The content of education and cognitive development of the personality
The content of education as a factor of cognitive development
The content of education is traditionally regarded as one of the most important factors of cognitive development of students. From the large number of concepts of the content of education developed by scientists from different countries of the world over the centuries-old history of the development of theory and educational practice, the two most interesting, from the point of view of the development of cognitive functions, are the conditional names: "formal education" and material education & quot ;.
None of these theoretical approaches exist and never existed in its pure form. They are allocated only as conditionally designated poles. It is noteworthy that practically everything that has ever been developed, including current concepts, can be regarded as gravitating either to one or to another pole. The degree of this gravitation is different and is expressed in the dominance of some educational landmarks over others.
These polar approaches were developed at the theoretical level, not so much due to the efforts of supporters, as to the efforts of opponents. Following the old rule of unscrupulous critics, according to which the simplest way to discredit an idea is to bring it to the point of absurdity, specialists who looked differently at the content of education accused each other not of underestimating the amount of information or developing functions of the content of educational activity, but in the total denial of some functions and absolutization of others.
Despite the fact that the dispute itself is as old as the world, the terms "formal education" and material education For the first time, they were used only in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The German scholar E. Schmidt in his book "Empirical Psychology", published in 1791, first used the term "formal training" (Jormale eildung ). The authorship of the term material education (otherwise "Encyclopaedicism") is attributed to his determined adversary German scientist F. V. Doerpfeld, who published in 1879 the book "Didactic materialism".
Supporters of the theory of "formal education" considered teaching, primarily as a means of developing the abilities and cognitive needs of students. They saw the main goal of the school's activity in the identification, deepening and expansion of these abilities and needs. Therefore, in their opinion, the main criterion for selecting the subjects themselves and their study assignments is the formative value of these subjects and tasks. On the contrary, the specialists assigned to the supporters of "material education" attributed to the absolutization of the importance of transferring to students the largest possible amount of knowledge from various fields of science. This knowledge, according to the authors of such models of the content of education, should be the foundation for further education and professional activity.
Actually, everything was somewhat different. The controversy over what to emphasize in education - on teaching a child the sum of specially selected knowledge or the development of his cognitive abilities and needs - is one of the most ancient pedagogical disputes. Moreover, as the history shows, it is eternal and on every new round of the development of civilization and pedagogical thought manifests itself again, filling with new content.
As for the need to emphasize the education of children on the development of their abilities and needs to acquire knowledge, rather than on knowledge itself, the philosophers of the first European civilizations have quite definitely expressed themselves. Thus, for example, Heraclitus is credited with the assertion that "... the knowledge of the mind does not teach". Similar ideas were repeatedly developed in the works of IG Pestalozzi, A. Disterweg and many other well-known scientists. Immanuel Kant has a winged phrase: "We need to teach not to thoughts, but to thinking." A lot of similar statements sounded from the mouths of various thinkers in the more recent times.
Activation of the marked confrontation, which led to a clear, conceptual design of the polar points of view we are considering, occurred at the end of the XVIII - beginning of the XIX century. It was connected with the objectively arising crisis of the content, traditional for that time, "classical" education and the growing need to strengthen the line on the so-called "real" education. The rapid development of industry that came at this time required the strengthening of the natural scientific component of the content of education, the replacement of the "classical" education at real & quot ;. Supporters real education, which was attributed to the concept of "material education" (encyclopedic), argued that children should be armed with natural scientific knowledge, and as a criterion for their selection should be the degree of utilitarian value of this knowledge for life, for practical activities in the future. While the "classical", traditional for that time, education focused primarily on the study of ancient languages and the humanities.
Defending, the supporters of the "classic" education argued that, for example, the study of ancient languages devoid of utilitarian value, but necessary for the development of thinking. This, of course, clearly shows the element of wickedness. But we must admit that it was this dispute that once again sharply sharpened the ancient problem of what to teach a child - knowledge or the ability to acquire this knowledge independently. To the supporters of the "material education", and therefore, the "encyclopaedic" historians include: T. Gekeli, J. A. Komensky, J. Milton, I. B. Basedov, G. Spencer and many other well-known scientists.
Assimilation of a large amount of knowledge, according to the adherents of "material education", almost automatically leads to the development of cognitive abilities. Therefore, opponents were inclined to accuse them of exaggerating the importance of teaching a large amount of knowledge and underestimating the importance of the development of thinking and cognitive needs. Relapses of this approach are still encountered. It is enough to look at the content of modern United States education fairly enough to make sure that under soothing talk about the dialectical unity of both points of view, our education is really built on the basis of the concept of "encyclopedicism."
In practice, this is expressed in a relatively rigidly structured curriculum, clearly divided into separate subjects, each having its own "rank", defined all for the same "degree of utilitarian value". With this approach to the construction of the content of education, attention to general conceptual ideas may not be specially emphasized, and even, on the contrary, on the theory level, be present in a veiled form. Their relative autonomy in this case is not an obstacle to the true creators of the content of education - methodologists, subject matter.
