b) characteristics of pedagogical concepts: existentialism, pragmatism, neopositivism, behaviorism

Philosophical theories underlie numerous pedagogical concepts and educational systems. The main pedagogical concepts based on the corresponding philosophical directions are PRAGMATISM, NEOPOSITIVISM, EXISTENTIALISM, NEOTOMISM, BEHAVIORISM.

PRAGMATISM (from the Greek “pragma” – business) is a philosophical and pedagogical direction advocating the convergence of education with life, the achievement of the goals of education in practical activities. The founders of pragmatic philosophy Ch. Pierce (1839-1914) and W. James (1842-1910) claimed to create a new philosophy, standing outside of idealism and materialism. The ideas of the early pragmatists were developed by the American philosopher and educator J. Dewey (1859-1952). He brought them into a system he called instrumentalism. The main provisions of this system are as follows:

– the school should not be divorced from life, education – from education;

– in the educational process, it is necessary to rely on the students’ own activity, to develop and stimulate it in every possible way;

– upbringing and education are carried out not in theoretically abstract forms, but in the process of performing specific practical cases, where children not only get to know the world, but also learn to work together, overcome difficulties and disagreements. Such a school can educate people well adapted to life;

– the interests of the child should be at the heart of the educational process.

In the 1960s, the philosophy of pragmatism and the pedagogy based on it lost their popularity. The methodological guidelines of J. Dewey were supplemented by new principles, brought into line with new trends in understanding education as a process of socialization of the individual. Its supporters (A. Maslow, A. Combs, E. Kelly, K. Rogers, T. Brammeld, S. Hook and others) strengthened the individualistic orientation of education, defended complete arbitrariness in actions and personality assessments.

NEOPOSITIVISM is a philosophical and pedagogical direction that tries to comprehend the complex of phenomena caused by the scientific and technological revolution. Born in the depths of classical positivism on the ethical ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Hume, I. Kant, the new direction gradually gained strength and became widespread in the West. The current pedagogical neo-positivism is most often referred to as “new humanism”. The most prominent representatives of the new humanism and scientism are P. Hers, J. Wilson, R. S. Peters, A. Harris, M. Warnick, L. Kohlberg, and others.

The main tenets of neopositivism are as follows:

– education should be cleared of worldview ideas, because social life in the conditions of scientific and technological progress needs not ideology, but “rational thinking”;

– supporters of the new humanism advocate complete humanization in the education system, seeing it as the main means of establishing justice in all spheres of society as the highest principle of relations between people. A person himself programs his development, which has a reverse effect on his social experience, and therefore, in education, the main attention should be paid to the development of the human “I”.

EXISTENTIALISM (from Latin – existence) is an influential philosophical trend that recognizes the individual as the highest value of the world. According to the existentialists, each person is unique, unique, special. Each person is the bearer of his own morality. Man is everywhere and always alone, isolated, doomed to exist in a hostile environment. Society causes enormous damage to the moral independence of the individual, since social institutions are aimed at unifying the individual, stereotyping her behavior. The theory of upbringing, according to existentialists, does not know objective laws, they do not exist. In addition, she claims to be universal. The pedagogy of existentialism is distinguished by its diversity of directions. They are united by a common distrust of pedagogical theory, of the goals and possibilities of education. Education does not help in anything: a person is what he makes of himself.

The most important representatives of modern existentialist pedagogy J. Kneller, K. Gould, E. Breizakh (USA), W. Barrett (Great Britain), M. Marcel (France), O. F. Bolnov (Germany), T. Morita (Japan), A. Fallico (Italy) considers the subconscious to be the center of educational influence. Mood, feelings, impulses, intuition of a person is the main thing, and consciousness, intellect, logic are of secondary importance.

It is necessary to bring the personality to self-expression, natural individuality, to a sense of freedom.

NEOTHOMISM is a religious philosophical doctrine that got its name from the Catholic theologian Thomas (Thomas) Aquinas (1225-1274). Neo-Thomists recognize the existence of an objective reality, but make this reality dependent on the will of God. The world is the embodiment of “Divine Reason”, and theology is the highest level of knowledge. The essence of the world, according to neo-Thomists, is incomprehensible to science. It can be known only by “supermind” approaching God. The neo-Thomist pedagogy stands for the education of universal human virtues: kindness, humanism, honesty, love for one’s neighbor, the ability to sacrifice, etc. Only these qualities, neo-Thomists believe, can still save a civilization that is rapidly moving towards self-destruction.

