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Makarenko, Anton (1888-1939)


An article written by G.N. Filonov 

The establishment and development of educational theory and the education system in the USSR was closely bound up with the scientific creativity and practical labours of an outstanding group of Soviet educators. Pride of place among the educators who fought actively to establish democratic ideas and principles in educational theory and practice belongs to Anton Makarenko (1888-1939); his name rightly figures high among the world’s great educators, and his books, published in editions of millions on all the continents of the globe, enjoy enormous popularity in the widest circles. Makarenko’s work is the subject of research in many countries of the world and efforts are made to apply his ideas creatively in the education of children today. On the other hand, it still happens—and not infrequently—that, in specialist and popular literature alike, the ‘Makarenko phenomenon’ is explained in a one-sided or sometimes erroneous manner.

For some reason, certain foreign students of Makarenko’s life and work consider that he was a ‘self-taught genius’, and portray his educational system without any reference to its historical links with the progressive education of past and present. This is to some extent due to the fact that in his published and widely known works, Makarenko himself makes comparatively few direct references to his attitude towards the world educational heritage and to his contemporary fellow-educators in the Soviet Union and abroad. The most recent Soviet research, however, based on documentary evidence, shows that despite his extremely modest origins and the difficult circumstances of his early years (his father was a painter and decorator and he himself began to work at the age of 17 as a teacher in an elementary school for the children of railway-workers), Makarenko was deeply versed in the history of education. Many important principles which he established theoretically and proved in practice are the development of the ideas of Pestalozzi, Owen, Usinskij, Dobroljubov and other distinguished past proponents of democratic education in the world.

Examination of hitherto unpublished literary, promotional and educational writings by Makarenko, and of notes and documents from the educational establishments that he directed, provides further confirmation of the unwavering attention which Makarenko devoted to the works of the leading Soviet educators of his age -N.K. Krupskaya, A.V. Lunacarskij, P.P. Blonskij, S.T. Sackij and others. Before the Revolution, and especially in the Soviet period, his general philosophy and educational views were enormously influenced by the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin, and by the writings of the outstanding humanist Maxim Gorky. Attempts to portray this most eminent Soviet educator as an isolated ‘peak in an empty plain’ are thus quite unjustifiable.

Equally untrue are the claims by some students of Makarenko’s work that his activities and ideas were for a long time isolated from the world of education and from progressive society in general. Even before the Second World War, during Makarenko’s lifetime, his vitally positive and optimistic ideas influenced such educators as Korcak and Freinet, who—like Makarenko himself—have since acquired worldwide renown, while Fucik, Herriot and many of the distinguished foreigners who visited the Soviet Union during the 1930s noted the outstanding results produced by the teaching methods practised at the F.E. Dzerzinskij Commune, of which he was the director. 1

Makarenko’s experience and theoretical legacy have lost none of their relevance for the teaching of young people today.

Makarenko’s outstanding educational work at the Gorky Colony (1920-28) and at the Dzerzinskij Commune (1927-35) likewise cannot be dissociated from the activities during the 1920s of schools and other educational establishments headed by such eminent and talented teachers as Sackij, Pistrak, Pogrebinskij and Soroka-Rosinskij. One must not, of course, underestimate the originality of Makarenko’s work and educational ideas. As we have said, he started along his creative path in the company of other educationists who had affirmed, in theory and in practice, the idea of a unified education based on work. Nevertheless, his ideas on many questions relating to the theory and methods of communist education went beyond current thinking and looked to the future of socialist education and teaching, noting the problems that would occur in their subsequent development.

Among the current problems of socialist education in which Makarenko’s theories exercise an important influence are the relationship between education and politics and between education and the other sciences, the logic of educational theory, the essence of education, the relationship between educational theory and practice, the role of education in the creation of lifestyles, parallel educational activity, and the integration of education with everyday life.

Makarenko’s ideas concerning the relationship between education and other disciplines, whether in the humanities (philosophy, ethics, aesthetics and psychology), or in the natural sciences (biology and physiology) deserve serious attention. More particularly, his far-reaching investigation of the essentials of a new, socialist pattern of moral and ethical relations led him to enunciate this very important idea: make as many demands as possible on a man, and at the same time show him as much respect as possible. This idea is occasionally criticized by some modern educators for putting the principle of demanding something of people in such a prominent position in the ‘demand-respect’ dyad. Makarenko himself pointed out that from a genuinely humanitarian point of view, respect for and demands on a person were not separate categories and attitudes, but were dialectically related facets of an indivisible whole.

