Anatoly Kazarnovsky

Kastal,Petah-Tiqwa

On the Way to the Conception of New Education (Notes)

1. The notes centre on the conception of new education. Their object is to once again direct social attention to the situation emerged in our education which requires radical changes and set prospects for social covering and actions to establish, set and solve problems of education.

2. Recent years it is rumoured about the reform of education. And though the tide of talks and worries rolls on as a rule only on the eve of regular elections, still the host of interesting publications penetrated with genuine concern as to the destiny of the reform and with grief for it is increasing in succession. Besides alternative educational programs gain universal currency especially amidst the repatriates. This means that we are challenged and try to respond to this challenge as far as we can. The said challenge can emerge either from Culture or from History. According to what we consider the source of the challenge we get different types of talking over the reform and different reforms respectively (Table 1).

What should be preferable: Culture or History is by all means the matter of self-determination within a sociocultural situation. Those who share the first point of view can manage without any conception. Others need it as the basis to necessitate the change to a new education and indicator of the transition direction.

3. Up till now the situation understanding and actions following from it are built up within the frame of Culture. The author considers that it is this approach which brought our education to a deadlock, that namely that is the cause of dissatisfaction with the results of education of practically all “characters” dealing with education (though each one sees it in one’s own light), the cause of non-competitiveness of Israeli education at the world market, the cause of growing emigration and sharpening of internal conflicts. No traditional measures whatever such as raising the level of working teachers’ skill, spreading “advanced experience”, optimization of sets of school subjects, perfecting pedagogical methods and didactic, etc. can do any revolutionary changes. That is why it would be quite reasonable to shift the discussion to the frame of History and make an attempt to create the conception of new education.

  1. It is a common knowledge that tomorrow’s destiny of the people is much dependent upon the structure of education today. Especially nowadays when the globalization of economy, information streams, cultural and religious impacts and capital in all its hypostases have become irrefutable facts. Globalization makes sharper the eternal problem of grasping the limits of a possible and reasonable action, in other words, the limits of the boundary which, to avoid a general breakdown, is not permissible to go beyond. At present this problem is nothing but a demand to keep

Table 1

 

Challenge of Culture

Challenge of History

Seeing the situation

Education loses norms and standards presented by the Culture

Education stops being in conformity with the social processes and world tendencies. It does not train people for solution practically important vital problems

Line of analyzing the situation

Clearing up our logging behind

Encompassing by thought and structuring the social system and the dynamics. Social processes and world tendencies being in the center of the analysis but not cultural values and patterns

Culture status

That which justifies all the actions and which can be thought of as the basis in coming to decisions

That which resists changes and should be overcome in the new system of education by means of taking down

Corresponding structure of thinking

Regular thinking

Thinking by “discontinuity”, engineering thinking

Problems

None

Meanings and ways of reforming are determined not by the given social situation (as orientated to culture) but by the desired future situation. There is nothing in between the situations, no structures of thinking and actions but a gap. That is why immediate transition from the first to the second is not possible. This is the problem to solve.

Possible solutions and actions

Intensifying current activities, administration reorganization and reshuffling, political fights for the budget.

Elaboration and realization of a new contents of education through conducting analytical, research, experimental and project activities which structures could mend the gap.

safe traditional ways of life alongside with raising the rate of progress. Hence the rise of demands not so much for specialists in one or another specific field of knowledge, not for “learned people” (since one can learn only that which was or which is) as for “understanding people”, i.e. people having capacity to suggest new ideas, cultural forms of thought and action which are necessary for co-existence and mutual understanding in this dynamic and vague world.

Nowadays making man ready for life can by no means be reduced to passing him some knowledge and values. One can know only that which is or was and values are nothing but already accumulated experience of the humanity.

