Training Of Social Educator As Organizer Of Social Activity Of Adolescents

Abstract

The authors of the article highlight the theoretical and methodological aspects of training the modern social educator as leader of children’s public association in a rapidly changing society of the first quarter of the 21st century, justify the relevance of the problem of forming social educators – curators and heads of children's public associations for modern pedagogical theory and practice. The authors analyze the content of socio-educational training the organizer of children’s public association on the basis of the achievements of pedagogical science in the field of upbringing, the summaries of data studies of the role of child public association as a collective subject of education, learning from the experience in shaping special position of the head of the children’s public association as an educator of a new type in the conditions of multi-subject socialization of younger generations. The peculiar position of an adult, whom children choose their mentor, is a significant educational characteristic of an educator of a new type. Social and pedagogical position of the head of a children's social association, formed by practice and scientifically proved becomes the basis of his professional training as a social teacher-educator.

Keywords: Social EducatorSocial Activity of Adolescentsupbringingadolescent personalitysocially organized space

Introduction

The problem of upbringing of a human as a society member with a certain selection of shaped features of personality of a new century is relevant for the modern pedagogical science and practice. The demand for upbringing lies in personal and professional growth of a human and in shaping his qualities of a socially oriented citizen (Selivanova, & Sokolova, 2012). That needs more effective use of the upbringing potential of social educator on the base of the modern scientific knowledge about upbringing as a multi dimensional and multi semantic social and cultural phenomenon which affects the specific influence on the personality in the specific organized space of the children’s association or the movement (Selivanova, & Sokolova, 2005; Akiva, Cortina, Jacquelynne, Eccles, 2013).

The issue of the role of social education in human development as a person is sufficiently represented in the works of such psychologists as Cooley (mirror theory and the dynamics of the interaction between individual and group subjects in small groups) (Cooley, 2017), Thomas and Znaniecki (situation analysis as a reflection of the experiences listed actors of social life in accordance with their viewpoints on the events happening to them) (Znaniecki, 2017), Mead (theory of symbolic interactions, referring the subject-subject approach to the processes of socialization and social education) (Mead, 2017).

The valuable theoretical and methodological foundations for the training of a teacher as social and moral educator are developed within the framework of scientific school of Novikova (Selivanova, Aliyeva, Mudrik, Stepanov, Stepanova, Grigoryev, Kruglov, Belyaev, Parfyonova, Shustova, Polyakov, Rudenko, Shakurova and others.) (Selivanova, & Sokolova, 2005). These are the theses about the upbringing space, the children-adult community as a subject and object of upbringing, about the development of the children-adult community in the modern system of education, about the criteria and methods of diagnosis of the personal growth of the mentees (Alieva, 2003; Alieva, 2011; Zeldin, Christens, Powers, 2013; Zeldin, Krauss, Collura, Lucchesi, 2014). In the conditions of revealing some new aspects of civil society the role and importance of public social education grows. Various aspects of social educational activity in the children public association are presented in the works of Russian researchers Krupskaya, Krupenina, Konnikova, Shirvindt Basov, Maltseva, Radina, Frishman, (Alieva, 2011), in the works of the European, British and American social educators, researchers of children’s associations: Zeldin, Christens, Powers, Zimmerman, Parker, Krauss, Collura, Lucchesi, Sulaiman, Anderson-Butcher, Newsome, Ferrari, Greene, Lee, Constance, Hynes and others.

The scientific data on social education are the theoretical foundations for the professional training of an educator as a coach in upbringing. Nevertheless the demands to the professional in upbringing of the 21st century need the development of the accumulated knowledge taking into account both traditional and new actors of upbringing (Belyaev, 2016; Christens, & Dolan, 2011).

Problem Statement

In modern educational environment there exist many subjects of social education (state and public, traditional and innovative), which require identification and scientific justification for their specific potential in upbringing and teachers need a special training as educators (Kruglov, 2014; Deschenes, Arbreton, Little, Herrera, Grossman, Weiss, Lee, 2010).

