Author Topic: The Education of the Heirs  (Read 9209 times)

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Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Re: The Education of the Heirs
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2006, 01:17:54 PM »
How do you educate a child to be the ruler of a country, I wonder? What skills can you teach a young boy that will stand him in good stead to rule an empire as big as Russia? You can hardly take a 10 year old into the Duma, for example, and say 'look, listen, learn'.  With a father like Nicholas to learn from, anyway, Alexei wouldn't have been taught much about how to rule a country in the first place. I don't honestly see how sticking someone on a horse and sending them to the front line, or making them watch cabinet meetings, etc, is going to 'teach' them how to rule a country.  Especially when that someone is a small, easily bored child. The only way you learn to do anything practical is through experience; actually doing it and then learning through your mistakes.  Unfortunately Nicholas didn't learn from his mistakes and we all know where he ended up.  

The Grand Duchesses were given the standard education of the time for women.  A royal woman's role, and a woman's role in general during the period, was primarily to get married and pregnant as often as possible.  Women were not required to have a brain; in fact, the message put across by Victorian literature at least is that the less brains a woman had, the more attractive to the opposite sex she was.  As it happens, I think the GDs had a pretty good education; how many of us, who have been to school and university, can claim to speak four languages? They were well educated for the role they were expected to have in life; the daughters of the Tsar, and the wives of either sovereigns or royals of some status.  The tools necessary for this were a sound knowledge of foreign languages and the ability to do the 'rounds'.  That's it.

When it comes down to it, how does any education really prepare you for the real world? I've studied humanities, science, mathematics, foreign languages, and so on, and am doing a degree in English Literature.  I am well educated, but what use will the facts I have learned during my schooling actually be in real life? Not much, really.  It's what you learn in the school of hard knocks, otherwise known as experience, that teaches you how to function as a human being, and no amount of any 'book-learning' is going to teach you that.  

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Offline Ortino

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Re: The Education of the Heirs
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2006, 02:23:26 PM »
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At home schooling, a great and proven way to create a good ruler  ::)  It's a shame.  All of the Royal children showed considerable promise and it was practically undeveloped.  


Yes, they showed promise-- if one puts aside the general laziness that they all had towards their studies with the exception perhaps of Olga.

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How do you educate a child to be the ruler of a country, I wonder? What skills can you teach a young boy that will stand him in good stead to rule an empire as big as Russia? You can hardly take a 10 year old into the Duma, for example, and say 'look, listen, learn'.  With a father like Nicholas to learn from, anyway, Alexei wouldn't have been taught much about how to rule a country in the first place. I don't honestly see how sticking someone on a horse and sending them to the front line, or making them watch cabinet meetings, etc, is going to 'teach' them how to rule a country.  Especially when that someone is a small, easily bored child. The only way you learn to do anything practical is through experience; actually doing it and then learning through your mistakes.  Unfortunately Nicholas didn't learn from his mistakes and we all know where he ended up.  
 


   There are several things that Alexei could have learned that would have been helpful to his rule. Proficiency in a language other than Russian might have been one of them. He also could have been taught elements of law, politics, diplomacy, economics-all of certainly would have been useful at some point. Even a greater emphasis on Russian history would have been beneficial--he could have understood his Russian subjects better. You are right though--with so much emphasis placed on military training by Nicholas, he could not have acquired any type of thorough education. Miltary and court functions should have obviously taken a backseat.

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The Grand Duchesses were given the standard education of the time for women.  A royal woman's role, and a woman's role in general during the period, was primarily to get married and pregnant as often as possible.  Women were not required to have a brain; in fact, the message put across by Victorian literature at least is that the less brains a woman had, the more attractive to the opposite sex she was.  As it happens, I think the GDs had a pretty good education; how many of us, who have been to school and university, can claim to speak four languages? They were well educated for the role they were expected to have in life; the daughters of the Tsar, and the wives of either sovereigns or royals of some status.  The tools necessary for this were a sound knowledge of foreign languages and the ability to do the 'rounds'.  That's it.


