Orthodox social pedagogy
Social pedagogy and social work: Russian version
The professions of social pedagogue and social worker are relatively young in Russia, being introduced in the legislation in 1991. Now they both are included in the National Russian Classifier of Educational Professions. This means that the Russian education system can offer both secondary vocational and higher education in these professions. The introduction of these professions was prompted by the changes that took place in the early 90s in all the spheres of life in Russia. It was reality that dictated at that time the need to train specialists for professional work with socially unprotected groups of the population. At the same time, the collapse of the official educational ideology led to the appearance of a great number of children left outside the pedagogical influence. Social pedagogue as profession has grown from the pedagogical field in its part dealing with the youth. Academically, social pedagogy and social work are also based on various theories, with social pedagogy representing a pedagogical science, while social work an applied sociology.
Historically, social work grew from charitable activity whose main actors were Christian communities. Later, it involved special associations established for this purpose, such as the Salvation Army and women's unions. Significantly, the theory of social work began to shape in the early 20th century as a reaction to world cataclysms. World War I, in which weapons of mass destruction were used, had grave consequences for every country which participated in it. The disabled, orphaned children and widows had to go to work to sustain their families. As women, who had so far been only housewives, were best fit for social service, the first training courses were organized for them to master social work. By the 20th century 20s, a public system of social work had shaped in many countries. Initially, its scope included family welfare, children welfare and medical social work. Later it grew to include professional, industrial, rural, legal and other fields of social work.
Specialists are trained both in higher and vocational schools. There are over 400 higher education institutions in Europe today, including special institutes and special university departments. In some European countries, such as Germany and Holland, the work of social pedagogues and social workers is regulated by a single standard using the single term "social worker/social pedagogue" or more often "CW/CP". In the German version, a social worker can work with individuals, groups or communities, which are described as social work clients. If the clients are children and youth, the work with them is described as social-pedagogical, in other cases it is simply social work. A social worker/social pedagogue is an organizer, protector and representative of the interests of his clients. He advises them, provides them with necessary information, supports them in difficult situations and fulfills pedagogical functions. In Germany a SW/SP specialist is said to have a double mandate as the state entrusts him with protecting the interests of his clients and with protecting them from the state itself.
In Russia, the situation is somewhat different. At present, the term "social pedagogy" is used in at least three meanings. First, it is a professional occupation different from social work. It is distinct in that a social pedagogue makes an educational influence on his client, while a social worker only gives his client a particular aid. For instance, a visiting nurse is a social worker and she does not make a direct educational influence on her client.
Secondly, social pedagogy is understood as an academic discipline taught in pedagogical educational institutions. As scientific research on socio-pedagogical problems is still being developed, the practical work of a social pedagogue is a matter of debate among scientists and experts. The main issue in this debate is who is the primary object for a social pedagogue - the child or the adult, too.
This, in its turn, affects the contents of the Social Pedagogy training course. What socio-pedagogical science teaches, what exactly an Orthodox social pedagogue does in his work and what pedagogical students are taught is the subject of the articles below.
Tatyana V. Sklyarova
Subject and contents of socio-pedagogical work
The impact that social processes make on the education of younger generations has been taken into account in lesser or greater degree in all societies and in all times. In Russia, the socio-pedagogical direction in education was traditionally a responsibility of the family and the Church who determined the measure and degree to which children and young people were to be influenced by society. The social aspect of education in Russian pedagogy was viewed through the prism of family and religious education, thus making it unnecessary to single out social pedagogy as a special area of education.
