AudioguíaClassroom of Melikhovo school
All three territorial elementary schools (Zemstvo schools) built by Anton P. Chekhov were one-classroom schools. Teaching of children was performed in the form of the first three elementary classes, and all three classes were engaged in jointly in one room at the same time. A teacher conducted his lessons through giving assignments to pupils, putting questions and explaining new subject matters to one class, and then to another. The classroom furnishing was reconstructed on the basis of archive documents of the Serpukhov uyezd (district) Zemstvo (local administration), as well as of memories of that time teacher Maria Ivanovna Gracheva, who worked in the school of Melikhovo from 1915 to 1923. Interiors of rural schools depicted on paintings by N. P. Bogdanov-Belsky were also taken into account.
Maria Gracheva described classroom of the Melikhovo school in the following way:
"The classroom had a very high ceiling, the walls made of logs, four large windows. In the foreground there were: a blackboard, a floor counting frame and a base cabinet with glass doors. On top of the cabinet there was a globe, a map of the Earth hemispheres was hung on the wall.
By the windows there was a row of low desks for the 1st grade children; there were more in number. The 2nd grade desks were higher and they made up the middle row, while the 3rd grade desks stood along the wall (just opposite the windows).
In the corner there was a large bulged out stove; on a high bench stood a tank with drinking water and a tin cup on a chain..."
From Zemstvo documents it is known that before the Revolution in rural primary schools they taught reading in Russian and Cyrillic, writing, penmanship, arithmetic – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, including fractions; the law of God or Bible chairs and Church singing.
Furthermore, in the course of teaching the Russian language school children also got information on geography and history (about rivers and their feeders in Russia, about major cities, industrial centers and ethnography of Russia). It should have broadened general outlook of pupils.
Besides that, the Zemstvo schools arranged viewings of pictures through a "magic lantern" - an old-time projector. They could be also illustrations to Bible Stories, books such as "The Captain's Daughter" by Alexander Pushkin; images of Native Americans, visual aids for botany and anatomy, sets of paintings of various historical events.
In the corner of the classroom there was an icon, as it was traditionally in all Russian schools before the revolution, and the walls had a portrait of the Emperor, maps, visual aids and portraits of Russian writers.
In the early 1900-ies, the Serpukhov Zemstvo (District Council) gave the Melikhovo school a portrait of Anton Chekhov in memory of the famous Russian writer and the developer of the school.
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