Advertisement

People Matters: Innovations in Institutionally Weak Contexts

  • Peter A. SafronovEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies book series (STAIS)

Abstract

Reforms are an ever-present part of educational policy across the world (Cuban 1990). Yet even in this ever-turbulent context, the 1980s stand out in terms of massive government and public disillusionment with education in various parts of the world. Nation at Risk report of 1983 in the USA as well as Education Reform Act of 1988 in the UK are but a few examples of an overall criticism of schools’ capacity to provide better lives for their graduates, which spread over English-speaking countries at the time in the 1990s; these debates, together with the growing influence of international organizations including World Bank (Heyneman 2003), delineated a whole stream of research literature, including Fullan’s influential works on educational change (Fullan 1999; Fullan 2001). Fullan embraced the reform process in education as a policy or a set of policies that follow orderly stages from initiation to implementation and, later on, institutionalization (2001). What this conception apparently requires is an implied bedrock of common ideas and norms, as well as a shared knowledge of basic rules of social interactions, i.e., social institutions (Waks 2007, p. 285). Fundamental changes would not have been ever possible had they not been preceded or reinforced by the transformation of values. For this transformation to occur, a public arena, where various arguments might circulate, has to be in place since a commonality of norms or their difference reveals itself through open debate. Those arguments are usually accumulated by collective entities standing for a group of individuals sharing a common national, professional, or class identity. A network of collective stakeholders makes public debate possible and even inevitable. Yet we have to admit that connection of institutions and civic organization is not an inherent product of human history. Shared norms might be acquired and actually are acquired by various means. Henceforth I use the term “institution” to refer to a particular body of shared norms, rules, and viewpoints that arise from a variety of contexts. I use the term institutionally weak context to refer to such context where the existence of institutions is a subject of suspension or outright neglect. Under such circumstances no fundamental change in Waks’s terms could happen since there is no any common set of norms shared across society to benchmark transformation. Moreover, it is precisely this subversion of common norms and ideals which was most eagerly sought after by the citizens of the late USSR. Paradoxically, the outburst of political activity during Perestroika entailed unforeseen decline of civic bonds with almost no nongovernmental organization (NGO) to stand up alongside the state in the public eye. In the field of educational policy campaigning for “humanization,” which presumed respectfulness toward students’ personality, rapidly swept the pendulum of reform too far away from “a common sense of citizenship” (World Bank 1995, p. xv). Although the obvious demise of public and political spheres after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the weakness of civic institutions was very much a product of radical individualism that flourished during and after Perestroika (Prozorov 2009). Social activities evolved around a highly selective process of creating one’s own private public out of small number of entrusted friends that took shape already in 1970s (Yurchak 2006) and survived easily after the collapse of the USSR. The Soviet pedagogical Innovation Movement represented one of the clearest instances of this privatization of public sphere. The merging of pedagogical innovations with active promotion of such privatized publicity has had dramatic effect on the movement’s sustainability, diminishing its capacity to bring systemic change into the secondary education in post-Soviet Russia. Our theoretical question is whether subjective implications of innovative processes largely dominated their diffusion within the institutionally weak context of late Soviet socialism and the new Russia of 1990s and why that happened. This subjectification of innovations was first detected through close reading of research philosophical and/or (auto)biographical accounts produced by members of the Innovation Movement of the time and afterward (Kasprzhak 1992; Schedrovitsky 1993; Dneprov 2006, p. 79; Nemtsev 2006; Pinsky 2007, p. 139). Since all of them unanimously emphasized paramount importance of freedom as a primary condition of pedagogical innovation, the task of my own research was to pinpoint this constellation against the background of a comparative historical account of the two superpowers’ educational innovation policies after 1945 and analyze interviews with the former members of innovative movement, periodicals, and archival materials.