One of the social institutions which successfully solve tasks of upbringing is the institution of children’s public organizations and associations (Alieva, 2003). Their value rises in relation to the enhancement of the role of public education in the process of improving the interaction of man and society, as one of the important conditions for democratization of the state and humanization of society, activation of childhood as an organic component of society and the pledge of its development (Alieva, 2011; Akiva, Cortina, Jacquelynne, Eccles, Smith, 2013).

Modern experience of children’s public associations enables us to identify their specific educational potential, realized in a specially organized and managed pedagogical process of interaction between children of different ages and adults (Blanchet-Cohen, Brunson, 2014; Zeldin, Christens, Powers, 2013).

Research Questions

Innovative public associations are factors of differentiated socialization of children and young people. For example, the associations, being formed on the basis of network communities are characterized by shaping and cultivating traditions, rituals, stories, by generating and maintaining collective ideology, thus they occupy a special niche in youth culture. They have some autonomy practicing specific and often subculture forms of socialization of children, adolescents and young people (e.g., these are members of such online community as e-sports). The experience in studies of the activities of such associations leads to the conclusion that they socialize their members more successfully than state organizations (Belyaev, 2016). The upbringing potential of these associations and their educators is the question put in this study.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the current research is to substantiate a significant educational characteristic of an educator of a new type, his/her social and pedagogical position of the head of a children's social association, formed by practice and scientifically proved for the basis of his/her professional training as a social teacher-educator.

Research Methods

In the conditions of the late 20th and early 21st century, there is a need to make some adjustments in the theoretical and methodological basis of the head of the child of the children’s association as a social pedagogue of a new type who owns general and professional competencies (social, communicative, educational ones) (Selivanova, Sokolova, 2012; Selivanova, Sokolova, 2005; Christens, Dolan, 2011).

In the challenging Russian social reality, most of the leaders of children public associations are volunteers who made a true civilian feat saving the children from the criminal environment; they preserved and creatively enriched the traditions of home children’s movement, school and out-of-school civic education of the rising generation and enriched them with new social values (Alieva, 2011).

Findings

The modern socio-pedagogical portrait of a leader is multifaceted. It represents all age groups of the country's adult population (its young, middle and older generations); different social and national layers of the differentiated society (new classes, groups-strata, national communities); different ideological, mental pivotal aspirations, life values, professions. It is just this group of adults, in alliance with professional educators, which yet retain the interaction of the children and adult societies as the natural basis for interactions between the adult and the adolescent communities (Alieva, 2011; Anderson-Butcher, Newsome, Ferrari, 2013; Zeldin, Krauss, Collura, Lucchesi, Sulaiman, 2014).

Whatever are the differences, the leaders of contemporary children's movement have in common as follows: - the social educational work with children in the informal space of children's leisure activities; - the sphere of social activity (public education). They are active creators of this community together with children of different social groups organized by them, thus actually affirming their special positive civil position in the society and the state.

This new type of educator as a genuine leader of children could not be born in the traditional school. It grew up, shaped, adopted primarily in "irregular" media of vital activities of a child, in children's self-made societies, on the basis of voluntary associations of children and adults. The squad of pioneer leaders as the true leaders of Childhood affirmed and developed humanist ideas, the concepts of social education; it formed a new professional, civilian worldview of educators.

The historical and contemporary experience of children’s movement and its scientific understanding allows us to define the specificity of socio-pedagogical influence of a supervisor or leader upon the identity of the teenager as a member of a children’s public association. This specificity describes a new type of educator in upbringing, his socio-pedagogical position (Alieva, 2003).

The influence of the adult leader of the children public association on the personality of the child is first and foremost, individual and personal, voluntarily accepted by the child himself. The pedagogical position of the adult Leader is focused not to the direct association leadership, but to such management of its activities that makes the association itself the factor of the rearing influence (its goals, tasks, contents and the activity management, relations, values, traditions etc.), while the child becomes the subject of the association’s life activities and the subject of his personal growth (Alieva, 2011).

The leader of children public association is not a post, but the manifestation of a natural pedagogical gift to take care of children. This is the adult who is recognized as such, especially by children. The identity of a leader is a wholesome sample of adult educator; it is not tied to children, but has been chosen to follow by them (Alieva, 2003).

