Theoretical principles of spiritual and moral education defined by V.Zenkovskyi
Пода В. Н. Theoretical principles of spiritual and moral education defined by V.Zenkovskyi // Молодой ученый. 2016. №3. С. 897-900.
The article presents the topical problem of nowadays — the spiritual and moral education of a person. The author focuses on the theoretical basis of spiritual and moral education, in particular on the analyses of the principles and means of spiritual and moral education presented in V. Zenkovskyi’s teaching conception.
Keywords: spiritual and moral education, principles of spiritual and moral education, means of spiritual and moral education, prayer, icon.
The problem and its connection with important scientific and practical tasks.
The spiritual and moral education is a directed, systematic influence on the moral and emotional development of a person via organizing the conditions in which his spiritual, emotional, ideologic spheres and conduct are formed, which (conduct) is shaped in accordance with the social norms, moral and ethical values. The formation of a spiritual and moral personality is both an important objective and a necessary condition for the development of the Ukrainian state. Moreover, to solve this problem is the higher-priority perspective of the modern education that is oriented to the national and universal human values and cultural traditions.
Spiritual and moral education of the younger generation is a complex, multifaceted process. The basis of it lies in instilling in students the humanistic qualities, ideological system of coordinates, higher goals, and cultural behavior.
In this context, the achievements of a famous Ukrainian religious public figure, philosopher, educator, theologian, psychologist Vasil Zenkovskyi are extremely important.
V. Zenkovskyi’s idea of the place and role of spiritual and moral education in the spiritual formation of a personality is still relevant at present, when the system of education faces the task not only to help a child to gain the opportunity to be active, independent, skillful in performing specific forms of activity, that is to be the subject of «the basic social activities» such as work, communication and knowledge, but also to help a child to become a spiritual being, in other words, to feel his identity and involvement in culture, and, therefore, gain the experience of activity on the basis of turning to the society, to the human race, as a carrier of eternal values system.
The analysis of the studies and publicationsfocused on the problem solution.
It stands to mention that some theory and practice issues of children’s spiritual and moral education have been exposed in the works of H.Vashchenko, I. Ohienko, S. Rusova, G.Skovoroda, K.Ushynskyi, V. Sukhomlynskyi. The contemporary researchers focus their attention on the study of: spiritual values as the goal of education (A.Bohush, O.Vyshnevskyi, N.Myropolska, O.Suhomlynska), spiritual needs (Zh.Petrochko), age peculiarities of the moral and spiritual development (V.Kyrychok, K.Chorna), spiritual experience formation of an individual in the process of education (V.Bryl, V.Orzhehovska), family influence on the spiritual growth of children (K.Zhurba, L.Povaliy), the use of national religious traditions in modern education (L. Henyk), the interaction between the modern pedagogy and religion (R.Anisimova, M.Yevtuh, T.Thorzhevska), the Christian ethical paradigm of education, (N.Baklanova, A.Vaskiv, Yu.Dzerovych, V.Zhukovskyy, V.Hayrulina), the use of the Christian ethics as an effective means of education (I.Kuschak, M.Melnychuk). Despite of the existing theoretical and methodological study of the problem, the issue of finding the effective principles, methods, means of spiritual and moral education and the research of the pedagogic heritage of outstanding scientists of the past remain open and requires further scientific studies.
The purpose of the article is to analyze the theoretical principles of spiritual and moral education of a person, in particular principles and means presented in V. Zenkovskyi’s pedagogical conception.
The main material.
The spiritual and moral education of a person suggests an organic combination of the most relevant principles, methods, forms and means.
The prominent role in the development of spirituality, spiritual and moral education belongs to the pedagogical factors and principles. The main educational factor of spirituality actualization is the so-called «communicativeness» in the following systems: «I-I», «I — the other», «pedagogue — student», «educator — educatee», «individual — group», «man — society». The basic principles of “communicativeness” are dialogueness and determining the communication by senses — truth, goodness, beauty. Special attention should be drawn to the communication in the systems «teacher — student», «educator — educatee» [1, p. 8].
In pedagogy and educational theory it is widely stated that the principles of education (lat. principium — beginning, basis) are the initial points, the basis, the beginning, representing the foundation of the content, forms, methods and techniques of the educational process [2, p. 218]. It is «the basis to be relied on and directed by» [3, p. 109].
The content and the direction of the educational principles are determined by the general objectives, aiming to form a fully developed personality, and derive from the educational process laws.
Considering the spiritual and moral education as the priority of the general development of a child, V. Zenkovskyi also pays attention to the principles of spiritual and moral education. In the opinion of the famous teacher, there are four principles:
The principle of correlation between spiritual and empiric force;
The principle of authority and development of inner freedom;
The principle of character development;
The principle of discipline.
