Streams

From P.S. 321 to Novaya Gumanitarnaya Shkola

Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 12:32 PM

What happens when you take three kids out of the public schools in Park Slope and put them into the public schools in Moscow?

Clifford J. Levy, a veteran Times journalist, and his wife, Julie Dressner, have an incredible package of stories and video about their experience.

They moved their family to Russia when he became The Times's bureau chief there, and decided not to enroll their children -- then in kindergarten, third grade and fifth grade -- in international schools, as most ex-pats do. Instead, they went to Novaya Gumanitarnaya Shkola, the New Humanitarian School, where all instruction was in Russian.

"It seemed to us like an inspiring idea," he writes in a story published online today that is part of the Sunday Magazine's forthcoming special issue on education. "After all, children supposedly pick up language quickly. So what if mine did not speak a word of Russian and could not find Russia on a map. They were clever and resilient."

The article is here. There is also a short documentary, and an explanation of how it came to be: it turns out the Russian school regularly videotapes classes to help teachers and students reflect on their work.

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