The content of his socio-educative activities is not formally vocational pedagogical, it is yet rather the "natural-suitable" cooperation, the humane relationship between adult and child (as the basis of education) (Alieva, 2011; Selivanova, Sokolova, 2012; Selivanova, Belyaev, 2014). This allows an adult to realize his own personal potential to translate the children his social, life, vocational experience, his hobbies, and the child may feel like an "adult" and gain self-confidence, demonstrate his "self" and get a real support, protection of an adult comrade and taking into account the child's identity it positively affects the formation of subjective positions and development of a personality as a whole. (Zeldin, Krauss, Collura, Lucchesi, Sulaiman, 2014).

An adult educator is the leader of the children. He is "a true pro" in a certain field of human activity, a keen man; a strong personality and strong humane character. These qualities of the adult leader of the "natural" groupings attract teenagers and range it to a special type of caregiver. The peculiar position of the adult, whom the children choose as their mentor, tutor and voluntarily follow his advices, experience and behaviors, is an essential educational characteristic of a new type of educator (Peterson, et al., 2011; Zeldin, Christens, Powers, 2013).

The position of the curator-leader of the children public association represents a complex of interacting roles:

  • of a representative of the adult society (the sample the children wish to follow);

  • of a devoted to his work professional, enhanced by a certain type of activities (being "a man of honor and master of his word, able to work mentally and physically, not only enlist the demands, but do the things himself and teach by example", – these are the teenagers’ estimates);

  • of a human as a citizen who has a certain positive social status, authority, life credo, values and views;

  • of a human "kind, just, merry, attentive, honest, caring" (this position is especially stressed by the children).

In the integral form these roles are displayed in the position of an adult as a member and active participant of the children public association or organization. By the contents of these blocs it does not differ from the position of a child – the member of the same association. The difference is in the contents of the demands addressed to the members of the organization taking into account the age, experience and the degree of liability (Alieva, 2003; Alieva, 2011).

We refer to international experience. In educational socialization of the children’s association the researchers (Anderson-Butcher, Newsome, Ferrari, 2003; Akiva, Cortina, Jacquelynne, Eccles, Smith, 2013; Peterson, et al., 2011) visualize the possibility and the necessity "to see the child as he is", understand his needs and interests in the natural environment of activities of the children community (and not through some artificial tests, quests, trainings), shape and develop this community taking into account the data on the actual children (Selivanova, & Belyaev, 2014; Anderson-Butcher, Newsome, Ferrari, 2003; Blanchet-Cohen, Brunson, 2014; Peterson, et al., 2011).

A fruitful idea was pronounced about the influence of the position of the adult as the member of the children organization (the pioneer or the scout one) on understanding the category of educator in a broader sense (Alieva, 2011; Selivanova, & Belyaev, 2014). The practice of the home children movement gives a number of examples of the birth giving new generations of educators-humanists, innovators in our country who became leaders – heads of the innovative educational institutions, education bodies and children associations (Zeldin, et al., 2014).

The volunteer principle and humanistic educational setting are the core for creativity of the children community leader; its permanent search for the ways and conditions of the effective activities, cooperation and mutual understanding with the children, that lead him to pedagogy (via experience, self-education, life-long education). The specificity of the pedagogical position of a leader is in his role in the children community. The children association somehow equalizes to a certain extent both the adult and the child when placing them in the relations of interdependence and the necessity to cooperate, protects the child from the adult dictatorship and helps overcoming its self-egocentrism. It is one thing when a child is face to face with an adult, and the other – when he is supported by his comrades and friends (Blanchet-Cohen, Brunson, 2014; Greene, et al., 2013).

As a subject actor, impacting the position of adult the child can advocate as well. The object-subject relationship (the adult – the children association – the child) in many respects determine the specific position of the adult as the member of the children public association. He feels and understands the force of the children solidarity; the children community and he should build his relations with the children in a more democratic respectful way that helps creating a favorable rearing environment – it can actually manifest the activity of child in a diversity of forms, means, actions, deeds and relations (Kruglov, 2014).

