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We know how to build the new national Russian school

By Yury V. Gromyko

Today, the leading nations of the world such as the USA, EU and China are competing on the basis and principles of the competences coherence, as well as technologies and knowledge they're mastering.

Innovative coherence of competencies, technologies and knowledge is provided for by certain models of education.

New "avobe technologies" initiatives in the field of engineering and technological education in the USA, knowledge turnover analysis in the EU education system, struggle for the quality of education in China demonstrate the success of these countries in the innovative-strategic race.

Integration of knowledge, technologies and competences shall define the added value in quite specific monetary terms. But it's not the money that defines the added value; in this case the monetary value only allows us to measure it. If education is not connected with science and innovative industries, then it will produce a group of "smart alecs" whom no business needs and whose skills and knowledge, as sophisticated as they are, will not be in demand. It is not unlikely that some of these "unclaimed" people may become antisocial, may develop to hate the authorities and the government, and may be ready to go out and upset the current social order.

Innovative education in the USA today starts from pre-school and junior school age. Children's sensitivity to changes, as well as teaching children to organize changes can only be supported through informal communication with their peers, the teacher and other adults. As American education experts write, the school, instead of a faceless official institution, has to become a live and vibrating community of children and adults sensitive not only to words (sometimes whispered aside) but also to fine-tuning a child's mind.

It may seem strange but all these features are already present in the Russian innovative education system. All this that the USA and EU are just starting to implement is already available in Russia, and it is not based on the ruins of the Soviet education that gave the world Sputnik, among other achievements, but rather exists as a superstructure on top of the Soviet education, at the apex of its development.

1. We know how, in specific and practical terms, within five years, to build the New Russian National School that will include a student into the processes of innovation and modernization. We know how to reformat the existing school anew, how to transform it from an official, impersonal institution into a child-adult educational community. Teachers and children have already been creating and using new content of education, where all children are taught thinking, comprehension and communication, as well as action implementation using and obtaining knowledge in various fields. This thought-activity content does not become a set of memorized, clumsy and empty algorithms and behavioral norms but is instead a form and a way to cope with and use various pieces of knowledge. In case of the thought-activity content the activity is not "suspended in the air", does not have to be memorized as a set of certain rules but is recreated based on the situation developments; the activity in this case means working with pieces of knowledge, as well as signs, tasks, problems, situations and meanings. Such simultaneous assimilation of the skills of ideation, communication, comprehension, action and knowledge, problems, tasks is called a meta-subject. The objective specific knowledge is further topped with activity which is used to trace the conditions of its origin and usage.

Our goal is not to replace the old Soviet "bad" subjects at school with a few meta-subjects but to make sure that any teacher learns how to build a meta-subject based curriculum. A teacher has to be able to master all this already at the college, and we know how to train him or her in this respect.

The new ways of learning and teaching, the activities of a teacher and a student, when they do things together, be it research, design, engineering or management, are already in place, have been created as live examples of work in the innovative networks of the Moscow education system. All the schools of Moscow, of Russia, have an opportunity to become innovative educational institutions bringing in new models and standards of work, the thought-activity content of education. Students' and teachers' work and the ways of activity will then become subnational and rich in content.

Currently, 1000 schools are involved into innovative activity, and within 5 years all the schools of Moscow and most of schools in Russia may become innovative as well. Moreover, it is possible to include an additional subject into the curriculum of innovative schools, and this new subject will be studies of innovative models in global and Russian economy. We know how to create and build the New Russian National School in each educational institution; in this New School diversity and common principles do not exclude each other but rather exist in unity. In order to achieve this goal educational institutions, in interaction with teachers, parents, students, neighbors, business community, social groups, mass-media, should and can be reformatted. As a result of such reformatting a formal, impersonal institution of learning will be replaced by a child-adult community.

If we teach a child how to think, comprehend, achieve self-determination and act when moving and coping with specific problems and tasks, such a child will always be able to find a place in our constantly changing society and market economy. We have to open an intellectual universe for this child, make available the opportunities of mastering the historical memory of our peoples, initiate his or her will.

2. However, here we have to consider that the innovative school education is vitally necessary only in connection with the innovative industry and practice-oriented science opening new physical principles and effects, creating new technologies, as well as strategies of development of various areas of practice. Even if whole branches of practice may disappear as a result of new technologies development, their place will be taken by new industries, clusters and professions. That is why thought-activity education will be in demand only in connection with the professional education and programs of development of existing branches of economy, design of new branches and clusters together with representatives of fundamental practice-oriented science and innovative industry.

3. Discussing the future and designing the future in specific ways lies in the basis of upbringing, and upbringing and educating a child is also about building and mastering one's system of values. A person who, here and now, prepares oneself for the future, lives through this future, has strong interest in rediscovering one's origins, as well as history of the ethnic group he or she belongs to and the history of the country he or she lives in. Both the designing capability of mind and the historical memory can serve as the basis of self-consciousness capable of cultivating education and responsibility for one's life, personal fate and the fate of the country, in any live personality.

Education is indispensable if we want to raise the intellectual level of our nation, to avoid manipulation of people's minds. It is obvious that we are living at the time when intellectual level of the society declines, even to the point of degradation trend, and this negative trend coupled with the stupid "non-intellectual" television, lack of interest in reading serious books, declining level of discussion culture, and, on the contrary, cultivating the crowd instincts and violence may bring the development of education and its humanitarian technologies to a halt.

Many people think that the education development has to be discussed after the election. This is a mistake. The education development has to be discussed now and always in the future. As long as we can stop the process of the destruction of the Russian education, we have to endeavor to do it.