Social capital of students is an important resource developed in the university, along with professional competencies. We analyze friendship and study help networks among first-year students, examine network structures, calculate network parameters and correlations between them. Student relations in different programmes are identical in nature, which is proved by similar structures of both friendship and help networks. We identify statistically significant correlations between network parameters of outcoming and incoming interpersonal ties, as well as between academic performance and peer network status. Friendship ties are more numerous, stable and reciprocal than study help ones. Each network has students who hold the key positions in terms of mediation and popularity. Academic performance is a significant factor affecting student status in study help networks. We suggest that students holding the key positions in both mediation and popularity enjoy the best opportunities for using their social capital.
Being members of the Central Subject-Specific Methodology Board for the Russian School Student Olympiad in Social Theory and members of the jury for its final round, we discuss the specific aspects of teaching social theory at school and preparing for the Unified State Examination and the Russian Olympiad in that subject. We examine different kinds and types of tasks offered in different rounds of the Olympiad, analyze their pitfalls and ultimate objectives, and discover the opportunities, prospects and challenges of applying the competency-based approach in preparing students for the Russian School Student Olympiad in Social Theory.
The paper examines issues connected with the implementation of MOOCs in teaching, motivation to study on these courses and the attitudes of the students and faculty towards the possible substitution of university courses for MOOCs. The study is also devoted to the evaluation of determinants in the demand for MOOCs among the students and faculty of Russian universities. The study is based on cross-sectional data from a student and university faculty survey carried out within the framework of the Monitoring of Education Markets and Organizations Project (2016). The results of the study indicate that MOOCs are demanded more by university faculty than by students. We found that faculty and student attitudes towards the substitution of general university courses for MOOCs is neutral, and negative regarding the substitution of special professional courses for MOOCs. Regression analysis revealed that students with higher academic achievement and faculty involved in research activities and participating in summer schools and vocational training are more likely to use MOOCs in their studies. Studying in a top university has a strong positive impact on the probability of student participation in MOOCs. However, the same effect for university faculty is ambiguous.
The article presents the results of a further multidimensional analysis of PIRLS"2006 data on the Russian sample. In the first part, the author discusses research on the connection between various characteristics of the school and family and the childs achievements in PIRLS. In particular, she demonstrates that children from different socio" demographic groups showed a non"uniform five year long dynamic of achievements. The conditions under which school resources begin to have an impact on students reading skills are determined. The author suggests optimal combinations of reading tasks and text comprehension tasks. The second part describes the procedure and results of a regression analysis of key variables relating to school and home learning environments. The conclusion is that school and family factors have an unequal impact on the reading skills of a child. A negative impact of certain factors on reading skills is shown. The author proceeds to discuss alternative interpretations of the results and the desirability of secondary analyses of international surveys.
Teachers’ beliefs should be changed in order to introduce modern teaching methods in education. The notion of “belief” combines the ideas, attitudes, and personal philosophies teachers apply in their work. We differentiate between traditional beliefs about teaching as a direct transfer of knowledge and constructivist beliefs assuming that students construct their knowledge themselves through specifically organized activities. We have analyzed the key teacher belief research projects: the OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), the cross-cultural Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M), and the Nordic-Baltic Comparative Research in Mathematics Education (NorBA) that we borrowed a questionnaire from. Our survey involved teachers of mathematics in three countries: 390 teachers in Latvia (of which 95 with Russian as their native tongue), 332 teachers in Estonia (of which 92 with Russian as their native tongue), and 1,096 teachers in the Russian Federation. We have found that differences between teachers in different countries were statistically important in all the variables used in the study, regardless of whether Estonian and Latvian teachers were Russian-speaking or not. All teachers implemented their beliefs in their everyday classroom practices. 36% of teachers in Russia had a high level of constructivism (as compared to 26% in Latvia and 18% in Estonia). Proportion of teachers with low levels of traditionalism in Latvia and Estonia (appr. 25% in both) was higher than the same proportion among Russian teachers (17.5%). We have come to a conclusion that different approaches to education system reforms in Russia and in the Baltic states have resulted in a significant diversity of beliefs among teachers of mathematics. Thus, proportion of teachers with low levels of traditionalist beliefs has grown in the Baltic countries more than in Russia, which explains to some extent higher PISA points of Estonian and Latvian students.
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.