References

  1. Aerospace Education Foundation. (1968). Technology and innovation in education. New York: Frederick A. Praeger.Google Scholar
  2. Babbie, E. (2001). The practice of social research (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Thomson.Google Scholar
  3. Bazhenova, I. (Ed.). (1987). Pedagogisheskii poisk. Moscow: Pedagogika.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, A. D. (2006). A narrative approach to collective identities. Journal of Management Studies, 43(4), 731–753. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2006.00609.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Christensen, C. M. (1997). The innovator’s dilemma: When new technologies cause great firms to fail. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  6. Clark, D. L., & Guba, E. G. (1967). An examination of potential change roles in education. In O. Sand (Ed.), Rational planning in curriculum and instruction. Washington, DC: National Education Association. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED043226.pdf Google Scholar
  7. Committee for Economic Development. (1968, July). Innovation in education: New directions for the American school. A statement on national policy by the Research and Policy Committee and the Committee for Economic Development. Author: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  8. Committee for Innovative Education of the Delaware County. (1971). Project New School. Committee for Innovative Education of the Delaware County Coordinating Council of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. Author: Yeadonn, PA.Google Scholar
  9. Cuban, L. (1990). Reforming again, again, and again. Educational Research, 19(1), 3–13. doi: 10.3102/0013189X019001003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dimke, D. (2015). Yunye kommunary, ili Krestovyi pokhod detei: mezdu utopiei deklariruemoi i utopiei realnoi. In I. Kukulin, M. Maiofis, & P. Safronov (Eds.), Ostrova utopii: Pedagogicheskoe iI sotsialnoe proektirovanie poslevoennio shkoly. Moscow: Novoe Literatyrnoe Obozrenie.Google Scholar
  11. Dneprov, E. (2006). Obrazovanie i politika. Noveishaya politicheskaya istoria rossiiskogo obrazovaniya (Vol. 1). Moscow: n.p.Google Scholar
  12. Dneprov, E., Kasprzhak, A., & Pinsky, A. (Eds.). (1997). Innovatsionnoe dvizhenie v rossiiskom shkolnom obrazovanii. Moscow: Parsifal.Google Scholar
  13. Farnsworth, P. T. (1940). Adaptation processes in public school systems as illustrated by a study of five selected innovations in educational service in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  14. Fenn, J., & Raskino, M. (2008). Mastering the hype cycle: How to choose the right innovations at the right time. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.Google Scholar
  15. Fullan, M. (1999). Change forces: The sequel. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  16. Fullan, M. (2001). The new meaning of educational change (3rd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  17. Gounko, T., & Smale, W. (2007). Modernization of Russian higher education: Exploring paths of influence. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 37(4), 533–548. doi: 10.1080/03057920701366358 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Heyneman, S. P. (2003). The history and problems in the making of education policy at the World Bank 1960–2000. International Journal of Educational Development, 23, 315–337. doi: 10.1016/S0738-0593(02)00053-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holstein, J., & Gubrium, J. (1995). The active interview. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Johnson, M. S. (1997). Visionary hopes and technocratic fallacies in Russian education. Comparative Education Review, 41(2), 219–225. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1188840 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jones, A. (Ed.). (1994). Education and society in the new Russia. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  22. Kasprzhak, A. (1992). Pedagogisheskaya gimnaziya: Kniga dlya uchitelya [Pedagogical gymnasium: Book for a teacher]. Moscow: Prosvechenie.Google Scholar
  23. Kerr, S. T. (1995, October). Teacher’s continuing education and Russian school reform. Paper presented at the conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://weber.uwashington.edu/Bstkerr/concrut.htm
  24. Klarin, M. (1994). Innovatsii v mirovoi pedagogike. Moscow: Nauka.Google Scholar
  25. Kvale, S. (1996). InterViews: An introduction to qualitative research interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  26. Latsis, O. (1995). Transformatsiya gumanitarnogo obrazovania v Rossii. Moscow: Interpraks.Google Scholar