   The Grand Duchesses' education was not that wonderful at all--they had rudimentary skills in speaking and writing in both their two primary languages and did not speak or write in French or German with any particular dexterity. Their education in the arts as a whole was also rather basic--none of them were esteemed artists and perhaps with the exception of Olga, not talented pianists. As dancing was a significant part of their lifestyle, I'm sure this might be the only exception. Languages, the arts, and of course social graces would have been the deeming qualities of a truly accomplished young woman--as a whole, none of the Grand Duchesses' really fit that mold or received educations worthy of the Tsar's children. I'm sure that the children of the Russian nobility were given educations with much more emphasis on these skills than the Grand Duchesses.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Ortino »

Tsarina_Liz

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Re: The Education of the Heirs
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2006, 07:04:56 PM »
That general laziness of the GDs is probably something else that should have been corrected (if laziness is even something that can be changed).  But, who knows, maybe they were gifted children and became easily bored in classes that failed to keep them interested and challenged.  And I don't see their education as either.  

Personally, the education of all of the heirs (GDs included b/c of Alexei's precarious health), specifically Alexei and Olga, left too much to be desired.  

But on the contemporary scheme of things, how exactly did their education compare to the children of the British Royal family?  Of other royal families?  I am afraid that it could not have been much worse (although German and British sons did attend University).  I, however, only have a limited knowledge about the education of royal children back then.

Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Re: The Education of the Heirs
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2006, 03:54:36 AM »
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   There are several things that Alexei could have learned that would have been helpful to his rule. Proficiency in a language other than Russian might have been one of them. He also could have been taught elements of law, politics, diplomacy, economics-all of certainly would have been useful at some point. Even a greater emphasis on Russian history would have been beneficial--he could have understood his Russian subjects better. You are right though--with so much emphasis placed on military training by Nicholas, he could not have acquired any type of thorough education. Miltary and court functions should have obviously taken a backseat.


Oh, yes, I'm sure that would have been helpful, but most people don't learn law/diplomacy/economics until they are at an advanced stage of education.  In England, these subjects aren't offered until the final years of school (16 up) or at university.  Seeing as Alexei never reached that age, and we can't expect someone under the age of 10 to take a serious interest in such aspects of education, I don't think that's really relevant to Alexei.  Also, Alexei spoke English and French as far as I know...perhaps not brilliantly, but to be fair, his education was broken up by the war and then captivity.  We don't know what was planned for him education wise in the future he sadly never got to have.

   
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The Grand Duchesses' education was not that wonderful at all--they had rudimentary skills in speaking and writing in both their two primary languages and did not speak or write in French or German with any particular dexterity. Their education in the arts as a whole was also rather basic--none of them were esteemed artists and perhaps with the exception of Olga, not talented pianists. As dancing was a significant part of their lifestyle, I'm sure this might be the only exception. Languages, the arts, and of course social graces would have been the deeming qualities of a truly accomplished young woman--as a whole, none of the Grand Duchesses' really fit that mold or received educations worthy of the Tsar's children. I'm sure that the children of the Russian nobility were given educations with much more emphasis on these skills than the Grand Duchesses.


Hmmm....I think the GDs were pretty proficient in Russian, English and French.  The only language they weren't highly skilled in as far as I know was German.  
As far as the GD's education goes, I think temperament and surroundings have to be considered.  None of the girls bar Olga actually seemed to have an active interest in learning, and that's unsurprising seeing as they inherited their parents' genes, and neither of them were the sharpest tools in the box, were they? Also, sitting in a room with your sisters is not vert conducive to getting a lot of work done.  If that were my sister and I, we'd spend the whole time throwing bits of paper at each other or something juvenile along those lines!  
Like Alexei, their educations got interrupted by the war and then captivity, so again, they didn't actually complete their educations, and we don't know what was planned for them in the future.
As far as I'm concerned, they were taught everything necessary to be the passive, social butterflies they were expected to be.  Getting married and being nice to people doesn't require a brain, so I don't think the education of women at any court during the period was considered a real priority, which is a real shame.

Interestingly enough, the Queen was educated at home and apparently has fluency in several foreign languages, though I have never seen this in action.  She sent her children away to school, though, so perhaps she felt her education was ineffective.

