Author Topic: OTMAA's Education  (Read 12539 times)

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Offline imperial angel

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2006, 11:47:00 AM »
Undoubtedly, wars are an excuse to become prejudice to another nation's culture. That happens often enough. I think that, in these cases, prejudice may have existed before, good or bad. But often no one has much thought about the issue until there is a war. Then they do, and yes, such prejudices may linger long after the war is over. That is the most damaging thing. There is always something you can learn from another nation's culture, whatever the status between your countries.

As for otma, they most likely had the view that most young royals had then about the world around them, and culture. It is true they may well have heard only the official line of history, with whatever prejudices it had. That's a great point. Often royalty in those days were one big happy family irrespective of difference in countries and cultures. But one wonders, if at times, because of this, they missed the real truth of their countries and cultures, being so absorbed in court culture. But, perhaps royals had one thing right then; some things are universal, and perhaps it is better to focus on the things we have common as human beings, rather than the differences we have.

Offline Taren

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2006, 03:29:03 PM »
I was reading Nicholas and Alexandra last night and Nicholas' hatred of the Japanese was mentioned. While still Tsarevich, a Japanese man tried to assassinate him. Pg. 22 says "thereafter, Nicholas never liked Japan and customarily referred to most Japanese as 'monkeys'". Now I think we know where Tatiana picked up the term.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2006, 04:07:16 PM »
Right. That assination attempt was well known, and no doubt shook Nicholas up. That was long before the Russo-Japanese war, but perhaps it did have some effect on his attitude towards the Japanese, as much as the war. It would be somewhat understandable in light of the attempt on his life, if he did not like the Japanese, if not very justifiable.

Offline RealAnastasia

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2006, 10:15:32 PM »
Yes. Sometimes, prejudice comes from self bad experiences. I knows a man who hates Arabs for one of them , defrauded him in a bussiness affair. So, after this, all the Arabs were bad people to him. Another man was robbed by a Peruvian and since them, he hates Peruvians. I can easily imagine that Nicholas was a little like these two men of my country. And then, the war added a little more intensity to his negative feelings toward Japanese people.

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Offline imperial angel

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2006, 08:03:44 AM »
Yes, sometimes it is our own personal interactions with people from different countries and cultures that determine our attitude towards their country and culture. That might be bad, or it might be good. We can also get less personal perspective if we read about these other cultures/countries or adapt whatever a general attitude toward them might be. I have had my own knowledge of other cultures influenced in a good way by someone I worked with, and people I met while I worked there.

Offline EmmyLee

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2008, 04:03:30 PM »
I had been planning on doing a little research on the matter of the children's education. We've already discussed how it could have been better but that the girls' education was actually fairly normal compared to "normal" girls back then. But seeing as I can't find a thread where we've really discussed the extent of the both the Grand Duchesses and Alexei's education, I thought I'd post some of my findings here as well as a few interesting anecdotes that took place during their lessons.

Let's start with a general look at their lesson schedules. Alexei Volkov recounts that the children "arose at eight o'clock, took their tea, and did their school work until eleven o'clock." Gilliard's lessons with Alexei "began at nine o'clock, and there was a break from eleven to twelve. We went out driving in a carriage, sledge, or car, and then work was resumed until lunch at one… At four o'clock we went in and resumed lessons until dinner, which was at seven for Aleksey Nicolalevich and at eight for the rest of the family. We ended the day by reading one of his favorite books" (Thirteen Years at the Russian Court).

Some of their subjects included German, English, Russian, French, music, arithmetic, history, geography. Gilliard mentions that Alexei never took any German lessons.  He also comments that Anastasia's French accent was "excellent." Aside from Gibbes and Gilliard, the children, of course, had other tutors. Greg King, in Court of the Last Tsar writes that "a number of instructors taught specialized courses: Vladimir Voyekov taught history; Father Alexander Vassiliev instructed them in the Orthodox catechism; M. Sobolev lectured on mathematics; and there were regular lessons in music, drawing, and various languages.  Peter Petrov, a member of the empire’s hereditary nobility, acted as a tutor in the Russian language and literature (120).”

How did the Grand Duchesses do with their studies? Margaret Eagar described Olga and Tatiana as having a talent for music. Gilliard writes that aside from Olga, the other girls were "very moderate pupils" when it came to French. He partly blames this on Alexandra's refusal to give them a French governess, believing that she was afraid that such a governess would come between her and her daughters. We can't know if this was true or not, but Gilliard concludes that although "they read French, and liked it, they were never able to speak it fluently." Gilliard's note after this reveals that this could also very well be because Alexandra spoke English with her children and Nicholas "only" spoke Russian to them.

I find the following quote rather sad, knowing that had their lives been different and many stressful events not happened, it likely would have been different. I think it also gives an idea of the effect of the later years on Olga: "Olga Nicholaievna did not fulfill the hopes I had set upon her. Her fine intellect failed to find the elements necessary to its development. Instead of making progress she began to go back. Her sisters had ever had but little taste for learning, their gifts being of the practical order.”

