On methodological aspects and tasks of pedagogy and education development
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №12 - 2020
Author: Ermakov Vladimir, Gomel State University. Gomel, Republic of Belarus, Republic of Belarus
For a long time, the functioning of the education
system is largely determined by two main points – the setting of goals and the
means of achieving them. Ya.A. Komensky substantiated the relevance of each of
them in his essay "Exit from the school labyrinths, or the Didactic
machine, in accordance with the mechanical method, designed so that in matters
of teaching and learning not to linger in place, but to go forward."
Before his intervention in the situation, it looked like this: “They teach in order
to teach, and learn in order to learn, (...) there is never seen certainty that
the goal of the work will be achieved or that it is precisely the set goal that
has been solicited” [1, from. 175]. According to Komensky, this approach did
not correspond to the needs of economic, state and church life, therefore, in
order to meet these needs, the goals of education must be described with
greater certainty, as well as to find “means precisely adapted to achieve these
goals, and 3) firm rules to use these means in this way, so that it was
impossible not to achieve the goal” [1, p. 189]. In formal terms, the “didactic
machine” of Komensky was built to solve problems assigned mainly from the
outside, but its equipment was favorable for both teachers and students.
Suffice it to mention his classroom-lesson
system, one of the elements of which consisted in organizing education in
groups of pupils close in age and level of training. This gave a significant and obvious economic effect, since it
allowed the teacher to conduct classes with a group of students in almost the
same way as with one of them. This circumstance is an implicit reason that the
classroom-lesson system of teaching persists, despite being heavily criticized.
An even more significant role in the system of
Komensky is played, in our opinion, by his teaching method, based on the
constant application of analysis and synthesis. “No matter what nook and cranny
you find yourself in,” writes Komensky, – analysis will not allow anything to
escape your attention (which is the basis of any kind of scholarship). And the
synthesis from the gorges of theory will again lead you into [spacious] fields
of action” [1, p. 109]. The analysis, which is constantly used by both the
teacher in presenting the material and to the students and the students in
their comprehension, contributes to the development of the student's thinking
and the formation of such a system of interactions, which is now called the
pedagogy of cooperation.
Obviously, it is the harmony between the elements
of the Komensky’s system that ensures its high efficiency for several
centuries, but, as it will be shown below, it was achieved on the basis of
difficult compromises and therefore, in the process of civilization and culture
development, it can be violated in many weak points. In the context of the
current rapid changes in all spheres of life, with the unprecedented mobility
of production technologies, means of production, types and methods of professional
activity, the above mentioned threat of losing the systemic stability of known
pedagogical technologies becomes real. For this reason, the issue on
strengthening the sustainability of existing pedagogical systems comes to the
fore in importance.
An important support for solving this research
problem is provided by the principle of minimum sufficiency of A. Einstein,
according to which "everything should be done as simply as possible, but
not simpler." Based on this principle, it can be assumed that the sharp
and sweeping criticism of Komensky and traditional education, reaching the idea
of a complete rejection of them, is not entirely fair. It is wiser, first of
all, to analyze those initial assumptions and self-restrictions that were made
to simplify the theory, but ceased to correspond to the new realities of the
modern world. Then, to fix the situation, it will be enough to limit ourselves
to targeted correction of existing systems. The main purpose of this article is
to carry out such an analysis.
In the field of education, the difficulties of
combining various elements into an integral pedagogical system are closely
related to the urgent problem of individualization of training and education.
On this occasion P.F. Kapterev wrote: "Personal characteristics must be
constantly kept in mind when upbringing, otherwise it will not correspond to
the needs of the subject, it will be stereotyped, too abstract and unsuitable
in this case" [2, p. 28]. At the same time, he noted that "it is
impossible to scientifically create individual pedagogy, since science deals
with the general, and not with the particulars." To resolve the
contradiction between what is required and what is achievable, P.F. Kapterev
proposed to entirely shift the burden of individualization to family education,
believing that “the application of the general principles of education to the
properties of a given personality is a matter of the skills of parents and
educators, a matter of their creativity” [2, p. 28].
