Development Of The Children’s Socio-Cultural Experience As A Problem Of Modern Education

Abstract

The social and digital reality determines the development of the children’s social-cultural experience. It is essential for educational institutions to establish educational content that developing personal communication skills, effective nurture methods, interaction technologies between school and family. The article refers to the problem of the nurture of students on the literature lessons, emphasizes the need to introduce traditional values to students and to develop their moral sphere. The acquisition of the socio-cultural experience depends on the teacher's readiness to talk with a child about the questions of his/her concern, to discuss literary works in the modern conditions and to strengthen the students' interest to literature. In the article, the level of schoolchildren’s socio-cultural development and their ideas about significant values are shown and the conclusions about the development of new nurture methods are made. We emphasize the specifics of the development of children’s socio-cultural experience as the goal and the result of studying religious cultures. This is conditioned by cultural characteristics and needs of families, the circle of a child’s communication, the local socio-cultural environment and the opportunity of studying religious cultures at school. The article presents quantitative data on the characteristics of parental experience (raising one or two children) which is significant to the child’s socio-cultural development, such as the attitudes towards the difficulties in the upbringing of children and towards digitalization of the child’s life. We discuss the strategies for helping teachers to create trustful relations with the parents considering their parental experience.

Keywords: Socio-cultural experience of childreneducationliterature lessonscourses on religious culturesschool-family links

Introduction

Many modern studies in the educational area have recently concentrated on problems of development of children’s socio-cultural experience. Transformations of the phenomenon of childhood actualize the ideas concerning the young generations as the subject of social inheritance and the personal children’s socio-cultural experience as the goal and the result of nurture (Wagner, 2018). In connection with this subject matter it is necessary to study the involvement of schools, families, communities, mass media in gaining by children their socio-cultural experience in the light of globalization and emerging technologies. Problematic areas of the modern children’s development which include malnutrition, lack of exercise and lack of sleep, negative effects of television, computer games and mobile phones are considered in Palmer's work “Toxic childhood” (2015), in which the concept of “toxic childhood” helps professionals parents understand how they can protect their children from the problems of the modern world.

The accumulation of the socio-cultural experience by a child has a close relation with the value basis of education. Designing educational programs based on the idea of the national identity is discussed in the book by Tröhler and Lenz (2015) "Trajectories of development of modern school systems: between national and global". The authors underline the need to overcome social tensions arising from the simplified interpretation of cultures and history of different countries. Differences in culture and history between the countries, which influence political decisions about development of education, are the subject of work by LeVine and White (2017). Metlik, Potapovskay and Galitskaya (2018) consider formation of school students’ Russian cultural identity as the primary objective of the interaction between the state, family, religious organizations in spiritual and moral education at school in Russia.

Researchers pay great attention to the socio-pedagogical process in the school environment; to the systematic approach to preventing students’ negative actions by teachers (Budnyk, 2016; Epstein et al., 2018; Stamatis & Nikolaou, 2016). The book by Deal and Peterson (2016) is devoted to the problem of the school environment’s development as the necessary condition for the formation of children’s socio-cultural experience. The work of Tattum and Tattum (2017) is focused on the quality and nature of relationships that contribute to the personal and social development of a child, on discussing the experience of students in school and overcoming problematic interactions in classes.

The importance of social relations, ethnic, cultural and racial issues at school is studied in detail in the work of Garbarino (2017). Developing a better education for children, we need to emphasize the importance of coordinated actions between families and schools in the choice of educational values (Yaşaroğlu, 2016) and in the formation of children’s socio-cultural experience (Gonçalves & Batista, 2016). Modern school-family links have a strong impact on the evolution of the methods of working with a family in the programs for teachers (Coughlin & Dotger, 2016) on improvement of the state family policy (Borisova & Plotkin, 2018), on achievement a closer collaboration between the school, the family and the community (Grant & Ray, 2018).

In addition, schools and families need to find ways of improving the parents’ pedagogical culture and actualizing educational opportunities of the information resources (Kaznacheeva, 2018). Moreover, the interaction between families and schools continues the cultural and pedagogical traditions of education, which are important in the rapidly changing world (Usoltseva, 2018).

Summarizing the above studies, we can conclude that the task of developing the socio-cultural experience of children requires a comprehensive understanding of the problematic nature of the social impact on a person.

The creation of pedagogical conditions for forming children’s personal experience is based on the scientific and methodological approaches to the organization of the educational process, on expanding the interaction of all social institutions in the field of education.

Problem Statement

The article deals with the conditions of formation of socio-cultural experience of schoolchildren in modern education.

The research identified difficulties in teaching a literature course in view of the lack of student’s reading culture. The need for the development of the methods’ implementing for special activities which may improve students’ critical thinking is also noted. In addition, this paper discusses research issues and formulates the results and recommendations on the problem of shaping children’s socio-cultural experience in the educational course on religious cultures.

