God and Apple pie: American missionaries teaching English in Siberia
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8. Vitlin Zh.L. Sovremennye metody prepodavaniya inostrannyh yazykov. Sankt-Peterburg, 1997- Ch. I, II.
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Статья поступила в редакцию 21. 01. 15
УДК 37. 04
Sartor. V., PhD (Pedagogy), Department of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies, University of New Mexico,
Fulbright Global TEFL Exchange Scholar (New Mexico, USA), E-mail: vallerina57@gmail. com
GOD AND APPLE PIE: AMERICAN MISSIONARIES TEACHING ENGLISH IN SIBERIA. This article extends the debate concerning whether TESOL teachers should be encouraged to promote their religious beliefs in context with English language teaching. The controversy is ongoing and has generated a dialogue that addresses the perspective of the TESOL instructor, while neglecting to explore the actual responses of those English Language Learners who have come into contact with evangelical English language teachers. The question is explored in a remote area of the Russian Federation, a Siberian city called Irkutsk. The question is relevant because the Russian Federation, since the breaking up of the USSR in the 1990s, has experienced a tremendous influx of American Protestant missionaries, many who are teaching English as part of their strategies to gain converts. In the Russian Federation, religious identity has historically been connected to national identity. American evangelical teachers are thus engaging in political as well as spiritual conversion when they use English language teaching in the hopes of gaining converts.
Key words: Siberia, ESL, identity, evangelical.
В. Сартор, проф. Университета штата Нью-Мексико, каф. изучения языков, грамотности и социокультурологии-
стипендиат фонда Fulbright- PhD (педагогика), г. Нью-Мексико (США), E-mail: vallerina57@gmail. com
БОГ И ЯБЛОЧНЫЙ ПИРОГ: ОБУЧЕНИЕ АНГЛИЙСКОМУ ЯЗЫКУ АМЕРИКАНСКИМИ МИССИОНЕРАМИ В СИБИРИ
Эта статья продолжает обсуждение дискуссионного вопроса о том, должны ли учителя английского языка, преподающие носителям других языков, (TESOL) способствовать ознакомлению учеников с религиозными взглядами в контексте обучения английскому языку. Спор по этому вопросу не прекращается многие годы и породил диалог, адресованный работе инструктора по обучению английскому языку носителям других языков, в котором игнорируется изучение того, как относятся к ознакомлению с религией обучающиеся английскому языку, когда их учитель является представителем евангелистов. Исследование проводилось в далёком районе Российской Федерации — в Иркутске. Проблема статьи считается актуальной, поскольку с периода распада СССР в 90-х годах прошлого века Российская Федерация переживает большой приток американских протестантских миссионеров, преподающих английский язык в рамках выполнения стратегической задачи: изменить у учащихся религиозные взгляды. В России религиозная идентичность исторически связана с национальной идентичностью, а значит, работа американских евангелистских учителей через обучение английскому языку связана не только с задачей духовного, но и политического переубеждения.
Ключевые слова: Сибирь, английский как второй язык, идентичность, евангелисты.
In the 25 years that have passed since the collapse of socialism in the USSR, Russian Federation citizens have been enduring unexpected, contradictory, and often confusing transformations due to the collapse (Humphrey 2002) of socialism. Russians are also confronting the capitalist market economy and their government'-s attempts to install neoliberal economic reforms. Among some Russian citizens, feelings of uncertainty, insecurity, and anxiety regarding economic and personal safety, and concern for their future in general, are being funneled into religious mediums. An estimated 60−75 million practicing Christians live in Russia, with 50−70 million people identifying themselves as Russian Orthodox (Balzar, 2010).
In Irkutsk, a Siberian city where I was posted as an exchange scholar, the majority of the population is also Russian Orthodox. Many local people have told me that & quot-being Russian means being Russian Orthodox, whether we practice this religion or not. "- Yet locals in Irkutsk, like other people dealing with stress, may choose other forms of religion to deal with uncertainty and stress. People may
accept Protestant evangelicalism, while others may engage in Buddhism, shamanism, witchcraft, or even dabble in the occult1 (Coma-roff & amp- Comaroff 2000). Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Siberians have been striving to understand their histories and their place in the global world. They want to gain a sense of living comfortably in the present. Some people in Irkutsk have turned to specific cultural forms of meaning making, such as nationalism- others are turning to their families for strength. And some Russians, in Siberia and elsewhere, have turned to considering religion, either indigenous varieties, or those from the outside world.