In the second, supplemented edition of the cited
work, published in 1913, P.F. Kapterev significantly expanded the analysis of
the problems of family education and stated that family education can, to a
certain extent, be called a newly discovered area of scientific pedagogy. At the same time, he still maintained that individualization of education
is impossible in ordinary school education. With 30 to 40
students per class, it is difficult for teachers and educators to reach
individual students to study and deal with them according to their personal
At first glance, this entire theoretical
structure is well substantiated, but if “it is impossible to scientifically
create individual pedagogy,” then the family, when performing such complex and
responsible functions of education, is actually left without any support. In
addition, with the lengthening of educational trajectories, the time of interaction
of the student with the family decreases and the family's ability to influence
his development decreases. Let's remember that in the Lyceum where A.S. Pushkin
studied, lyceum students were not allowed to go home even on vacation. Further,
due to the significant complication of the subjects being studied, the likelihood
of serious failures in mastering the material increases, and they can
negatively affect personal development. Within the framework of family
education, apart from the generative source of such problems, the situation
cannot be corrected, so the individualization of education should become the
concern of school education. It can be assumed that an unspoken ban on the
search for such opportunities was formed due to fears of violating the
above-mentioned condition for the efficiency of education in this case, the
inevitable complication of the models of the educational process.
As a result, we see the following chain of
dependencies. The growing demands on the education system on the part of
society and the state make the learning process more and more intense and
thereby exacerbate the problem of individualization of education. At the same
time, the found method of ensuring the economy of education narrows the scope
for finding solutions to this problem within the framework of the simplest
(linear) models of managing educational processes. They, in turn, leave little
chance of stimulating personal development in the learning process. Attempts to
shift the solution of the urgent and acute problem of individualization to the
family run up against the parents' lack of special training and assistance from
If we consider the education system as a closed
system, then due to the presence of such a large number of unresolved internal
problems and contradictions, one would expect the fading of educational
processes. But the history of education shows otherwise. The history of
mathematics in the 19th century is especially illustrative in this respect. F.
Klein in his monograph noted several distinctive features of this time.
Firstly, during this period “mathematical physics” was completely created, new
areas of mathematics appeared, “pure mathematics began to come to the fore
imperiously as well” [3, p. 14], that is, the progress of mathematics itself
did not slow down, but accelerated.
Secondly, the ideal of eighteenth-century
universality was abandoned. Due to the growing volume of mathematical
knowledge, even the most universal mind, according to F. Klein, “is no longer
able to synthesize the whole in itself and use it fruitfully outside of itself”
[3, p. 15]. Mathematicians began to master only a small part of mathematics and
published their works in the form of scattered articles that did not contain connections
with general issues and therefore were not available to a wide range of
readers. Thirdly, in the 19th century, “scientific life began to be influenced
by major social shifts caused by the French Revolution and the historical
events that followed it” [3, p. 14]. Because of them and in spite of the named
circumstances, which burden the development of education, there was an
unimaginable influx of people who wanted to acquire the now prestigious
Here we have a vivid example of the collision of
two powerful and oppositely directed processes – the rapidly growing
inaccessibility of mathematics for those who begin to study it, and at the same
time, an equally rapid increase in the number of those who decided to engage in
its active development. This means that even if the influence of external
factors on the state of education and science is not very noticeable, in fact
it is very strong.
This conclusion is important and deserves to be
consolidated in terms of the philosophy of openness. “To accept our concept of
non-closedness,” S.I. Yakovlenko writes, “we only need to admit a rather
obvious fact: if we consider sufficiently long times, then many important
properties of any system accessible to our observation will be determined by
its openness, and attempts to explain the behavior of an open system based only
on its internal properties will inevitably lead to a dead end” [4, p. 45]. Indeed,
without taking into account the socio-cultural processes from the assessments
we obtained based on the analysis of the works of P.F. Kapterev, it would be
impossible to predict the rise of science, and hence education. Therefore, we
need to continue our research in an extended formulation of the problem.
