Lyceum was open (unfortunately this Lyceum closed in 1999). International conferences on media education were held in Tashkent (1990), in Moscow suburbs – Valuevo (1992), in Moscow (1992, 1995). The total number of media teachers – members of the Association for Film & Media Education – reached 300. Unfortunately, “the epoch of reform” of 1990’s affected the media education movement not to its advantage. The state support given to the Society of Films’ Friends (SFF) in the end 1980’s ran out by the early 1992. The private firm “VIKING” (Video-film-literacy), organized by the President of the Association for Film & Media Education Dr.Gennady Polichko, sponsored a lot of successful projects, such as the Russian-British seminars on media education, conferences, mentioned above, etc. But in late 1990’s the firm went closed. However in the late 1990’s the summer festival of film & media education for children took place in the ancient town Uglich and their workshops on media education were held given. Similar festivals of visual arts year by year were held in the summer children’s camp “Orlyonok” at the Black Sea. The screen arts laboratory at the Research Institute for Art Education of Russian Academy of Education (this laboratory was headed by Professor Dr. Ury Usov up until his death in April 2000) was still working. Books and teaching materials, programs on media and film education (by Prof.Dr.Ury Usov, Dr.Larissa Bazhenova, Dr.Elena Bondarenko, etc.) were published, etc.

Similar processes were going on Russian film clubs in 1990’s. After the long resistance of authorities (who saw in film clubs and media education movement as the source for the development of the oppositional critical thinking) finally in 1988 the Russian Federation of Film Clubs was officially established.

During the “perestroika” years it seemed at first that the golden age for film clubs began. The foundation of the Federation promised a long waiting deliverance from the censorship’s dictatorship, as an opportunity of the exchange of the best Russian and foreign films. In fact, the Film Clubs Federation began to collect its film library, club enthusiasts were invited to seminars, conferences and festivals, famous actor and directors toured the country with sort of the meetings with their audience. Everything seemed so perfect. But the drastic growth of prices forced its rules. By the end 1990s even big Russian film clubs could not afford to buy a new movie copy from Moscow. Not to mention small film clubs in small provincial towns.

Together with the film club movement the crisis hit amateur school film and video studios too. The vast majority of them closed…

The publication of programs and study guides has always been an important component of media education. Since 1960s Moscow publishing houses (“Prosveschenie”, “Pedagogica”, “Detskaya Literatura”, “Novaya Shkola”, “Kino Center”, “Iskusstvo”) and others have published quite a few monographs, programs dedicated to the issues of media education. To tell the truth, some of those works were overloaded with ideological dogmas and books for teachers gave sometimes too primitive schemes of organizing pedagogical process with children (18, pp.26-27). Articles on film/media education were published in magazines “Iskusstvo Kino”, “Pedagogica”, “Specialist”, “Ecran”, etc.).

One of the most active enthusiasts of literature on film education was Lev Rybak – a teacher, film critic, the chief editor of the “Kino Center” publishing house. The author of several brilliant cineastes’ biographies, Lev Rybak founded the book series “Cinema & School”. There he published four of his books (31; 32; 33; 34), written in an entertaining way in a language, intelligible both for teachers and high school students. Three of these books tackled the problem of screening Russian classical and modern literature. And in his book “Alone with a Film” L.Rybak told about the subjectivity of film reception. “Before I became a film critic, - Rybak wrote, - I had been a school teacher for more than 15 years. I went to the cinema with my pupils. And sometimes I was really hurt when a pupil of mine after having seen a good film, said: “Rubbish!”, evidently not considering the film to be a good one. I was mad: you can interpret a film in your own way, but try to comprehend it! Viewers’ impressions of a film are always different, individual; there is no sense in trying to level them. But how to make these impressions emerge and be not so poor?”(31, p. 6). I must agree that this is still one of the key questions on the media education agenda though many of media education researchers and teachers have tried to find an answer to it…

So, there are a lot of pedagogical literatures. However for all those years no regular edition on media education – like a newspaper or a magazine – has been organized. Without that, the essential coordination of efforts of Russian media teachers was and still is very difficult.

