Russian teachers dealing with the full-scale invasion of Ukraine as a classroom issue

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.11576/jsse-6852

Keywords:

controversial issues, sensitive topics, open classroom climate, pedagogical strategies in disruptive moments, teachers’ beliefs

Abstract

Highlights:

  • Despite external pressure, there was a space for political discussion in the class, at least in the first weeks of the invasion
  • Teachers’ approaches differed based on their priorities: emotional support, democratic civic education, teacher-student relationships, political proselytism, or avoidance.
  • Attending to students’ private emotions came into conflict with postering their political passions
  • High professional status and strong school community support teachers in taking responsibility in times of crisis

Purpose: This study investigates teachers’ professional judgement about Russia’s war on Ukraine as an unplanned, controversial classroom issue.

Design: It employs 26 interviews with Russian teachers collected during the invasion's first month.

Findings: The analysis identifies six situations and five teaching approaches that emerged in response to these, with varying degrees of student voice and political commitment. The inclusion of student voice is limited by perceived student passivity, lack of skill, and political disagreement with students. Satisfaction with the status quo, lack of social status, and fear of harming students were obstacles to pursuing political commitment.

Research implications: By exploring the dynamics of depoliticisation in the classroom, this article adds to the literature on the co-construction of authoritarianism in Russia. It also highlights practices of resistance and ‘everyday politics’ stemming from teacher professionalism as a function of individual and structural factors.

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Further information

Published

2024-06-18

How to Cite

Efimova, E. (2024). Russian teachers dealing with the full-scale invasion of Ukraine as a classroom issue. JSSE - Journal of Social Science Education, 23(2). https://doi.org/10.11576/jsse-6852