A good scientific foundation for the
implementation of this approach was created in the works of N.V. Gusseva. In
the monograph  she carried out a socio-philosophical analysis of the
foundations of human development in the context of civilization and culture.
The central link in the work is a versatile analysis of the understanding,
interpretation and implementation of the individual's activities. From the
numerous consequences obtained in the monograph, we single out two
interpretations of activity, which set an important guideline for further
research. According to the first of them, activity as a system of actions
determines the so-called civilizational approach, and the understanding of
activity as a holistic and practical connection with the world determines the
position of considering the world and man, science and education as cultural
phenomena, where culture manifests itself as a process, not as a result. Thanks
to this distinction between types of activity, it is possible to clearly see
not only the fact of alienation of a person, about which the supporters of the
theory of the Social Contract, including T. Hobbes, began to write, but also
the dynamics of alienation.
The essence of the matter here is that even a
holistic activity as a way and form of manifestation of human subjectivity, his
creative essence leads to a certain result, and he, in turn, begins to exist
independently of a person and thereby is included in the civilization process. Thus, the subject body of civilization, its inert layer is
constantly increasing and the scope for the manifestation of human creative
activity and, accordingly, for culture as a process, generally speaking, is
The universal property of living matter protects
from the complete damping of these processes, according to L. Pasteur and V.I. Vernadsky . This property lies in the fact that living matter
exists in a series of births and deaths. It is the change of human generations
that opens up to each new generation of people a huge field for manifestations
of creative activity – the entire space of civilization, in order to adapt to
life in which it is required to de-objectify the gigantic experience of
previous generations. Without effective help from the education system, an
individual cannot travel a path of several millennia in his short life,
therefore the state of educational processes, including their smallest
episodes, can and do have global – civilizational significance.
To substantiate this thesis, let us turn to the
history of mathematics in ancient Greece, rich in unique events. First of all,
it should be noted the rapid rise of mathematics in the period from the 6th to
the 4th century BC, which, according to I.G. Bashmakova, “seemed to border on a
miracle” [7, p. 225]. It was in Greece that “logical proof was systematically
introduced into mathematics, and its separate sections began to be built as
deductive systems” [7, p. 226]. It is significant that logic itself received
its initial development not in mathematics, but in connection with the
establishment of democracy in Athens and other cities of Greece and the unfolding ideological struggle of political parties. Note that science also
originated in Ancient Greece. According to A.E. Levin, “science arose once, and
subsequently this "act of creation" has never been repeated. The importance of this
fact and the need for its comprehensive understanding do not diminish in the
least from the fact that it happened twenty-five centuries ago” [8, p. 101].
The consequences of these changes in mathematics
are very significant. The transfer of systematized knowledge is more stable due
to the appearance of additional protection against the accidental loss of
individual elements. The initial provisions and rules of inference,
constituting a small part of the theory, potentially carry all of its content.
