Discussions about the content of education, the form of teaching, the method, the diversity of opinions, the polarization of approaches seem to have accompanied the course of the entire history of mankind. The proof of this is the entire history of education. We read and are surprised at the disagreement, sometimes mutual rejection of intellectuals engaged in pedagogy. We admire and are surprised at the breadth of the worldview of some educator-intellectuals, the boldness of their observations, and the unexpectedness of their proposals. Books and volumes have been written, where educator classics presented their pedagogical principles, formulated their experience, and made important conclusions. Even today, their pedagogical principles are relevant, unfortunately, also not implemented. On the other hand, we can see the limitations of today’s pedagogical approaches, the ossification, lack of creativity and imagination in pedagogical approaches. Alongside the rapid technical development, we have decades of immobile, regressive education, cut off from reality and the imperatives of the day. We appeared in a closed area. The people who have gone through that scholastic education, who have mastered it completely, and who have acquired the thinking formed as a result of that education, take the leadership in the sphere of education. It seems that at least our young people should have been able to think more broadly, in an advanced and modern way, and it seems their approaches to education should have been different, but unfortunately not.
I was thinking about this when I was conducting the four-day seminars of pedagogical discussions at the Entrance Camp of the “Mkhitar Sebastasi” Educational Complex. Every year, more than a dozen teachers are admitted to the EduComplex schools, who, according to the order of admission, go through several stages, one of which is the Entrance Camp. Through educational talks, we try to present the author pedagogy being implemented in the educational complex.
It is a next in turn pedagogical discussion at the Entrance Camp. This is a group of capable, intelligent, young people who have received a higher education. We are discussing the media education implemented in the EduComplex. We are talking about the role of media in human life in general. Everyone is of the opinion that today it is impossible to imagine life without digital means and the Internet, and that IT tools have become an important component of human life, an inseparable part of his/her daily life. It is clear that everyone has multi-functional phones in their hands, which they use as educational tools: they open the material that is being discussed, take notes, and retrieve the necessary information from the Internet… Nevertheless, when it comes to students, a significant part of the participants talk about the need to keep students away from their phones, computers, and the Internet, explaining it with the inevitable addiction and dangers of using the Internet.
I am listening and wonder. It is clear that the basis of all this is the same approach as in today’s education. Life is going on in one direction, education in another, and they do not intersect at any point. But of course I do not blame these young people in any case. The education they have received has taken its toll.
I remember, I had just started teaching and was a teacher in the second grade. I was told that it was pointless to go to such grammar phenomena as subject or predicate in the second grade. I will not say what I thought about those who said it. I thought it would be a traitorous thing if the child didn’t know the grammar of the native tongue. But it didn’t take me long to make sure that I was doing Sisyphean work, that language work has so many interesting layers that it is a pity to waste time on unproductive, inaccessible, useless work. I saw and began to think, began to doubt… And my own pedagogical search began…
So, I am sure that these capable, young people, being in such a pedagogical environment, will quickly master our author pedagogy, becoming co-authors of that pedagogy.
Children’s addiction to ICT has been so much spoken of.
Recently, I was listening to an interview of Professor Lightman.
The participants of the TV show asked if he was not worried about the fact that children even sitting next to each other communicate with each other on the Internet, and that ICT tools play an important role in their lives, take up a lot of their time. So, what should adults do so that the connection with children is not cut off?
Lightman’s answer was interesting. He believes that reality cannot be disregarded. A new generation has come with its own goals and problems, times and era have changed, and it should be taken note of. If adults want to be next to their children, if they don’t want a gap to arise between them and the new generation, they should appear in the space where their children are. If children are in , virtually? What is the meaning of fighting against the fact, of not seeing the reality Lightman’s answer was interesting. He believes that reality cannot be disregarded. A new generation has come with its own goals and problems, times and era have changed, and it should be taken as a matter of course. If the adults want to be next to the children, if they don’t want a gap to arise between them and the new generation, they should appear in the space where their children are. If children prefer virtual space, their parents should also be there. What is the meaning of fighting against the fact, of not seeing the reality? And it is not good or bad, the professor said, it is a requirement of time, an existing fact.
On the other hand, it is not so true that our children are completely in the virtual space and do not leave it. Is there a parent who offers his child to play together, travel, do some activity together, and the child does not agree? Which child prefers the phone or the computer to communication with the parent? It is hard to imagine. So, a parent who is himself constantly “stuck” in the same phone, carried away by his daily worries, having no time for his child, accuses the child of managing his time in the media environment that satisfies his interests, and calls it addiction.
Our educational complex implements media education. But our learners are as active in the virtual space as they are in the physical environment. Songs and music, all kinds of sports, pottery and winemaking, plant and animal care, gardening and environment care, hiking and travel, concerts and theater require as much time and effort and are no less attractive and interesting to learners than the media.
Detachment from reality seems to be the key to the age-old immobility of our education. Soviet education had its own problems and goals, and the education formulated during that time completely solved those problems. The social system then needed a citizen who carried out orders, did not think independently, lacked initiative and individuality. And when the Soviet system collapsed, and life brought other imperatives, a large part of people having received that education, remained psychologically under those ruins.
Today’s demands are different: it’s a different era, different reality, different morals. But education continues to perform its former functions, and as a result, life goes one way, education goes another. As a result, the young people with this higher education of the Entrance Camp are in the media field themselves, with the awareness of the need to keep the learners away from the media field.
I am sure that in a short time paper and pen will go out of use, just like ink and inkpot once went out. Who remembers them now? But most of our young parents, not using paper and pen themselves, emphasize that their child must have handwriting, and preferably a beautiful handwriting.
The effective method of learning a foreign language has long been used independently by our three-four-year-olds, learning a foreign language through the environment created by the media. We are surprised by our children’s self-learned and used Russian and English languages. Our educational complex also has the experience of creating a natural environment for foreign language learning. The Internet provides this opportunity.
Our teachers compile effective media packages, providing a living foreign language environment. But in other state schools of general education, the teaching of a foreign language is still based on text-books with artificial texts and grammatical rules.
Editorial programs are already operating in Mediafield, which correct the punctuation and spelling mistakes made while composing a written text. But education continues to emphasize punctuation and spelling, leaving aside the importance of using mindful speech. The priority of mindfulness, innovation, initiative, entrepreneurship continues to be pushed to the background. The grammar of the Armenian language is a wonderful way for the learner to develop the skills of studying, researching, comparing, contrasting, drawing conclusions. It is not for memorizing the rules concerning the subject and predicate, verb tenses or the voice and mood. Why should the learner memorize these rules if he has no intention of being engaged in linguistics? But the above-mentioned skills will contribute to the formation of the learners’ mind, will develop skills that they will need for any activity. The same applies to other school subjects. We do not go beyond the memorization of narrow knowledge of school subjects. We make great efforts where failure is predetermined from the beginning.
When life changes so quickly, why is education so persistently immobilized? What is the reason for the barrenness of educational thought? Education could and should have become the driving force of the formation of a new society, the guarantee of the change in the way of thinking. But for now, it continues to be a brake on the development of society, it continues to reproduce the citizen of a non-existent social system.
And how long will this last? In any case, we have what we have for now.
Translator: Yura Ganjalyan