It is underlined that there is no certain idea of what personal socio-cultural experience acquired by children while studying religious cultures should be; what the optimal conditions for its formation are; what role in this process the cooperation between schools, families and faith-based organizations should play. The specific types of children’s socio-cultural experience obtained in the course on religious cultures are highlighted.

Furthermore, the research focuses on the issue of interaction between school and family in the development of children’s socio-cultural experience and the tasks of its formation. We emphasize the need of different strategies for teachers to build up a trusting communication with parents depending on the parental experience associated with a number of children in the family.

Research Questions

It is important for us to examine which educational methods are the most effective in the development of children’s socio-cultural experience; how to encourage children to read literature; what kind of impact will have the educational course on religious cultures on the formation of students’ social and cultural experience, how to improve the interaction between families and schools, considering the parental experience;

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to study the conditions and dynamics of the development of the socio-cultural experience of children; to improve pedagogical methods of personal development in literature classes, in the courses on religious cultures and in the interaction between school and family.

Research Methods

We used the following methods:

- The questionnaire for evaluation of significant values of schoolchildren;

- The questionnaire “Information preferences and reading culture of the schoolchildren";

- The sociological survey for identifying the attitude of parents to the results of the courses on the religious cultures studied by the children;

- The anonymous survey of the schoolchildren's families "My parental experience". We selected response options during focus groups consisting of parents and professionals.

The results were analyzed to verify the significance of differences according to the Mann-Whitney test.

Findings

At the ascertaining stage of the study we revealed the primary values for students which were: "family", "love", "friendship", "human life", "education", "career", "peace on Earth", "personal’s honor and dignity" and "homeland". The spiritual values of the students included: "faith", "book", "religion", "patriotism", "the inner world of human", "soul, "kindness”, “honesty" and others. Part of the students showed interest to literature. Such values as "national culture", "Russian literature", "interethnic cultural values", "art" in many answers considerably concede to the values of the "career", "material welfare" and "business".

45 % of respondents (150 students aged 14-17) said that "books help them to understand themselves". Answering the question “What writers have influenced your inner world?” students wrote: “My favorite writer is F. M. Dostoevsky, it is interesting to reflect with his characters “; “I like the works of M. A. Bulgakov. I think about what I would do if I were one of his character”; “Literature helps me find the answers to the questions that worry me. I like the psychologism in the literature works”. However, we found a superficial interpretation of artistic images: “I don’t like Princess Mary because she is arrogant”; “Why didn't Zheltkov fall in love with any woman who would reciprocate his feeling?”; "I do not like the poetry of Tsvetaeva, it is not clear”. It is also typical of school students just listing the books they have read without their emotional and ideological evaluation.

At the "forming" stage of the experiment we used the conversation, the analysis, the search method and the method of work in groups. Thus, when students were studying the novel “The White Guard” by M. A. Bulgakov, we asked the questions like: "With what intonation does the writer tell about the civil war in Russia?"; "What does Bulgakov oppose to the tragedy that has taken place in that time?”, “In what does the writer see the salvation from chaos and hatred?".

Students were invited to write a mini-essay on the topic of the family in “The White Guard”. “By showing the family life of the Turbins, the author asserts the world of eternal moral values”—this is how students perceived the writer's idea that the stable family life saves a person in a tough period of his life. The symbol of warmth of the family is a bronze lamp under the shade. "The Turbins’ family survived a difficult time with dignity. In that terrible time, love arises between Alexei Turbin and Nikolka”,–wrote a student in the essay.

“I have learned that you can recognize yourself in characters, that times change, but the feelings remain”, “I have learned a lot of new works that each of the writers creates in his own way”; “I have liked the works of different writers, I have realized that it is not necessary to divide people into classes. I have learned a lot of historical facts, the more you read, the more you learn”– students wrote in their papers. We must admit that literature works have a great influence on the personal experience of schoolchildren. Students develop their own opinion. "Books help us understand ourselves" – this is the conclusion students came to.

The personal socio-cultural experience of children and its development are recognized as one of the goals and the expected result of studying religious cultures. Teaching religious cultures in the state and municipal schools of Russia is carried out in the cultural aspect, which does not include "teaching religion" (religious practice), as it does in many European countries and as it was in Russia before 1917. In this educational practice, any family can choose for their children studying a particular religious culture (Orthodoxy, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism) regardless of their religious affiliation. The task of familiarizing with the religious community is not set. In such circumstances, children can develop their socio-cultural experience to master the spiritual and material cultural heritage of the religion, simply focusing on religious moral norms, but without personal acceptance of the religion.

We have analyzed the results of studying the religious cultures and have identified specific types of students’ socio-cultural experience which are not formed in children who do not study the courses on religious cultures. Those types of experience are shown below.

Understanding the basic moral attitudes (commandments) in a particular religion towards him/herself, people, society (most children in monitoring survey which have taken place at schools).

The application of religious morality norms in interpersonal communication in children's environment and with the adults (estimated about 30 % of children).