Makarenko’s views on the nature of the relationship between education and psychology, biology and—more specifically—physiology are extremely important in tackling the theoretical problems of education, as is his associated criticism of the methodological ideas of paedology.

As we know, paedology laid claim to being the fundamental Marxist science of children, supposedly using the combined evidence of all the social and natural sciences about the formation of the young person. The science of education, on the other hand, was assigned the role of a purely applied, technical discipline which, on the basis of the theoretical material of paedology, was expected to issue recommendations regarding actual teaching methods in school. In a number of his books and lectures (including Report to the Ukrainian Educational Research Institute, 1928; Experience of Working Methods in a Children’s Labour Colony, 1931-32; Teachers Shrug Their Shoulders, 1932) Makarenko criticized the sociology- and biology-based ideas of paedologists, with their vulgar notions of the ‘primacy’ of environment and inheritance and their appeals for the passive following of what they termed the ‘nature of the child’, associating them with the theorists of ‘free education’. He further criticized paedocentrism and underestimation of the educational role of the teacher and the children’s collective and of the emerging personality’s own activity.

While fighting for a purpose-oriented education that would shape man and be answerable to society for the results, Makarenko did not repeat the limited views of French materialists who contended that ‘education is all’. In Makarenko’s view, the power of education in a socialist society was increasing with the skilful use by teaching specialists of advances in psychology, biology, medicine and all the human sciences, which were required to play an auxiliary role in the practical organization of the educational process and in educational research. The problem of educational logic was held by Makarenko to be closely bound up with a grasp of the essence of education.

Calling education ‘the most dialectical science’, he worked on the assumption that: 2 education is a process that is social in the broadest sense….With all the highly complex world of ambient activity, the child enters into an infinite number of relationships, each of which constantly develops, interweaves with other relationships and is compounded by the child’s own physical and moral growth. All this ‘chaos’ is seemingly quite unquantifiable but nevertheless gives rise at each particular instant to definite changes in the personality of the child.

To direct and control this development is the task of the teacher.3

This understanding of the essence of the educational process also prompted Makarenko’s criticism of the illogicalities of traditional educational theory as reflected in mistakes of the deductive prediction, isolated means and ethical fetishism types. This gave rise to the now classical statement: the dialectical character of educational action is so great that no single means can be projected as positive if its action is not controlled by all the other means simultaneously applied….An individual means may always be both positive and negative, the decisive point being not its direct logic but the logic and action of the entire system of harmoniously organized means.4

Makarenko’s tenets of educational logic are becoming particularly relevant now that an integrated approach is being applied to the educational process as a whole, this approach being based on an understanding of the process of education as a complex dialectical whole made up of mutually complementary components and fashioned into an orderly, harmoniously functioning system as a result of the purposeful endeavours of educators drawing upon knowledge of the general objective principles governing the formation of the personality.

Also of particular current interest are Makarenko’s views regarding the relation of educational theory and practice in a socialist system of education: ‘I consider that we are living in an age where practical workers are making remarkable amendments to the premises of the different sciences.’5 The habitual involvement of the working public in the practical construction of socialism through the use of scientific advances, which in Makarenko’s time was a mere project, has of course become the general rule in today’s developed socialist society. Having accurately observed this trend, Makarenko sharply reacted against attempts by paedologists to deduce particular principles about the development of the child’s personality from general sociological, psychological, biological and other assumptions not put to the test of experience. ‘A basis for…an educational law’, he wrote, ‘should be provided by the induction of total experience. Only total experience, verified as it progresses and in respect of its results, and only the comparison of integral complexes of experience can provide us with the material for selection and decision.’6 At the same time, Makarenko by no means regarded the role of induction in learning the laws of education as exclusive and universal, but only something linked with deduction. In educational research, ‘as in any other area,’ he continued, ‘experience arises from deductive conclusions, which are significant well beyond the initial instant of experience and remain guiding principles throughout’.7

Of exceptional interest to the modern theory and practice of education are those ideas of Makarenko’s that have become known in educational literature as ‘ideas about the unity of a child’s education and life’ and ‘education by parallel activity’. As a matter of fact, they could be merged in the general issue of ‘way of life and education’. It has long been a tenet of traditional educational theory worldwide that the chief educator of man is life itself, and this fundamentally materialistic notion served as a basis for the principle of conformity to nature in teaching and education (Jan Komenski, Johann Pestalozzi, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Diesterweg). It stands to Makarenko’s credit alone, however, that he actually established a system of education built upon the educationally effective organization of the entire life of the pupils. In this he was not passively following the ‘nature of the child’ but was aiming for the maximum development of each individual so as to produce a strong and creative personality prepared for life in every way.

