The State Duma proposed a number of innovations in the labor education of schoolchildren. Firstly, to change the rule prohibiting involvement in labor without parental consent, and secondly, to replace technology classes with traditional labor lessons. The ideas of reviving the practices of the Soviet school are becoming a trend – the deputies are discussing the possibility of introducing drawing lessons into the program again. “Izvestia” figured out whether it is necessary to return to the old educational and educational programs in schools.
What lessons are offered to return
Following the news that State Duma deputies turned to the Minister of Education of Russia with a request to return drawing to the school curriculum, representatives of the lower house of parliament were also concerned about the return of traditional labor lessons. About it declared, in particular, Deputy Sergei Kolunov. He believes that such classes are positively different from the current technology lessons, since the latter are more about “project activities” than specific skills.
However, Kolunov acknowledges that a return to traditional labor lessons will have to face a number of problems. In particular, the equipment in schools is already very outdated.
Photo: TASS/Sharifulin Valery
The issue was discussed at the round table in the State Duma “Labor education at school.” In the same place, the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Education Olga Kazakova suggested change the angle of view on this problem in the legislation. According to her, now the labor education of children is hindered by a harsh wording, which says that “involving schoolchildren in labor without the consent of their parents is prohibited.” Kazakova suggests “changing a minus for a plus” and making an adjustment – “it is allowed to engage in labor with the consent of adult students or the consent of parents.” Now even a request to wash the desks can be considered a violation of the rights of the child.
It should be noted that in November 2022, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin instructed the Duma Education Committee to develop a draft law on labor education at school. The same committee initiated the idea of returning drawing lessons.
Situations for Conflict
The President of the Russian Academy of Education, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education Olga Vasilyeva reminded Izvestia that she advocated the return of labor education to schools back in 2016, being the Minister of Education.
Photo: RIA Novosti / Mikhail Fomichev
“Class duty, subbotniks, and even work on a personal plot in rural schools returns the little man to a sense of responsibility for the school where he spends 11 years,” she told Izvestia. “The student should not be a consumer, but a creator, and numerous positive changes in the education system of recent years are aimed at this: from the return of education to the educational process to the exclusion of the concept of “educational service” from the federal law “On Education”.
Olga Vasilyeva adds that the school must respond to the challenges of today and the future, so the profile lessons also require robotics, programming, as well as the study of the latest scientific achievements.
“A generation of parents has already grown up who are convinced that labor training is an atavism that takes time from children and prevents them from preparing for entering a university,” says Natalia Tarasova, director of the Center for Socialization and Personalization of Education for Children FIRO RANEPA. – It is very difficult for modern parents to explain why their child should work at school and why this does not violate his rights.
Photo: RIA Novosti / Kirill Kallinikov
She believes that there has been a depreciation of the very word “work”. And a teacher from the Nizhny Novgorod region, an expert of the trade union “Teacher” on the problems of education in the countryside, Dmitry Kazakov, confirms that there is no demand in society for the return of labor lessons. In his opinion, this is due to the fact that over the past 30 years the ideas of “individualization” and “humanization” of education have been inculcated, where there is no place for the “exploitation” of child labor.”
“Parents have an opinion that education is a service,” he told Izvestia. “Naturally, the unexpected return of labor will not be received positively and will create situations for conflicts.
However, simply returning labor lessons to school will not do anything, Kazakov believes. Systemic changes are important, properly prepared: a good program, ideological justification, training of personnel, material support are needed.
Photo: RIA Novosti / Alexei Malgavko
Director of the Institute for the Study of Childhood, Family and Education, member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation Natalia Agre believes that it is necessary to revise SanPiNs in educational institutions, some of which are so redundant that they really limit teachers in their activities.
Out of technology
Talk about the return of labor education in reality sometimes comes down to whether it is necessary to return to class duty and trips to the collective farm to harvest, and not about the return of a specific subject, says Anna Markul, senior methodologist for non-academic subjects at the Internet Lesson home school. The transition from traditional labor lessons to technology lessons was necessary and timely, she believes.
— This did not mean that the traditional material and food processing unit was completely gone from the program. On the contrary, he occupies key positions,” she told Izvestia. – Technology as a subject expanded the scope, offering not only to master the manufacture of products, but also to study in detail how to make them correctly; it introduces the technological processes of production, the properties of materials and how they are used.
