Further steps along the path opened by L.S. Vygotsky - Age Psychology

6.3. Further steps along the path opened by L.S. Vygotsky

The first step was made in the late 30's. XX century. Psychologists of the Kharkov school А.N. Leontiev, A.B. Zaporozhets, P.I. Zinchenko, P.Ya. Galperin, L.I. Bozhovich et al. Found that the basis for the development of generalizations is not language-type communication, but the immediate practical activity of the child.

Research A.B. Zaporozhets showed that in deaf children generalizations are formed as a result of practical activities. The same thing was shown by VI. Lenin, less so in relation to hearing children. Research А.N. Leontief, devoted to the study of the light sensitivity of the hand and the role of search activity in this process, the analysis of P.Ya. Halperin's distinctions between animal aids and human tools have allowed him to come from different sides to the notion that that is in fact the driving force behind mental development. These studies allowed us to formulate a thesis on the importance of activity in the development of the human psyche.

There is a significant difference between the concept of training and the term activity & quot ;. In the term training prefix about- It is the meaning of external coercion, as it were, of the child himself. The concept of activity stresses the connection of the subject himself with the objects of his surrounding reality. Impossible direct transplant knowledge directly into the subject's head, bypassing his own activity. As D.B. Elkonin, the introduction of the concept of "activity" overturns the whole problem of development, turning to the subject. According to him, the process of forming functional systems is a process that the subject himself produces. These studies opened the way for a new explanation of the determination of mental development and allowed to remove from Vygotsky's hypothesis about the systemic and semantic structure of consciousness of accusations of idealism. There was found the only real way out of the factorial approach in explaining the driving forces of a child's mental development.

This does not mean that the problem has been solved, but a plane has been found where it is possible to search for this solution, stressed D.B. Elkonin, - the experimental plane. No impact of the adult (environment) on the processes of mental development can be realized without the actual activity of the subject himself. And on how this activity will be built and implemented, the process of development itself depends.

Thus, the research group of psychologists, led by A.N. Leontyev discovered the role of the child's activity in his mental development. And it was a way out of the impasse of the problem of two factors. The process of development is self-movement of the subject due to his activity with objects, and the facts of heredity and environment are only conditions that determine not the essence of the development process, but only various variations within the limits of the norm on which the individual identity of the individual depends.

The next step is related to the answer to the question of whether this activity remains the same during child development or not. It was made A .N. Leontyev, who deepened the development of Vygotsky's idea of ​​the leading type of activity.

Thanks to the work of Leontief, the leading activity began to be considered as a criterion for the periodization of mental development, an indicator of the psychological age of the child. The leading activity is characterized by the fact that other types of activity arise and differentiate in it, the basic mental processes are reconstructed, and the psychological characteristics of the personality change at a given stage of development. It was found that the content and form of the leading activity depends on the specific historical circumstances in which the child develops.

In modern socio-historical conditions, when in many countries children are covered by a single system of public education, the following activities are leading in the development of the child:

o the emotional-direct communication of the infant with adults;

o the tool-object activity of a child of an early age;

o story-role game preschooler;

o learning activity in junior school age;

o personal communication of adolescents;

o vocational training activities in early adolescence. The change of the leading types of activity is prepared for a long time and is associated with the emergence of new motives that are formed within the leading activities that precede this stage of development and that induce the child to change the position he occupies in the system of relations with other people. The development of the problem of leading activity in child development is the fundamental contribution of Soviet scientists to child psychology.

In numerous studies, A.B. Zaporozhets, A.N. Leontief, D.B. Elkonin and their employees showed the dependence of mental processes on the nature and structure of external, objective activity. Monographs devoted to the analysis of the main types of leading activity in ontogeny (in particular, the books of LA Venger, VV Davydov, MI Lisina, DB El'konin) became the property of world science.

The study of the processes of formation and change of motives, formation and loss of personal meaning, was initiated under the guidance of A.N. Leontief and continued in the studies of L.I. Bozovic, and later DA. Leontief.

The question of the objective, operational content of the activity was developed in the studies of P.Ya. Galperin, A.V. Zaporozhets and their employees. In these studies, the role of the organization of orienting activities for the formation of physical, perceptual and mental actions was emphasized, the peculiarities of the transition of external activity to internal activity were studied, and the regularities of the process of internalization were described. Experimentally, these problems were developed by LA. Wenger, H.H. Poddyakovym, N.F. Talyzina, N.G. Salmina et al.

