We make no apologies for beginning this Newsletter with news, not of the School, but of our new website www.mbdsa.org.uk. This is now fully operational, thanks to the efforts of Liesbeth Pyfers. On it you can find back numbers of the Newsletter, photos of the School, and a full list of our current publications. The site is regularly updated and brings you the latest news of the School and its activities.
If you have any comments on the website, please let us know.
We hope soon to sign an agreement with the Russian firm ‘Zhest’ (Sign), which produces a range of items related to Russian Sign Language. These include both books and RSL courses in both VHS and DVD format, which will be sold through our website.
After the March ‘Spring holiday’ the School is now on the last lap of the Academic year, which finishes at the end of May with sessional examinations. Both Year 6 and Year 7 will do exams on the subject of both Sign Language and Deaf History. Year 7 have shown a great deal of interest in RSL and in the ways it differs from written/spoken Russian. Questions which are formulated in Russian as ‘Do you like tea or coffee’ and ‘’What would you like to do when you finish school?’ are formulated in RSL as ‘TEA COFFEE WHAT?’ And ‘SCHOOL FINISH WORK DREAM WHAT?’
The Year 7 class teacher Lena Silianova has now passed on the task of teaching mathematics to a Deaf teacher from School 65, Svetlana Sokolova. A picture of a maths class will appear soon on our website.
The School Trip
Thanks to financial help from mbdsa Year 7 was able to visit the ancient Russian cities of Vladimir and Suzdal for three days. A picture of this will appear on our website. We were also able to ensure that a suitable supply of Easter eggs was provided for both staff and students, although the Orthodox Easter is not celebrated this year until April 23, one week after the Western Easter.
Year 7 on a trip to the ancient cities of Suzdal and Vladimir in March 2006, a trip MBDSA helped to pay for.
Plans for the Future
Anna Komarova, Director of the Moscow Centre for Deaf Studies, which has oversight of both the School and its Kindergarten, was recently in UK to sign an important agreement with the National Deaf Children’s Society. This is designed to expand the activities of the Kindergarten and to train future teachers. It is hoped that our former pupil Marina Sribnaya (nėe Grebneva), will be closely involved, along with a Year 5 Deaf University Student from Ekaterinburg Liuda Morzhova. Liuda is currently working on a sign language teaching project. In view of these exciting developments it is all the more important that when the current Kindergarten moves on to Primary School, there is a suitable Bilingual environment for them. Negotiations are in hand with the Head Teacher of School 65, Iuliya Tepaeva, to have a Year 1 class in place in September 2007.
News of former staff and students
Misha ‘Mike’ Brodsky, who was part of our first cohort of students in 1992, is now making ballet shoes. He hopes to combine this with furthering his education.
Lena Grebneva, also one of the 1992 intake, has been teaching Deaf History to Year 7. She focused on the history of the Theatre of Mime and Gesture and on 13 April took the class to a performance there of Goldoni’s comedy Servant of Two Masters, which they much enjoyed. On April 19 she took the group to visit the sites of two of the earliest Schools for the Deaf in Moscow: the ‘Vospitatel’nyi dom’ [Foundling Home}, now the Artillery Academy, site of a School for the Deaf in the eighteenth century, and situated not far from the Kremlin, and the building at 37 Donskaya Street, near the ancient Donskoy Monastery, where a School for the Deaf was founded in the nineteenth century.
Lena Lapenkova, one of our second cohort of students, is now living in Spain. She has a son, Frederico.
Irina Egorova (née Limina), who taught Russian literature before departing to start a family, is now working in the newly established Centre for Sign Language Interpreting. This is funded by Central VOG, whose attitude to Sign Language and Bilingual Education, has swung radically in our favour.
Tonia Shikhova, formerly our Year 1 teacher, is featured in the new video dictionary of 125 multi-channel RSL signs. These signs are exclusive to RSL and do not appear in Signed Russian. See our website for more details.
Many thanks are due once again to our members for tirelessly raising funds to keep the only Bilingual School in Russia going.