Multicultural Educational Environment As A Part Of Russian Educational Space

Abstract

The article is concerned with the understanding of Russian educational space and the role of the multicultural educational environment of the university. It also gives terminological definition of specified pedagogical phenomena revealing characteristic features of the educational environment of the university, implemented in the educational process. Over recent decades the educational environment has come to be seen as a pedagogical phenomenon. The educational environment, possessing educational potential, becomes not only a part of educational space or a factor of interaction between members of educational space, but also a source of future specialist personality formation. The educational environment of the university is specially created conditions for effective educational process at a particular educational institution of higher education. The functioning of such a university is conditioned by the principle of multiculturalism of educational activity. Educational environment is a part of the sociocultural space, a zone of interaction of educational material and objects of educational processes. Culture-congruent education is a strategic component of the innovativeness of Russian education, which changes the system of cognitive ideals and norms (explanations, descriptions, justifications) and strengthens the communicative purpose of modern educational process. Special attention is paid to the understanding of multiculturalism in the modern world, which is developed on the basis of cultural diversity.

Keywords: Educational environmenteducational spacemulticulturalismpedagogical phenomenonpersonal development

Introduction

The educational environment of the university can be defined as specially created conditions for effective educational process at a particular educational institution of higher education. Being a pedagogical system, the educational environment represents a set of factors which provide the training of competitive specialists and include educational resources, various means of education and management of the educational process, as well as pedagogical methods and educational technologies. At the core of modern education lies the concept of person-centered system of education, which is based on cultural, historical and activity approaches to the development of an individual and focuses on the developing paradigm of education. Developmental education is viewed as the process carried out in the student himself under the influence of the educational environment. In this case, education serves as a form of personal development, and learning, therefore, becomes the process of education.

Problem Statement

Analysis of scientific studies shows that since the end of the 20th century, pedagogical science has clearly identified a medium-sized approach in education allowing to use the possibilities of educational environment for individual development. At the same time, the educational environment is an integral part of socialization process which, in its turn, is an important factor for building tolerant relations in the multi-ethnic group of students in many Russian universities. In studies at the turn of XX-XXI century, multicultural education is often referred to as multi-ethnic education, i.e. a general and private education mixing. In our opinion, it is necessary to divide these two concepts – "multicultural educational space" and "educational environment of the institution (university)".

In the works of some researchers, the educational environment is being defined as a specific model of society, which reveals the diversity of people's lives, problems of social environment and its contradictions Contemporary educational environment of the university is determined by ethnic, confessional, socio-political and cultural diversity and reflects the multicultural medium of life in Russia as well as in any other parts of the world (Meskhi et al., 2016).

The educational space, being multicultural, transcends territorial boundaries and is understood as pedagogically coloured informational, psychological and social system.

The notion of complex and multilevel spatial organization and self-organization serves as a link between the mere empirical notion of an educational institution and the representation of it as a system.

Research Questions

The article investigates the following questions:

  • Characteristic features of the educational environment of the university, which take into account the motives for obtaining a specialty by students; professional competence of faculty staff, as well as material and technical capabilities of the university in the implementation of FSES requirements;

  • Theoretical approaches to determining the role of educational environment, which are important for the educational process in higher educational institutions;

  • The understanding of culture and multiculturalism in the modern world which is developing as a variety of authentic and distinct culture.

Purpose of the Study

This article is aimed at analyzing the theoretical foundations of the functioning of educational environment of the university as the representation of the educational multicultural system of modern Russia.

Research Methods

The following methods of the investigation had been applied:

  • Theoretical – analysis of normative and legal documents and psycho-pedagogical literature concerning the problem of research;

  • Retrospective analysis of personal scientific and pedagogical activity on realization of educational environment conditions of the university and its role for educational process.

Findings

Educational space – is a "place" in society with a set of relations and ties, where special activities of different systems (state, social and mixed) are carried out on the development of the individual and his socialization. In addition there is also a possibility to shape an internal individual educational space, the formation of which takes place due to one’s personal experience.

Introduction of this term into scientific circulation is connected with the rejection of previously accepted idea of educational processes as a given trajectory of ready knowledge transmission or a direction line which the student should move along.

In the educational space, for instance, children learn to perceive complex life phenomena; they have their manifestations of social and material stratification smoothed. Besides, their humanistic commitment on the world perception and personal development is being shaped.

The understanding of educational space as a variety of individual forms of development and a diversity of educational possibilities of the individual has become urgent. Cultural and educational space of secondary schools protects schoolchildren from antisocial influence by forming skills of spiritual opposition to it.

Globalization sets conditions for the formation of a "person capable of active and effective way of living in a multinational and multicultural environment, with a developed sense of understanding and respect to other cultures, the ability to live in peace and harmony with people of different nationalities, races and religious beliefs" (Makaev et al., 1999, p.103).