The latter, firmly believing that not only the level of awareness of children, but also the level of their intellectual and creative development is directly proportional to the amount of material learned by their subject, are in a state of continuous struggle for increasing both the volume of the clock on its subject, so and saturation of existing programs with more information. Accompanying this process of talking about student overload unnecessary information of its purpose, as a rule, do not reach.
Methodist-subject, like the teacher in this system, do not need and the opportunity to look at the education of the child holistically. The tasks of developing the intellect and the creativity of cognitive needs for them exist only formally, in reality no one from them never demands it. The quality of the teacher's work in this system is traditionally judged by the amount of material learned by his students, according to the subject taught by him. It is assumed that the implementation of the two remaining functions of the learning process (developmental and educational) occurs almost automatically.
It's easy to see that this approach does not meet modern requirements. The orientation toward increasing the amount of knowledge seems pointless. The volume of information can be increased many times, but after the question of its increase, the following question arises: "Why is it necessary?" The answer to it in psychology and the practice of education is found at a general theoretical level. The modern model of the content of education should be built in accordance with the guidelines for "formal education".
Formal Education is based on the diametrically opposite "encyclopaedic" idea, its essence can be summarized as follows: training is, first of all, a means of developing the thinking and cognitive needs of children. In the selection of educational material (educational subjects and the development of their content), this approach takes into account, in the first place, its developmental opportunities. Hence the increased interest of the first supporters of the "formal education" to mathematics, languages, and, subsequently, to interdisciplinary, integrated courses, which, more than others, allow teachers to concentrate their attention not so much on "teaching" as on "developing" functions of the learning process.
One of the basic psychological ideas underlying this approach is the idea of the universality of cognitive abilities. Formed on a relatively small content base, they can easily be transferred to other spheres (J. Bruner et al.). So, for example, the general intellectual skills and skills obtained in math classes, or the creative abilities developed in visual activity or playing music, can be transformed into other areas of activity. Despite its prevalence and external plausibility, this idea was challenged by many well-known specialists. For example, proving the opposite, J. Piaget proposed a special term "contextual thinking".
An important aspect of this problem is considered in the writings of J. Piaget and the psychologists of his school. The idea of the existence of a close connection between the content and form of intellectual activity or, in other words, between certain facts and the intellectual operations conditioned by them, expressed by Piaget, was partially proved experimentally. Due to what the usage includes concepts: mathematical thinking & quot ;, biological thinking etc. This idea is opposed to the more popular and also repeatedly confirmed experimentally the idea of the universality of cognitive abilities, the possibility of transfer.
Consideration of the psychological bases for the development of the content of education in the manner described above makes the problem more acute, but at the same time in a sense simplifies it and is therefore relatively vulnerable. But the emphasis on this point is very important in modern conditions when developing new educational models.It is noteworthy that in the special literature on pedagogical psychology and the theory of teaching of the 20th century, with reference to KD Ushinsky (in some sources on SL Rubinshtein), the idea was stressed that the dispute itself is far-fetched. So, according to the testimony of a number of specialists, KD Ushinsky insisted on the unity of the processes of the development of thinking (mind) and the acquisition of knowledge, and therefore this dispute was considered unlawful. However, in itself the adoption and proclamation of this indisputable thought is not yet a guarantee of its realization in practice. Next it is usually asserted that in the modern models of the content of education, the one-sidedness of each of these approaches has been overcome, and the current concepts of the content of education are equally aimed at solving both problems. The idea that the first supporters of both the "material" and "formal education" This dialectical interrelation was not realized, it is beyond doubt. However, the statement about the inclusion of this connection by modern specialists, and the constant references to it, too, unfortunately - is an exaggeration. Is it possible to say that this problem has been adequately solved in the modern psychology of teaching, pedagogical theory and United States educational practice?
The practitioner is put in such conditions that, regardless of his subjective desires, he is forced to focus on the transfer of the maximum amount of information (knowledge) to the student. He actually has to work on the basis of the concept of "encyclopedicism". And overcoming the above-mentioned one-sidedness, he must see in the statement repeated by the majority of domestic didacts as a prayer, that "education leads to development" (LS Vygodsky). At the same time, among practitioners, an extremely simplified conception of the content of the concept of "training", very different from that of LS Vygodsky, was established.
Ultimately, all this leads to the fact that the main criterion for assessing the activities of the teacher and the school is training, but not the level of development of thinking and not even the "learner". Well children know mathematics - then they have a good teacher of mathematics, they know biology well - a good teacher of biology. The objection in itself is not this, but the fact that with this approach, none of these, of course, good teachers, is not responsible for the development of intelligence, creativity and other cognitive abilities of the child. Theoretically, this task is assigned to a teacher, but the domestic educational practice is modeled so that these tasks remain nothing more than good wishes.
The modern world increasingly insists on the educational practice of a serious reorientation of the concept of the content of education. The shift in emphasis towards ideas that are close to "formal education" in modeling curricula is one of the most important requirements for the content of modern education.
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