BEHAVIORISM (from Latin – behavior) is a psychological and pedagogical concept of technocratic education, which is understood as education based on the latest achievements of human science, the use of modern methods of studying his interests, needs, abilities, factors that determine behavior. Classical behaviorism, at the origins of which was the prominent American philosopher and psychologist J. Watson, enriched science with the position on the dependence of behavior (reaction) on the stimulus (stimulus), presenting this relationship in the form of the B-GG formula. Non-behaviorists (B. F. Skinner, K. Hull, E. Tolman, S. Pressy, and others) supplemented it with the provision on reinforcement, as a result of which the chain of formation of a given behavior took on the form of “stimulus-reaction-reinforcement”.

The main idea of neobehaviorism in relation to education is that human behavior is a controlled process. It is conditioned by the applied stimuli and requires positive reinforcement. In order to cause a certain behavior, that is, to achieve a given effect of education, it is necessary to select effective incentives and apply them correctly.

C) and d) Pedocentric didactic concept: D. Dewey’s system, K. Kershteiner’s labor school, W. Lai’s pedagogy of action, teaching theories of the reform period in pedagogy of the early 20th century

The learning process is based on psychological and pedagogical concepts, which are often also called didactic systems. The didactic system is a set of elements that form a single integral structure and serve to achieve the goals of education. The description of the system is reduced to a description of the goals, content of education, didactic processes, methods, means, forms of education and its principles. Summarizing the richness of the existing didactic concepts, three should be singled out: traditional, pedocentric and modern system of didactics. Each consists of a number of directions, pedagogical theories. The division of concepts into three groups is made on the basis of how the learning process is understood – the object and subject of didactics. In the traditional system of education, teaching, the activity of the teacher, plays a dominant role. It is made up of the didactic concepts of such teachers as J. Komensky, I. Pestalozzi, and especially J. Herbart and the didactics of the German classical gymnasium. In the pedocentric concept, the main role in learning is given to learning – the activity of the child. This approach is based on the system of D. Dewey, the labor school of G. Kershensteiner, V. Lai – the theory of the reform period in pedagogy at the beginning of the 20th century. The modern didactic system proceeds from the fact that both sides – teaching and learning – constitute the activity of learning, and their didactic relationship is the subject of didactics. The modern concept of learning is created by such areas as programmed, problem-based learning, developmental learning (P. Galperin, L. Zankov, V. Davydov), humanistic psychology (K. Rogers), cognitive psychology (J. Bruner), pedagogical technology, pedagogical views groups of teachers-innovators of the 80s. in Russia. Let us briefly dwell on the content characteristics of these concepts. The TRADITIONAL DIDACTIC SYSTEM is associated primarily with the name of the German scientist I.F. Herbart, who substantiated the system of education still used in Europe today. The purpose of education, according to Herbart, is the formation of intellectual skills, ideas, concepts, theoretical knowledge. At the same time, Herbart introduced the principle of educative education: the organization of education and the whole order in an educational institution should form a morally strong personality. Education should be of an educative nature, link knowledge with the development of feelings, will, with what today is called the motivational-required sphere of the individual. To achieve these goals, according to Herbart, the learning process must be built on four formal steps that determine its structure. Level of clarity: highlighting the material and its in-depth consideration. Association stage: the connection of new material with past knowledge. Stage of the system: detection of conclusions, formulation of concepts, laws. Stage of the method: understanding theories, applying them to new phenomena, situations. In modern terms, the structure of learning is presentation, understanding, generalization, application. They are recommended as mandatory, regardless of the level and subject of study. The logic of the learning process, therefore, consists in moving from the presentation of the material through explanation to understanding and generalization. It is not difficult to introduce into this the scheme of most of the lessons to this day. There is no doubt that this theory streamlined, organized the learning process, prescribed the teacher’s rational activity in teaching. Herbart’s double tactic is characterized by such words as management, teacher’s guidance, regulations, rules, prescriptions. Herbart sought to organize and systematize the activities of the teacher, which was important for didactics. This was all the more important because he based the stages of education on psychological analysis and the doctrine of the mental processes of the formation of knowledge, as well as on philosophical and ethical ideas about the individual. However, Herbart’s ethics and psychology were idealistic and metaphysical. This weakened his didactic system, made it excessively rational and inflexible. By the beginning of the 20th century, this system was sharply criticized for verbalism, bookishness, intellectualism, isolation from the needs and interests of the child