Social pedagogy as an academic discipline emerged in the second part of the 19th century. The socio-cultural changes that took place in most countries at that time also affected the public education system. The industrialization caused the traditionally rural population to move to cities en mass only to find themselves maladjusted to life in the new conditions. In the West and America, the industrialization also generated mass migration to more developed countries in which the need arose to cultivate certain values declared or implied as national. The urbanization contributed to a breach of many traditional values. The mass secularization of people's awareness, caused by the above-mentioned developments and conditioned by the growing authority of natural scientific knowledge, also generated the problem of social education in the sphere where the Church used to be the only educator for centuries. It was in this situation that a separate area of pedagogical theory and practice, social pedagogy, was born. It was called to accomplish the tasks which were now beyond the traditional system of education. First of all, it became a pressing task to educate not only children, but also youth and people of older age. Secondly, the need arose to reeducate those who did not fit in the social system or violated its norms and to help them readjust themselves to the new conditions.
From the very conception of the socio-pedagogical theory at the turn of the 20th century, a discussion began as to the subject of social pedagogy. Some of its founders, such as Hermann Nohl and Gertruda Beumer, saw its subject as social aid to destitute children and prevention of juvenile delinquency. Paul Natorp defined the subject of social pedagogy in a fundamentally different way. He believed that the task of social pedagogy was to integrate the educational forces of society in order to raise the cultural level of the people. Thus, the discussion on social pedagogy focused on the problem of "causes and effects". If social pedagogy was to engage in analysis of the processes in society which influenced the education of its members, then it would have to find the causes of antisocial behavior and propose effective means of preventing it. In this case, a social pedagogue was to work for the "improvement" of social climate, not for rectifying the already committed distortions in its development, such as abandoned children, deviant social behavior, etc. There was a different view presupposing that a social pedagogue should work as an "ambulance paramedic" giving aid to a child or an adult afflicted with a social illness, such as a juvenile delinquent, an orphaned child, a victim of violence or disaster, a released prisoner, an immigrant mastering a new way of life in a new country, etc. In this case, socio-pedagogical skills should be such as to help a needy person to restore as soon as possible his or her ability to live in that society.
These two approaches to socio-pedagogical problems remain relevant today. Thus, some educational aids on social pedagogy, such as Social Pedagogy edited by M. Galaguzova, Moscow 2001, and Social Pedagogy by Yu. Vasilkov and T. Vasilkov, Moscow 1999, in introducing readers to the basics of socio-pedagogical work, put a greater emphasis on the work of a social pedagogue with children with development disorders, deviations from social and moral norms and delinquent behavior. Others, for instance A. Mudrik in his Introduction to Social Pedagogy, Moscow 1997, in vindicating the methods of social education, views socio-pedagogical work in a broader perspective. Following not only Paul Natorp, but also K. Ushinsky, who wrote in his Pedagogical Anthropology that the most important thing in education is the atmosphere around those educated, Mudrik sets a social pedagogue the task to master the pedagogical potential of the milieu. To do it, the process of socialization should be studied as the basic problem of social pedagogy. A person's family and micro-socium, neighbors, mates, educational institutions - governmental, social and religious, country, ethnic origin - all these factors influence the formation of a person. Therefore, a social pedagogue should be able not only to make a correct analysis of the process of socialization but also to use the educational potential of the milieu.
For an Orthodox pedagogue, both positions on the subject of social pedagogy are relevant and complementary.
Any educational concept is based on a certain set of anthropological ideas. Anthropology gives answers to such questions as what is man, what is his physical, mental and moral essence, what is his place in the world and what is his ultimate calling. In Orthodoxy, education is based on the anthropological approach which can be described as open. The openness of man to changes determines the possibility and even need for an external educational impact on him, taking into account his freedom. Orthodox education is peculiar in that it assesses the "external man" by the degree in which the "inner man" is enlightened. This lies in the heart of Orthodox understanding of socio-pedagogical work. To help a person to turn to the spiritual richness of Orthodoxy and to introduce him to the liturgical life of the Church is the primary task in pedagogical process. It is the final goal, while the auxiliary but very important means for achieving it are all the forms and methods of socio-pedagogical process. On the one hand, it is work with an individual regardless of his or her age and socialization conditions. Equally important is pedagogical work with the milieu in which this individual lives, or, what social pedagogy describes as "pedagogization of an individual's space".