Gilliard also shed some light on how slim (may or not be the right word) the Grand Duchesses' education was when he took up his post at Tsarskoe Selo in 1905. "I had had an idea that my pupils were much more advanced than they actually were. I had selected certain exercises, but they proved far too difficult. The lesson I had prepared was useless, and I had to improvise and resort to expedients." Alexandra used to supervise his lessons with her daughters and it was important to her that they show respect to their teachers. "While [the empress] was present at my lessons, when I entered the room I always found the books and notebooks piled neatly in my pupils' places at the table, and I was never kept waiting a moment. It was the same afterwards. In due course my first pupils, Olga and Tatiana, were joined by Marie, in 1907, and Anastasia, in 1909, as soon as these two younger daughters had reached their ninth year.”

In 1909 Gilliard finished tutoring Duke Sergei of Leuchtenberg (he had been teaching both him and the Grand Duchesses), he could devote more time to the girls. He came to the palace five times a week and "although the number of lessons I gave had considerably increased, my pupils made but slow progress, largely because the Imperial family spent months at a time in the Crimea. I regretted more and more that they had not been given a French governess, and each time they returned I always found they had forgotten a good deal. Mademoiselle Tutcheva, their Russian governess, could not do everything, for all her intense devotion and perfect knowledge of languages. It was with a view to overcoming this difficulty that the Tsarina asked me to accompany the family when they left Tsarskoe-Selo for a considerable time.”

Offline EmmyLee

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2008, 04:25:57 PM »
Continuing on, according to Gilliard, Olga "picked up everything extremely quickly, and always managed to give an original turn to what she learned. I well remember how, in one of our first grammar lessons, when I was explaining the formation of the verbs and the use of the auxiliaries, she suddenly interrupted me with: 'I see, monsieur. The auxiliaries are the servants of the verbs It's only poor 'avoir' which has to shift for itself.' " It appears that Olga borrowed books from Gilliard to read outside of her studies and that he "was very careful to indicate by notes in the margin the passages or chapters she was to leave out. I used to give her a summary of these. The reason I put forward was the difficulty of the text or the fact that it was uninteresting." Gilliard continues to recount an amusing incident when Olga was reading Les Miserables:

Olga Nicolaievna was reading "Les Miserables," and had reached the description of the battle of Waterloo. At the beginning of the letter she handed me a list of the words she had not understood, in accordance with our practice. What was my astonishment to see in it the word which is forever associated with the name of the officer who commanded the Guard. I felt certain I had not forgotten my usual precautions. I asked for the book to verify my marginal note, and realised my omission. To avoid a delicate explanation I struck out the wretched word and handed back the list to the Grand-Duchess.
  She cried, "Why, you've struck out the word I asked papa about yesterday!"
  I could not have been more thunderstruck if the bolt had fallen at my feet. "What! You asked your...
  "Yes, and he asked me how I'd heard of it, and then said it was a very strong word which must not be repeated, though in the mouth of that general it was the finest word in the French language."
  A few hours later I met the Tsar when I was out walking in the park. He took me on one side and said in a very serious tone, "You are teaching my daughters a very curious vocabulary, monsieur. . . . "
  I floundered in a most involved explanation. But the Tsar burst out laughing, and interrupted: "Don't worry, monsieur. I quite realised what happened so I told my daughter that the word was one of the French "army's greatest claims to fame."

Margaret Eagar relates another anecdote dealing with Olga's education: "One day the arithmetic master, a professor of algebra from one of the universities, wished Olga to write something; she asked his leave to go in to the Russian master, who was teaching little Tatiana in the next room. He said she could go, but asked her what she wanted to say to him. She told him she could not spell "arithmetic." He told her how this difficult word was written, and she exclaimed, with great admiration, "How clever you are! and how hard you must have studied to be able, not only to count so well, but to spell such very long words!" She thought me a marvel of education, and confided in her music master that no one in the whole world knew so much as I did; she thought I knew everything, except music and Russian.”

The House of Special Purpose describes some of the trouble Gibbes had with Anastasia. “Once, after a disturbed lesson, he refused to give her five marks, the maximum (and customary) number. For a moment he wondered what might happen; then, purposefully, Anastasia left the room. Within minutes she returned, carrying one of the elaborate bouquets that seemed always  to be in waiting. ‘Mr. Gibbes,’ she said winningly, ‘are you going to change the marks?’ He hesitated before he shook his head. Describing it long afterwards in a long letter (1928) to the Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, the Tsar’s brother-in-law in Paris, Gibbes wrote: Drawing herself up to the most of her small height, she marched into the schoolroom next door. Leaving the door wide open, she approached the dear old Russian professor, Peter Vassilievich Petrov. ‘Peter Vassilievich’, she said, ‘allow me to present you with these flowers’. By all the rules he should have refused them, but professors are human; he did not. Later, we made it up again, and I received my bouquets once more, for the Grand Duchess nearly always gave me one during those early years. I—well, I was more careful in my marking. We had both learned a lesson.”