Thanks to this, the deductive structure of the theory becomes an instrument of
compression, reduction of material. Moreover, the proof plays a leading role in
this construction, since it allows the entire system to be recovered from a
small kernel. Therefore, the deductive structure of theories turned out to be
an important support in scientific and pedagogical communication. However,
these revolutionary changes did not lead to finding the "royal road to
mathematics," the difficulties of mastering it only shifted to the initial
concepts of a deductive system. V.I. Arnold described them as follows: “The
usual deductive-axiomatic scholastic style is that the presentation of a
mathematical theory begins with an unmotivated definition. The psychological
difficulties to which this leads the reader, are almost insurmountable for a
normal person” [9, p. 118]. Such concepts become powerful barriers to the assimilation
of the whole theory, points of a sharp separation of the theory from the actual
life experience of the individual, points of clear alienation from him of this
Here we come to a key point in our historical
excursion. While the energy of overcoming was fed from the outside, and
learning in one way or another contributed to the personal development of the
individual, the interconnected development of culture, civilization and
education was progressive, but this movement is unstable and may stop due to
seemingly insignificant reasons. G. Freudenthal's statement about Euclid's “Principles” is characteristic: “This geometrized algebra, divorced from life, a
useless invention by fanatics of method and precision, became one of the
reasons for the degeneration of Greek mathematics. Of course, as long as, along
with the official Euclidean-Archimedean mathematics, heuristic methods of
algebra and the infinitesimal were also taught, young people could master the
straitjacket of official science. But as soon as these traditions were broken,
everything perished” [10, p. 13]. Note that it died for more than a thousand
years, in fact, before the famous tournament between Fiore and Tartaglia,
during which Tartaglia received a mathematical result of fundamental
importance, which neither ancient nor Eastern mathematicians knew.
O. Spengler also noted indirectly the growing
role of point factors in the processes of alienation. In his book "The
Decline of Europe", published in 1918, he called the first chapter
"On the Meaning of Number". Combining such diverse problems, Spengler
insisted on the need to "distinguish between becoming and what has
become" and emphasized that "becoming is always at the heart of what
has become, and not vice versa". In violation of this principle in
relation to the preparation of new generations, Spengler saw a threat to Europe and a prerequisite for its decline. In a more general form, problems of this kind
were developed by Hegel, and then by K. Marx, relying on the concepts of
"objectification" and "de-objectification".
The particular difficulty of introducing the
concept of number in elementary school was also pointed out by E.V. Ilyenkov. On the basis of a logical-philosophical analysis
of the old method of teaching counting, he came to the conclusion that it was
not nature that was to blame for the decrease in the number of children capable
of mathematics, but didactics.
“Those ideas about the
relation of the abstract to the concrete, the general to the singular, quality
to quantity, thinking to the sensuously perceived world, which were the basis
of many didactic developments, are to blame” [11, p. 199].
What are the real achievements of the modern
education system with such an aggravation of its internal and external problems
and contradictions? At the macro level, they can be assessed using a specific
type of culture identified by researchers - global culture. It differs from
other types of cultures in that it does not have any centers of localization
and “territorial binding”. Yu.A. Sukharev showed that “the bearer of global
culture is a transnational group of individuals engaged in highly intellectual
creative professional activities in the field of information technology,
science, education, with a specific system of non-material motivation and a
complex of value-semantic regulations. (...) The main system-forming element of
the new culture is creativity, creative production activity” [12, p. 9]. Thus,
a powerful rise of culture as a process is taking place at the present time,
but only a small group of people are directly involved in this. This
circumstance gives rise to the rapid growth of social differentiation and
cultural polarization both between countries and within developed countries.
The given characteristics of global culture
demonstrate a strong interdependence between the development of culture, society
and an individual. At the same time, in the presence of the aforementioned
transnational group of people, there is still no organizationally unified and
equally distinguishable transnational education system. This comparison allows
us to believe that the rapid growth of technology, science and education in the
world is based not so much on the use of new reserves in the organization of education,
but on the multistage selection of students and specialists. The emerging innovative
education should play a special role in accelerating this growth, but, as shown
in our article , its methodological problems remain acute and unresolved.
At the same time, elements of traditional education are clearly present in its
organizational forms. It follows from this that a special emphasis on only
innovative moments – for all their relevance for modern education and for
modern society – does not provide adequate models of educational processes. To
overcome these methodological difficulties, the study of innovative education
should be included in the broader context of education development, taking into
account its internal and external factors. As a result, we once again come to
the conclusion about the relevance of building an effective mass developmental
Is it possible to achieve this in the existing
socio-cultural conditions? The fundamental possibility of giving an optimistic
answer to this question is confirmed by the works of N.N. Nechaev, in which the
psychological aspects of higher architectural education are studied . This
research was updated by the change in the social conditions of architectural
education and the transformation of the profession of an architect into a mass
profession. It was no longer possible to count on spontaneous pre-university
training and the giftedness of students, students began “special training for
obtaining higher architectural education from a professional zero” [14, p.