In fact, missionaries have entered Siberia for centuries (Forsyth, 1992). Since the late 1980s, incoming American Christian evangelicals have also come to Russia in search of converts. In Irkutsk, as elsewhere in Russia, these American evangelicals, in varying degrees of cooperation and competition amongst themselves, and to some degree in conjunction with the Russian Orthodox Church and the (Polish) Catholic Church, are seeking souls to save (Caldwell, 2009). Ironically, the American ex-pat evangelical community itself
1 The subject of occult is currently popular as a form of Russian television entertainment, with psychic shows and psychics helping Russian detectives solve crimes. See also: Kivelson, V. & amp- Shaleen, J. (2011) Prosaic witchcraft and semiotic totalitarianism: Muscovite Magic reconsidered. Slavic Review 70 (1): 23−44.
is not cohesive and cooperative. American missionaries seldom mix with other Americans for fear of becoming more visible, or for fear being grouped together with an offending denomination (Ozernoy, 2005).
There is some sense of shared vision and strategy among religious groups in Russia. Many domestic and international Church groups address themselves toward feeding elderly pensioners and veterans. Some churches take political stances and advocate social justice. Churches I visited in Irkutsk helped the homeless and those who had completed drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs — with their congregation being primarily these people. In Russia, international and domestic religious organizations also nurture orphans and the disabled, refugees and asylum seekers, convicts and street children. Certainly, great compassionate diversity in aid exists and is sincerely offered by religious groups in Russia, both Orthodox and evangelical, internal and international (Caldwell, 2009).
In Russia, & quot-foreign"- groups are often categorized as & quot-evangelical,"- or & quot-fundamentalist. "- Such organizations are noted for their explicitly proselytizing movements. & quot-Religious belief is a poorly understood yet constituent component of post-Soviet identity construction& quot- (Knox, 2012, p. 122). Theological beliefs among American religious groups are also complex and at times confusing. In Russia, doctrinal differences may also exist within the subgroups of American evangelicals, in terms of how they worship their God, the ways belief and performances are directed at the self, at a deity, or at both simultaneously. In general, historically, American Protestantism brought to Russia represents a kind of motivation for Christians to express themselves as having a more personal relationship with their God (Caldwell, 2009).
In Siberian Irkutsk, as elsewhere in the word, those professing religious beliefs, and conducting evangelical missionary work are often linked to the English teaching profession. Some Americans identify themselves as evangelicals who teach English- one evangelical, Madeline, specifically stated that English is a & quot-good way to bring people to Jesus because English is so popular now. "- The question arises, however, about the relationship between the teacher and the student, and how a student may experience identity shifts as the result of learning a new language while being exposed to a different spiritual worldview via those teaching English.
Norton (1997) has written extensively about the complex relationship between language and identity. She noted how theories of language, like theories on identity, are constantly shifting, as they are not based upon hard facts. Norton explores identity, scrutinizing how people understand their relationship to the world, how that relationship is constructed across time and space, and how people understand their possibilities for the future. Following West (1992), Norton also feels that relations of power and access to resources also impact peoples'- identities. Thus, a person'-s identity can shift in accordance to an increase or decrease of power and resources. A person'-s identity is intimately connected with the language (s) he or she speaks and with the people with whom he or she interacts.
The American evangelicals I met in Irkutsk were well funded, with many material resources. They had the freedom to travel in and out of Russia at will, and to live a comfortable Russian upper middle class lifestyle. Significantly, among such evangelicals who used English as part of their strategy to win converts — there was never a question in their minds about the rightness of their actions and beliefs (Varghese & amp- Johnson, 2007). They exuded confidence and assurance regarding their religious beliefs, and one American evangelical woman told me in Irkutsk: & quot-God had given (her) spiritual power. "- Yet this inability to engage in a truly impartial dialogue could be interpreted, however conscious or unconscious, as imperialistic in nature. Scholars such as Canagarajah (1999), Pennycook (1994, 2001), and Phillipson (1992), have already illustrated how English, viewed as a colonizing and imperial language, has created many negative consequences regarding indigenous languages, language policies, and language teaching around the globe. Additionally, in Irkutsk, those evangelicals using English as a form of '-bait'- to attract converts may also be enhancing such hegemonic processes. In this article I argue that the American egalitarian evangelical doctrine, combined with these evangelicals'- perceived as superior economic resources, can serve as a heady combination for Russians who are intent on improving their life circumstances.
The literature and the debate regarding teaching English as a missionary language (TEML) is growing (Pennycook & amp- Coutand Marin, 2003). Scholars such as Varghese and Johnson (2007) have addressed these relationships via qualitative studies that explored
the thoughts and feelings of English language teachers-in-training at two evangelical Christian colleges in the United States. They were seeking to illustrate these evangelicals'- perspectives on missionary work. Additionally, they investigated the connection between religious faith and English language teaching (ELT). Such studies are relevant because English teachers, like all teachers, convey more than information about an academic subject to their students. Teachers serve as moral and cultural models (Varghese et al., 2005).