Gilliard began tutoring Alexei on October 2, 1912.  Apparently, Alexei "did not know a word of French, and at first I had a good deal of difficulty. My lessons were soon interrupted, as the boy, who had looked to me ill from the outset, soon had to take to his bed.” Alexei's education was definitely stunted by his frequent breaks in his studies due to his hemophilia. This seemed to have caused Gilliard some frustration because not only could he not get as far as he'd liked to with Alexei's lessons, but he also didn't know why Alexei was ill so often.

After Gilliard was trusted with the secret, he spoke to Nicholas and Alexandra about their son's constant supervision by Derevenko, Alexei was allowed a little more freedom. "Everything went well at first, and I was beginning to be easy in my mind, when the accident I had so much feared happened without a word of warning. The Tsarevitch was in the schoolroom standing on a chair, when he slipped, and in falling hit his right knee against the corner of some piece of furniture. The next day he could not walk. On the day after the subcutaneous haemorrhage had progressed, and the swelling which had formed below the knee rapidly spread down the leg. The skin, which was greatly distended, had hardened under the force of the extravasated blood, which pressed on the nerves of the leg and thus caused shooting pains, which grew worse every hour.”

Alexei's, Maria's, and Anastasia's educations continued in Tobolsk after things had settled down enough there. Lessons started at nine and then they had a break from eleven to twelve for a walk with Nicholas. Gilliard explains that because there was no classroom in the house at Tobolsk, they sometimes met in the first floor large hall or in Alexei's room. After they had had tea, lessons continued until about 6:30.

In Volkov's memoirs, he writes that a man named Pankratov approached Nicholas and asked if he would like a local schoolteacher to teach the children. According to Volkov, Nicholas sent Pankratov to ask Alexandra what she thought. This confused me because I've never heard of this teacher before, but her name was Claude Michailovna Bitner. I used the search feature but couldn't find her name anywhere on this forum. Does anyone know anything more about her or whether or not she really did teach the children?

As a last note, I wanted to share a tidbit that was interesting to me. Margaret Eager mentions that in honor of Alexei's birth, the Tsar established quite a few schools and scholarships in his son's name.

Does anyone else have anything to add to this (rather long) summary of the children's education?

Offline Sarushka

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2008, 08:16:36 PM »
In Volkov's memoirs, he writes that a man named Pankratov approached Nicholas and asked if he would like a local schoolteacher to teach the children. According to Volkov, Nicholas sent Pankratov to ask Alexandra what she thought. This confused me because I've never heard of this teacher before, but her name was Claude Michailovna Bitner. I used the search feature but couldn't find her name anywhere on this forum. Does anyone know anything more about her or whether or not she really did teach the children?

You may find more information with these alternate spellings of her name:
Claudia/Klaudia/Klavdia Bittner

In short, yes, she really did teach the children. If I recall correctly, she later married Colonel Kobylisnky. Her testimony is either in the Sokolov report or Robert Wilton's book.
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Offline EmmyLee

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2008, 08:38:39 PM »
Thank you, Sarushka. The alternate spellings help a lot.

Offline TampaBay

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2008, 07:19:08 AM »
Did any of the children of the Imperial Family attend a "real school"?


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Offline Padawan Ryan

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2008, 07:25:46 AM »
No, they most definitely did not.

It is said that they weren't really allowed to have many friends,
Mostly family, parents' friends, and children of the parents' friends.

They never really got to experience the real world all that much.
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Offline nena

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2008, 07:28:52 AM »
Did any of the children of the Imperial Family attend a "real school"?


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No...only private tutors,Petrov,Gibbes, Gilliard, many more....
I think OTMAA had many friends....All people in country----I know I am filosoph!
They never really got to experience the real world all that much.
What about World War the first?
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Offline EmmyLee

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2008, 12:54:57 PM »
I think Brittany Catherine means that they didn't really have the opportunity to go out and meet people not related to them who weren't officers or friends of the family. They couldn't usually go out shopping like regular children and when they did go out in public, they weren't really alone.

Offline nena

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2008, 01:06:00 PM »
They went in shopping in Germany 1910, for example.
Tutors, especially Mr. Gilliard wanted for I.Children to go out, to be with friends........
Agree with you they weren't really alone.
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Offline TampaBay

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Re: OTMAA's Education
« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2008, 08:12:26 AM »
No, they most definitely did not.

It is said that they weren't really allowed to have many friends,
Mostly family, parents' friends, and children of the parents' friends.

They never really got to experience the real world all that much.

I am not talking about only OTMAA.  I mean the complete Imperial Family...all Grand Dukes and Duchess....all imperial children.

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