27 SES 07 C, Teaching Practices in Different Cultures
The paper addresses the question of the role of the teacher in collective modes of teaching and learning in the Russian tradition of didactics that is generally regarded as teacher-centred (Rakhkochkine 2012a) and provides a few theoretical considerations about the role of the teacher from an international comparative perspective.
The theoretical background: The role of the teacher in the classroom is one of the central topics in research on learning and instruction. On the one hand, the shift from teaching to learning (ECER 2009) reflects the recent societal and organizational changes of power relations between teachers and learners and new challenges for classroom practices due to new information technologies, increasing diversity of pupils and new strategies of governance and measurement of learning outcomes. On the other hand, the leading role of the teacher in the classroom seems to have a more positive impact on learning outcomes as compared with the teacher’s role as facilitator (cf. Hattie 2009).
The classroom interaction and teachers’ role seem to be influenced by national and cultural traditions of teaching. For example, Alexander identified in his study six versions of teaching that can be attributed to the national educational traditions of the five participating countries (Alexander 2000.) Whereas in England and in US-American classrooms teaching as facilitation is a typical mode of teaching, teaching as acceleration is distinctive for Russian classrooms. This version of teaching is based on the idea of Vygotsky that classroom teaching should accelerate development rather than just follow it and the teacher has to take the leading role in the instructional process. Comparative empirical studies on classroom practices in Russia demonstrate a considerable degree of teacher-centred instruction as compared with the classroom practices in selected Western countries (cf. Alexander 2000, Wilson/Andrew/Below 2006).
However, the leading role of the teacher has been challenged in Russian didactics several times in the last century, in particular in the 1920s and in the late 1980 and in the 1990s (Rakhkochkine 2012a). During perestroika different approaches to establish cooperative forms of teaching and learning and to reduce the dominance of the teacher in the classroom were developed. The concept of the collective form of teaching (kollektivnyy sposob obucheniya) (Dyachenko 1991, 1996) is one of the prominent examples of this development. It is characterized by the involvement of all pupils in mutual teaching process in flexible pairs (pary smennogo sostava). The responsibility of each pupil grows since he or she has to take care of the learning progress of his/her partner. The communication and the learning results in the small groups have a direct effect on the learning outcomes of the whole group. In 2013 the Russian Academy of Education stressed the potential of the concept of collective form of teaching for the development of didactics, in particular for multi-aged groups and small schools, and recommend to establish an “experimental base” for the further research and development of the concept (Obshchestvenno-pedagogicheskoe dvizhenie … 2014).
The paper analyzes the role of the teacher in the concept of collective mode of teaching against the background of the research into didactics in Russia and provides a cursory comparison with the role of the teacher in the concepts of cooperative learning in the Anglo-American tradition of educational psychology (e.g. Slavin 1995).
Alexander, R. J. (2000): Culture and pedagogy: international comparisons in primary education. Oxford: Blackwell. Dyachenko, V.K. (1991): Sotrudnicestvo v obuchenii. Moskva: Prosveshchenie. Dyachenko, V.K. (1996): Sovremennaya didaktika. Novokuzneck: IPK. Hattie, J. (2009): Visible Learning. A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses realating to achievement. Routledge, London, New York. Obshchestvenno-pedagogicheskoe dvizhenie po sozdaniyu kollektivnogo sposoba obucheniya (2014). Kollektivnyĭ Sposob Obucheniya. http://kco-kras.ru/index.php/rao/, retrieved: 24.01.2014. Rakhkochkine, A. (2012a): On the dichotomy of teacher-centred instruction and self-regulated learning in Russian didactics. In: Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, Vol. 15 (3), 555–571. Rakhkochkine, A. (2012b): Probleme internationalen Vergleichens in der Didaktik. In: Pädagogische Rundschau, 66(6), 719–736. Slavin, R.E. (1995): Co-operative Learning: Theory, Research, and Practice. (2nd edition), Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Wilson, L., Andrew, C., & Below, J. (2006). A comparison of teacher/pupil interaction within mathematics lessons in St Petersberg, Russia and North-East of England. British Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 411-441.
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