The English as a Second or Other Language teaching profession offers a stance that can project moral authority (Johnston, Juhasz, Marken, & amp- Ruiz, 1998). It also can be perceived as hegemonic (Varghese & amp- Johnson, 2007). Because of this, debate has raged concerning whether English language teaching should be a platform for missionary work (Edge, 2003). The argument remains unresolved, and opinions remain strong for both sides (Griffith, 2004- Purgason, 2004). At the same time, this dispute is heightening the consciousness of how English teachers may consciously or unconsciously use their teaching not only to promote imperialistic relations of race, power, and language, but also of religious values and morals (Pennycook & amp- Coutand-Marin, 2003).
Although there are arguments from educators for and against evangelicals using English the literature is lacking in garnering opinions from those who have received English language training from English language teaching evangelicals. This article illustrates the opinions and reactions of five English language learners (ELLs) in Irkutsk, Siberia. They have freely but anonymously expressed their opinions and ideas to me when queried on their reactions to the kinds of English lessons they received from American evangelical teachers. These ELLs also commented upon the evangelicals themselves. Those interviewed came from different educational and financial backgrounds and ethnicities, and all of them were native Russian speakers seeking to improve their English language skills. One participant was Buryat by ethnicity- she spoke some Buryat, but stated that Russian was her dominant language, which she employed at school, with friends, and at work.
My researcher position placed me as an outsider in regard to the Russian participants. Some of the Russians interviewed knew me either as a colleague at a neighboring university, because I offered them a free English language workshop right after they had received their & quot-lesson"- from an American Baptist evangelical couple. Other Russian participants recognized me as a American exchange scholar who specialized in teaching English- to prevent any conflict of interest, however, no participants were my students. After arriving in late August 2014 to Irkutsk, I verbally put out feelers, asking students and colleagues to help me to get acquainted with evangelicals in Irkutsk. As I interacted with them, several told me about their own experiences interacting with American evangelical teachers, and this gave me the idea to examine the question from the perspective of the English language learners.
My method was designed as a survey. Information was collected via informal conversations between the researcher and the participants. Nothing was consigned to paper in order to protect all participants- I took notes and then rechecked the remarks I noted as significant with each participant. Pseudonyms were created to protect participants. Ethical protocols were followed, a each interviewee agreed under no pressure to be interviewed. Open-ended survey questions, such as the following, were asked: Why do you attend the English language sessions? What do you think about these English language sessions? What do you think about evangelicals teaching English here? I tried not to ask any directly religious questions, such as: & quot-What is your religious affiliation?& quot- Instead, I let the participants themselves offer information of this kind spontaneously. Although this article offers the thoughts and opinions of five specific participants, note that I also asked, via conversational surveys, many other Irkutsk locals about their experiences with American evangelicals who offered English language lessons. The five participants responses represent the themes I discovered over time. In addition, I informally interviewed the evangelicals, asking them about their opinions and ideas concerning the use of English as a way to gain converts. Field-work took four months. The first three months I used for observation, becoming familiar with the settings where the English language sessions were conducted, and talking to people. The last month I went about systematically rechecking the answers each participant had offered, and again asking permission to use their words in print. In the case of the Mormons, however, I never gained access to their English classes, and consequently had to rely upon asking questions
without observations. I also chose to limit the participant size because I wanted each participant to feel comfortable around me. This meant that I spent time (at church, at coffee shops, in the park) with the participants in order to get to know them. The Baptist evangelical couple interacted with me during a lunch that was held immediately after their '-lesson'- but they did not socialize with me elsewhere. The Assemblies of God evangelical, Madeline, invited me to her church, to her apartment, and to various cafes.
Protestant Missionaries in Russia
American Protestant missionaries rejoiced when the USSR collapsed, because, along with the collapse came the end of state religious persecution and the beginning of great religious liberty (Christianity Today, 1992, 56−57). In fact, Elliot & amp- Corrado (1997) have listed 35 Protestant denominations in the former USSR in 1997, along with many, newer, grassroots movements. Foreign missionary activities skyrocketed, and include Campus Crusade, Navigators, InterVarsi-
English Language Learners — Participants
Participants Age Ethnicity Profession Gender
Ayuna 32 Buryat Accountant in bank Female
Natasha 21 Russian Student Female
Boris 23 Russian Reformed drug addict Male
Misha 27 Russian Reformed alcoholic/addict Male
Ludmilla 63 Russian/Ukrainian University professor Female
Evangelical Groups in Irkutsk
This study has limitations. Observations were limited not only by the small sample size but also to the fact that I was able to sample only three of the many different types of evangelicals currently proselyting in Irkutsk and other parts of Russia. The three groups are: Baptists, Assemblies of God, and the Mormons. I offer narrative excerpts from these evangelicals, as well as narratives from those participants who attended evangelical English cafes and lessons. Before presenting the comments with an analysis, I must explain that teaching anything of a religious nature is strictly forbidden in Russian state universities. Therefore, all the evangelicals, except the Baptists, offered their creed to others by gathering in cafes or in private homes. The Baptists I interviewed did hold an informal Bible study — in the form of a historical look at the Biblical times — in English on the grounds of a university, which I do not name, for privacy and security reasons. Additionally, I now introduce a definition of evangelical and of each specific group for reasons of clarity. All three evangelical groups surveyed were American Protestant evangelicals. Certainly, Jesuit2 and Russian Orthodox missionary work also has impacted Siberian inhabitants over time, but this overview concerns only present day American Protestant evangelicals making use of English.
