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Article

Страх влияния: к ранней истории советских языковых спецшкол (конец 1940-х—начало 1960-х годов)

Вопросы образования. 2016. № 2. С. 286-310.

Through the analysis of published and archived documents the author seeks to discern the reasons that impelled the Soviet government to establish schools with the advanced study of foreign languages. These reasons seem to be particularly interesting when taking into account that the said schools were founded in the period known by harsh fighting against “cosmopolitanism” and “kowtowing to the West.” Graduates of the new schools were expected to alleviate the acute shortage of experts with foreign language skills, so the focus was put on speaking skills first, while the common secondary school syllabus was restricted to reading and translating. The author believes the conception of schools with the advanced study of foreign languages was self-contradictory from the very beginning and analyzes the resource, social, methodological and ideological restrictions that had to be forced on the language school project. The era of “fighting against cosmopolitanism” left an imprint on the teaching philosophy: all learning materials had to pass numerous ideological filters, as Soviet leaders feared foreign languages would have underlying negative effects on students.