The problem of formation of a multicultural personality, capable of finding an opportunity to neutralize misunderstanding of sociocultural situations; of showing patience, becomes topical primarily for the educational space of a particular region.

Modern trends of globalization and integration of Russia into the world economic, political and cultural space, ideas of multicultural education are gradually being implemented in the educational process of universities. Thus, educational system is one of the leading mechanisms for overcoming destructive processes in social life and forming harmonious cross-cultural relations in the society alongside with tolerant interaction with the representatives of different ethnic groups and cultures.

Educational space gives pedagogy a humanistic vector, since in essence it is a cultural and anthropological space which includes only knowledge, concepts, personal meanings, manifestations of life and culture obtained and discovered by the person himself with the help of pedagogical support provided to him. The creation of educational space is associated with the emergence of a new configuration of educational system and is considered as the main tool for overcoming provinciality in education and a means of integration into the international educational system.

The word combination "educational space," upon the norm of Education Act of the Russian Federation and the views of teachers-researchers, has the following content:

1) This is the very possibility of implementing modern education in the whole space with a number of common parameters based on a harmonious and free combination of universal human values, modern achievements of global culture, on the one hand, and national-cultural, regional-cultural traditions of territorial communities, peoples, ethnic and sub-ethnic groups of the Russian Federation, on the other hand.

2) A number of principles and priorities of educational policy, declared legally and having the character of framework principles binding on all subjects of education, at all levels and in all territories of Russia.

3) It is a variable combination of educational paradigms and practices (goals, content, technologies and organizational models), educational programs and projects, as well as different modes of interaction of all subjects of education (teachers and pupils, families, micro-social groups, civil groups and professional pedagogical communities). Undoubtedly, modern Russian educational space possesses such a characteristic feature as multiculturalism.

Conceptual provisions on the essence of educational spaces and environments have been known for more than a decade, but the true understanding of their modern educational practice for designing existing pedagogical reality, in our opinion, arises only at the turn of XX-XXI century.

One of the most important conditions for the functioning of the spatial organization of education is the variety of educational environments included in it, determined by the conceptual core of the educational space, which holds the whole polyphony of various interactions within the predictable and organized frameworks, and provides the specified dynamics of development of the educational process participant.

The term "educational space" refers to the part of social space within the frameworks of which educational activity is carried out by the society (state). Another understanding of the educational space is built by analogy. A particular educational system is represented, firstly, as a place – a repository; secondly, as a set of subspaces, places and objects which fill the space.

However it is not the identification, it is the analogy, since the educational space includes various factors, conditions, connections and interactions of educational subjects that determine the nature of educational processes in general.

Using the popular term since Plato and Aristotle, one can say that the "idea" of educational space sets the topics of education. Educational space is a developing integrity which structural elements are used by all the participants of the educational process to master and broadcast humanistic values.

The content of multicultural education includes the following components:

  • mastering the basic concepts that determine diversity of the world;

  • upbringing an emotionally positive attitude towards diverse cultures;

  • shaping the skills that make up the behavioural culture of the world.

Multicultural education offers opportunities for the synthesis of many cultures, ethnic experience and the unification of national values. At the same time, the individual’s rights to national and cultural self-expression are preserved and actualized.

The idea of multicultural education involves the integrated study of disciplines on a multicultural basis, which forms the ability of students to work in multiethnic and multicultural groups (Mikheeva, 2018).

Overlooking the peculiarities of the environment in education is based on the openness of the content of education and the ability to act productively with the support on one’s own position in a given situation.

The tasks of multicultural education become part of the educational policy of a multi-ethnic state, which is based on tolerance and views a person in the global world, supports multiple identifications and perceives multiculturalism as a feast of diversity.

Recently the educational environment has become one of the key concepts in identifying and analyzing educational needs and trends in educational institutions development, which can provide effective education. Rather the same characteristic features, for instance, the multicultural educational environment of the university possesses (Mikheeva & Ulzytueva, 2013).

L. N. Berezhnova believes that the multicultural educational environment is a special form of human practice aimed at transformation of people’s living space in order to organize conditions supporting human development and giving people opportunities to solve important tasks of their education and life activity, allowing to perceive the world and their place in it (as cited in Berezhnova et al., 2007).

The multicultural educational environment of the university which manifests itself in multiethnicity and tolerance is included in the educational space of the region or the city (Pevzner et al., 2017).

The multicultural educational environment of the university can be considered as the first step to preserving the basic value system for Russian society, which ensures the existence of Russia as a multiethnic, multi-religious and multicultural country.

It should be stressed that modern educational space increases the degree of individual freedom, creating conditions for the realization of the possibility of individual permission and changing the grounds for joint effective activity, by building an individual educational trajectory, which is most relevant for the modern system of higher education under conditions of active development of FSES of new generation.

Language is supposed to be the main carrier of ethno-cultural norms, functioning as an intra-ethnic communicative means of transmitting traditions, and information about the history and culture of the people. The multiethnic, multicultural educational environment shapes students’ understanding of their own ethnical background, alongside with the knowledge about other ethnicities.

