Russia goes back to little red schoolhouse discipline

February 16 1957

Russia goes back to little red schoolhouse discipline

February 16 1957

Russia goes back to little red schoolhouse discipline

IN 1943, faced with a wave of “hooliganism,” as the Soviet press described it, Russian educators set up a series of twenty “Rules for Schoolchildren.” They are still followed and teachers are told they must be obeyed by every pupil. These rules represent a startling departure from earlier educational practices in Russia, in which the student was encouraged to assume responsibility for running the school, correcting his parents, even helping manage community affairs. The spare-the-rod-spoil-the-child strictness, implicit here, is reminiscent of the little red schoolhouse of North America’s pioneer days. The “pupil’s card” mentioned in rule 19 is an effective device to strengthen supervision of the y ounger generation. Together with the school uniform it helps serve as an introduction to Soviet adult society in which personal identification papers are an integral part.


1. To strive with tenacity and perseverance to master knowledge, in order to become an educated and cultured citizen and to serve most fully the Soviet Motherland.

2. To be diligent in study and punctual in attendance. never being late to classes.

3. To obey without question the orders of school director and teachers.

4. To bring to school all necessary books and writing materials, to have everything ready before the arrival of the teacher.

5. To appear at school washed, combed, and neatly dressed.

6. To keep his desk in the classroom clean and orderly.

7. To enter the classroom and take his seat immediately after the ringing of the bell, to enter or leave the classroom during the lesson period only with the permission of the teacher.

8. To sit erect during the lesson period, not lean-

ing on the elbows or slouching in the seat; to attend closely to the explanations of the teacher and the responses of the pupils, not talking or engaging in mischief.

9. To rise as the teacher or the director enters or leaves the classroom.

10. To rise and stand erect while reciting: to sit down only on permission of the teacher; to raise the hand when desiring to answer or ask a question.

11. To make accurate notes of the teacher's assignment for the next lesson, to show these notes to parents, and to do all homework without assistance.

12. To be respectful to the school director and the teachers, to greet them on the street with a polite bow, boys removing their hats.

13. To be polite to his elders, to conduct himself modestly and properly in school, on the street, and in public places.

14. To abstain from using bad language, from smoking and gambling.

15. To take good care of school property, to guard well his own possessions and those of his comrades.

16. To be courteous and considerate toward little children, toward the aged, the weak, and the sick, to give them the seat on the trolley or the right of way on the street, to help them in every way.

17. To obey his parents and assist in the care of little brothers and sisters.

18. To maintain cleanliness in the home by keeping his own clothes, shoes, and bed in order.

19. To carry always his pupil's card, guarding it carefully, not passing it to other children, but presenting it on request of the director or the teacher of the school.

20. To prize the honor of his school and his class as his very own.

For violation of these rules the pupil is subject to punishment, even to expulsion from school, if