What is an Evangelical?
Evangelical Christianity encompasses a wide variety of worship rituals and church hierarchies. It is often confused with fundamentalism, as the belief systems may overlap. Fundamentalists believe that the Bible is the literal word of God.3 Also, fundamentalists believe in the experience of the & quot-new birth& quot- which occurs when faith is placed in Christ as Savior and Lord (http: //www. victorious. org/chur2l. htm). The evangelical Americans I met and observed in Irkutsk were characterized by the following key beliefs: 1) Crucicentrism, that is, the centrality of Jesus Christ and his & quot-redeeming work& quot- (Noll, p. 104) — 2) Evangelicals strive to live as Jesus Christ lived- 3) Evangelicals believe the Bible is the literal word of God- 4) An evangelical believes that a Christian convert has experienced a personal conversion that allows him or her to be '-saved'-- 5) Evangelicals feel it is an obligation to engage in speaking about their religious convictions and they should also participate in social activism to help others. Furthermore, evangelicals believe they have an obligation to witness to nominal believers as well as to non-believers (Elliot & amp- Corrado, 1997).
Globally, there are many different kinds of Protestant evangelicals who engage in missionary activities. Some find their activities in tandem with English language teaching to be red lags (Edge, 2003), while others praise their work as positive (Christian Educators in TESOL Caucus, 2002). This article reports upon a specific population of Russian ELLs who have studied and interacted with American evangelicals teaching English.
ty and CoMission (Elliot & amp- Corrado, 1997). Newly formed Protestant initiatives included an increase in Christian publishing, soup kitchens for homeless people, and professional associations for professionals, such as lawyers.
Notably, tension exists between established Russian religion (Russian Orthodoxy) and those coming from outside (Protestant evangelicals). Many Protestant evangelicals have expressed distrust toward the Russian Orthodox hierarchs and priests (Ozernoy, 2005). & quot-Today in Russia cordial Orthodox-Evangelical relationships do not come easily, and are the exception rather than the rule& quot- (Elliot & amp- Cor-rado, 1997, p. 345).
Religious advocates of all persuasions, however, have urged both sides toward more collaborative work to benefit the needy and to promote serve social throughout Russia (Caldwell, 2009). Significantly, some evangelical literature also admits inadequate knowledge of Russian culture, language and tradition and preparation for living and working abroad (Deyneka & amp- Deyneka, 1998). They also bewail the Soviet and current government'-s authoritarian leadership, condemning it as anti-democratic and inhumane, and promoting a nation of non-believers. Yet the USSR and post-Soviet Russia has a long history of religious beliefs, both Orthodox and Protestant, Muslim and Jewish, shamanistic and Buddhist (Agadjanian, 2001). Orthodox and Catholics have been practicing in Russia for over a millennium- indigenous Protestants have been in Russia for over a century. They have not worked easily and well with each other, because of philosophical differences. 4
In earlier Soviet times, the Baptists emerged as the fastest-growing non-Orthodox religious movement among Russians (Coleman, 2002). They were initially popular for several reasons. First, lower class Russians were able to express their self-awareness as individuals. For Russians in other classes, the Baptists offered a sense of community, a way for all Russians to make sense out of political and economic disorder, consequent dislocation and hardships.
& quot-Most of the people I talk with tell me that they are not believers,& quot- said the 61 year old the wife of a Baptist preacher who defined himself as a Baptist evangelical. She added: & quot-So, despite the fact that Russia has a long tradition of Orthodoxy, I feel that I am serving in a place where there is a great need. And I see nothing wrong with using a tool — English- as a way to get to know people. "-
& quot-As Baptists, we value simplicity and helping each other,& quot- said Baptist missionary preacher. This couple, each about 60 years old, had been living and preaching in Irkutsk for over 15 years. They expressed a strong sense that displacement from their home, even stating, & quot-We'-re more at home here in Russia than back in the States,& quot- his wife stated. Part of their discomfort stemmed from a view of life in the
2 On April 1, 1812, Jesuit missionaries reached Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia. There they established the first Catholic mission. At that time Irkutsk was growing rapidly as a town, and had approximately 12,000 residents (Peck, 2001). The Catholic Church still stands today and is used for religious services, as well as for organ concerts.