Things are much bettered as far as the research work in concerned. Here the lead is held by the laboratory of screen arts at the Institute of Art Education of Russian Academy of Education. First doctor’s theses on media education appeared in 1960s. Researches by O.Baranov (1968), A.Karasik (1966), U.Rabinovich & R.Rabinovich (1966) were dedicated to the problem of film education of school students. And V.Saperov’s thesis (1969) analyzed the problem of the using of radio broadcasting in pupils’ education. In 1970s many theses witch studies the teaching of audiovisual media literacy to pupils were defended (N.Goncharova, 1970; S.Sokolova, 1971; U.Usov, 1974; I.Levshina, 1974; G.Labkovska, 1976; S.Ivanova, 1978; Z.Malobitska, 1978; V.Monastyrsky, 1979). Theses on the school material made way for the researches for media education in Universities. The most important works on film education in Institutes & Universities appeared in 1980s-1990s (L.Seregenkova, 1982; S.Odintsova, 1981; S.Penzin, 1987; A.Fedorov, 1993; L.Platunova, 1995).

Besides, the process of the research of media education for pupils continued: making and using audiovisual means in school (L.Pressman, 1981; V.Bulavko, 1982), filmmaking by school children (E.Yanelauskas, 1983; U.Bozhkov, 1984; P.Genkin, 1985), social & psychological aspects (Ch.Shakeeva, 1983; N.Kirillova, 1983), morals education of teenagers (Z.Smelkova, E.Zharinov, 1986), analysis of using foreign films in media education (A.Fedorov, 1986), inter-disciplinary ties of literature and film courses (G.Polichko, 1987), employment of cinema as a complex education of pupils (N.Gutiva, 1987), aesthetic education and artistic development of school children (N.Yakovleva, 1988; U.Usov, 1989; G.Evtushenko, 1991, E.Bondarenko, 1994). In 2000 the first Russian thesis on foreign media education in this case, on American media education, was written (A.Novikova). In 1990s the Laboratory of Technology and Media Education (Russian Academy of Education) headed by professor L.Zaznobina worked out a concept of school media education, integrated into the basic curriculum.

By the year 2001 the number of secondary and higher educational Russian institutions training professionals in the media, has quite grown. Besides VGIK (Russian State Institute of Cinematography), School for Script Writers and Film Directors, Russian Institute of Professional Development in the Field of Film, there are Petersburg State University of Film and Television, Film-Video College in Sergeev Posad and Petersburg, technical film colleges in Irkutsk, Sovetsk, Rostov-on-Don. Professional media education is included into the curriculum of Petersburg State Academy of Culture, Petersburg Academy of Theatre Art, Institute of Professional Development of TV & Radio Specialists (Moscow), Independent School of Cinema and Television (Moscow), Grymov’s School of Advertising, Institute of Modern Art (Moscow), New Humanities University of Natalia Nesterova (Moscow), several school of animation, etc.

First work summarizing problems of media education in general, have appeared in 1990s (A.Sharikov, A.Fedorov, L.Zaznobina). In February 2000 (A.Fedorov and others) the first in Russia bilingual (Russian-English) Internet site on media education was created. More than 2000 people visited the site during the first 6 months of its existence. The same year staff of the Russian Academy of Education headed by L.Zaznobina opened one more Russian web site on media education.

Unfortunately, there is no official mandated teacher training in media education in Russia today. If some university offered a full course in media education we could witness progress in media education and the media in Russia. The important event in this direction was the Resolution of the Summit of the Union of Russian Filmmakers held in November 2000 in Moscow. It emphasized the need of coordination of the efforts of different organizations and projects working with children, teenagers and students (Rolan Bykov’s Foundation, Festival of Visual Arts in “Orlyonok”, Festival on Film Education in Uglich, Pedagogical Institutes, Universities, etc.). And in particular, the Resolution recommended to State Institute of Cinematography to offer a teacher training course in media education for school and university.

Russian media education specialists (U.Usov, L.Bazhenova, G.Polichko, A.Spitchkin, A.Sharikov, A.Fedorov and others) participate in international conferences for media education (held in France, Canada, Austria, UK, Brazil, Spain, Greece, Switzerland), publish their works in French, American, English, Australian, Norwegian magazines on the media and media education. Taking into account the fact that UNESCO defined media education as a priority field of the cultural pedagogical development in the XXI century, media education has good prospects in Russia.

  1. Waisfeld, I. (1993). Screen Evolution, Perception Evolution. Specialist. N 5, p. 3-6.

  2. Waisfeld, I. (1993). Film Education in the modern World. Specialist. N 2, p.19.

  3. Waisfeld, I. (1982). Film in Pedagogical Process. Sov.Pedagogica. N 7, p. 35-38.

  4. Waisfeld, I. (1988). Development of Film Education in “Perestroika” Years. Moscow: Society of Cinema Friends Publishing House. 21 p.