  27. Likhachev, B. (1987). Nova li ‘novaya pedagogika’? Narodnoe obrazovanie, 3–4, 75–77.Google Scholar
  28. Luk’yanova, E. (2012). Russian educational reform and the introduction of the Unified state exam. A view from the provinces. Europe-Asia Studies, 64(10), 1893–1910. doi: 10.1080/09668136.2012.717361 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lysenkova, S., Shatalov, V., Volkov, I., Karakovsky, V., Schetinin, M., Il’in, E., Amonashvili, S. (1986, October 18). Pedagogika sotrudnichestva. Uchitelskaia gazeta, p. 5.Google Scholar
  30. Minina, E. (2014). Neoliberalism and education in Russia: Global and local dynamics in Post-Soviet education reform. DPhil, University of Oxford. Retrieved from http://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:afb2dcd3-4a05-4900-8511-9f1285d1e04c
  31. Mort, P. R., & Cornell, F. G. (1938). Adaptability of public school systems. New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  32. National Commission on Excellence in Education. (1983, April). A nation at risk: The imperative for educational reform. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  33. Nemtsev, M. (2006). Ocherk istorii Shkoly gumanitarnogo obrazovaniya. 15 and older. Ot 15 I strashe. Novoe pokolenie obrazovatelnykh tekhnologii, Moscow, Demos, pp. 105–159.Google Scholar
  34. O reforme obsheobrazovatelnoi i professionalnoi shkoly. (1984). Sbornik dokumentov i materialov. Moscow: Politizdat.Google Scholar
  35. Pinsky, A. (2007). Pedagogika svobody. In A. Pinskii (Ed.), Liberalnaya ideya i praktika obrazovaniya (pp. 139–160). Moscow: Izd. Dom GU-VSHE: Sbornik nauchnykh i publitsisticheskikh rabot.Google Scholar
  36. Polyzoi, E., & Dneprov, E. (2010). A framework for understanding dramatic change: Educational transformation in post-Soviet Russia. International Perspectives on Education and Society, 14, 155–179. doi: 10.1108/S1479-3679(2010)0000014009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Prigozhin, A. (1989). Novovvedeniya: Stimuli i prepyatstviya. Moscow: Politizdat.Google Scholar
  38. Prozorov, S. (2009). The ethics of postcommunism. History and social praxis in Russia. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  40. Saburov, E., Alekseev, A., Vavilov, A., Volkonsky, V., Zinchenko, V., Krol’, V., Larionov, I., Meshereyakov, B., Morgunov, V., & Tipenko, N. (1988). Proekt. Printsipy khozyaistvennoi zhizni shkoly. Moscow: VNIK Shkola.Google Scholar
  41. Schedrovitsky, P. (1993). Pedagogika svobody [Freedom pedagogy]. Kentavr, 1, 18–24.Google Scholar
  42. Sigman, C. (2014). Politicheskie cluby i perestoika v Rossii. Moscow: Novoe Literatyrnoe Obozrenie.Google Scholar
  43. Silova, I. (Ed.). (2010). Post-socialism is not dead: (Re) reading the global in comparative education. Bingley: Emerald.Google Scholar
  44. Silverman, D. (2013). Doing qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  45. Soloveichik, S. (1987a, March 26). Zhizn’ Ivanova. Part one. Uchitel’skaia gazeta, pp. 5–6.Google Scholar
  46. Soloveichik, S. (1987b, March 28). Zhizn’ Ivanova. Part two. Uchitel’skaia gazeta, pp. 4–5.Google Scholar
  47. Soloveichik, S. (1987c, April 2). Zhizn’ Ivanova. Part three. Uchitel’skaia gazeta, pp. 5–6.Google Scholar
  48. Sutherland, J. (1999). Schooling in the new Russia: Innovation and change, 1984–95. New York: St. Martin’s Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tsirul’nikov, A. (1987, January 8). V zashity pravdivogo slova. Uchitel’skaia gazeta, p. 3.Google Scholar
  50. Waks, L. J. (2007). The concept of fundamental educational change. Eductional Theory, 57(3), 277–295. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-5446.2007.00257.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Webber, S. L. (2000). School, reform and society in the new Russia. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. World Bank. (1995, December). Russian federation—education in the transition. Washington, DC: Author (Report No. 13638). Retrieved from http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/1995/12/734105/russian-federation-education-transition
  53. Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  54. Yurchak, A. (2006). Everything was forever, until it was no more. The last soviet generation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Yusufbekova, N. (1991). Obshie osnovy pedagogisheskoi innovatiki. Moscow: TSPO RSFSR.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Education, National Research University Higher School of EconomicsMoscowRussia

Personalised recommendations