3 & quot-Protestant fundamentalism is based on Puritan and conservative traditions going back to the eighteenth century (the recognition of the absolute truth of Holy Scripture and the acceptance of the Bible as historical fact) and on its view of the American state as a & quot-new Israel& quot- on which the salvation of other nations depends. Protestant fundamentalism is widespread in the United States [Haynes, 1995, p. 23], where millions of its followers advocate the original Christian values. "- (Kudriashova, 2003, p. 45)
4 Here is an example of the contrasting Evangelical and Orthodox understandings of salvation: Evangelical justification begins by faith at the outset of a Christian life, versus Orthodox theosis (deification), which is not a point in time but rather a '-process of becoming acceptable to God — as I practice love, mercy, and justice'-, ending in God'-s ultimate confirmation of eternal communion with Him.
US as corrupt and sinful- & quot-We do not agree with American homosexual marriage laws- it'-s not following the Word of God,& quot- he said.
As we chatted, I felt that their religious and moral values had created an invisible moral barrier between us. Interestingly, their beliefs about homosexuals and morality were upheld by one participant, a university English teacher, who stated: & quot-At least the Protestants protect out children against immoral people like homosexuals- the Russian Orthodox Church also knows that Catholics and atheists allow gay marriage, which is perversion. "-
This Baptist couple told me that in the last four years, to simplify their visa status, they were registered as & quot-English Language Consultants,& quot- holding a work visa, rather than a religious visa. This saved them considerable time and expense, as religious visas must be renewed every six months, and those holding them must exit the country. Ironically, however, the Baptist preacher said: & quot-I often am at a loss when the teachers ask me questions- they seem to know more about my language than I do, at least in terms of grammar, and sometimes vocabulary as well. "- He laughed this off, but it made me wonder at his credibility. His wife also held the same visa, but told me she had been a gardener for all of her adult life. Neither of the two Baptists had a teaching license or a certificate endorsing them as ESL teachers.
Russian participants also reported to me that they did not want to be judged as sinful or perceived to be living a life of dissolution by drinking, smoking and engaging in various kinds of sexual activities. Yet for these American Baptists, many aspects of post-Soviet Russian morality and lifestyle did not conform to their religious ideals. & quot-Russian culture has broken down, and corruption is everywhere,& quot- said the Baptist preacher. Fortunately, by bringing the Word & quot-to the downtrodden, by living their lives as missionaries in Russia,& quot- this couple told me that they felt their lives had a positive purpose. Both of them wanted respect and they were willing to engage in hard work -preaching, teaching English, and in the beginning of their stay in Russia, they tried to volunteer at drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers. All of these activities legitimated their evolving expatriate identities.
In terms of English, this Baptist couple offered a weekly Bible reading seminar, called & quot-The History of the Bible& quot- in a university basement. The seminar was attended by six university teachers, all English language specialists, all employed by various departments inside the university — as teachers, translators, and hosts for foreign guests.
I interviewed one professor who attended these seminars. Lyud-mila, a 63-year-old Russian-Ukrainian woman, was a linguist specializing in English and other Indo-European languages. After attending several sessions with her, I asked her if she would like to comment on the Bible studies. Here is an excerpt from our conversation:
VS: Why do you attend these sessions?
LUD: They are harmless enough, no preaching, only history, and so they are not technically illegal. A little boring maybe.
VS: But why are you attending?
LUD: There are very few native speakers here. We need to hear spoken English, to get the patterns, the sounds of the language. Why not this?
VS: What do you think about the subject?
LUD: Certainly. It'-s a history lesson, something innocent, you see, not a kind of preaching. Anyway, I am Russian, and I am Russian Orthodox. These people will not convert me- I am already a believer.
VS: Does anything they say ever disturb you or give you cause to think about religion?
LUD: As I said, I listen to hear real language, not to hear religion. I already have my religion. Actually, I feel a little sorry for them.
VS: Why is that?
LUD: Because they are strangers here, and because they are not successful in getting people to turn their way. That'-s why we all have lunch together with them and with you- we Russians feel that you all must be lonely here. You need friends.
Analysis: Here, it appears that both the evangelicals and the university professors were engaged in mutual tolerance for mutual benefit. Ludmilla was not swayed by the '-lessons'- but she wanted, as a linguist, to hear natural spoken English. Irkutsk is not Moscow: Not many native English speakers choose to live or work in remote Siberian cities. Ludmilla also recognized the efforts that these missionaries made, and even felt empathy for their position as outsiders. She graciously offered a communal tea after each weekly lesson, to be hospitable to her foreign guests.
