This paper raises the problem of how to form the comprehensive ability to learn in the context of a literary education, for which the development of reflective skills is important. The authors present a detailed listing of the different types of self-reflection, along with its parameters, and note the significance of its formation at primary school age and the role that a literary education plays in this process. They describe original psycho-pedagogical research into the development of reflective skills in primary school children. The authors investigated self-reflection in all its aspects and discovered that they did not fully develop in the absence of well-targeted pedagogical efforts. Drawing on the sensitive nature of a younger school child’s psyche, the authors devised a pedagogical experiment which they carried out during lessons of literature reading. This educational experiment, which incorporated specially-chosen pedagogical techniques, revealed that it is possible to provide a meaningful dynamic in the establishment not only of the emotional aspects of self-reflection but of its other manifestations as well. This experimental pedagogical research into the conditions that lead to the development of multi-artistic contextual associations had one unexpected effect: the schoolchildren exhibited a marked feel for literary style, which was reflected in a highly developed aesthetic perception of a literary text, something that had previously been considered to be unattainable at primary school age. This proves that creative literary development is possible among children at this age when reflective methods are used with them to approach a work of fiction.
Keywords: Literary educationprimary school childself-reflection
The purpose of modern education is to prepare the younger generation for life in actively changing world, that means readyness for lifelong learning, self-development and self-improvement (Bower & Hilgard, 1981; Shipunova & Berezovskaya, 2018; Zemlinskaya & Fersman, 2017). This goal is ensured by the formation of the comprehensive ability to learn (Alexankov et al., 2018; Bylieva et al., 2019), which should be formed in the process of school education. “In a broad sense, the term “general educational activities ”means the ability to learn, that is, the subject’s ability to self-development and self-improvement through conscious and active appropriation of new social experience. In a narrower (proper psychological) meaning, this term can be defined as the totality of the pupil’s actions (as well as the learning skills associated with them), providing independent assimilation of new knowledge, the formation of skills, including organization of this process” (Asmolov et al., 2010, p. 27). Mastering this skill presupposes the formation of a complex of reflexive skills.
Self-reflection is inherent only to man. It is absent in animals, since they do not have consciousness in a philosophical sense. Plato (trans. 1993) suggested that self-reflection be considered as part of the consciousness of man, his “divine mind” (p. 216) with the help of which the unity of thought and the conceivable is manifested. According to Socrates, self-reflection is “the only way for internal improvement and spiritual progress” (Xenophon, 2007, p. 264). He considered self-reflection as a mechanism for the development of self-knowledge.
The term “reflection” in philosophy belongs to R. Descartes, who describes the process of self-reflection in this way: “When an adult feels something and at the same time perceives that he did not feel it before, I call this second perception reflection and relate it only to reason, although it is so connected with the sensation that both occur simultaneously and seem indistinguishable from each other” (Antiseri & Reale, 2002, p. 164). R. Descartes emphasized the importance of reflection as a way of organizing knowledge.
Teilhard de Chardin (1965) said that although reflection is based on certain knowledge, “it lies in the ability to analyze and evaluate the level of this knowledge” (p. 41).
Self-reflection is the basic property of the subject, due to which it becomes possible to realize and regulate one's life (Hilgard, 1953; Katona, 1940). Moreover, the depth of self-reflection is determined by a person’s interest in self-knowledge, the development of moral feelings and ideas about morality, the degree of his education, the level of self-control and many others. Self-reflection means reflecting not only oneself, one’s thoughts and feelings, images of other people, their thoughts and feelings, but also the life situation in general, etc.
According to Rossokhin (2010), self-reflection is “an active subjective process of generating meanings, based on the unique ability of a person to recognize the unconscious (…) - internal work leading to qualitative changes in value-semantic formations, the formation of new strategies and ways of internal dialogue, the integration of the personality into a new (…) state” (p. 24). We can assume that from the perspective of psychology, self-reflection is the most important mechanism for self-improvement, allowing a person to evaluate their own behavior, taking into account external assessments, the opinions of others. A reflecting person becomes an outside observer of himself, learning to evaluate his own and others' actions, emotions and feelings, develops his own point of view and, as a result, learns to make reasonable decisions. Self-reflection is based on introspection (self-observation) and on external observation, analysis of reactions, actions and actions of people around. It provides an understanding of cause and effect relationships and time dependencies in the social world. Thanks to self-reflection, a person learns to better understand his own inner world, discovers new features of his character, discovers hidden talents, abilities and predispositions. Self-reflection provides the accumulation of experience in the analysis of life phenomena, the choice of thoughtful and balanced decisions. By analyzing his own actions, comparing the reaction of others to them, a person develops his moral consciousness and develops his own moral attitudes. In practice, self-reflection is the basis for the formation of person’s subjectivity and “self-identity”.
