RUSSIAN CULTURE & LANGUAGE
Here you will find many resources that can be helpful for learning about Russia, the Russian language and culture. Many sites link to others.
Please click here...
TEST YOUR LEVEL OF RUSSIAN HERE
INFO FROM THE "STAFF MANUAL"
"It is important to remember that although many of our students speak Russian, they are not all Russian. Many of our students come from other Slavic cultures that are similar but different. Some of our students are from a variety of cultures other than just Russian. It is the goal of Gateway Community Charters to help parents acclimate and understand the American culture, as well as to respect their own culture and the cultures of other students. This transition to the American culture needs to be made gradually and smoothly in order to lessen the cultural shock of some of our newer families. In the past, families that have had difficulty understanding the American culture have withdrawn students to become home schooled. We believe that in most cases this is detrimental to the child's education. One of our goals is to raise Slavic community educational expectations and to give Slavic children a successful school experience.
Most of our Slavic families have immigrated for reasons of religious freedom. Many families have experienced persecution and hardship in the former USSR because of their religious or political beliefs. Therefore, many families are devout and staunch in their beliefs. Below are some possible cultural problems where sensitivity and understanding may be necessary.
It is difficult for parents to understand teachers that are flamboyant. Slavic parents expect teachers to be prime examples of professionalism in speech and dress. Free spirits are often misunderstood as unprofessional. Formalism and seriousness are expected and revered. These expectations are something that administration has worked on continually to help parents understand.
The pledge of Allegiance is not understood by most Slavic families. Children are not to pledge themselves to any governmental authority. This stems from communist practices of oaths. Explain what the pledge of allegiance means and why Americans practice it. If any children do not wish to pledge, respect their wishes. They may sit quietly while you lead the rest of the class in the pledge. NEVER force a child or scorn a child for obeying his/her parents and refusing to pledge.
Slavic families view Halloween as a satanic holiday. This holiday was not observed in the former USSR except by Satanists. Please do not celebrate Halloween by putting up pictures of Jack-o-lanterns, black cats, bats, skeletons, etc. Instead, focus on fall as a time of Harvest. Use pumpkins, apples, corn, scarecrows and other fall items. Many times children and parents will be concerned about the use of pumpkins and scarecrows. This is something that may come into question but just needs to be explained to students and parents.
Mother's Day is a holiday celebrated by American families. Slavic families celebrate Women's Day every March 8. This is a day when all men and children are expected to honor working women for everything that they do. Many children, parents and male staff members will reward the female staff with flowers and chocolate on this day.
Many Slavic parents continue to celebrate Christmas on January 7 of each year. Others celebrate on December 25, and some celebrate on both days.
Fantasy and Magic is also an issue of grave concern with parents. Before selecting any posters or literature with a fantasy or magical theme, please speak with the site administrator first. This will give him/her the ability to explain and address any concerns that parents may have.
Playing cards are strongly rejected by most Slavic parents. This is because some parents associate the use of playing cards with fortune telling or things of that sort. Before using playing cards in your classroom for educational purposes, I would be wise to speak to your site administrator. This may be a situation that is best avoided.
Special education requests are viewed as a belief that a child is mentally handicapped. Most special education school system testing requests are usually denied. This is a very delicate issue that needs to be discussed with the administration before it is mentioned to the parents. In the former USSR, special education was a room where severely mentally handicapped children were kept away from other children. Most parents do not understand the differences in the American school system."