In turn, the Baptist couple had, in 15 years, learned some Russian, and had learned to live comfortably in Irkutsk. They had also learned the system regarding visas. The success of their missionary activities was not clear to me, but I did learn that both of these seniors
lived off of their American social security and pensions, and were funded & quot-somewhat"- by their Baptist church back in the USA. They recognized that their native English speaking abilities were a & quot-draw"- to Russians, and faithfully offered their lessons to this small group of professionals, in the hopes of eventually gaining converts.
Joseph Smith founded the Mormon religion approximately 200 years ago. The Mormon Church of the Latter Day Saints asserts that other churches are false and abominations. Mormons have faith in four divine books: The Bible, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price (http: //www. mormon. org/ faq/beliefs-of-mormons). Many evangelical groups do not accept the Mormons for their stance as the only true Christianity, but the Mormon Church has expanded rapidly and successfully, with missionaries in over 162 countries and the Church of Latter Day Saints claiming 14 million members as of January 2012 (http: //campaignstops. blogs. nytimes. com/2012/01/25/why-evangelicals-dont-like-mormons/?_ r=0). Mormons also strongly encourage all members of their church to spend two years in the field, often going in pairs. These missionaries in training are trying to gain converts. In Russia, I have seen and talked with several Mormons- they all were well dressed, polite, and friendly. The two Mormons I met told me that they both had earned TEFL certificates at the home university in Utah. One young man, Tom, said: & quot-Teaching English is a very cool way to bring people to God. "- Hank, his colleague, said he did not feel comfortable speaking with me.
Ayuna, a 32-year old accountant at a respected Irkutsk bank, when asked about the Mormons commented: & quot-The Orthodox Church is in league with the current regime. At least the Mormons and those others, they are not so corrupt. "- Natasha, a 21-year old student, also said she had met some Mormons and attended their English classes- & quot-They look clean and are polite. Not like some Russian boys. "-
Here is an excerpt from a conversation with Ayuna:
VS: Why do you go to the Mormon'-s English lessons?
AY: They'-re free.
VS: But you make money, you work?
AY: Yes, but private English lessons are about 20USD an hour, I cannot afford that.
VS: Would you convert and become a Mormon?
AY: (Laughs) No. I am an atheist, or I guess a kind of Buddhist, you know I am Buryat.
VS: So I am sure the Mormons would love to convert you…
AY: Yes. (laughs) It will never happen, but I do enjoy talking with them. They'-re nice.
Analysis: Here Ayuna has suggested that she enjoys learning English and enjoys being around the dapper Mormon young men. Their lessons do not captivate her towards the Mormon faith- instead, if anything, the fact that these young men are clean cut, polite, and energetic seems to be their selling point. Ayuna also has had contact with other evangelicals, so it may be that she is simply curious about foreigners, or eager to hear English, or both. In her eyes, however, the Mormons are not a draw toward a new faith- instead, they are perceived as a conduit toward listening to English, and exchanging chats with foreigners.
The Assemblies of God
As mentioned, to enter Russia as an evangelical, American missionaries must get a six-month religious visa. Some missionaries, such as Madeline, a member of the Assemblies of God, got around the bureaucracy by registering as a student at a local university. Like other missionaries, she prefers to study the local language (Russian), and teach English informally, while conducting evangelical work covertly (Ozernoy, 2005). Madeline was an Assemblies of God missionary in training. At age 30, this young woman reported that she had been a missionary in training for half of her life, and that she was & quot-totally dedicated to Jesus. "- She had no degree in education, or experience teaching English- her specialty in the US was accounting. & quot-Currently the Assemblies of God USA and Assemblies of God organizations around the world make up the world'-s largest Pentecostal denomination with some 67 million members and adherents& quot- (http: // ag. org/top/). One of the 16 core beliefs of this church is that their church has a mission to save all those lost in sin (http: //ag. org/top/ Beliefs/Statement_of_Fundamental_Truths/sft_short. cfm).
Boris, Misha, and Natasha had all met Madeline. Boris and Misha were part of the congregation that Madeline had affiliated herself with. A Buryat/Russian pastor, who gave much time and energy toward helping drug addicts and those who had alcoholism problems, ran this church. The pastor visited the rehabilitation center on a daily basis, preaching and counseling those interred. After they
finished their program, many of these people opted to join his church, because it was part of the outpatient counseling recommended by the rehab services.