It should be noted, that in modern pedagogy only the requirements for educational principles (commitment, complexity, equality, consistency, humanity, personal orientation) and the characteristics of the general principles of education (nationalism, democracy, nature relevancy, humanity, continuity, individuality, unity of education and life, ethnicity, systematicity and consistency, culture relevancy, combination of educational guidance and the students’ initiative and self-activity, support the positive in a man, optimality of the educational process) are given [3, p. 180]. However, there are no classifications of the spiritual and moral educational principles, academics highlight and analyze only those principles of spiritual and moral education, which the outstanding teachers of the past considered in their researches of outstanding personalities. Thence, taking into consideration the existing situation, the principles of spiritual and moral education, formulated by V. Zenkovskyi are extremely important. Let us consider them.
One of the most important principles of spiritual and moral education in V. V. Zenkovskyi’s view is the principle of correlation between spiritual and empiric nature of a child, which determines the primacy of empiric development. Spiritual and moral life requires physical development as an indirect inception. This principle is the basis for formulating the educational goal in the light of Orthodoxy — to help children in the liberation from sin, and open the image of God. It can be stated as discovering the way to eternal life, getting involved in it in mortal life.
The principle of authority and development of inner freedom has also a great value in the spiritual and moral education. In accordance with the scientist’s idea, it is the condition for a proper education; if the education is improper, it increases the duality of a man.
The spiritual and moral education also implies a character development as the unity of forces of creative and social actions, life creativity and self-possession. The principle of character development is important because it puts God at the first place in life, helps to prevent the consolidation of spiritual insecurity.
The scientist believes spiritual and moral education should be based on the principle of discipline and must be connected with the indirect function of «behavior» theory, and the whole empiric life in the inner development of a man. The essence of «discipline» in relation to the inner freedom development lies in a gradual «revealing» of the spiritual forces from unconscious moves. Discipline must be regulated only by a person, who is «authoritative» for children.
To implement the principles of spiritual and moral education and the effectiveness of chosen methods and techniques it is necessary to use certain tools, that present the heritage of spiritual and moral culture. The means of education in modern pedagogy include fiction and scientific literature, radio, TV, pieces of fine art, theater, cinema, etc., beside these, various forms and types of educational work (interviews, games, clubs, etc.) can be applied [2, p. 226].
In his pedagogical conception, V. Zenkovskyi regards specific means of spiritual and moral education, which are gaining much relevance nowadays.
According to V. V. Zenkovskyi’s theory, the means of spiritual and moral education primarily include an icon, a prayer and a church.
During the period when a child has a direct belief, worship services, pilgrimage, the Orthodox rituals and customs, reading the Lives of Saints, stories of holy places and devotees become bright visual impressions. According to the scientist, later, when a person needs a clear understanding that the spiritual and moral life requires from a person a great inner tension, willpower, willingness, and the ability to resist the most possible temptations — a prayer and belief, music, the best pieces of world literature, the beauty of nature and in general, everything that warms the soul of a child can become active means of up-bringing. The scientist says that in moral sense we «redesign the world, we labor at it» [4, p. 70]. Therefore, it is necessary «to enter the child's soul pedagogically» through «conquering children's hearts and appealing to the free move of this heart in the direction in which we want to direct it» [6, p. 138]. This is facilitated by the above mentioned means of education. Besides, fairy tales as a part of the emotional sphere of a personality have a great importance in the childhood; their images (both positive and negative) live in a child's heart for a long time. V.Zenkovskyi also emphasizes on the importance of literary creation in shaping the spiritual and moral world of a child, as well as the aesthetic one, he considers verbal images are much more expressive than pictural, non-verbal (in all its forms) as to the possibility of personal vision. Literary works require from children to think by means of evaluation and judgement, they contribute to the development of children’s own ethical position. Travel notes and essays provide many opportunities in this respect, which appear to be the base for a child’s personal perceptions, which he experiences.
Noting the importance of literature as a means of spiritual and moral, religious and aesthetic education, V. V. Zenkovskyi lays special emphasis on the spiritual literature.
According to V. V. Zenkovskyi, the words have great power in the spiritual and moral upbringing, they «lighten if one has put fire in them; they effect if behind the word there is inspiration, hot and deep exaltation of the one who says the words». However, it is essential for the listeners to perceive them with an open heart, perceive them without irony. This requires spiritual and emotional harmony. «We, teachers, often do not notice that children do not listen to us... we admire our eloquence, when children have such a negative attitude, then all our words sound as an empty and irritable rhetoric». [7, p. 325].