In the experience of the creation of children's public associations as agents of modern educational space a new type of teacher is folded: as a personality whose position’s basis is not declared, but real humanism, and the area of activity is the natural environment of the child life activity, in which he is able to emerge and realize himself as a person. Such a teacher is becoming a leader in the children environment, an active member of the children's self-sustained community. He may be portrayed as primarily by his personality-professional position as a comprehensive indicator of professional, educational, and social activities, as a step to his mastership (Akiva et al., 2013).

The social educator steps as new type of an educator-leader in the children’s environment. The pedagogical position of the social educators is the conceptualizing (Krauss) the base for dialogical relation of "human to human" type (differing from the relations of "pupil – teacher", "mentor – mentee"), which enhances the growth of a personal position of a child in the children association (Zeldin, et al., 2014). Their activities are effected inside the association and during the process of everyday activities of children and adults, through the direct involvement of adults into this lifestyle. creating, according to C. Freinet, "the functional environment" which starts with filling the children’s community with essential life values combined with the everyday realities and is manifested in timely pedagogical support of its individual members in their complicated problem life situations, in shaping the environment that becomes a factor for development for the child (Zeldin, Christens, Powers, 2013) The rearing activities of the social educator focus at his civic position (Peterson, et al., 2011; Zeldin, Christens, Powers, 2013).

The leadership of the children public association requires high qualification from the adult (Dawes, Angus, 2011). The head of the developing children's public association is forced to be simultaneously a teacher, psychologist, lawyer, methodologist, journalist, director and administrator practically (especially at the initial stage of his activity). Another possibility is to attract all the necessary specialists "from the outside" - also on a voluntary basis, which, undoubtedly, is a rather laborious task (Christens, Dolan, 2011; Dawes, Larson, 2011).

Discussion

The positive experience of the children’s association gives an example of the initial training of its leader through the system of reproduction of personnel in their own activities inside the association. The sufficiently stable association becomes a space of forming a personal interest to such activities for its members. This interest is embodied and reflected in the subjective position of a growing leader (initiator, organizer, head of temporary association, a member of the elected council, etc.). Such graduates grow into leaders, volunteers. For many of them the professional pedagogical skill turns into a personal vital need (Kruglov, 2014; Deschenes, et al., 2010). They become the personnel for training competent managers in the system of vocational education. Formed in the vocational practice and evidence-based socio-pedagogical position of the children public association’s leader becomes the basis for his further vocational training as a pedagogue-educator (Alieva, 2003).

The person who takes the trouble and responsibility to guide children amateur public association needs not only theoretical-methodical preparation, but also moral, organizational and professional support from the state organs, public organizations and institutions. The pedagogical position of the leader of the children public association essentially differs from that of the class leader, the social pedagogue, the deputy director on rearing-educational work. This often becomes a source of difficulties emerging in working with the children voluntary association created on the school base. The need to borrow a deliberative, compromise position is often difficult for teachers working in the state educational institutions, and the implementation of directive, authoritarian methods when working with the children’s public association inevitably leads to its disintegration. Even proactive educators being faced the difficult start-up phase, stop their activities and it is difficult to reproach them. Lack of support, understanding, business cooperation and interaction leads to the fact that a large part of children public associations at an early stage of their existence cease to function or turn into further education associations and associations of the club type (Kruglov, 2014; Anderson-Butcher, Newsome, Ferrari, 2003).

Conclusion

The social pedagogue as educator of the children public association cannot be prepared "traditionally", educate him for a top "single" set-up programs of the state educational institutions. He belongs to the number of educators and innovators, creators of public pedagogy (public system of social education). Most likely, it is necessary to think about the network destination combining such pedagogical forces within the framework of socio-pedagogical societies, unions and develop conditions for the scientific reflexive understanding of their unique experience, of its use in the development of theory, methods of upbringing, of the science of Childhood in general. Such creative communities of like-minded individuals could become an informal "school" for each adult in order to help him assess his pedagogical positive and negative experience (in comparison with the others), determine the ways of personal-professional growth (on the basis of his own conscious choice), become for the teenagers a model of personality, citizen and professional.

The work has been done within the framework of the State Assignment of the Institute for Strategy of Education Development of the Russian Academy of Education (No. 27.7091.2017 / BCH).

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Publisher

Future Academy

First Online

18.12.2019

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2017.08.9

Online ISSN

2357-1330