Суд идет: дискурс преподавателей об отсеве студентов
A discourse analysis of semi-structured interviews with professors of 9 Russian universities has been conducted. The analysis focused on the narratives about student attrition and its causes and revealed the generally accusing nature of professors’ discourses. All narratives can be integrated and described under the metaphor of a trial. In the most blatant form, the discourse is constructed in a prosecutor style, but attorney- and judge-like speeches also blame students for the high attrition rates. All the three types of discourse build figurative barriers between the university and professors on the one hand and students on the other. These barriers encourage professors to feel uninvolved in student attrition. None of the discourse types phrased the university mission or problematized the principles and goals of university activities. We suggest that the “bad student” discourse reflects some real problems associated with massification of education and with inevitable changes to the student body. Professor discourse analysis makes it possible to assume that response to these changes is restricted to stating the problems and disassociating oneself from them. Construction of figurative barriers may result in professors’ self-distancing not only from students but also from the changes affecting the education system. Such self-distancing complicates the process of adaptation to changes, making it poorly controllable.