The creating of an educating milieu under the church care appears to be the only possible aim in the work of an Orthodox social pedagogue. Both unsuccessful and successful people, families and other groups need pedagogical influence.
T. SklyarovaTop of the page
A social pedagogue at a parish
In some Christian confessions, a pedagogue who helps parish clergy is called "parish pedagogue". Thus the concept of parish pedagogics (Gemeindepadagogik) has taken root in German religious-pedagogical literature for the last 20 years. This concept was considered in the dissertation of A. Sergeyev on Socio-Pedagogical Work of Christian Parishes Today in Russia and Germany (Moscow 1997). The author of the parish pedagogics concept, Enno Rosenbum, maintains that it is parish that constitutes the subject of pedagogical work. He points out that the entire process of parish life and work should be viewed as an education process. Christian education proper takes place initially not in training but in living communication which explains life and all that happens in it from the viewpoint of faith and allows a person to develop his or her own view of the world. Such Christian education should be understood as a vital dimension of a community, while common life is perceived through the notion of education. Only after that purposeful educational work can be carried out by certain institutions through certain pedagogical means and methods. A. Sergeyev identified differences in Lutheran and Orthodox socio-pedagogical work and pointed out that the work of Orthodox parishes is essentially directed towards introducing a person to the experience of the Church, the experience of spiritual life, and towards his or her attainment of church life. The primary aim of most forms of parish work in Orthodoxy is to prepare a person for participation in the liturgy or for organization of the liturgy. These forms, in their turn, presuppose common participation of the faithful as the very place where "social Christian" skills should be acquired. Lutheran parishes, on the contrary, give more emphasis to educating for social competence and to discovering one's own identity. Church forms are helpful in attaining these goals.
The role of parish in organizing socio-pedagogical work is also understood differently. According to German Lutherans, the parish should become at the same time the subject, object (formation of a community) and place (common life) of the church educational work. But in the Russian Orthodox Church, the integration of all the aspects of parish life and work in educating the faithful is seldom discussed. Various areas of educational work organized by the parish are believed to be auxiliary in fulfilling the central tasks of the parish which is introduction to the experience of church life.
In parish socio-pedagogical work, which can be described as "parish pedagogics", all the ways of educational impact that a parish can make need to be taken into account in organizing parish life. Moreover, professional qualification is required of not only pedagogues and social workers, but of deacons and priests as well. It consists in both theological and secular humanitarian knowledge in such fields as pedagogy, psychology and sociology, as well as practical skills.
Parish socio-pedagogical work concerns those forms of parish activities which have expressly educational aims. In the Russian Orthodox Church, these are mission and enlightenment, catechism, cultural education (church education and leisure), charity (parish diakonia) and their combinations. Besides, there are church events, for instance a prayer at the academic year commencement, and various forms of parish activities, for instance pilgrimages, which are considered to be important educational means in the church tradition.
The heart of socio-pedagogical effort at the parish is creation of an educational milieu. A socio-pedagogical analysis of parish life and work today shows that this effort has very diverse manifestations from creating a spiritual-cultural milieu at a parish, which helps to revive and transform the soul of a believer, to making it a base for continued religious education, a place for social work, a platform for developing the creative abilities of Christians. The declared principle of continuity presupposes the establishment of a complex of educational units at a parish, united by a common concept and having one administration, common programs and a team of like-minded educators. In this case, the problem of organizing parish life is perceived as restoring the significance of the parish as a spiritual center on which the life of a Christian is focused.
The parish is certainly the primary and basic "social" structure of the Church. It is parish setting that determines in many ways how effective it is in its educational impact not only on parishioners, but also its entire social environment. The process in which society and the individual develop their relationships and make mutual impact in a broad sense is described as socialization. If the parish pedagogue is aware of the problem of socialization as fundamental in social pedagogy, this awareness will benefit the whole social and pedagogical work at the parish and especially the rector of the parish in his primary task of spiritual care, as it is precisely the task of a social pedagogue working at a parish to help its rector in organizing the whole complex of educational impact of his parish.