It is necessary to notice that V. V. Zenkovskyi attaches a great educational value to the icon. It is, as he stresses, the embodiment of God for us in a visible and accessible form. Children are remote from idolatrous psychology; whereas for adults icons imply returning to paganism, children do not have such tendency. The icon may be misunderstood by a child’s mind, but his inner psychological setting is free of blind worship.
The church worship services and sacraments, carried out by Church, help children not only to get accustomed to church duties, but also to become closer to a blessed conciliar nature of the Church as to a mystical consubstantiality of the whole mankind, that can be conceived only through Church. According to V. V. Zenkovskyi, the way to a spiritual self-improvement lies in such sacraments as penitence and confession, which reveal the way to spiritual purification from sin, and life in God. The pedagogue considers that a prayer opens the «opportunities for a blessed help» on the way of spiritual and moral purification and descent.
In his opinion, there is no need in teaching children to pray, but only praying, involve them in a prayer. In this context, from the point of view of religion, it is wrong to raise “prayer utilitarianism” in children. For a child it is important not to memorize the words of a prayer. During a prayer, he should feel as if standing before God. The scientist considers it is incorrect to force children to pray for the world sins, as Catholics do. The sins of an unknown for them world should not float over the souls of children. The words of a prayer do not have such meaning for children as they have for adults. What is particularly important is standing before the Lord, and the appropriate state of mind, but not the words of a prayer.
V. V. Zenkovskyi believes that moral life is labour, and such labouring characteristic of the moral life distinguishes it from other areas of spiritual life, which, in fact, do not have a labouring character. The labouring character of the moral life is connected with the «imperativeness» in a moral sphere. «What we feel as good and true must be implemented by us in life — there is an indivisible unity of the assessment and behavior». However, the spiritual and moral life is not determined only by our consciousness of the truth and duty, — it is determined in its dynamics and by certain motives, that are necessary for the truth, we have already understood, to be realized in our acts. «The motives of moral acts can lead to spiritual results only in case if they are «mystical», in other words, only religious morality can bring a spiritual harmony to a man» [6, p. 319].
The scientist stresses the importance of the educational function of discipline and a child’s character training in forming the spiritual and moral sphere. «In addition, the discipline tames temptations and the chaos of impressionism, besides, it develops self-possession and creates the opportunity for implementing the fundamental concepts, it generally sets the proper balance between the spiritual center of a person and his activity, his «behavior» [7, p.321].
In spite of it all, V. Zenkovskyi is confident that «one way or another, but children’s hearts percept the true and deep concepts from adults. They may not respond, they may even traduce and become embittered, but still deep in their hearts they absorb the rays of goodness, and sooner or later it will influence them» [7, p.326].
Speaking about the formation of moral thinking, V. V. Zenkovskyi points that at first a child reflects what he has heard around: his moral judgments repeat the judgments of his social surrounding. Then observing his own life, his surrounding help him to form his own spiritual and moral concepts, sometimes narrow and rough. However, the scientist believes that there is no contradiction — just the difference appears in moral thinking. It is necessary to take into consideration various beliefs, which affect a child, and weakness of abstract thinking: it is not easy for a child’s mind to come down from a general idea to its implementation in particular (specific) facts, and vice versa.
The process of spiritual and moral education of students means to renew their lives and thoughts with higher sense, which reveals in their attitude to their national and world spiritual heritage, Ukrainian history, customs, traditions, rituals, culture, language, religion, search for the ideal and sense of life.
Conclusions and further research perspectives.
Thus, V. V. Zenkovskyi’s educational conception is directed to bring up a spiritually and morally rich person; it promotes to apply moral and ethical norms, to develop children's initiatives, and to influence the evolution of feelings, will, character and good morals. The presented ideas of the prominent teacher V. Zenkovskyi, concerning the principles and means of spiritual and moral education of a person, should draw the attention of researchers, educators and practitioners and focus their efforts on promoting the renewal and modernization of the educational process.
- Pryshchak M. D. (2007) Genesis of the Spirituality Notion in Pedagogic thought of Ukraine (the second half of XIX — 20-sof XX) (abstract of Cand.Diss.), Kyiv.
- Kuzminskyi A. I., Omelianenko V. L. (2003) Pedagogic [Text], Kyiv: Znannia-Press.
- Kurliand Z. N., Hmeliuk R. I. Pedagogics of Higher School, Kyiv: Znannia.
- Omelianenko V. L. (2008) Theory and Methods of Education, Kyiv: Znannia.
- Zenkovskyi V. V. (1925) Course of General Psychology, Prague.
- Zenkovskyi V. V. (1993) Problems of Education in the Light of Christian Antropology. Church and School. Our Times, Moscow.
- Zenkovskyi V. (2003) Pedagogic Works, Sararansk: Krasnyi Oktiabr.