In the late 60's, in Novosibirsk, a secondary school utilizing new teaching methods was opened by the local Academy of Science. The school specialized in physics and mathematics, with the notable advantage of drawing on the scholars of the academy for its teaching staff. The school employed progressive teaching methods, and a number of followers quickly emerged. Cooperation between these new schools developed into student competitions in mathematics and physics.
Shockingly, however, a gold medal student, winner of many physics and mathematics competitions, FLUNKED the university entrance exams. Representatives of the Novosibirsk Academy of Science, the Russian Academy of Pedagogy and the Russian Ministry of Education were involved in the appeal process, which grew from the examination of one young man into an examination of the two opposing pedagogical methods -- the conflict between the old school represented by the entrance exams, and the new methods employed by the secondary school.
Three Sources of Incompatibility
The old school insisted that the quality of education was inseparable from the quantity of information. The more acquired information, the better the education. The new school emphasizes the domination of educational habits, focuses on the most important knowledge thereby streamlining cognition, and stresses activity and hands-on experience in instruction.
The primary characteristic of the old school was the didactic method, the basis of reproductive education. The new school was nondidactic, emphasizing generative, productive intellectual activity.
The old school placed priority on the socialization of cognition, leading to the sublimation of the student's personality. The new school focuses on the socialization of the particular knowledge of each individual. The role of cognition and …