There are many factors acting in the socialization of a person. Among them are micro-factors including family, religious community, mates group, neighbors and all those social groups in which a person lives and which influence him or her. One of the functions of a social pedagogue working at a parish is to examine all the characteristics of the parishioners' immediate environment including their families, living conditions and many other things. Taking into account the nature of this environment, a social pedagogue will competently build a strategy for organizing, for instance, Sunday school groups of different ages or will see the need to form small family groups for parents with preschool children.
Another group of factors, called mesofactors, make an indirect impact on a person. These include the mass media, the type of a settlement in which a person lives, regional conditions and all that makes an influence through family, school and social environment. The intermediate position of these conditions makes it difficult to take them into account, but to do it is still necessary. Thus, parish life in a large city is basically different from that in a rural area. Or, a prison or an orphanage built next to a parish church will invariably change the socio-psychological atmosphere at the parish. After an analysis of the situation, a parish pedagogue will be able to propose to the rector a work program not only for the Sunday school, but also other services offered at the parish.
The work of a social pedagogue at the parish can and must be manifold, beginning from cooperation with the mass media and organization of the parish's own media to the formation of parish youth groups and interaction with "external" associations which come to the rector with various requests or proposals.
The object of the work of a parish pedagogue certainly includes all that belongs to care - care of orphans, disabled, the elderly, the temporarily disabled and all those who need continued or occasional aid. In this case, the pedagogue acts as a doctor who defines the strategy for healing the sick, determining the directions and methods of work with them. The practical work itself can be carried out not only by pedagogues themselves, but also social workers and parishioners who have the desire and blessing to serve in social field.
It is impossible to describe in one article all the range of socio-pedagogical work at parish. It is difficult to do it also for the reason that reality always proves to be much richer than its descriptions. The socio-pedagogical work at parishes in the Russian Orthodox Church has developed some original patterns of creating an educational milieu which can be included by right in educational aids for training parish pedagogues.
For instance, the Sunday school at the Parish of Our Lady the Life-Giving Spring in Moscow, directed for many years by I.N. Moshkova, has given priority to work with the family, taking into account the peculiarities of a typical Moscow family, its social and financial situation, the rhythm of its work and rest and other socio-demographical and psychological characteristics. The psychological counseling functioning at the parish has helped parishioners tackle many domestic and social problems.
The family temperance community at the Parish of St. Nicholas at the Romashkovo village with its rector Archpriest Alexey Baburin is also focused on work with the families of parishioners. This work is special in that the community through joint efforts helps the families with alcoholic members.
An introduction to the work of these and many other parish socio-pedagogical units helps teachers and students of social pedagogy to find out which methods and forms of work carried out by a parish social pedagogue are the most effective in the present-day situation.
T. SklyarovaTop of the page
Professional training of pedagogues at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Institute
The Department of Pedagogy of St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Institute (STOTI) is so far the only institution in Russia to train specialists in theology and pedagogy at the same time. The institute has a state accreditation to teach Social Pedagogy and Elementary School Pedagogy and Methodology. The pedagogical disciplines are taught in accordance with the national higher education standard, and the graduates are granted state-recognized certificates as elementary school teachers or social pedagogues.
While the elementary school teaching is a course taken mostly by yesterday's secondary schoolgirls, the evening department of social pedagogy attracts largely adults with higher education. The study at the STOTI is a unique process as it requires more than intellectual efforts in mastering curricula and courses. The study of theology is called first of all to change the existential and spiritual experience of a student. This process cannot but affects the professional formation of a pedagogue, musician or historian.
The training in the institute therefore is different from that in any other higher educational institution. The curriculum itself is made of two basic clusters, theological and special, depending on a department's specialization. Most of theological disciplines are taught by clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church. The special cluster at the pedagogical department includes psychology and pedagogy. Those majoring in social pedagogy study general, social, age pedagogy and basic Orthodox pedagogy, history of pedagogy, history of social pedagogy and history of the social service of the Church, as well as didactics, theory of education, general, age, social and pedagogical psychology, basic correctional psychology, psychological-pedagogical diagnostics, basic psychological counseling and psychic correction, psychology of family and basic family counseling, pedagogical technologies of parish social work, social policy and legal basics of socio-pedagogical work.
