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On the Results of the All-Russian Contest of School Compositions on the Works by M.A.Sholokhov

08.07.2016

The All-Russian contest of school compositions on the works by M.A.Sholokhov was announced by the department of Russian literature of the Institute of Humanitarian Sciences “Moscow City Pedagogical University” jointly with the National M.A.Sholokhov Museum-Reserve in Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya and the scientific educational national journal “Mir Sholokhova” in April 2016.

The contest is held for the second time. The previous contest of 2015 caused a wide response and actually became international (with Kazakhstan participants). The resulting materials were published in the journal “Mir Sholokhova” (2015, № 2), which was placed in the electronic Research Library.

The information letter about the contest was published on the websites of the Moscow City Pedagogical University, National M.A.Sholokhov Museum-Reserve in Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya, A.M.Gorky Literary Institute and on other information portals and in social networks.

The purpose and objectives of the contest are: to attract students of secondary educational institutions to creative development of the artistic treasures of Russian literary classics, the works of M.A.Sholokhov, one of its most outstanding representatives; intensification of scientific and methodical work of teachers searching for new methods of teaching literature and studying in class and outside it the work of M.A.Sholokhov; assistance in the implementation of educational potential of Russian literature; consolidation of efforts to preserve the best traditions of Russian literature teaching in schools and universities.

The jury includes:Y.A.Dvoryashin (chairman), Philology Doctor, professor, Honoured Worker of Science of the RF, editor-in-chief of the journal “Mir Sholokhova”, A.I.Smirnova (co-chairman), Philology Doctor, professor, head of the department of Russian Literature of the Humanitarian Institute of the Moscow City Pedagogical University, I.N.Raikova, Deputy Director of the Humanitarian Institute of the Moscow City Pedagogical University, Philology Candidate, S.A.Vasilyev (the leader of the event organizing committee), Philology Doctor, professor, I.I.Matveyeva, Philology Candidate.

The organizing committee received 90 school compositions from the 22 regions of Russia: Moscow, the Belgorod, Volgograd, Voronezh, Yekaterinburg, Kemerovo, Kirov, Leningrad, Moscow, Nizhegorodsk, Novosibirsk, Perm, Rostov,

Ryazan, Samara, Sverdlov, Smolensk, Tyumen, Yaroslavl regions, the Stavropol Territory, the Republic of Bashkortostan and the Udmurt Republic.

The contest was held with international participation. The jury was sent the works from the republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The jury revealed bright, talented and independent compositions to be published on the websites of the educational organizations, institutions of culture and others, in the journal “Mir Sholokhova”. They are of great interest. The contest showed the potential of the classic composition to be inexhaustible and even in greater demand under the conditions of “returning” a composition to the school, and an enormous need in educational work and in formation of moral and patriotically responsible personality in the process of school education.

The contest was joined by school students of different ages: from the 5–6th year students to graduates, the 11th year students and those of secondary special educational institutions.

The students of secondary schools and secondary special educational institutions chose the following composition genres: a family story, a letter to a literary hero, a reader’s diary, a description of an excursion trip, a local history article, a composition with elements of textual literary and linguistic analysis, a literary and journalistic essay and others. It is very important that the best works were based on the literary material, the works of M.A.Sholokhov, and showed independent thinking, convincing textual examples and their interpretation, contexture clarity and speech correctness. This success is undoubtedly due to the teachers – leaders and inspirers of the contestants. The jury especially appreciated the work of the leaders, and each of them was marked with a Letter of Thanks.

This year the jury decided to award a laureate diploma of the first and second degrees. The works of the first group show a pronounced individuality in developing one of the themes offered in the contest information letter, precision in presenting the factual material, speech clarity and other accomplishments. The works of the second group are also graded high, but they can reveal certain factual inaccuracies and speech, stylistic and other shortcomings.

Along with many positive aspects the contest brought some disappointments. The main thing is that half of the works include explicit or slightly retouched plagiarism. The students, either disregarding this problem or even at the connivance of their teachers, let the texts submitted include phrases or sometimes a number of phrases copied out from the Internet published scientific articles and school compositions about the works by M.A.Sholokhov. Some of the “authors” of

such “works” must have never thought about the fact that any borrowing should clearly bear the quotation marks and references, but an incorrect borrowing used in the creative work would deliberately cause an unsatisfactory mark. In a school composition, the transfer of the investigator’s thought can be accompanied simply by specifying his name (that is fortunately found). Learning the relevant pedagogical and methodical materials, which, of course, can be useful and desirable for the students, implies their independent creative processing: specifying the accents, searching and finding their own speech formulas and idioms including them into a new context and their appropriate adaptation, and so on. Such kind intellectual efforts presupposing a personal growth of the student enable him to get away from rough copying the model even when the student covers a standard theme, of which disclosure example he is aware.

In this connection the jury decided not to give contestant certificates to those students whose works contain incorrect borrowing – at least one or two detailed phrases copied out from the Internet or some other published sources. As well, the teachers, who sent such students’ works, won’t be marked with letters of thanks.

Despite the above mentioned, the contest “gains momentum” both in the aspect of geography, of the number of the papers sent and in respect of originality and quality of the best compositions submitted. The interest in the event is growing.

The student’s success is necessarily termed by efficient creative methodical work of literary teachers. In this connection it should be noted about the contest of teachers’ methodical works which is held simultaneously with the contest of the students’ works. The number of its participants has significantly grown comparing to the previous year. There were submitted educational programs, scenarios of school parties, quizzes, presentations, summaries of lessons and other methodical works. Some of them are high quality and can be recommended for publication. However most of the teachers’ works, unfortunately, “suffer from” plagiarism, and what is more, occasionally in explicit forms, when they set up someone’s material, moreover, taken from the Internet, for theirs. In cases of incorrect borrowing detected the contestants won’t be given certificates.

The results of the contest of school compositions on the works of M.A.Sholokhov and the contest of teachers’ methodical works prove the events of such kind to be really necessary. They contribute into increasing the educational level of the students and their upbringing in the spirit of the traditional values of Russian culture, into the improvement of modern educational environment and give a new impetus for the creative methodical work of the teachers.

There is a list of laureates of the All-Russian contest of school compositions on the works of M.A.Sholokhov.

Sergei Vasilyev