Teaching astronomy in Russian schools: challenges, approaches and possible solutions
15:45 - 16:00
Astronomy was eliminated from the high school curriculum in Russia in 2009 in the International Year of Astronomy. Although the subject was restored in 2017 surveys showed no improvement in astronomy knowledge over two years. The roots of this impasse lie in the absence of practical activities in astronomy classes. Interest and enthusiasm in astronomy and hence the knowledge of the subject could not be reached without real astronomical observations and workshops. (Historically almost every school in the USSR had telescopes and teachers were trained to conduct astronomical observations.) Schools in today’s Russia are not equipped with telescopes. For example, the Regional Ministry of education of Irkutsk oblast (Siberia), for example, has no plans to equip schools with any astronomical instruments. With this situation in mind, possible solutions to these problems are proposed. Firsthand experience is outlined of a collaborative work of the Irkutsk planetarium, regional amateur astronomers’ community and school teachers in Irkutsk region. We give some proposals to teachers looking to boost the astronomy proficiency of their students.