These disciplines are taught by inchurched believer teachers most of whom have academic degrees in pedagogy, methodology of teaching and psychology.
Many curricula are compiled especially for the Orthodox pedagogical students, considering at the same time the requirements of the national standard for training specialists in social pedagogy. These include Introduction to the Specialty, General Pedagogy and Educational Methods, Social Pedagogy, Age Pedagody and Psychology and Family Pedagogy. The specificity of these curricula lies in their close connection with Orthodox traditional worldviews. Thus, in the Family Pedagogy course, the family is viewed as a lesser church dictating the family structure, rhythm of life, everyday life, functions and traditions. It is in this perspective that students are introduced to the theory of social pedagogy, while examining the social stand of the Church on a subject studied. For instance, in studying a deviant and delinquent behavior as a socio-pedagogical problem, students would necessarily consider relationships between "sin" and "crime".
Such programs as Basic Orthodox Pedagogy, History of the Social Service of the Church and Basics of Parish Social Work are fully confessional in their contents. They are included in the educational process as a regional component envisioned in the national educational standard.
The organization of educational process in the institute is different from that in the secular higher school. For instance, all the church feasts are holidays because students and professors are to go to church. Studies are cancelled traditionally during the first week of Lent, and the Holy and Bright Weeks. It is obligatory for students, along attending lectures and seminars, to fulfill "obediences", which are various household tasks in the institute. Moreover, the training itself is built in a different way. For instance, pedagogical students are engaged in practical work from the first days of their studies. They are introduced to the work of kindergartens, boarding schools and orphanages and are to carry out pedagogical and catechetical work in them. Certainly, it is better to learn at a place having something to learn from. Therefore the department has developed a tradition of pedagogical expeditions, that is, trips to the places where an interesting experience of Orthodox pedagogical work has been accumulated. Having obtained the blessing of both their own leaders and the leaders of a place they go to, a small group of students, led by a teacher, would go to an orphanage or a monastery engaged in socio-pedagogical work to stay there for several days. The aim of the expedition is to "be immersed" in the everyday life of the place and to see from within the pedagogical system and work methods there. The geography of our expeditions is determined by places where the pedagogical sections of the STOTI Annual Theological Conference are held. At his conference, we consider reports from various social and pedagogical institutions, such as orphanages, educational centers, pedagogical unions and brotherhoods, patriotic associations, etc. working at parishes, communities, monasteries and dioceses.
Thus, the Theological Conference also becomes an integral part of the pedagogical process for both students and professors. Moreover, there is a tradition of inviting to it leading scholars in modern Russian pedagogical and psychological science. Among those who spoke at the pedagogical section were V. Lednev, N. Malofeyev, V. Rubtsov, V. Slastenin - all Members of the Russian Academy of Education.
The academic work carried out at the pedagogical department is called to present to the public a most important concept explaining general problems of pedagogy from the perspective of Christian anthropology. Modern pedagogy still has a blank spot, failing to view formation and education from the personal spiritual and moral reference points of both the student and the teacher. The need to reflect the Orthodox traditional worldview inherent in the entire Russian culture in the formation and education of the Russian people, to study the history of Russian education as closely bound up with the Russian Orthodox Church, to trace the family traditions of education, to point to the peculiarities of interaction between the Church, family and school and to rediscover the patristic pedagogical heritage - this is still an incomplete list of the areas in modern pedagogy which demand a thorough research. To this end, a post-graduate course for the pedagogical department graduates engaged in research work was opened in 2002 for Speciality 13 00 01, which is General Pedagogy and History of Pedagogy and Education. At present, it is attended by five post-graduate students. The two of them who work for an academic degree are also engaged in research work under the Institute's Department for Training Highly Qualified Researchers and Pedagogues.