Photo: RIA Novosti / Vladimir Song
Thanks to the new subject, she says, the students began to think differently: now it is important to acquire not only skills, but also sufficient knowledge. Technology lessons give students an idea of the professions and allow them to get away from the gender division of the class (now this subject is common for boys and girls, but in many schools the division remains). It would be completely wrong to say that the technology did not realize the tasks set, Markul believes. At the same time, it is important not to allow a rollback to 30 years ago, but only to combine the capabilities of the two objects in accordance with all the requirements of the modern world.
Professor of the HSE Institute of Education Irina Abankina noted that in conversations about the return of labor lessons to school, the conservative position of many teachers, who do not have time to master new pedagogical technologies and adapt to the processes of informatization of education, plays a greater role. This is unlikely to lead to good results, she says.
“Such initiatives are not based on evidence or quality assessment results, but on the desire to justify the lag behind the very rapid development and information technology, and the changes in the children themselves,” Abankina told Izvestia.
Photo: RIA Novosti / Alexei Malgavko
Natalya Tarasova notes that the legislators abolished “labor” in order to provide conditions for the individual development of the student and introduce him to the world of modern technologies.
“Therefore, the subject “technology” in the Federal State Educational Standard of General Education is aimed at acquiring competencies in the technical, economic and mechanical fields by students,” she said. – The subject was supplemented with modules such as computer graphics and drafting, 3D modeling, prototyping and layout, robotics, etc. But it was not possible to fulfill the plan in full.
According to Tarasova, subject teachers treat the subject “Technology” as redundant, which does not affect the educational success of the child. Often, technology teachers do not have a specialized pedagogical education, and school workshops are indeed very poorly equipped. In order for Technologiya to really fulfill its mission, to teach labor in its broadest sense, serious material investments are needed, including in the training of teachers of general technical disciplines, Tarasova says.
The Ministry of Education did not respond to Izvestia’s request for the ministry’s position on labor and technology lessons.
Back to the Future
Experts regard the return of the subject “Drafting” to school as an opportunity to train engineers and technologists. This is evidenced, in particular, by Irina Pastukhova, Deputy Director of the Center for Socialization and Personalization of Children’s Education, FIRO RANEPA.
Photo: RIA Novosti / Sergey Pyatakov
“There has been an alienation of a whole generation of school graduates from drawing as the language of technology,” she told Izvestia. – Students cannot perform spatial tasks, because they do not have the skills to mentally reproduce them in volume. And this is the road to the technical backwardness of the country.
The fact that students do not like this subject and do not cope with it, she explains by the lack of competence of teachers, as well as an insufficient number of hours.
However, Anna Markul notes that optional drawing can still be included in the curriculum of schools, and in the exemplary work program of the basic general education of the subject “Technology”, the module “Computer Graphics. Drawing “is invariant, that is, mandatory. So, studying the basics of drawing, students have the opportunity to immediately put them into practice in their project activities.
– It’s about the basics. Do I need to take the item separately for a deeper dive? It probably depends on the focus of the school,” she said. – For engineering classes, such a subject is necessary. It is enough for students of humanitarian classes to have an introductory level.
Photo: RIA Novosti / Vitaly Ankov
Dmitry Kazakov calls drawing a “wonderful subject”, but emphasizes: the question is in order to return it. It is important that this is not just for the sake of education officials “showing themselves as patriots.”
Olga Vasilyeva emphasizes that there can be no complete return to the Soviet system of education.
“We cannot live without new technologies, including pedagogical ones, but our pedagogy has always relied and will continue to rely on the best,” she said.
Irina Abankina notes that the problem is not the lack of two hours of drawing a week – the return of the usual lessons will not lead to results, especially when there is already a new educational standard, within which all recommendations are clearly formulated, and curricula are at the limit of the possibilities and requirements of SanPiN for burden on children. Just adding drawing or labor will not work, you need to give up something, and therefore such initiatives are more likely to bear risks for the education system.
She believes that it is necessary to deal not with a return to previous practices, but with the development of existing standards, which provide enough room for maneuver for both the schools themselves and their students.
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