Educating the uneducable: deafblind education in the Soviet Union, 1925-1960

Beacroft, Charles (2018) Educating the uneducable: deafblind education in the Soviet Union, 1925-1960. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the education of deafblind children in the Soviet Union from early 1925 to late 1960. It focuses on the innovative work of Professor Ivan Sokolianskii, the pioneer of surdotiflopedagogika (deafblind education). His formation of a unique pedagogical method for educating previous uneducable deafblind children revolutionised the discipline. Its purpose lay within his attempts to provide Soviet deafblind children with the necessary tools needed for their integration into Soviet society. To be considered an equal member of society, Sokolianskii initiated the deafblind child into an intensive educational curriculum which involved the use of self-care proficiency, language acquisition and sensory technology. In tapping into wider discourses on Soviet pedagogy and childhood, the thesis analyses how far it was realistic for deafblind children to aspire to such an ideal and the extent to which the regime facilitated or hindered their efforts to become accepted within the Soviet Union.

The thesis explores Sokolianskii’s role in defining and shaping deafblind education. This involves his tenure as director of the Khar’kov orphanage for the deafblind in the 1920s and 1930s. It led to the education of the famous deafblind teenager, Ol’ga Skorokhodova, who was eventually known as the ‘Soviet Helen Keller’. The final two chapters will discuss the establishment of his research laboratory at the Moscow Institute of Defectology and his personal tutelage of the deafblind teenager, Iuliia Vinogradova in the 1950s. The thesis utilises Sokolianskii’s personal letters, diaries and reports from both the Khar’kov orphanage and the Institute of Defectology. In addition, it draws from material from the Institute of Correctional Pedagogy, the Ushinkii Library for Pedagogical Sciences and the Russian State Archives. This thesis argues that while integration was theoretically possible, virtually all deafblind children during this period struggled to assimilate themselves into Soviet society.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Michael Walker
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2019 10:31
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2019 10:31
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/72637
DOI:

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