Observing the unprecedented increase in the educational opportunities offered by every aspect of the way of life of children and young people in the Soviet Union, Makarenko urged that there should be no waiting for life itself to yield its fruits spontaneously in the form of the people 3 necessary to society, but that not only the instruction and work but the entire life of the younger generation should be organized within an integral educational process. This idea found a clear practical application in the life of the educational institutions that he directed. The objective features of present and future Soviet general education—as reflected in the transition to universal compulsory secondary education, implementation of the principle of combining education with labour and varied creative activity for children, the prospect of single-shift studies in all schools and the consequent possibility of meeting the public’s needs regarding the organization of extended and full-day activity—make it possible to assert that the pre-conditions genuinely exist for the widespread and constructive application in schools of the idea for the educationally effective organization of every aspect of children’s lives, which is one of the central ideas in Makarenko’s legacy.

While stressing the importance of Makarenko’s contribution to the elucidation of a number of problems concerning educational methods, it must be noted that this aspect of his scientific work needs deeper and more comprehensive analysis. This mainly concerns the nature of Makarenko’s contribution to the elucidation of the methodological problems of the educational collective and methods of organizing the educational process.

In this connection, it should be noted that the very term ‘educational collective’ is directly associated with Makarenko’s name and has now gained wide recognition in progressive education.

Makarenko examined such aspects of the educational collective as unity of external and internal relations, and the organizational structure of the collective, with its traditions, style and tone. In the life of the educational collective Makarenko included all relations and types of activities that were typical of a democratic society. Of great topical interest are his ideas regarding the development of the educational functions of the collective and its transformation from an object of the activities of educators into an actively operating agent organizing its own life.

These assumptions join up with the views expressed by Makarenko regarding the unity of the methods of educating and those of studying children. The traditional assumption in the past was that only when the child had first been studied could he be educated. New social conditions and the new challenges facing education have forced substantial changes in these ideas. Where Makarenko played a pioneering part was in his idea of studying children in the process of being educated, a process involving the active transformation of their way of life and influencing their consciousness, feelings and conduct. In this case, the functions of studying the children’s collective and the personality and individuality of the individual child become part and parcel of the actual methods of education. It is wrong, incidentally, to make out that Makarenko regarded the collective as a mere instrument of mass education; the unity of education through collective and individual action is a distinctive feature of his educational system.

Some students of the experience and theoretical views of Makarenko narrow down his understanding of the essence of the educational collective by focusing only on the criterion of togetherness, that is, the direct association between pupils within the collective. Makarenko indeed attached definite importance to intra-collective association and to intra-collective relations in the formation of the pupil’s personality. In his early years of work in the Gorky Colony he even somewhat exaggerated the importance of togetherness for creating the ethos of the collective, and he himself made reference to this at a later stage. But Makarenko viewed intra-collective association in conjunction with the collective’s external links, to the wealth and variety of which he attached the utmost importance. The external links of the collective with a wider society, provide, in Makarenko’s view, the main source of those influences that are necessary to the full development of each individual. The root of a man’s formation should be the life of society in all its varied manifestations. Association and relations within the collective represent a distinctive ‘mechanism’ for processing information arriving from outside, a ‘mechanism’ that helps each individual to react selectively to the influences of the outside world and to form within himself typical and individual personality traits. In just such an approach lies the key to Makarenko’s ideas about the collective as 4 a method ‘which, being general and unique, at the same time provides an opportunity for each separate personality to develop its own specific features and maintain its individuality’.8

The attempt is sometimes made to interpret Makarenko’s ideas about the formation of the personality in the collective as an encouragement to suppress the freedom of the child and subordinate him unconditionally to the demands and will of the collective. Such an interpretation seems to be an extremely one-sided depiction of the relations that actually existed between the collective and the individual personality in Makarenko’s experience. In conflict situations, when the collective clashed with an individual opposed to the opinion of the community, ignoring his obligations in the collective, being capricious and trying to put anarchy in the place of discipline, the question of coercion did indeed arise. In these situations as well, however, reaction to the individual was humane and based on the unity of showing respect and making demands. In normal circumstances in the usual educational process, relations between the collective and the individual were built on the unity of their interests and defence by the collective of the rights of each pupil.

The older and stronger could not harm the younger and weaker. Such was the firm tradition of the collective and anyone contravening it bore the weight of common reprobation. Not only therefore did the collective not suppress but it genuinely promoted the freedom of each emergent person.

