Sunday, June 20, 2004

Teaching about the Soviet Union.

Teaching about the Soviet Union. This is an essay which gives ideas for teaching about the Soviet Union including it's history. The essay is from 1987 (and the Soviet Union stilled existed then!) so it disuccess the Soviet Union in the present tense but I don't think that takes away from the underlying value.

From the site:

WHAT STRATEGIES MIGHT BE USED TO TEACH ABOUT THE SOVIET UNION?

--Emphasize a historical approach to the study of the Soviet Union. History is one of the keys to understanding institutions and patterns of culture in the Soviet Union today. Above all, it is necessary to understand that the Soviet Union has not followed a direct line of development. Like other nations, the Soviet Union has gone through periods of crisis, reform, and conservative reaction. A close examination of the domestic policies of Soviet leaders reveals government uncertainty, stasis, and attempts to reform an often cumbersome system of political administration.

--Use geography as a means of interpreting and understanding some of the problems facing the Soviet Union today. The geographical location of the Soviet Union affects agriculture, transportation, and the use of natural resources. Moscow and Leningrad are located on northerly latitudes roughly equivalent to points in Ontario Province and Anchorage, Alaska, respectively. Agriculturally, this means the Soviet Union has an extremely short growing season. Weather conditions are often severe and highly variable. As a result, food supplies vary dramatically from city to city and region to region. Large areas of the Soviet Union remain frozen in winter and undergo surface thaw resulting in swamplike conditions during warmer months, hindering road construction and transportation to the outreaches of Siberia.

--Compare and contrast governmental and economic systems and the social values underlying these institutions. Comparing the American and Soviet constitutions provides one important exercise. Much can be learned by examining the content, beliefs, and traditions surrounding these documents.

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