The History Of Literary Education As An Object Of Scientific Research

Abstract

This article provides an analysis of the main research areas for students in higher pedagogical educational institutions, the themes of research projects related to the study of the history of literary education, and their connection to academic disciplines within the programmes of bachelor’s, master’s and PhD education. A comparison of the experiences of Russian and foreign schools showed that problems related to the close interaction between the academic and research activities of students are being widely discussed by teachers. The latter are paying special attention to describing effective forms of such interaction, as well as methodological issues and methods of scientific research. If interdisciplinarity, as a key approach to the organisation of scientific research, and the type of research organisation are at the forefront of discussions in foreign publications, then in the works of Russian pedagogues, in addition to their considerations of the same issues, special significance is being given to the comparative historical method of research, the study of traditions in domestic schools, the experiences of different scientific schools, educational systems and well-known teachers. This article deals with the issue of continuity of content and forms of cooperation in the field of academic research for teachers, students and postgraduates. This includes experiences related to their joint participation in searching for, processing and publishing rare and archival materials related to the history of literary education, based on the example of the work of the Department of Methodologies for Literary Teaching of the Institute of Philology at Moscow State Pedagogical University.

Keywords: The history of literary education

Introduction

The participation of Russian universities in the Bologna agreement and the introduction of three levels of higher education (bachelor’s, master’s and PhD), including at pedagogical universities, led to a number of new challenges, which had not been encountered until the beginning of the 21st century, for teaching staff. These related to, in particular, the efficient distribution of goals, objectives, competencies, content and methods of teaching between the aforementioned levels of education (or stages of learning). This issue is directly related to the idea of continuity in the development of key competencies of students in higher education and the question of how to introduce them to scientific research that is being conducted within the framework of scientific schools, which are established in faculties and departments that participate in the implementation of bachelor’s, master’s and PhD educational programmes.

One important area of research in the philological faculties of pedagogical universities is the study of the history of literary education; a comparative analysis of various educational systems and technologies, including those widely used in foreign schools; synthesis of the positive experiences of teachers of the past and the best present-day language teachers; and also to search for, process and publish rare and archival materials related to the history of literary education and methods for teaching literature as a science.

An analysis of present-day publications by Russian and foreign researchers and teachers demonstrates their keen interest in issues concerning methodologies and methods for students in higher education to conduct research that is related to the history of pedagogy and education, and also their desire to develop teachers’ research competence (Boguslavsky, 2012; Yamaguchi & Hall, 2017). The research project topics of undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as their findings, are published on the official websites of universities, institutes and colleges (Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, 2019; Examples of Student Research Projects and Theses, n.d.), and in collections of articles and materials from scientific conferences (Master’s Student to Science and Education: Current Issues in Modern Literary Education: Materials from the All-Russian Scientific Video Conference, 2017, 2018; The 21st Century Teacher: A Collection of Materials from the Third Students’ Scientific-Practical Conference, 2018; Yamaguchi & Hall, 2017). A whole range of works focus on the joint research activities of teachers together with undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as on co-authorship as a form of scientific cooperation (Gehlbach, Brinkworth, & Harris, 2012; Muntner, 2008; Payne & Monk-Turner, 2005; Professor and Student co-author academic article, 2017). A large number of textbooks have been published by Russian and foreign teachers with recommendations for undergraduate and postgraduate students undertaking research in various scientific fields, including the history of pedagogy and education. They mostly deal with issues of research methodology, the choice of methods, how to define the subject and the object, their goals and main challenges, hypothesis, and the stages and structure of research. They also include tips on conducting experiments and presenting the results of research or a scientific research project (individual or group) (Bajborodova & CHernyavskaya, 2018; Harland, 2011; Robson, 2015).

Problem Statement

The study of scientific and educational literature and official documents allows us to draw conclusions about the relevance of raising the issue of the step-by-step development of the research competence of students in the process of bachelor’s and master’s studies in Pedagogical Education and PhD studies in Education and Pedagogical Sciences, and when researching the history of education. The latter includes literary education, based on a comparative historical method, which involves the analysis of different periods, educational systems, disciplines, as well as schools, educational organisations and individuals (that is, the experience of some well-known teachers).

Research Questions

This article will focus on the main features of the organisation of students' scientific work (bachelor’s, master’s and PhD) in pedagogical universities related to the history of literary education.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of our work is to analyse the main areas of scientific research activities, as well as the stages of the development of students’ research competence on bachelor’s, master’s and PhD programmes, within the process of managing their scientific research on issues of literary education history.

Research Methods

The main research methods were the analysis of scientific literature and media publications related to the issues chosen by the authors of the article, as well as the study of official documents and pedagogical experience. These will allow us to draw conclusions regarding the most effective forms of interaction between student’s studies and their independent research activities, as well as the development of their research competence at different levels of higher education (bachelor’s, master’s, PhD) at a pedagogical university.