243]. For an active response to the changed conditions, a transition was made
to the management of the educational process based on a changing target
Among the three stages of preparation identified,
the first takes a special place. “The first stages – the beginning – are the
most dependent (from the point of view of a professional architect) and in this
sense the most distant from the actual way of professional action. But it is on
it that professional actions are maximally highlighted, clearly described,
extremely detailed and objectified. This is the most controlled process of a
student's activity on the part of a teacher – and in this regard, outwardly,
the most uncreative stage ”[14, p. 279]. The
selection of this stage was forced; a lot of efforts now had to be spent on the
formation of the required initial conditions directly in the learning process –
already within the framework of higher education. This helped to solve the main
problem at the second and third stages of training – the task of forming the
professional creativity of the architect.
The first stage of training was mainly aimed at
strengthening the personal component of the educational process, but this time
delay had a positive effect on the final result, since it led to an increase in
the quality, and then to an acceleration of the educational process. Note that more complex (nonlinear) management models were required
for active accounting and correction of the personal aspects of learning,
which, in turn, opened up the possibility of applying new achievements of psychological
The article  provides a similar example of
solving the problem of adaptation of freshmen to university studies within the
framework of the course of mathematical analysis. This problem is becoming more
acute due to the growing gap between the level of training of schoolchildren
and the needs of the university, as well as due to the presence of complex
concepts and a developed formal apparatus in this course. Therefore, from the
very beginning of training, it was necessary to fill in the gaps in previous
training, to strengthen the propaedeutics of a number of concepts and, at the
same time, to restore the students' initiative. In addition to the previous
example, a significant upgrade of current control was required here. The result
of its application has surpassed all initial expectations.
In modern conditions, the problems of the control
system in the field of education should be treated with increased attention.
First of all, because, as it is shown in , at the present time this system
is in the state of systemic and structural crisis and thus inhibits the
development of education. In particular, in the transition to more complex
management models, it will be necessary to carefully control the moments of
switching between the personal and meaningful direction of management. If in
the first of the two examples cited three stages of training covered the entire
period of study at the university, then in the second example active corrective
measures were concentrated at the beginning of the first semester of training
and therefore the required switching was carried out not according to a
predetermined plan, but based on feedback.
The limiting localization of corrective
intervention in the educational process in place and time arises when assisting
a student in understanding the initial concepts of axiomatic theory in
mathematics. Most students are helpless in front of such concepts, and
according to the meaning of the axiomatic method, their propaedeutics is not provided
for in curricula. In case of urgent need, the teacher has to carry out this
work outside the plan, at the expense of internal reserves of management and
control and as intensively as possible. Such a difficult pedagogical problem
can be solved only on the basis of active assistance in the development of the
student's thinking. The article  shows how exactly this problem can be
solved with the help of a special organization of current control.
Conclusions. Many problems of modern pedagogy and
education are generated by the rapidity of social and cultural changes, but
there are also internal reasons for the intensification of crisis phenomena.
They are connected with the fact that paradigmatic ideas, formed under the
influence of the works of great predecessors, can no longer lead to the
required solutions. Since, due to objective reasons, the student is becoming an
ever weaker link in the system of educational relations, in the new paradigm of
education, the personal component of the educational process should be significantly
strengthened, and learning itself should become developmental. For this it is
necessary to switch to more complex models of educational process management.
This will allow resolving a number of systemic contradictions that have
accumulated in pedagogical theory. With the complication of management models, the
overall efficiency of education can increase many times over – both by
liberating the creative energy of students and teachers, and by improving the
quality of the educational process.
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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №12 - 2020