Researchers such as Semenov and Stepanov (1992) believe that the structure of mental activity is connected by the “substantial and semantic” spheres of consciousness (p. 47). The content reflects the variety of subject relationships of the problem situation, tasks and ways of its transformation. In the semantic sphere - polymorphism of the subject's relations to his own actions and to himself. Based on this, there are four types of self-reflection:
1) Cooperative, the object of which is knowledge about the role structure and positional organization of collective interaction.
2) Communicative. Its object is the idea of the inner world of another person and the reasons for his actions. Communicative is activated if the element of communication is of great importance in solving the problem.
3) Personal - self-exploration and self-actualization. Its objects are the images of oneself as an individual.
4) Intellectual, where knowledge about an object and methods of action with it are reflected.
Disclosing them in a specific situation allows you to see the prospects of what happened in various ways, thereby expanding the boundaries of future experience and increasing the effectiveness of actions in the future.
The most promising in psychology today seems to be the consideration of the reflective-innovative model of cognition. In this approach, the interaction of various types of intellectual and personal reflection in problem-conflict situations of the development of the creative process of thinking is studied. Self-reflection in thinking ensures the continuity of its course through the elimination of gaps in solving the problem. So, you can take into account the attitude of the individual to the problem being solved.
Based on all the above views on self-reflection, we came to understand it as a meta-ability, integrating the ability to self-research, self-reconstruction, self-design and self-creation.
It is also necessary to determine the components of self-reflection structure. Understanding it as a meta-ability, we distinguished the following structural components: cognitive, affective, personal, communicative and creative.
In ontogenesis, intellectual reflection develops earlier than personal and communicative, and in primary school age it is defined as one of the three most important neoplasms of the primary school development period (Elkonin, 1971). This explains the interest in the study of the formation and development of self-reflection at this age.
In our empirical study of the level of formation of self-reflection in primary schoolchildren, special attention was paid to the study of the emotional aspect of self-reflection. It aims to ensure the creation of new ways of behavior, as well as the semantic prospects of the realization of the potential of the pupil’s personality, which literary education as a whole also helps (Cubukcu, 2014; Erickson, 2019; Hanauer, 1999; Silvers, 2001; Kusá et al., 2014; Meilakh, 1975; Nevolina, 2008; Shishlyannikova, 1999).
The emotional aspect of self-reflection is considered by us as a process of self-exploration of the emotional sphere. It has two orientation vectors - “for oneself” and “for others”, and is manifested in complementary processes: self-exploration, awareness of the individual characteristics of the “emotional self-identity” and understanding, evaluating the emotional content of the reactions and actions of others. A huge role in the development of the emotional aspect of self-reflection is played by artistic images, in particular, images created in literary texts.
Purpose of the Study
We believe that acquaintance of a child with literary texts allows him to learn reflective skills, and above all, emotional. Observing and evaluating the actions of literary heroes pupils seem to “try their images on”. Such is the peculiarity of their age, which in the methodology of teaching literature is called the "era of naive realism" (Marantsman, 1994, p. 72). It is primary school age when the child’s communication mechanisms with culture develop, horizons of world perception increase, his emotional responsiveness to literature and culture as a whole develops.
As criteria for the level of literary development of schoolchildren, Marantsman (1977) singled out the following: the quality of independent reading; the student’s need for reading, the level of reading and the circle of reading; ability and interest in artistic (including literary and creative) activities (p. 35).
Emotional communication with a literary text becomes one of the main ways a child enters the world of culture. There are some ways which lead a pupil to understanding and accepting the text (Moses & Kelly, 2019; Henschel et al., 2016; Marantsman, 1987; Romanicheva, 2017) and it is extremely important for an adult (teacher) to build a universal system of questions. The methodology of teaching literature proposes as a basic structure a sequence of opposition dyads of questions: “reader`s emotions - author`s emotions; reproductive imagination - creative imagination; comprehension of the form of the work at the level of composition - at the level of artistic detail; the question of meaning” (Marantsman, 2017, p. 26). This scheme can be used most effectively in primary school, since at this age the emotional component is most important for the child. This is the age when it is necessary to develop imaginative thinking, preparing for its transition into conceptual thinking.