Findings

An analysis of the regulatory documentation, the latest articles by Russian and foreign teachers dealing with the issues of higher pedagogical education, methodology and methods for managing research activities of students, and materials posted on the official websites of higher educational institutions with educational programmes for teachers (we were primarily interested in the education of teachers of the Russian language and literature) suggests that higher education establishments have gained considerable experience in organising such work. The main approaches and criteria for evaluating its results are theoretically grounded, and the range of relevant issues for further research has been set out. It is worth mentioning, for example, the issues of sustainability in the implementation of tasks for research competence development at different levels of higher education; a combination of fundamentality, scientific novelty, theoretical and practical significance of students' research; a wider use of an interdisciplinary approach and the involvement of undergraduate and postgraduate students in carrying out scientific research projects in different scientific schools, departments and laboratories of a pedagogical university.

The history of literary (and, in a broader sense, philological) education had already been declared as a subject of scientific research at the beginning of the 19th century and it seems to be the most thoroughly studied area in the field of the history of Russian education and methods of studying different academic disciplines. It goes without saying, however, that there are many academic papers related to the history of studying, in particular, the Russian language, history, mathematics, physics, etc. Language experts were in many ways pioneers in the theory and methodology of teaching. The first educational programmes and methodological guidelines belong to the philologists Fyodor Buslaev and Alexey Galakhov. The history of literary education and methods of teaching literature as a science (its various periods and aspects) became subjects of doctoral theses that, over the years, have been defended by Yakov Rotkovich, Viktor Chertov, Tatyana Benkovskaya, Elena Tselikova, Elena Getmanskaya, Yuri Lazarev (The Methodology of Teaching Literature. Personalities: Bibliographic Dictionary, 2018). This area of research has become of the key ones for the scientific school of Vasily Golubkov – Theoretical Foundations of Teaching Literature in Secondary Schools and Higher Education Institutions, established at the Department of Literature Teaching Methodology at the Institute of Philology in Moscow State Pedagogical University (Scientific School of V. V. Golubkov. History and Areas of Research, 2018).

Educating a language teacher using undergraduate programmes involves (in addition to mastering a set of academic disciplines according to the regulatory standards) practical training in educational organisations, which is supported by methodological disciplines (Introduction to the Methodology of Teaching Literature, Methods of Teaching Literature, Modern Literature Lesson), Out-of-Class Reading, etc.) and ends with the preparation and defence of a graduation project, the topic of which may be related to the methodology of teaching literature. The history of literary education is included as an important module into the main course of methodology and is also presented in different parts of other sections of this course and other methodological disciplines. Reference to it is connected mainly with the analysis of positive experience, the study of the methodological heritage of well-known teachers, educational and methodical literature, materials of discussions focusing on the issues of school literary education. Almost the exact same subject field is also presented in students’ graduation projects: “The methodical heritage of C. P. Baltalon”, “The interrelation of classroom and extra-curricular reading in the study of literary tales”, etc.

The experience of including a separate discipline History of Literary Education in the undergraduate curriculum is also well-known, but, in our opinion, it is more expedient to consider this issue within the methodological disciplines that are directly focused on preparing for practical activities. Especially when it comes to bachelor’s applied education. Historical reviews and excursus prepared by students on the basis of studying quite accessible and widespread sources can be the beginning of their more serious research in the field of history of literary education and methodical science within master’s and PhD programmes.

Master's programmes within the discipline of Pedagogical Education have already become an essential part of higher education. And programmes related to literary education are widely represented among them. For several years, the Institute of Philology at Moscow State Pedagogical University has been implementing a Modern Literary Education Strategies master’s programme with various methodological disciplines in the curriculum. The latter include the History of Literary Education and Methodology of Research Activities, enriching students’ knowledge not only in the history of the school subject, the introduction of which was closely connected to the development of Russian literature (often with participation of writers, poets, critics, philologists), but also in the use of modern research methods and different methodological approaches and principles.

With regard to the master's degree as a level of higher pedagogical education, one can speak of a deeper academic preparation and an orientation towards the development of teacher-researcher skills. It significantly expands the issues of independent scientific research of students, provides themes that lead to the study of rare or unpublished (archival) materials, a comparative analysis of different directions and approaches in the methodology of teaching literature (in Russian and foreign secondary and higher education), a detailed coverage of the history of individual teaching methods, forms of in-class and extracurricular lessons in literature, a study of the traditions of the development of reader interests and the literary abilities of pupils and students, for example: “School reader's clubs as a form of introduction to reading fiction”, “The issue of educating a creative reader in the history of methodical science and modern research”, “School theatre: the history and stages of its development”, etc.

PhD programmes within the Education and Pedagogical Sciences discipline set as their main goal the training of a highly qualified teacher of higher education and a researcher, who is able to combine teaching and research activities in a chosen field. Academic disciplines recommended for postgraduate students contribute to the realisation of this goal and help them in the preparation of their graduation project, which can later be defended as a thesis for the degree of Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences. The discipline of History and Philosophy of Science, which is largely based on previously obtained knowledge regarding the history of literary education, methods of teaching literature as a science, and the developed competencies, is compulsory. Mastering such disciplines as Reading as a Pedagogical and Social Problem, Literary Education in the Field of Journalism, and Methods of Teaching Literature in Higher Education returns students’ attention to the main stages of the development of Russian literary education, methodical works and articles by well-known teachers, as well as discussions on the issues of studying literature.

