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Olga Leontyeva: Democratic education in the mass school - problems and prospects

Presentation Abstract

The goal of education from the point of view of society is to bring up a generation that can, in every sense, act for its sustainability. Moreover, individuals of the new generation should obtain all the functional literacy and competences necessary for successful existence within the ever changing conditions of the information society. Moreover, bringing up democratic citizens and empowering this next generation for democracy should be an important goal of the reconstruction of education in the present age. This reconstruction should be efficient and stand for the mass education system. To meet these challenges today’s philosophy of education should be revised and a new, nongrade educational system should be proposed. Furthermore, the technological revolution empowers the information space producing new sites of information, education, and culture; new online forms of interaction between pupils and teacher, as well as opening new possibilities for pupils developing their own spaces, cultural forms, and modes of interaction and communication. Indeed, the new technologies and cultural spaces not only oblige us to rethink the philosophical problems of information, knowledge, truth, activity and information spaces but also require us to look at education in its entirety, ranging from the role of the teacher, teacher-student relations, instruction and grading methods, the value and limitations of teaching materials. Hence, both philosophy and philosophy of education must be reconstructed to meet the challenges of democracy, information society and a new high- tech economy.

Within the limits of the grade-schooling system, based on the ideas of the organisation of same-age groups and on education programs formulated in advance by teachers, it is impossible to make education individual and, at the same time, corresponding to the rapidly developing modern technologies.

Moreover, home schooling and also the "free" schools (such as Summerhill) do not allow providing mass education.

The prior value of the proposed project is the development of such educational philosophy, which opens a real prospect to revolutionarily improve mass schooling education system. It permits (i) the organisation of highly productive educational space, (ii) the organisation of individual education within the system of mass schooling, (iii) to take into account the quickly changing educational, scientific and technological environment, (iv) to stop the contradiction between the educational goal of the society and that of the individuals.