and from life. Criticism for the fact that it aims to transfer ready-made knowledge without involving the child in mental activity, does not contribute to the development of thinking, because it is authoritarian, suppresses the independence of the student. Therefore, at the beginning of the 20th century, new approaches were born. Among them stands out first of all PEDOCENT-RISTSKAYA DIDACTICS. It is also called progressive, reformist, learning by doing. Its appearance is associated with the name of the American teacher D. Dewey, whose work had a huge impact on the Western school, especially the American one. It bears the name “pedo-centric” because D. Dewey proposed to build the learning process based on the needs, interests and abilities of the child. The purpose of education should be the development of general and mental abilities, various skills of children. Pedocentrism is a direction in pedagogy that develops the problems of education and upbringing, based solely on the characteristics of the child. Pedocentric, reformist didactics was the reaction of 20th century educators to the Herbartian model of teaching. Progressive educators called it the “school of book learning” cut off from the world of the child, and opposed it to the “school of work, life.” One of the Western scholars figuratively expressed the orientation of the new didactics to the child: the verb “teach” has two meanings – to teach whom, to teach what. To “teach John Latin” you need to know both John and Latin, and until recently it was believed that only Latin was needed to learn. According to representatives of the new pedagogy, the main problem of didactics was the activation of the student in the learning process. It was necessary to make sure that learning was independent, natural, spontaneous. To do this, training should be built not as a presentation, memorization and reproduction of ready-made knowledge, but as a discovery. Obtaining knowledge by students in the course of their spontaneous activity. Hence the name “learning by doing”. The structure of the learning process looks like this: a feeling of difficulty in the process of activity, the formulation of the problem and the essence of the difficulty, the promotion and testing of hypotheses to solve the problem, conclusions and new activities in accordance with the knowledge gained. The stages of the learning process reproduce exploratory thinking, scientific research. This approach entailed changes in the content, methods and organizational forms of education. One of the reformers V. Lai singled out three stages in the learning process: perception, processing, expression. He attached particular importance to “expression”, meaning by this the various activities of children based on knowledge: compositions, drawings, theater, practical work, calling it “pedagogy of action.” Undoubtedly, this approach activates cognitive activity and contributes to the development of thinking, the ability to solve problems, allows the comprehensive development of students, and makes the learning process interesting. However, the absolutization of such didactics, its extension to all subjects and levels raises an objection: overestimating the spontaneous activity of children and following their interests in teaching leads to a loss of systematicity, to a random selection of material, and does not provide a comprehensive study of the material. Such training is not economical. It requires a lot of time. In addition, with this approach, the teacher is relegated to the background, he turns into a consultant, which leads to a decrease in the level of education. Thus, didactics faces a dilemma: either to give a systematic, general fundamental education at a high academic level by the method of directive teaching – and lose individuality, psychological originality and personality development, or to give a free initiative to the child in learning, go only from his needs, using learning through doing, – and lose the systematic knowledge of students, reduce the level of education in the school, which is the case today in the United States. The presence of problems in the traditional and pedocentric concepts forces us to look for ways to solve them. The second half of the 20th century is characterized by the development of didactic thought both in our country and abroad. The contours of the modern didactic system are gradually emerging. And although as such there is no single didactic system in science yet, there are a number of theories that have something in common. The learning objectives in most approaches include not only the formation of knowledge, but also the overall development of students, intellectual, labor, artistic skills. The content of education is built mainly as a subject, although there are integrative courses in both junior and senior grades. The learning process must adequately meet the goals and content of education and therefore is understood as two-sided and controlled by the teacher. The teacher directs the educational and cognitive activity of students, organizes and leads it, at the same time stimulating their independent work, avoiding the extremes of traditional, explanatory and reformist research didactics and using their advantages. In more detail, the learning process and other issues of didactics of the modern Russian school, as well as some Western theories, are given below. Let us conclude this chapter with a brief description of the main directions of the transformation of school education in the present conditions and dwell on the search for pedagogy in the development of a modern didactic system that meets the objective demands of society and education.


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