Boris and Misha had been members of the church for a little over a year. They sang in the choir, which consisted of a motley musical crew who sang simple religious hymns adapted to a pop music beat, using electric guitars and drums. The two men also attended Madeline'-s weekly English cafe. They also attended the weekly dinner and Bible study at Madeline'-s home, a very comfortable apartment funded by her church network in the USA. This home actually belonged to another Assemblies of God missionary couple on extended leave in the USA for vacation and fund raising. Natasha had been to only one of the dinner/Bible studies, but she regularly attended Madeline'-s English Cafe at a local coffee shop in the center of Irkutsk.
VS: What do you think about Madeline being an evangelical and teaching English?
NAT: I do not think we understand the concept of '-believer'- in the same way. American evangelicals assume a personal, conscious commitment to Christ alone as Savior, lived out in worship and life. In contrast, I was baptized as an infant. Even if I do not attend services, when someone tries to tell me about the Bible, I feel rather offended.
VS: Why do you attend the English cafe?
NAT: I go for the English. I'-m tired after work, it'-s a nice place, I get a coffee, hear English. It'-s nice.
VS: Do you think Madeline uses English to try to get people to attend her church?
NAT: No. She'-s a very nice woman. She just offers English. She doesn'-t push anyone.
VS: Have you been to her church?
NAT: Once. It was okay, a little strange.
VS: What do you think of people who use English and are religious?
NAT: They can do as they like, it'-s a free time in Russia now. If you are Orthodox or atheist you are Russian. As a Buryat, I'-m a bit Buddhist- it'-s enough for me.
Analysis: Madeline made a positive impression on Natasha. She was well liked by the church community, and she tried, by offering her English cafe, to use this as a stepping-stone to get people to attend her church. This did not work with Natasha, who was interested in hearing and experiencing as much '-free'- English as she could. At one point, Natasha even suggested that Madeline was a bit strange to teach for free, because she liked Madeline and thought her lessons were well organized. Natasha also had commented to me that Madeline must be wealthy, if she taught for '-free'- and had such a nice place to live. Despite being impressed by Madeline'-s lifestyle, however, Natasha had no intention of ever attending the evangelical church or of changing her beliefs.
I also, for research purposes, attended Madeline'-s church for two months consecutively, in order to try to understand more about the religious activities. Madeline was an integral part of the youth group- she helped to organize activities, such as treasure hunts, parties, bible studies, and baby showers. She also actively studied Russian at the university, and seemed exhausted at times. I asked her about her English teaching activities, and she said: & quot-English is a useful, global language. I think I am offering, with my English Cafe, in the same way I offer the youth group activities, something beneficial. It is part of my service work, and if it brings people closer to God, all the better. I'-m not out to push anyone, people should be able to choose to come to Him. "-
Boris and Misha had opinions about Madeline'-s lifestyle, religious beliefs, and about her English teaching.
VS: What do you think of Americans coming to Russia to bring their religious views?
Boris: It'-s great. I like America. I think they can help us.
Misha: And I want to be able to live like an American.
VS: Do you go to the English cafe?
Boris: No. My English is not good.
VS: But you attend church? And bible study?
Boris: Yes. It'-s great. The pastor is a fine man.
Misha: We like the dinner, to share food, in a beautiful place, it'-s, it'-s a lot different from our life, before, you know… (as addicts). I want to learn English, maybe slowly, with a tutor, because it'-s important in Russia to know English. Madeline will help.
Analysis: Madeline'-s behavior again her was positive and caused the two reformed addicts to respect her. They had already become members of her church, joining it after they had come out
of treatment, so her English lessons represented an added bonus, along with the dinners at the '-beautiful place. '- In this case, regarding the two young men who have transformed their lives from addiction to sobriety, it is possible that English studies could impact their identities. English as a global language was also associated with the economic success of the evangelicals. These two young men may believe that by converting and by speaking English, their lives will improve. But again, it seems that the church efforts, and the economic prosperity of the evangelicals, more than Madeline'-s English cafe, have influenced their point of view.
The history of missionary activity is generally connected with the history of language studies (Bawden, 1985- Pennycook & amp- Makoni, 2005). In Russia, it is also political: The interaction between church, state, and belief in modern Russia is complex and dynamic. As an enduring spiritual tradition, Russian Orthodoxy has endured and evolved. Identifying oneself as a believer (Russian Orthodox) equates with confirming one'-s Russian national identity and culture, despite the fact that post-Soviet culture is evolving and disputed (Knox, 2012)
Exploring Russian responses to American evangelicals teaching English also brings forth some key ideas regarding human behavior, as well as identity and language learning. In addition to wanting recognition and connection with others, people also desire security and safety. We all want to improve our lives. Russians in Irkutsk met with American evangelicals, some of whom had a prosperous lifestyle in relation to theirs, and who might have emanated a sense of privilege. The evangelicals'- socioeconomic class was linked to their native language, English: both were considered something to aspire toward. These factors: economics and English — may influence how Russians perceive evangelicals and their spiritual message. Those Russians with some economic stability, however, appeared hesitant of accepting any or part of the evangelical doctrines presented to them by American evangelicals. Yet by accepting the idea of English as the language of opportunity, any potential Russian convert could be hoping to secure a brighter future, both materially and spiritually. This is where the argument of the moral authority of an English teacher becomes a very fine line. As Johnston (2003) asserted, all teachers have an agenda, whether they are conscious of this or not, because, as teachers, they are engaged in interactions that can be perceived along a continuum from collaboration to coercion (Cummins, 1996).