The evaluation of their actions and the actions of the others from the point of view of the moral principles of the religion (most children).

The regulation of their behavior and relations from the perspective of religious morality (less than 30 % of the children).

Understanding the characteristics of the religious socio-cultural environment: church architecture, the internal structure of temples, Holy places, etc., an attitude to them, proper behavior in such places (most children).

Shaping their behavior and communication considering the status of people in the religious tradition (priests, ordinary believers, etc.), a religious etiquette (half of the children).

The application of knowledge acquired in courses on religious while studying other humanitarian and social subjects at school (most children).

This socio-cultural experience is acquired by the students who have successfully mastered the course on religious cultures in the 4th grade. Most parents (about 90 % in the 2010 survey, also in the currently sample surveys) expressed a positive attitude to that fact. Parents and teachers noted the positive changes in value orientations and children’s behaviour (there are no exact data due to the very short teaching time, only 34 lessons).

Further development of the children’s socio-cultural experience is conditioned by the cultural characteristics and needs of their families, a circle of a child's communication, a local socio-cultural environment, a possibility of studying religious cultures’ courses in other grades. After the 4th grade, less than 5 % of schoolchildren study their religious culture, while there are no guarantees of such education in other grades. We can note that in high school a personal interest in religion or a lack of it comes to the fore. The formation of the personal socio-cultural experience at school in this aspect becomes less relevant.

346 parents, including 67 fathers and 279 mothers, have taken part in the study of the parents’ experience (raising one or two children), affecting the links between school and family in the development of the children’s socio-cultural experience. The average age of the fathers is 39.1 years; mothers’ average age is 36.6 years. The number of the families with one child is 58.1 %, with two children is 41.9 %, which corresponds to the ratio of such families in Russia. The data have been collected at the parental meetings; therefore the gender disproportion reflects the existing participation of fathers and mothers in the children’s school life.

We focus on two areas of parental experience: difficulties in upbringing of children faced by parents and the parents’ attitude to digitalization of the child's life.

We have found out that, regardless of the number of children, the most significant problems for parents are their own tiredness (28.4 % and 27.6 % of parents with one and two children, p=0.7) and the child's non-compliance (22.9 % and 24.1 % of parents with one and two children, p=0.6). 21.4 % of parents with two children and only 9.9 % of parents with one child (p=0.002) mentioned the problem of child’s anxiety. For the parents with two children, it has the third place in the ranked list of the parental issue after the mentioned above difficulties. In this ranking list, parents with one child put on the third and the fourth places: lack of discipline in the child (20.9 % compared with 15.9 % of parents with two children, p = 0.02) and misunderstanding by the older generation in the family (child’s grandparents) (19.4 % compared with 13.8 % of parents with two children, p = 0.03).

In the matter of digitalization of children’s life, parents with different numbers of children showed significantly less similarity. 73.6 % of parents with two children and 51.4 % of parents with one child believe that the influence of modern technologies has both positive and negative sides (a balanced attitude). 17.2 % of parents with two children and 20.0 % of parents with one child see only the negative side (a negative attitude), 9.2 % of parents with two children and 28.6 % of parents with one child see only the positive side (a positive attitude).

Thus, the study reveals that the number of children in the family actualizes various parental problems. To establish a trustful relationship and a cooperation with the parents of their students, teachers should be guided by the obtained differences. Namely, children's participation in extracurricular activities can reduce parental tiredness. It is also important for teachers to familiarize parents with non-violent disciplining methods of children, to highlight the issues of the parental control over a child’s Internet activity and to provide emotional support to parents with the only child;

Conclusion

Literary lessons overcome the lack of emotional communication, which hinders the accumulation of socio-cultural experience. It is important to determine the methods of nurture in literature classes that contribute to the development of the self-awareness and critical thinking in students, including the conversation, the search method, the method of group work, literary reading, explanatory reading, dramatization.

The development of the schoolchildren’s socio-cultural experience in the study of religious cultures is considered, its specific types are revealed. It is noted that its development is affected by the cultural characteristics and needs of families. Also, of the utmost importance are: the circle of a child’s communication, the local socio-cultural environment, as well as a possibility of studying courses on religious cultures in different grades.

It is established that the number of children in the family determines different parental issue. Parents with two children are concerned about the increased anxiety of children. We have revealed the high concern of parents with the only child about his/her misconduct, lack of support from the older generation of the family, and the idealization of digital technology by them. We indicate various strategies for teachers to create a trustful partnership with the parents having one or two children.

Acknowledgments

Information about a state assignment or a grant, within which the study was carried out. The article was prepared within the framework of the state task №073-00092-19-00 of 2019 for the Federal State Budget Scientific Institution “Institute оf Study of Childhood, Family and Education of the Russian Academy of Education” on the project “The scientific fundamentals of a family and social education of children and youth and pedagogical support for the development of upbringing and socialization of children in the education system”.

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Publisher

Future Academy

First Online

18.12.2019

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2019.12.02.33

Online ISSN

2357-1330