Analysis of the structure and formation of the objective action, the allocation in it of the orienting and executive parts, initiated the research of the functional development of the child's psyche, which were only outlined in the works of L.S. Vygotsky. The question of the correlation between the functional and age development of mental processes became topical.

Developing these ideas, D.B. Elkonin made an exceptional in its psychological depth and sagacity assumption. He posed the question: "What is the point of the child's objective actions? What do they serve? According to his hypothesis, in the process of child development, development of the motivational aspect of activity must first take place (otherwise, objective actions have no meaning), and then operational-technical. In development, you can observe the alternation of two types of activity: in one type of activity, motives and needs are mainly formed, in the other - intellectual opportunities that ensure their implementation. This hypothesis allows us to overcome the intellectualism of the doctrine inherent in Vygotsky's hypothesis about the systemic and semantic structure of consciousness.

In the concept of D.B. Elkonin also overcomes one of the serious shortcomings of foreign psychology, where when studying the child's mental development, the problem of splitting the two worlds-the world of objects and the world of people-is constantly arising. D.B. Elkonin showed that this splitting is false, artificial. In fact, human action is two-fold: it contains the actual human sense and the operational side. Strictly speaking, the world of physical objects does not exist in the human world, the world of public objects, which satisfy socially formed needs in a socially designed way, reigns unchallenged. Even objects of nature are for man as included in a certain social life, objects of labor, humanized, social nature. Man is the bearer of these social ways of using objects. Hence the ability of a person - this is the level of ownership of social methods of use, the use of public objects. Thus, in human action one always needs to see two aspects: on the one hand, it is society-oriented, on the other hand, it is a mode of execution. This microstructure of human action according to the hypothesis of D.B. Elkonin is also reflected in the macrostructure of periods of mental development.

D.B. Elkonin offers a different look at the relationship between the child and society. It is much more correct, he says, to talk about the system "child in society", and not "child and society", so as not to oppose it to the society, as inevitably occurs from the position of the natural-scientific paradigm, for example, the theory of E. Erikson. If we consider the formation of the child's personality in the system "child in society", then the character of the relationship changes radically, and the very content of the systems "child-thing" and "the child is a separate adult", singled out in Western psychology as two spheres of children's being. D.B. Elkonin shows that the system "child is a thing", in fact, there is a system "child - a public thing", since the socially worked out actions with it, on the foreground for the child appear in the subject, and not the physical and spatial properties of the object; The latter serve only as guidelines for action with it. With the assimilation of socially developed ways of dealing with objects, the child is formed as a member of society.

Child & Adult turns, according to D.B. El-horse, in the system child - public adult & quot ;. This is because, for a child, an adult is the bearer of certain types of social activity. The adult carries out certain tasks in the activity, at the same time enters into various relations with other people and himself obeys certain norms. These tasks, motives and norms of relations that exist in the activities of adults, children learn through the reproduction or modeling of their own activities (for example, in the role-playing game for preschoolers), of course, with the help of adults. In the process of assimilating these norms, the child faces the need to master increasingly complex, new objective actions.

D.B. Elkonin showed that the child's activities in the systems child is a public object and child - public adult represents a single process in which the personality of the child is formed. It's another matter, he wrote, that this single process of the child's life in the society in the course of historical development splits, splits into two sides. "

D.B. Elkonin discovered the law of alternation, the periodicity of different types of activity: Behind one type of activity, orientation in the system of relations, follows another type of activity in which the orientation in the methods of using objects occurs. Each time there are contradictions between these two types of orientation. They are the cause of development. Each era of child development is built on one principle: the epoch is opened by an orientation in the sphere of human relations, which leads to the formation of new motives and needs for the child; then follows the development of intelligence. Action can not continue to develop if it is not inserted into a new system of the child's relationship with society. While the intellect has not risen to a certain level, there can be no new motives.

The law of alternation, periodicity in children's development allows us to re-imagine the periods (epochs), stages and phases of the ontogeny of the child's psyche (Table 7).

Table 7. Epochs and stages of child development according to D.B. Elkonin

Epochs and stages of child development according to DB Elkonin

It should be specially emphasized that at each stage of development there are always two lines: one - explicit, another - latent. The line, which at one stage of development was latent, at the other stage of development becomes apparent. Thus, for a child of infantile age, the direct line of development is the developmental line of the motivational and need sphere ("I want"), and the line of development of operational and technical capabilities ("I can") remains latent, latent. However, at the next age, it becomes the leading, subordinating to itself the development of the motivational-need sphere.

