Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

The Debate about Methods of Using the Laboratory Plan (Dalton Plan) during History and Social Studies Classes in the "Istorik-Marxist" Journal in 1927

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

The Debate about Methods of Using the Laboratory Plan (Dalton Plan) during History and Social Studies Classes in the "Istorik-Marxist" Journal in 1927

Article excerpt


The importance of the problem investigated is caused by modern trends in the Russian educational system which aims to seek new teaching methods for various disciplines including historical ones. The reference to debates about teaching methods in History and Social Studies in the second half of 1920s allows to make a practical use of the ideas that were never realized because the unified Soviet educational system was established in 1930s. The purpose of the article is in investigation of the debate that took place in 1927 in "Istorik-Marxist" journal, as well as the analysis of the main problems that arise in the process of using the Dalton Plan and ways of their solution. The leading approaches to investigating the problem given are the comparative-historical method and the essential-substantional analysis. The article shows in retrospect the condition of teaching historical and public disciplines in the Soviet system of education, examines the process of the debate about methods of using the Dalton Plan in the "Istorik-Marxist" journal, reveals certain complications that teachers of the second half of 1920s faced and offers the ideas of their solution. The ideas of the article can be useful for researchers in the field of education history, varieties of pragmatic methods use while teaching the Humanities, the USSR public opinion in the second half of 1920s.

Keywords: the "Istorik-Marxist" journal, methods of teaching History, Social Studies, the system of education, the Dalton Plan

1. Introduction

1.1 Urgency of the Issue

The key approach to teaching in the modern education is the teaching process as a systematically arranged teacher-student interaction aiming at solving and revealing educational and development tasks. Modern school should equip the growing generation with the basic means of socialization (Khoraskina, 2010). Accordingly, the up-to-date content of education at all stages including higher education is developing together with the world trends in informational, tolerant and civil society and demands of making up a free and harmonious personality.

In the post-industrial society education ceased to be a way of acquiring generally recognized and ready knowledge. The perfection of education consists in rethinking the scientific knowledge and solving a number of problems including mistakes and delusions. Revealing the truth of knowledge is now up to a student. On the other hand, the majority of pedagogical theories of the past century and educational practices were guided by the idea of achieving some definite educational standards.

In the beginning of the XXth century the Dlaton Plan maker, American teacher E. Parkhurst considered that its main goal was the development of cognitive activity, initiative and leadership skills of students with individual work being the best way of mastering means and techniques of acquiring knowledge (Petukhova, 2010). The American experience aroused great interest in the Soviet Russia. The most important goal of the laboratory-brigade method as a Russian variety of the Dalton Plan in 1920s was acquiring the basic skills of team work and schedule discipline taking into account everyone's personal theoretical job done. In 1930s the Dalton Plan was critisized and forgotten as it did not give any effective results. Only in 1990s when the principle of alternative teaching methods got into the Russian pedagogical community the interest in the laboratory method of teaching History and Social Studies in schools came back. It is important to note the fact that modern Russian schoolchildren find it difficult to apply the knowledge they get to real life situations to be able to explain the phenomena of a modern society (Shuvalova, 1995). Thus, now we have the necessity of searching new methods of further educational system perfection in accordance with the XXI century demands.

1.2 Exploring the Importance of the Problem

A lot of teachers of 1920s made and comprehended active methods of teaching on the basis of the research method wide application in contrast to the "ready knowledge" method, that was the leading one in the classical system of education in the Russian Empire. …

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