It should be noticed that not only professors but also students are actively involved in research work at the department. Pedagogical students, especially those who attend evening Social Pedagogy courses, are often qualified specialists in other fields. Among them are academic degree holders, lawyers, musicians and people who already have a higher pedagogical education. Their intellectual potential works now for the benefit of Orthodox pedagogy. The graduation papers of some of our students represent monographs, published educational aids, author's text-books for schoolchildren or students. Sometimes the graduation paper of a pedagogical student meets the demands made to a dissertation written for seeking a Master's degree.
Thus, the professional training of pedagogues at the Theological Institute has much in common with any other higher education institute as it involves lectures and seminars, pedagogical practical work and scientific conferences, term and graduation papers and abstracts, training of the most successful students for research work. What is special about this process is its organization in conformity with the traditions characteristic of all the theological schools in the Russian Orthodox Church. Priority here is given to the spiritual formation of students. It is reflected on all the students do, beginning from their appearance to the choice of themes for their research.
T. SklyarovaTop of the page
Majoring in social pedagogy at the STOTI through the eyes of a third-year student
For those who already have some education and occupation but wish to study theology at the STOTI Faculty of Pedagogy there is as yet the only opportunity to do it, namely, to study at the department for social pedagogy. This is an evening department to be attended five days a week for five years. The curriculum is a synthesis of theological, general humanitarian and special psychological-pedagogical disciplines, including the New Testament, the Old Testament, Church Slavonic, Iconographic Studies, History of the Orient, History of Ancient Greece, History of Ancient Rome, Archeology, History of the Middle Ages, History of Russia, General and Age Pedagogy, Didactics, General and Age Psychology, Basic Medicine, History of the Social Ministry of the Church, History of Social Pedagogy, and Social Pedagogy. This is by far an incomplete list of disciplines, but it includes most of the subjects to have been studied by students by their third year.
For fresh students, social pedagogy is an altogether new horizon, and many ask, "What is social pedagogy, properly speaking?"
I will make an attempt to set forth my own understanding of the core of social pedagogy as a STOTI student. I will be utterly sincere. My fist year did not make any sense for me as to what this discipline was all about. What is more, when I told my friends that I would be a social pedagogue, they showed two reactions. Some wondered what it was and what I would be and where and how I would work. Others were ironic and even sarcastic, saying that social pedagogues are "cooked" everywhere today but nobody knows what for and who need them.
Now I am a third-year student and I am discovering something. Only now I have begun to understand the meaning of my future profession. Actually, "social pedagogy", I believe, is a profession very necessary for Russia today and certainly for our Russian Orthodox Church. I have made this discovery in several stages and I hope there will be more stages to come.
First, my attitude to my own specialty has changed under the influence of, however strange in may sound, the mass media. When I saw how proud the heroine of a foreign movie was, when asked about her former job, to answer that she was a social pedagogue, it was a discovery for me. I realized that regrettably such professions as pedagogues, doctors, social pedagogue, kindergarten governesses often cannot take pride in their professional work. Yet theirs are very necessary and noble professions which help people and are called to change society for the better.
Secondly, the training course on Basics of Parish Social Work has made a profound impression on me. It is given one day a week when various professionals with a long experience of social work at parishes address the students of social pedagogy. Thus, within one term, we were introduced to various forms of socio-pedagogical work at Orthodox parishes. As we were explained the functioning of a Sunday school, an Orthodox gymnasium, a kindergarten, a center for continued Orthodox education and ways to deal with healthcare institutions, servicemen and prisoners, we gradually realized that it was both possible and necessary to establish professional social structures at the parish level. Among those who came to us (sometimes from other cities) to share their unique experience were Archpriest Alexey Baburin, who has had a family temperance community at this parish for over ten years, Archpriest Andrey Voronin, director of an orphanage where children are taken care of in specially organized family groups, Tatyana Lescheva, director of St. Seraphim of Sarov Center for Continued Orthodox Education, Olga Janushkjavichene, who for fifteen years has been director of a Sunday school at an Orthodox parish in Vilnus, Lithuania, Natalia Ponomareva, who explained to us the special character of social and catechetical work with prisoners.