Alternating development lines want and can during the periods of child development is shown in Fig. 1 1.

Fig. 11

In this scheme, the line want symbolizes the level of development of affect, and the line can - level of intelligence development. In the concept of D.B. Elkonin, these two lines of development are first presented "not as a thing, but as a process", in dynamics their inner connection and dependence that constitutes the unity of affect and intellect are shown. Hypothesis of D.B. Elkonin on the relationship of affect and intelligence in the ontogeny of the child's psyche allows us to distinguish the following development options: "I want and I can"; want, but can not & quot ;; I do not want, but I can & quot ;; I do not want and I can not. " These lines of development are organically included by D.B. Elkonin in the dynamics of stable and critical ages, formed during the socio-and ontogeny of the child's psyche.

Developing the ideas of Vygotsky, D.B. Elkonin suggested considering each stable psychological age on the basis of the following criteria:

o social situation of development. This is the system of relations in which a child enters society, how he orients himself in the system of social relations, into which areas of social life he enters;

o the primary, or leading, type of activity of the child during this period. Here it is necessary to consider not only the type of activity, but also the structure of activity at an appropriate age and analyze why this type of activity is leading;

o the main psychological neoplasms, changes in the development process. It is important to show how new achievements in development come into conflict with the old social situation and lead to its "explosion" - the crisis.

Age development crises are turning points on the child development curve that separate one age from another. You can say after LS. Vygotsky: "If the crises were not discovered empirically, they would have to be invented theoretically." According to D.B. Elkonin, to reveal the psychological essence of the crisis - it means to understand the internal dynamics of development in this period. Hypothesis of D.B. Elkonin, which includes the law of periodicity in child development, explains the content of development crises in a new way. So, in 3 years and 12-13 years, relationship crises, followed by an orientation in human relations. In 1 year, 7 years arise worldview crises, which open the orientation in the world of things.

Hypothesis of D.B. Elkonina creatively develops the teachings of LS. Vygotsky. Overcoming the intellectualism of many of his interpretations, she explains the emergence and development in the child of the motivational and needful sphere of the individual. Earlier the theory of A.N. Leontyeva showed the activity mechanism of generalization formation, removing some of Vygotsky's ideas about the role of speech communication in the development of generalizations expressed by him in his historical time.

The development of children's psychology LS. Vygotsky and his school is inextricably linked with the introduction of research strategies for the formation of mental processes. As emphasized by Vygotsky, the experiment in psychology is a model for realizing the theoretical concept. To study how the child, in the course of development, develops tools and means of culture, an experimental genetic method has been developed that makes it possible to disclose the origin of mental processes. The principle of the experimental genetic method is that children are taken who have no corresponding mental process, and then, proceeding from a certain hypothesis, in the laboratory conditions this process is formed. This method simulates the process that takes place in life. This strategy makes it possible to understand what is hidden behind the transitions from one level of development to another, since it is possible to construct this transition experimentally.

The experimental genetic method, subsequently transformed by P.Ya. Galperin and known as a method of systematic step-by-step formation of mental actions and concepts, made it possible to obtain new facts concerning the mental development of the child, which at the experimental level confirmed Vygotsky's hypothesis about the systemic and semantic structure of consciousness. In the study GV. Burmenskaya (1978) showed that the teaching of preschool children (by the method of P.Ya. Galperin) to the understanding of the principle of conservation of quantity in Piaget's problems is not confined to the development of the child's thinking. Significant changes occur in the development of memory, imagination, speech and even in the perception of illusions.

The study of the historical development of child psychology as an independent branch of psychology allows us to speak of the existence of two scientific approaches - two paradigms of the study of child development in the 20th century. Both approaches have a right to exist, both are fruitful in terms of goals and outcomes, but they do not overlap and can not be combined, because they are based on mutually exclusive scientific guidelines. Vygotsky wrote: "If the basis of any scientific concept is a fact, it does not mean that in any scientific concept the fact is represented in the same way."

The systematization of the achievements of United States children's psychology on the basis of the cultural and historical paradigm, which is deeper and more complex theoretically, is presented in the subsequent chapters of the textbook. Following the instructions of LS. Vygotsky, before starting construction, it was necessary to lay the foundation, which was done by him and his scientific school - the school of cultural and historical psychology.

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