In recent decades, religious practices have gained popularity in post-Soviet spaces. In Siberian Irkutsk, as elsewhere, it is possible to explain the current religious revival as a reclaiming of & quot-traditions"- that were suppressed by the Soviet government (Quijada, 2012). Notably, within local discourses, religion is categorized as & quot-tradition"- in contrast with what is called Soviet and post-Soviet modernity. This polar opposition assumes that the Soviet and post-Soviet system and religion were and remain mutually exclusive and fundamentally incompatible (Bourdeaux, 2007). Yet if we presume that Soviet modernity and religious practice are incompatible, the popularity of Protestant evangelicals in post-Soviet Russia seems to be an enigma.
Religion, as the antithesis of Soviet modernity and atheism was part the spectrum that defined Soviet ideology. In fact, a dialogic relationship existed between religion and science and it still continues to exist (Quijada, 2012). In the post Soviet decades I feel that the poles have shifted from modernity and atheism to Russian versus Western modernity. Caught in between these two poles are Russians like those depicted in this article: people who believe that English will bring them more opportunities, and better hopes for the future. The question remains: is hegemony involved when American evangelicals employ English language teaching as a tool to win converts?
Currently, the Russian Federation is undergoing more transformations. Within the year 2014, for example the Russian ruble has gone from 30 rubles to the US dollar (Jan 2014) to 56 rubles to the US dollar (Dec 2014). As hard times loom ominously, Russians I have interviewed continue to express their growing concerns about their economic, societal and spiritual safety. Certainly, prior Soviet religious practices — Christian, Muslim, shamanistic or other — do not carry the same connotation as those being brought by American Protestant evangelicals to these post-Soviet spaces undergoing more economic woes. Scholars argue that the collapse of the Soviet Union symbolizes more than a massive economic shift (Humphrey, 2002) — it also represents a transformation of spiritual possibilities that may, serendipitously, also be connected to material transformations. The regime'-s current failure to provide economic prosperity is relevant to the value of English, which is perceived as a global language that can offer ways to survive. & quot-Knowing English can mean a job inside Russia or a tool to get outside of Russia& quot- (personal communication,
December 2014). In closing, perhaps it is more politically wise and more socially meaningful to ask not whether it is ethical for English teachers to also be evangelicals in Siberia, perhaps we should be inquiring the following: What kind of meaning is produced and what kind of identities are being formed, through the practice of using English as a way to attract converts? Is it ethical to use English for
religious strategies, knowing that Russian perceive the language as a kind of economic lifeboat? Is teaching English truly an effective medium to espouse American Protestant beliefs, or should these evangelicals be working in Russian, to delect any hegemonic associations connected to English? In the case of Siberian Irkutsk, the research remains inconclusive.
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Статья поступила в редакцию 21. 01. 15
УДК 37. 036. 5
Koshelev L. Yu., Cand. of Sciences (Pedagogy), senior lecturer, Hakass State University n.a. N.F. Katanova (Abakan, Russia),
E-mail: t5825@mail. ru
LEARNING THE LANGUAGE OF PAINTING AS A MEANS OF ARTISTIC AND AESTHETIC TASTE OF FUTURE TEACHERS.
The article deals with the problem of artistic and aesthetic taste of future kindergarten teachers. Its relevance is associated with the important role of artistic and aesthetic taste in the formation of a person, reflecting the level of self-determination of the human personality, aesthetic and general professional culture and pedagogical skills. The paper makes a focus on the difference of artistic and aesthetic kinds of taste and distinguishes them from one another. The author carefully examines the key concepts in the constructed system they work with students in the study subjects & quot-Theory and technology development of children'-s graphic activity& quot- and & quot-Workshop on graphic activity& quot-. The author describes them as a worked out system of tasks aimed at learning the language of painting, that has both theoretical and practical values. The research gives the results of experimental studies confirming its effectiveness.
Key words: aesthetic taste, painting, language of painting, elements of the language of painting.
E-mail: t5825@mail. ru