The realization that social and pedagogical work at parish has to be organized by professionals allowed me to see the social and pedagogical disciplines I studied at the institute in a different perspective.
I have realized that social pedagogy is not only a promising profession, but also a branch of pedagogy which embraces all the spheres of human life. The work of a social pedagogue is addressed to all the categories of the population, people of various ages, walks of life and social groups. It is an individual work with a person in private and social context, requiring a social pedagogue to examine his personality and the impact made on him and his education and socialization by his environment - family, microsocium and professional collective. A social pedagogue is one who involves both children and adults in a process of social creative work, in joint social efforts, who gives them advice, information and other aid, who is capable of social initiative.
It is wonderful that there is such a department where students can study social pedagogy and theology at the same time, because, to my mind, an Orthodox person who has a theological education and who works professionally in the socio-pedagogical field can give meaningful aid and support both to the individual in need and a group and even a community.
The unique nature of our department of social pedagogy is manifested in almost all spheres of students' life.
With the blessing of the rector of institute, Archpriest Vladimir Vorobyev, who is called simply "Father Rector", the pedagogical faculty assembles for the Liturgy once a month. It is celebrated by the dean of the Faculty of Pedagogy, Hieromonk Cyprian (Yaschenko), who is assisted by a readers team and a choir consisting of our students.
Our common prayer does not at all stop when we study, as once a week we read the akathistos to St. Sergius of Radonezh.
The workaday studies alternate with spiritual events. Is there a better chance to forget about temporal problems but on a pilgrimage? Where can one receive more grace then in a monastery? So, we go to pray and to have a rest in a monastery. These trips are also pedagogical, as overcoming temptations when on a pilgrimage, students become more close to one another, and everyone has a chance to show his or her love for the neighbour. By our third year, we have managed to visit together St. Sergius' Monastery of the Trinity, Diveyevo, the Optino Hermitage, and Rostov Veliky. On April 7 this year, which is the Commemoration Day of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, the heavenly protector of our institute, we all are going to the Donskoy Monastery to venerate his relics there.
The pedagogical practical work begins at our department from the very first year. During our first year, we were introduced to the socio-pedagogical work in orphanages, asylums and reformatories in Moscow. After the second year term, the summer pedagogical practical work begins in children's centers, orphanages and summer camps throughout our vast land, from Arkhangelsk to Yalta, and in September, full of impressions, we gather for a sum-up conference to share our experiences. All students from first to last years are invited to it to share "secrets of pedagogical technique". We discuss both achievements and mistakes and ways to rectify them. We also share illustrations, such as newspapers, pictures of our charges and articles crafted by children. The best pedagogical working-ups are presented to the chair so that other students can study them.
Another distinctive feature in training social pedagogues are pedagogical expeditions. I was lucky to participate in two of them. The first expedition was organized during the Passion Week in 2002. Six students led by a professor went to study the experience of the Orthodox orphanage at Nerekhta near Kostroma in organizing the fosterage of orphans in a family fashion. As a result of this expedition, I struck a friendship, I hope a lasting one, with the children and pedagogues of the Kovalevsky Orphanage directed by Father Andrey Voronin.
I set out for my second expedition alone. At a special course on work with alcoholics and drug-addicts, we were told about the work of the rehabilitation center at Sapernoye settlement near St. Petersburg. It is directed by Archpriest Sergey Belkov. I wanted very much to see with my own eyes how this center works and I asked for the blessing of my spiritual father to go there for my summer practical work. Actually I did not work at the center on my own, but only examined its structure, organizational principles, methods and forms of work and talked to its director, Archpriest Sergey Belkov and his assistants. The material I collected helped me to prepare a report with pictures, which I made to students and faculty at the sum-up conference.