  5. Waisfeld, I. (1993). Screen and Our Children. Problems of Modern Film Education. Moscow: Russian Association for Film Education, p. 7-25.

  6. Waisfeld, I. (1976). Poetry of Pedagogic Search. Iskusstvo Kino. N 5, p. 120-132.

  7. Waisfeld, I., Demin, V., Mikhalkovich, V., Sobolev R. (1981). Meeting the Tenth Muse: Talks About Cinema Art. Book for Students. Moscow: Prosveshenie. Vol.1, Vol.2.

  8. Ilyichev, S., Naschekin, B. (1986). Cinema Amateur Movement: Starts and Perspectives. Moscow: Iskusstvo, 110 p.

  9. Subbotin, I. (2000) Cross Regional Organization “Society of Russian Film &Video Amateurs. SK-News, p. 12.

  10. Menzhinskaya, U. (1927). Objectives of Working with Children in Cinema. Iskusstvo v Shkole. N 1, p. 18-20.

  11. Menzhinskaya, U. (1927). Objectives of Cinema for Children. Na Putiakh k Novoi Shkole. N 3, p. 5-14.

  12. Gelmont, A. (1927). Cinema as a Factor of Education. Vestnik Prosveshenia. N 5, p. 9-11.

  13. Kandyrin, B. (1929).Children and Teaching Films. Iskusstvo v Shkole. N 2-3, p. 57-58.

  14. Conference on the Problems of Children and School Films. (1927). Na Putiakh k Novoi Shkole. N 3, p.111-115.

  15. Lublinsky, P. (1925). Cinema & Children. Moscow: Pravo I Zhizn, 122 p.

  16. Gelmont, A. (Ed.) (1929). Cinema – Children- School. Moscow: Rabotnik Prosveshenia, 240 p.

  17. Lebedev, N. (1969). Film & Audience. Moscow: BPSK, 55 p.

  18. Weihelt, K., Keilina, R., Kandyrin, B. (1966). Club for Children. Moscow: Profisdat, 128 p.

  19. Sharikov, A. (1990). Media Education: International & Russian Experience. Moscow: Russian Academy of Education, 66 p.

  20. Afanasieva, A., Berman, L. (1929). Pioneers’ Newspaper. – Leningrad: Priboi. 192 p.

  21. Slobodzinska, M. (1933).Radio for School. Leningrad: Lenoblisdat, 112 p.

  22. Berman, L., Halturin, I. (1927). To Children about a Newspaper. Leningrad.

  23. Vasiliev, V.(1949). Photo-club at School. Moscow, 16 p.

  24. Veselov, U. (1948). Learn to Take Pictures. Moscow: Molodaya Gvardia, 32 p.

  25. Wintman, A. (1949). Cinema in Educational Work at School. – Moscow: Academy of Education, 40 p.

  26. Ivanter, B. (1931). Live Newspaper in School. Moscow: Molodaya Gvardia, 62 p.

  27. Rapkov, V., Pekelis, V. (1954). Yang Film-Projectionist. Moscow: Molodaya Gvardia, 112 p.

  28. Samrai, A., Poletaev, V. (1925). Young Journalists and Pioneer’s Press. Moscow: Molodaya Gvardia, 78 p.

  29. Penzin, S. (1987). Cinema and Aesthetic Education: Methodological Problems. Voronezh: Voronezh University Press, 175 p.

  30. Bernstein, A. (1971).Feature Film During the Lesson. Moscow: BPSK, 52 p.

  31. Rybak, L. (1980). Alone with a Film. Cinema & School. Moscow: BPSK, 57 p.

  32. Rybak, L. (1975). Read by the Screen. Cinema & School. Moscow: BPSK.

  33. Rybak, L. (1976). Russian Classics on the Screen. Cinema & School. Moscow: BPSK, 63 p.

  34. Rybak, L. (1978). Soviet Literature on the Screen. Cinema & School. Moscow: BPSK, 64 p.

9.2.Russia: Media Education in Secondary Schools

This work was the part of EUROMEDIAPROJECT (Director of this project is Prof.Dr. Andrew Hart, UK). This work was also supported by the Research Support Scheme of the Open Society Support Foundation, grant N 18/2000

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