In PhD studies, the scope of scientific research themes is expanding dramatically, although their main areas generally remain the same. New topics are being developed therein that are related to the analysis of different periods in the history of literary education, trends, pedagogical phenomena (“Issues of the independent work of schoolchildren in literature in the writings of methodologists of the late 19th–early 20th centuries”, “Literary conversations in the Russian school in the 19th–early 20th centuries as a pedagogical phenomenon”, etc.), and there are more actively involved issues related to reading, analysing and interpreting literary works, using modern learning technologies, etc.

Students and postgraduates of Moscow State Pedagogical University take part in the annual competition “The Golden Pages of Russian Methodology”, which is held by the Department of Literary Teaching Methodology. Preparing for it involves, first of all, turning to original sources, to their comments and their analysis of modern educational practices, including students’ own teaching experience (if they have any) in terms of implementing the ideas of outstanding scientists (V.V. Golubkov, M.A. Rybnikova, N.I. Kudryashev, N.D. Moldavskaya, G.I. Belenky, V.G. Marantsman, etc.). Participants in the competition write essays about issues related to the work of methodologists and give a speech at a round-table discussion, the topic of which, as a rule, is connected to the implementation of different scientific ideas and the modern interpretation of methodical works. They also perform tasks aimed at solving professional challenges independently.

The results of students’ scientific research within bachelor’s, master’s and PhD programmes are reflected in their reports at scientific conferences and seminars, in scientific publications, graduation projects and theses.

For undergraduate students, a scientific-practical conference “The Teacher of the 21st Century” is held annually at the Institute of Philology at Moscow Pedagogical State University, one of the sections of which is the study of the history of literary education in Russian and foreign schools, and reference to the experience of different educational systems, scientific schools, educational establishments and teachers (The 21st Century Teacher: A Collection of Materials from the Third Students’ Scientific-Practical Conference, 2018).

The conference is also attended by students of the Modern Strategies of Literary Education master’s programme, who make presentations and publish articles in collections of materials related to this conference. In addition to this, the Department of Literary Teaching Methodology holds an annual scientific video conference: “Master’s Student to Science and Education: Current Issues in Modern Literary Education”, an important part of which is the study of traditions of literary education. The video conference is usually attended by master’s students from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Voronezh, Tula, Volgograd, Kirov, Penza, Ussuriysk and other cities from around the country, as well as representatives of foreign universities. Collections of materials are published based on the conferences’ outcomes (Master’s Student to Science and Education: Current Issues in Modern Literary Education: Materials from the All-Russian Scientific Video Conference, 2017, 2018).

PhD students have always had greater opportunities to have the results of their research published. One might cite examples of academic seminars and conferences that have been organised specifically for PhD students, but in most cases, almost all academic forums are open to this group of young researchers, and their best publications appear in the most authoritative collections of scientific articles and on the pages of peer-reviewed scientific journals. PhD students from the Department of Literary Teaching Methodology, for example, participate actively in the annual Golubkov Readings, an international scientific and practical conference, one of the important sections of which is an analysis of scientific and methodological heritage, the experience of various well-known educators, the stages of development of literary education and methods for teaching literature in Russian and foreign secondary schools and higher education institutions (Scientific and Methodical Heritage and Modern Literary Education. The 23rd Golubkov Readings. Materials of the International Scientific-Practical Conference, 2016). The publication of the solid bio-bibliographic dictionary, “Methods of Teaching Literature: Famous Teachers”, is one of the major results of the joint work of a large research team, which included not only teachers, but also undergraduate and postgraduate students of the Department of Literary Teaching Methodology at the Institute of Philology in Moscow State Pedagogical University (2018). Its articles, prepared on the basis of studying previously published and archival materials, present the history of Russian literary education and methods of teaching literature as a science.

Conclusion

The modern information society and rapidly developing forms of communication open up new opportunities for the realisation of research projects, their presentation, discussion and implementation. At the same time, not only accuracy, scientific correctness, but also the availability of information to the widest range of readers (in our case, primary school and university teachers, students, postgraduate students, schoolchildren, parents) are of particular importance. Prospects for further research of the stated issues may be related to the analysis of the possibilities of collective (or group) research projects of an interdisciplinary nature, including those prepared under the guidance of teachers (not only Russian, but also foreign scientists) representing various scientific fields, as well as scholars from literary and theatre museums, libraries, etc.

Acknowledgments

The analysis of the experience of pedagogical university students, who were preparing to organise scientific research in the field of the history of literary education, presented in this article was carried out as a part of the project of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation No. 27.9224.2017/Basic Part: “Developing students' readiness for research activities within the process of establishing a system of professional standards”.

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18 December 2019

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Cite this article as:

Chertov, V. F., Antipova*, A. M., & Zhuravlev, V. P. (2019). The History Of Literary Education As An Object Of Scientific Research. In & S. K. Lo (Ed.), Education Environment for the Information Age, vol 69. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 227-234). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.09.02.27