Wednesday, 16 August 2017

MAJOR AWARD FOR MAKARENKO STUDIES

National recognition for important new scholarship


Each year the Russian Government awards prizes for education, to an annual value of ten million Roubles. Last week Prime Minister Dmitrii Medvedev announced this year's winners. One of the four lauréats awarded this year goes to the Makarenko Pedagogy of Upbringing Research Laboratory at the Kozma Minin University in Nizhnii Novgorod:

This prize recognises a programme of work called 'A. S. Makarenko. the school of life, labour, upbringing: a text book on the history, theory and practice of upbringing', carried out from 2007 to 2017.

The prizewinners were Anatolii Arkadievich Frolov, Sergei Ivanovich Aksyonov and Elena Yur'evna Ilaltdinova.

In the view of UNESCO, A. S. Makarenko was one of the four pedagogues who determined the path of pedagogical thinking in the twentieth century. The others were John Dewey, Georg Kershensteiner and Maria Montessori.

The study

One of the project's main objectives has been to assemble a complete collection of A. S. Makarenko's works. This has not been done in the post-Soviet era. Over ten years of work, the researchers from Kozma Minin University have published this work in nine parts, with the materials in chronological order, presented with their their own commentary and additions, along with elaborated educational and methodological materials for use in the educational process.

This programme of study reflects long-term research work on generalisation and critical analysis of the results of the development, and the theoretical and practical use of A. S. Makarenko's heritage in the USSR, Russia, and other countries over the period from 1939 to the present day. A. S. Makarenko appears in this work as a reforming social educator, a classic of pedagogy – organically combining the qualities of practising pedagogue, thinker and writer, creative writer, publicist, and public figure.

Collected works, and more

This new edition of the works of A. S. Makarenko contains the author's pedagogical, artistic-pedagogical, literary and journalistic materials, and documents on his practical activities, personal letters, records, etc. The publication includes detailed academic commentaries, educational materials, a personal index of people involved in his activities, and illustrations. The publication claims to present every one of his works presently known to researchers, along with various author's materials, and documents on his activities.

Unlike previous editions, all the above texts are accompanied by academic commentaries that not only explain the main content of each item but also give analytical evaluations, link it with other documents, report the time and circumstances in which it was written, and indicate the meaning of specific terms.

A. S. Makarenko's legacy has huge academic and practical potential, and merits in-depth research and generalisation, in philosophical-ethical and social-pedagogical relations. It permits critical analysis of historical and pedagogical experience, to approach modern problems of upbringing and education in a new way.

The work's target audience is students, undergraduates, graduate students, academics, specialists in general pedagogy, the history of pedagogy and education, and the theory and practice of education – as well as those working in the field of culture, fiction, sociology, psychology, ethics and aesthetics, and academic methodology.

The above account has been extracted from the website of Kozma Menin Pedagogical University:


Phew!

A heroic act of scholarship and devotion – not least as these three scholars must over these ten years have felt the strain and the responsibility of keeping alive a torch that very few cared should live or die. UNESCO rated A. S. Makarenko extraordinarily highly in the twentieth century. In the twentieth, however, politics and history may have made it seem that his light has been flickering out fast, not least in the lands of the former Soviet Union where most of his practical heritage has been largely lost in reformed school systems.

That these scholars' labour and its fruit are officially recognised in 2017 is no chance. President Putin and his government need a different kind of reform now, a different pedagogy and a different upbringing. This prestigious and prominent award recognises some extraordinary scholarship. It should send a strong signal to meet and greet the new school year, one that Kremlin-watchers around the world might also heed.

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