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(Post)Socialist Transformation of Primary Schools

Processes, Stories and Challenges in the Czech Republic

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  • © 2024

Overview

  • Addresses post-socialist Central and Eastern Europe educational reforms
  • Uses oral history and research of sources of varying provenance
  • Resonates with historians, researchers, educators, and school policy makers

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About this book

This book addresses the transformation of primary education in the former Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) after the fall of the communist regime in 1989. It follows the overall transformation of education and school policy and offers original insights into the everyday life of the schools at that time. It also provides a unique perspective on the whole transformation process. The work discusses the school environment in the context of specific local characteristics, such as parents, community, regional institutions, and national and international contexts.

The book specifically focuses on the changes in primary school management in terms of economics, organization, and personnel. The processes of pedagogical change are an essential theme of the book. They cover how teachers proceeded through the changes in their work at the time of the transformation and the reasons for their resistance to change, including the challenges that the transformation introduced into their work and personal lives. The book also monitors how the teachers navigated the selection and use of new textbooks and tools, such as digital tools.

The work originates in historical-pedagogical research, based primarily on the oral history method and complemented by the study of contemporary documents.

Keywords

Table of contents (9 chapters)

  1. Contexts of Czechoslovakian School System Development

  2. Schools and Teachers in the Period of Changes

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Educational Sciences, Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, Brno, Czech Republic

    Jiří Zounek

  • Department of European Ethnology, Department of Educational Sciences, Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, Brno, Czech Republic

    Oto Polouček

  • Department of Social Sciences, Mendel University in Brno, Institute of Lifelong Learning, Brno, Czech Republic

    Michal Šimáně

About the authors

Jiří Zounek is an Associate Professor at the Department of Educational Sciences at the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University, Czech Republic. For a long time, he has focused on the history of (Czech) pedagogy and the school system in the 20th century and on the use of digital technologies in education. Between 2020 and 2022, he was the main researcher in the research project Post-Socialist Transformation of Czech Primary Schools: Processes, Stories, Dilemmas. Between 2014 and 2016, he was the grantee of the research project Everyday life of basic schools in the normalization period as seen by teachers: Applying oral history to research in the history of contemporary education. He is a (co-)author of books about the history of Czech primary schools in communist Czechoslovakia. These include the monographs Normal Life in Not-So-Normal Times: Primary Schools and Their Teachers (Not Only) During the So-Called Normalization Period (2017) and Socialist Primary Schools as Seen by Eyewitnesses: Probing teachers’ lives in the South Moravian Region (2017). He publishes in academic journals, such as Paedagogica Historica and History of Education. From 2017 to 2019, he was the main researcher on the research project Digital technologies in the everyday lives and learning of students (Czech Science Foundation, 17-06152S). He was a member of the large team responsible for the Czech National Strategy for Digital Education 2020. He publishes the results of his work in scientific journals and presents them at conferences such as the European Social Science History Conference, European Conference on Educational Research, and the International Conference of Education, Research, and Innovation. He is a member of the Czech Oral History Association and a member of the Czech Association of Educational Research (member of European Educational Research Association). He is also a member of the Science Advisory Board (SAB) of the vice rector for research at Masaryk University.

Michal Šimáně is a graduate of the Department of Educational Sciences at the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University, Czech Republic. He currently works as a head of the Department of Social Sciences and the deputy director of the Institute of Lifelong Learning at Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic. His focus is on the history of pedagogy and education in the 19th and 20th centuries and on the problems of vocational education. Between 2019 and 2022, he was the main researcher in the research project Secondary Technical School in Socialist Czechoslovakia from the History of the Everyday Life Point of View: Oral History Interviews with Teachers. From 2014 to 2016, he was a member of the research team for the project Everyday life of basic schools in the normalization period as seen by teachers: Applying oral history to research in history of contemporary education. He is the author or co-author of several books on the history of Czechoslovak education in the interwar period and in the socialist period. These include the monographs C Secondary Technical Schools in Czechoslovakia During the Communist Era: Everyday Life from the Perspective of Teachers in South Moravian Region (2023), Czech Minority Education in the Czechoslovak Republic. To the Everyday Life of Primary Schools in Political District Ústí nad Labem (2019), Normal Life in Not-So-Normal Times: Primary Schools and Their Teachers (Not Only) During the So-Called Normalization Period (2017), and Socialist Primary School as Seen by Eyewitnesses: Probing teachers’ lives in the South Moravian Region (2017). He regularly publishes in academic journals, such as Paedagogica HistoricaHistory of Education, and Communist and Post-Communist Studies. He is on the editorial board of several academic journals. 

Oto Polouček is an Assistant Professor at the Department of European Ethnology at the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. He has a Ph.D. degree in Ethnology (Masaryk University) and a master’s degree in contemporary history and oral history (Charles University, Prague, CZ). In his professional and scientific work, he focuses on the border between ethnology and contemporary history, mainly using the oral history method. He focuses on the transformations of Czech society in the period of late socialism and post-socialism with an emphasis on studying and understanding the perspectives of people from non-privileged backgrounds, such as rural areas, and outskirts of towns. He is also interested in understanding recent history with regard to continuity and long-term processes in the form of research of social norms, values, and stereotypes shaping life strategies and thought patterns. His previous research has focused on social life in the Czech countryside during the socialist and post-socialist periods. Currently, he is the project partner in the Czech Science Foundation project Post-Socialist Transformation of Czech Primary Schools: Processes, Stories, Dilemmas (2020–2022). He has published one academic book and several studies in academic journals. He lectures on qualitative data analysis, oral history methodology, and rural change during socialism and post-socialism. He won an award from the Czech Ethnological Society for the best book of 2020.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: (Post)Socialist Transformation of Primary Schools

  • Book Subtitle: Processes, Stories and Challenges in the Czech Republic

  • Authors: Jiří Zounek, Oto Polouček, Michal Šimáně

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-58768-9

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Education, Education (R0)

  • Copyright Information: Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, Registration no. 00216224, VAT ID: CZ00216224, 2024

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-58767-2Published: 11 June 2024

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-58770-2Due: 10 June 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-58768-9Published: 09 May 2024

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVII, 280

  • Topics: History of Education, Education, general, Educational Policy and Politics, Russian, Soviet, and East European History, Political Sociology

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