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Offline Ortino

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Hmmm....I think the Re: The Education of the Heirs
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2006, 03:26:56 PM »
Well, in order to answer that question in full, it depends on which child of the British Royal Family you are talking about. Minus Prince John and Princess Mary, their education seems to have come in pairs. All the children had tutors before they were sent to school elsewhere (minus John and Mary). Edward and Albert were sent to the Royal Naval College while Henry and George went to St Peter's Court, a regular school. Apparently Edward and Albert's education there did not meet with everyone's approval--the Princess of Wales always complained that her  husband had not the "slightest vestige of artistic appreciation, rudimentary knowledge of British or European history, and found foreign languages a closed book" (George V's Children, 24). George however, undoubtedly the smartest of the boys, academically thrived, although this may simply be from personality. John, given his illness, probably learned little in comparison with his brothers and died at an early age, preventing him from furthering his education anyway. Mary, unlike the Grand Duchesses, was very well educated and enthusiastic about her studies. She studied history, geography, French, German, was a keen botanist, proficient with a needle, and an accomplished pianist. In comparison to her Russian cousins, Mary was highly accomplished in my opinion.

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Hmmm....I think the GDs were pretty proficient in Russian, English and French.  The only language they weren't highly skilled in as far as I know was German.  
As far as the GD's education goes, I think temperament and surroundings have to be considered.  None of the girls bar Olga actually seemed to have an active interest in learning, and that's unsurprising seeing as they inherited their parents' genes, and neither of them were the sharpest tools in the box, were they? Also, sitting in a room with your sisters is not vert conducive to getting a lot of work done.  If that were my sister and I, we'd spend the whole time throwing bits of paper at each other or something juvenile along those lines!  


According to Gilliard, they were able to read French, but not really able to speak it. As for their English and Russian, I read somewhere, although I can't remember the source, that they spoke in simple terms, in other words, rather childishly. Their notebooks convey that their grammar was rather off as well. Yes, temperment and surroundings should be considered, but the girls (minus Olga) seemed to have no initiative to study anything. One does not have to enjoy a subject, but simply recognize its importance. It didn't help either that neither Nicholas nor Alexandra seemed to emphasize education as a priority in their children's lives.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Ortino »

Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: The Education of the Heirs
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2006, 10:33:31 AM »
Since Alexei was so young when he died, and so ill much of the time, it is hard to say what turn his education could have taken. As for all the daughters except Olga, they seem to have had the accomplishements necessary for their station in life. They may not have been conventionally well educated, or even as much as Princess Mary of England, but for the roles they were to play, it was enough. They were not intellectuals and neither were their parents.

As for Olga, as the eldest daughter, who was intelligent in an intellectual way, and perhaps not as lazy, she could have been given more of an education. But it is doubtful she would have ever ruled the country, so this isn't a factor. With her nature, she could have learned all through life, which is not so true of the others. Alexandra seems to have been a bit more intelligent/thoughtful than Nicholas even if more difficult and misguided sometimes. For Alexei, his education might have gotten better-we just don't know. Also, he would have needed the practical training that Nicholas didn't get.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by romanov_fan »

Tsarina_Liz

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Re: The Education of the Heirs
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2006, 01:57:03 PM »
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Since Alexei was so young when he died, and so ill much of the time, it is hard to say what turn his education could have taken. As for all the daughters except Olga, they seem to have had the accomplishements necessary for their station in life. They may not have been conventionally well educated, or even as much as Princess Mary of England, but for the roles they were to play, it was enough. They were not intellectuals and neither were their parents.

 As for Olga, as the eldest daughter, who was intelligent in an intellectual way, and perhaps not as lazy, she could have been given more of an education. But it is doubtful she would have ever ruled the country, so this isn't a factor. With her nature, she could have learned all through life, which is not so true of the others. Alexandra seems to have been a bit more intelligent/thoughtful than Nicholas even if more difficult and misguided sometimes. For Alexei, his education might have gotten better-we just don't know. Also, he would have needed the practical training that Nicholas didn't get.


It is doubtful Alexei would ever rule the country because of his disease and yet he was educated as they thought a future tsar should have been, so that argument against Olga doesn't really work in my mind.   ;)  By the time of his death Alexei's mind was set for life.  He was past childhood and past the most intense learning stages of his life (children learn easier and faster than teenagers and adults, most information used in everyday life is learned by the time a child gets into third and fourth grade if not before).  This is unfortunate, because it also meant he was stuck with limited intelligence/capacity for learning, an immature sense of sticking to something (why can't I remember the word???), and poor social skills (something else children learn when they are young and from their peers).  

If by that time they were not giving him a better education, they were never going to.  It's sad, but I don't think they really cared.  God, for them, would take care of everything.  Even the education of the future Tsar.