Yet modern situation is exemplified by the fact that the pace of historical changes is much ahead of culture ability to quickly assimilate the changes and ensure their transmission. Nevertheless one has to live and to survive now. And it is but naturally that the demands for educational systems should change. Education cannot as yet rest completely on culture and transmit its patterns as it took place in the past. Education understanding its place in history, in no account, abolishes culture, activity and reproduction, but should go out of their frame and become adequate to the demands for its “product”.

5. A step forward in this direction may consist in designing and functional task of the “product” of education, i.e. the pattern of thinking of its graduates. With this aim in mind, let us focus on basic, from the point of view of education, factors, i.e. on relations among which we exist and have our being in the modern world: sociocultural situation, personal history of man, training and education. The assumption that these focuses are in complex functional relationship with each other seems logically correct. That is why it is possible to set a question: which are the functions of one or another focus in its relation to other three focuses? Let us write this down in Table 2.

Table 2

   

Sociocultural situation

1

Personal history of man

2

Training

3

Education

4

A

Sociocultural situation

Showing up of a tendencies

Problems

Formation of labour market

?

B

Personal history

Social changes

Existential self-determination

Choice of kind of activity

Material and conditions

C

Training

Maintaining of reproductive activity

Maintaining vital activity

Functioning experience

Destruction

D

Education

Understanding

Development

Maintaining discipline

Reflexion

The corresponding cells of the table contain functions of focuses A,...,D in 1,..,4. While the main diagonal contains that which is comprehended as reflexive relationships. The relationships are asymmetric.

Thesis 1. The “Product” of education is thinking which can keep, check all these relationships and fill them with contents. The task of educational system is generating and spreading the latter.

6. It would appear reasonable to ask: “In what way is such thinking arranged and how it could be conceived?” Nevertheless we should not be led into temptation to answer the question, since we (there and then) naturalize thinking and come into conflict with its intentionality and processiveness, in other words, we just destroy it. The knowledge of what thinking is does not mean the presence of it. Theoretical approaches to the problem “In what way is the world arranged?” are counter-indicative for thinking, the more so, as we have not got a purpose “to make science”. Our problem is only practical one. When solving the problem “we shall go another way”, namely, the way of answering the question how thinking can be made up. That is we shall direct our attention not to thinking as such, but to the infra-structure it maybe (!) deign to take up its residence. This immediately switches us to the field of engineering pedagogy where, most probable, theories would be needed, still not as fundamental assumptions.

The mentioned switching is done through assigning to the elements of Table 1 the status of processes, i.e. in case the functions are performed, it is on the account of corresponding processes.

One of the important tendencies of modern situation (practically in all spheres of life) is technologicallization. It makes possible guaranteeing the results of the process and imparting them mass character, in case it is necessary. With due regard to this tendency the question “how thinking can be made up” is transformed into the question “what conditions should be created to start and maintain the processes of Table 2”, or, following the sense-action-system approach, “how and what “thinking machines” are of necessity to be designed, to be built and realized in order to start on, organize and maintain the mentioned processes?” These are problems of engineering pedagogy. By “machine” we mean the sum total of technologies. The mentioned “machines” are just the “subject” any man under making should learn to take possession of, i.e. to be able to create them, to run them, to modify them, to hand the over to other people and to bury them.

Table 2 demonstrates that such machines may be of various kind: transmitting (transmission of knowledge), creative (creating methods), training (accumulating experience). For sophisticated processes elementary machines may be assembled together as a unit, and this will need corresponding research and experimental work. One of such complexes “mastering knowledge” (not assimilating!) has just started being mastered by practice at the Centre of Children Engineering Creation of Kastal Amutah To make further designing the education system, it is necessary to build up a diagram which could make possible to distinguish places and relationships of the mentioned elements of the conception. This diagram should be used in three cases: as prescribing spaces of self-determination of designers, as an ontological picture of the spheres of new education and as a chart of technical organization of further work. Of greatest importance is the problem of elaborating new technology. A permanently acting seminar might be a good organization form to continue the work on the problem.

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