An effective way of such learning is the system of “increasingly complex dialogs (dialogue of times, dialogue of styles, student and teacher dialogue, student`s dialogue with text and with oneself)” (Marantsman, 2017, p. 20), based on the age characteristics of pupils, as well as on the tasks that poses modern literary education in front of pupils. Interactive learning provides pupils with a deep understanding of the multilayer content of texts in the study of a literature.
The system of work on dialogs can be constructed as follows: from the direct dialogue of the characters presented in the work, to the dialogue of the student with the text and with himself. Dialogue learning provides a focused and consistent acquisition of knowledge and artistic experience of interpretation activities, a volumetric vision of the problem by pupils, the development of dialogicity and flexibility of their thinking.
Another type of developmental education is problem-based learning. Methodist scientists consider the organization of problem-based learning through questions aimed at optimizing reader perception as the most effective way of understanding the meanings. This technology allows, through a problem situation, internal contradictions, to encourage the reader-student to look for his own answer out of many possible.
According to Marantsman (1977) “the artistic development of schoolchildren is not directly limited to acquaintance with the art of different countries and eras. Interactive learning, involving painting, film, sculpture, musical play, architecture, literary text, theatrical performance, enables pupils to realize the diversity of the structure of each artistic phenomenon and the historical evolution of art styles ” (p.29).
The study of a work of art in close connection with other forms of art (music, painting, cinema, theater) can be called an extremely effective means of understanding and accepting the text (Barysheva, 1996; Marantsman, 2017; Petrushin, 2008; Strelkova, 1986). The multi-artistic approach ensures the development of the aesthetic perception of a work of art, the formation of a more accurate and complete picture of a work of art, the writer's work, the period of development of literature in the context of world culture.
It is the study of works of art with the ambiguity of their interpretation that makes it possible to deepen the reflection of pupils, to create a three-dimensional view of the work and itself.
According component model of self-reflection, we were able to develop a diagnostic map for studying the level of development of self-reflection, which is presented as follows (Table
The research on self-reflection in the course of a primary school child’s literary education was conducted at four schools of different types in 2018 - 2020 (School# 588 in Kolpino district of St. Petersburg, #511 in Pushkin district of St. Petersburg and gymnasiums # 295 in Frunzenskiy district of St. Petersburg and # 166 in the Central District of St. Petersburg). The research involved 254 pupils from 3rd and 4th grades. We deliberately chose schools of different types believing that the results of experiment may vary.
The ascertaining stage of experimental work with primary schoolchildren of 3rd grade showed that the most problematic areas for children were the cognitive, affective and creative components of the structure of self-reflection, that is, components associated with sensory awareness and self-acceptance in the world (Figure
The formative stage of the experiment was implemented in 2 schools (Gymnasium # 166 and School # 511 in St. Petersburg). Despite the absence of a significant difference between the results of pupils from different types of schools in the ascertaining part, we still retained schools of different statuses for the formative experiment.
The purpose of the formative experiment is to determine the pedagogical conditions for the correction of these components of children`s self-reflection. A system of classes was developed and carried out aimed at increasing the level of awareness and acceptance of the literary text by pupils. This work was extrapolated to their identity through reflective practices of studying a literary texts of different genres and degrees of difficulty in perception and analysis. This system included the following components:
1) Teaching primary schoolchildren to analyze a piece of art according the spheres of reader perception, deepens the perception of the text by attracting imagination at the level of composition and artistic detail, and finally, understanding the semantic component of the text.
2) Testing the use of this technology in terms of the ambivalence of meanings on texts of different genres and the varying degrees of complexity of their analysis.
In order to illustrate the designated positions, we give a few examples. Both of them were recorded in the gymnasium classes during the formative stage of the experimental work.