Another important feature in our life are obediences to be performed by students. These institute obediences represent a clear and well-tested system including household and choir singing tasks as well professional tasks for those who have additional occupations. There are also special tasks of a warden. To be a warden is a hard work. We have to carry the burden of having all the students informed about all the changes in the schedule; we are responsible for the solution of student's problems in our group and have to advocate their interests at wardens' meetings. We also have to organize pilgrimages. But obedience is obedience, and we, wardens, do not loose heart.
So much for the training of students of social pedagogy at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Institute. We are ready to respond to the interesting experience of any social and pedagogical work at Orthodox parishes. We collect information about it and, under the guidance of our professors, try to describe, analyze and systematize it. Moreover, the post-graduate course that has been opened this year gives us hope that our studies in our favorite institute will continue after graduation.
Practical work of STOTI students in their professional development
Students of the night department of the Faculty of Pedagogy of St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Institute are trained for Speciality 031300 "Social Pedagogy". They are social pedagogue to be. Their professional obligations will include work at parishes, families, with teachers' teams; cooperation with various youth organizations, planning and organizing leisure activities for students of general education institutions, giving aid to socially and pedagogically neglected children and many other duties.
Practical work is one of the components of the educational process. Studies of many specialists in social pedagogy are used to organize and plan it. Socio-pedagogical practical work, just as any other students' practical work, makes it possible to apply theoretical knowledge to practice. In practical work, students acquire the necessary skills and socio-pedagogical and psychological experience.
Socio-pedagogical practical work is carried out in several stages. During their first year, students participate in educational excursions. During the year, they are introduced to various types of educational institutions, the conditions for educational and socio-pedagogical work in them, their pedagogical teams, innovations in their staff work, their curricula, their material resources, disciplinary requirements and guarantees they give for the life and health of children in them.
During their second year, students begin their practical educational work; its duration is one term, or 60 hours. For four hours once a week, they come to work in an educational institution. They help teachers, pedagogues and mentors to conduct talks, excursions, festivals, sports events and socially useful work activities and to prepare wall-newspapers, stands and albums. They also learn to give help to children with their homework, to plan and conduct pedagogical work with primary school children and teenagers, taking into account their age peculiarities, to master basic forms of out-of-class educational work and the functional duties of the assistant pedagogue, the pedagogue and the pedagogue of the extended day group.
Third year students are to do psychological-pedagogical practical work for one term, or 60 hours, 4 hours a week. The students of the STOTI Department of Pedagogy are introduced to the work of practical psychologists in Orthodox educational institutions. These are Orthodox schools, family communities, orphanages and asylums and correctional children's institutions. The primary task of this kind of practical work is to learn the basics of psychological-pedagogical diagnostics and the methods and forms of psychological aid, correction and rehabilitation used in these institutions. Students help to plan and conduct summer camps, learn to work on their own with children and teenagers groups during summer holidays and to organize children's team creative work and children's active leisure.
The fourth and fifth year students do their practical work on social pedagogy in church-related institutions engaged in the education and socio-pedagogical rehabilitation of children caught in a difficult life situation and in additional education institutions. In these institutions, practical trainees work as assistants to social pedagogues or social workers once a week for the whole academic year, or two terms. Students carry out instructions given by their supervisor, study the documentation regulating the work of the institution and the work of a social pedagogue, participate in conducting socio-pedagogical diagnostics and master the methods of socio-pedagogical work in the institution.
At present, the STOTI Chair of Social Pedagogy is engaged in retrieving the institutions which could provide a base for the practical work of students of social pedagogy. We want our students to master social and pedagogical work in Orthodox institutions, while bringing in them the theological and scientific potential available at the institute.
The STOTI Pedagogical Department is open to every proposal for cooperation between its faculty and student and socio-pedagogical structures guided by Orthodox traditions of education. This cooperation may be initiated by providing facilities in your institution for the practical work of night department students majoring in Social Pedagogy.
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