Lidiya Okolskaya1
  • 1 Sociology Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Bld. 5, 24/35 Krzhizhanovskogo St., Moscow, 117218, Russian Federation.

Value orientations in textbooks for high school

2012. No. 1. P. 93–125 [issue contents]

Lidiya Okolskaya, Ph.D. in Sociology, senior researcher in the Sector for Research in Personality, Sociology Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, first prize winner in Pinsky Awards Education Research Competition (2011). Email: okoli@yandex.ru Address: Bld. 5, 24/35 Krzhizhanovskogo St., Moscow, 117218, Russian Federation.

The article presents results of content analysis of high school textbooks on social and human sciences. The author uses Schwartz’s value typology consisting of two value axes, ‘conservation vs. openness to change’ and ‘self-enhancement vs. self-transcendence’, to review the value content of the Russian educational program. She also breaks school subjects into value categories, describes these categories, and compares value priorities of learning programs to the results of mass questionnaires on the values of Russians. Value content of textbooks has been analyzed for compliance to declared values of school subjects approved in educational standards.

It turns out that history and social science classes teach students models of depersonalized government-citizen interaction. The content analysis shows that, despite the goal of developing conservation values stipulated in educational standards, history classes are mostly focused on self-enhancement values, especially those of power and achievement. The most expressed conservation value is security, which is conveyed through the image of the State as a defender.

Social science classes builds a similar perfect identity based on interaction with the State. However, unlike in the history classes paradigm, the perfect individual here is a passive receiver of goods and services, such as security, order, and various freedoms.

Modernist attitudes stem from literature classes focused on novelty and independence while at the same time preserving traditions. Literature textbooks are dominated by the value of benevolence. The value hierarchy built by literature classes is very likely to play a huge role in socializing the upcoming Russian generation.

Citation: Okolskaya L. (2012) Zhiznennye tsennosti v uchebnikakh dlya starshey shkoly [Value orientations in textbooks for high school]. Voprosy obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no1, pp. 93-125.