So, reading the text by Gaidar (1968) “Hot Stone”, the teacher stops at the fragment when the hero of the story says: “Here! now I’ll pump a stone up the mountain, a lame old man will come, break the stone, get younger and start living again” (p. 139). Highlighting this fragment as the key to understanding the whole text, the teacher invites pupils to finish the story. It is clear that by doing so the teacher deliberately interrupts the story at the moment where the denouement is not clear at all, giving pupils the opportunity to be creative, provoking a logical explanation of the options for ending the text with the pupils. As a result we received the following response from the child: "Grandfather gave Ivashka an sandglass." Sandglass - a visual image - a symbol of time, this is what grandfather says to Ivashka. Of course, Gaidar’s image was hardly possible, but, in fact, the child is right. This example shows that the self-reflection actualized when reading a literary text gives children the opportunity to create images - symbols. This is an indicator of the most harmonious and accurate penetration into the text. Children express their thoughts artistically. The sandglass metaphor here, on the one hand, compresses the meaning to an image-symbol, and on the other, it materializes it, visualizing the process. Despite the fact that every group had the same texts such answers were received only in gymnasium classes. It is reading and in-depth analysis of literary works, translating literary works in different types of art along with reflective practices that leads to the development of primary schoolchildren`s self-reflection. This is also shown by the results of the experiment (Figure
The transforming experiment was oriented to the cognitive component of self-reflection; it was precisely at it that the main work with the work of art was directed. Nevertheless, this work yielded a secondary effect, provoking an increase in indicators for all components, especially the affective one. Schoolchildren, reading and reflecting on piece of art, imitating the vocabulary of heroes and their emotional experiences, begin themselves widely use artistic techniques in various forms of expression. Here is another example of children`s artistic self-reflection.
The 4th grade girl of gymnasium #166, performing the task “Write about the any person`s happiness”, composed the following verses:
"The time has come
For cat`s concert.
Cats on the roof
A lot have gathered
And heard at night
Something has broken through!
Ah, this is a neighbor’s cat,
your Murzilka opened
cat’s mouth!” (Marantsman, 2019a).
Let us pay attention not only to the child’s attempt to tell about the cat’s happiness in artistic poetic form, but also to this girl’s amazing linguistic flair. It`s amazing that the girl used high literary 18th-century style describing cat`s mouth obviously did not know anything about it. The sense of linguistic style is one of the most difficult aesthetic feelings for development at any age as it requires erudition, meaningful reading and as a result a love of reading. It initiates the formation of reader preferences and interests. Aesthetic empathy, as the highest manifestation of self-reflection, is reflected in the poem of the girl extremely brightly. This poem also has a peculiar image-symbol in the line “Something has broken through!” It is a metaphor for the cat`s mood, which disrupted the ordinary course of life and moved to a high style, because happiness is always something outstanding!
Thus, it can be stated that our research showed that a sense of style appears when the teacher creates special conditions for the development of the child’s self-reflection when during lessons of literature. It is the emergence of this education that allows, in our opinion, to harmonize the structure of self-reflection even among pupils.
Such a high level of artistic comprehension of the text was observed only in gymnasium, where pupils were given the opportunity to rely on the multi-artistic context of studying texts. So the comprehensive use of reflective methods of studying a literary text, teaching pupils to translate literary texts in different types of art, makes it possible for some pupils to enter the conceptual level of metaphorical interpretation of literature.
The experimental pedagogical research on development of the emotional aspect of self-reflection in the course of a primary school child’s literary education shows that if we use specially-chosen pedagogical technique of analyzing a literary text in all areas of reader's perception and special reflective practices, then the development of self-reflection as a neoplasm of primary school age occurs harmoniously and at a higher level. This is also due to the fact that the pupil perceives literary texts directly, emotionally transferring both events and values to himself. This creates the conditions for the direct transmission of cultural values to the child. But it is important to take into account the aspect of the artistry of the image, which makes it possible to ambivalently understand of a literary text. It is this condition that enhances the impression of the child, leaves an emotional mark in his soul, prompting him to interpretive activity, that is, to creativity itself.
Considering self-reflection as a meta-ability, we understand that the global nature of this definition is fraught with certain risks of not detailing the important components of self-reflection. That is why all the researchers outlined above consider component-wise self-reflection, highlighting only some of them as basic. In the experimental part of our study, we took the liberty of defining self-reflection as a meta-ability, but considering emotional self-reflection, we launched its component-wise study.
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Marantsman, E., Kotova, S., & Savinova, L. (2020). The Development Of Self-Reflection In The Course Of Primary Schoolchildren’s Literary Education. In O. D. Shipunova, & D. S. Bylieva (Eds.), Professional Culture of the Specialist of the Future & Communicative Strategies of Information Society, vol 98. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 150-160). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.12.03.15