One of the consequences of multinationalism is the multiplicity of value systems, not properly reduced to the "common denominator" of universal human values. The difference between national value systems is a source of internal instability of any multi-ethnic community that can be neutralized by the tolerance of intercultural relations.

The diversity of linguistic communities and cultures, a peculiar kind of geopolitical, socio-economic and national-cultural situation of the multicultural educational environment of the university make it necessary for the teacher to show not only respect for one’s native culture, traditions and language, but also tolerance to other languages and cultures, demonstrating the ability for cross-cultural interaction. (Mikheeva et al., 2017).

In the context of multiculturalism and multilingualism, the most characteristic trends in the development and interaction of cross-cultural communication among different ethnic groups become particularly visible.

Particularly important become the norms and rules of communicative behaviour related to value perceptions, opinions and beliefs, as well as their similarities and differences, especially visible in terms of tolerant interaction of cultures (Mikheeva et al., 2019).

In sociocultural environment different layers are segregated. It is a generalized layer – the culture of the whole country with its values, traditions, rich history. It is a regional sociocultural environment in which the basic values and traditions of the main population are manifested through regional peculiarities.

Multicultural education is the educational system that takes into account the cultural, ethnic and religious specificities of students and develops their tolerance and respect for members of a different linguocultural community.

The multicultural education allows students to get acquainted with the diversity of mankind and ethnic cultures (European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Companion Volume with new Descriptors, 2018). At the same time the participants of educational process are expected to understand the content of the cultural competence; first of all this refers to teaching staff at the expense of their ethno-pedagogic and ethno-cultural ideas.

One of the main tasks of teaching staff, working with the multinational student body is to involve it both – in Russian national and cultural traditions in the process of extracurricular activities, and in the manifestations of other national traditions, while ensuring the learning of diverse culture elements through sociocultural activity.

The process of formation of the Eurasian educational space, as well as the process of entering the European educational space, promises Russia certain benefits, however, both can have negative consequences for the Russian educational system (Demyanets, 2017).

Russia’s integration into European and global processes has caused the problem of familiarization with the cultural peculiarities of other countries. Entry into the common space is impossible without mastering its cultural context. Awareness of belonging to a single world space requires understanding among the bearers of different cultures.

Modern educational space increases manyfold the degree of personal freedom, creating conditions for the realization of the possibility of individual permission and reformation of the grounds for joint effective activity, building an individual educational trajectory.

Culture in multicultural education is understood as a historically emerging and developing system of spiritual entities that defines the basic behavioural characteristics of the man of culture, his attitude to the world; and multiculturalism means that the modern world develops as a diversity of distinct and unique cultures (Tareva et al., 2017).

Taking into account the peculiarities of the educational environment of the university is based on openness of the content of education, on the ability of all participants of the educational process to act productively on the basis of their own position in the proposed conditions.

Awareness of peculiarities of educational environment of the university is based on the openness of the content of education, on the ability of educational process participants to act productively supported by their own position in the proposed conditions.

The educational environment of the university has a variety of communication forms, a wide arsenal of educational means and means of students’ acculturation (Tazapchiyan et al., 2018). Such forms of interaction as cooperation, dialogue communication, pedagogical assistance and support are actively used (Reikhanova, 2017).

The pedagogical community accepts multicultural education as an integral part of the entire educational system. Focusing in their concepts on the theory of civic identity and cultural approach, Russian scientists consider ethnic groups, linguistic groups and supra-ethnical communities as subjects of multicultural education (a Russian citizen, a world citizen).

Conclusion

Therefore, educational space should be interpreted as a result of integration in pedagogy. It provides interaction between educational environments and forms of existence of educational institutions. Thus, we should talk about a spatial approach to the organization of modern education, which determines the conditions that fill education with personal meanings.

At the same time, education becomes a space of culture and creativity. The educational space, being multicultural, transcends territorial boundaries and is understood as pedagogically coloured informational, psychological and social space.

The notion of complex and multilevel spatial organization and self-organization serves as a link between simple empirical notion about the educational institution (e.g. the educational environment of a school, a university) and its representation as a system (Gural, & Obdalova, 2011; Yasvin, 2019).

The educational environment of the university is a set of factors, components and parameters planned and organized at the level of the higher education system.

The educational environment is an object of activity related to the goal-setting of education in general and the content of the educational process of a particular educational organization as a derivative of the general education content, its socially valuable cultural orientation, which in its turn leads to the hierarchization of goals and objectives of state educational policy, taking into account the educational traditions established in the society.

The effect of space on the personality depends on the person’s choice of his/her environments for development and self-realization, on measures of including the system of personal activity in the universum of social existence, on the quality of integration processes in the sociocultural environment.

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

27.05.2021

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.02.196

Online ISSN

2357-1330