Makarenko assigned a special place in the life of the educational collective to labour, combined with instruction in the fundamentals of science and a broad socio-political and moral education. His basic ideas regarding labour education may be summarized as follows: Labour becomes an effective means of communist education only when it forms a part of the general educational process; at the same time, this has no meaning unless all children and adolescents are involved in types of socially useful work suited to their age.

There must be a combination of such types of work as: compulsory participation in self-help and productive labour organized on the most modern technical basis possible; selectively performed creative technical work; and unpaid work for the common good. Only when all the above types of work are combined in the educational process do children and adolescents acquire the whole range of attitudes that permit a balanced, genuinely free development of the personality.

The pupils’ labour collective and its constituent bodies and representatives must to an ever-increasing degree be given the role of responsible organizers of their own labour activity, and a decisive role in matters of profit distribution and wages, in the use of a wide range of material and moral incentives, and in the organization of consumption.

At the same time, a critical look needs to be taken at the assertion by some specialists that Makarenko’s experience provides a model for the organization of the educational process in which the costs of education are met out of profits from the pupils’ productive work. Makarenko was never in favour of the school ‘paying its way’, and he took the view that the most important thing was that the life of the collective should be organized in an educationally sound fashion so as to allow the personality to develop in a full and harmonious way. The economic results of the pupils’ activity were subordinate to that requirement. The fact that the pupils in the Gorky Colony and the Dzerzinskij Commune did four hours of productive work per day was regarded by Makarenko as a measure made necessary by the particular difficulties of the USSR in the period following the civil war. He considered that the amount of time allotted to labour should not be out of proportion to the amount of time spent on study, sport, art, games and social activity, while the economic effect of the pupils’ labour should lie in their familiarization with production relations, distribution and consumption patterns, but by no means in paying their own way’.

Nowadays, the ‘number one problem’ is how to provide pupils in general schools with labour training and education for life, to teach them how to make an informed choice of a career that will suit their individual inclinations and abilities and also match the demands of society. In such circumstances, this part of Makarenko’s legacy is assuming an extremely important role, both as regards the practical side of schoolchildren’s labour associations and, in particular, we suggest, as regards the organization of the corresponding educational research. 5

Makarenko was one of the first Soviet educators to urge that the activities of various educational institutions—i.e., the school, the family, clubs, public organizations, production collectives and the community existing at the place of residence—should be integrated. In this connection, he laid special emphasis on the leading role of the school as an educational and methods center having the most highly qualified and proficient educational staff.

Some contemporary researchers are over-literal in repeating individual thoughts of Makarenko about the school as a mono-collective, universalizing his idea of associations of different age-groups of children and adolescents, and trying to copy specific organizational forms peculiar to the experience of the Gorky Colony and the Dzerzinskij Commune. It should be remembered that Makarenko himself drew attention to the need to use educational methods that related to the actual circumstances in which the educational process was being organized. The working conditions of modern general schools and other educational institutions naturally call to a great extent for a method other than that followed by Makarenko in the colony and the commune.

As he noted, ‘Other experience is possible and, had I had it, I would perhaps think differently.’9

This remark by Makarenko must be borne in mind today when we analyze particular educational works of his. The thoughtful reader of today must be taught to distinguish what in these works is still of lasting significance, reflecting general principles of educational theory and method, and what bears the hallmark of Makarenko’s period, being relevant only to those specific conditions which were the background to his experience.

One particular question to be considered is what should be thought of Makarenko’s literary works, and chiefly the three that have gained the widest readership: The Road to Life, Learning to Live and A Book for Parents. It would, of course, be wrong to draw a strict dividing line between Makarenko’s literary writings and his purely educational works in the form of articles, lectures and talks. Their ideological, educational and conceptual basis is identical, as is the aim assigned to them by the author himself, namely the education of a genuinely free and happy person. In addition, there are pages in Makarenko’s literary works where he rises to the heights of scientific educational thinking. At the same time, if we regard the literary heritage of Makarenko as factual material describing his working experience in the Gorky Colony and the Dzerzinskij Commune, we must remember that in The Road to Life, Learning to Live and other books the real facts are often generalized, displaced in time and sometimes interwoven with the author’s imagination. His literary works, therefore, usually do not provide a strictly scientific and objective basis for studying the real facts of his educational practice. This does not, of course, detract either from their literary value or from their importance to us as indicators of Makarenko’s educational ideas and his general philosophy.

One important function of educational science is to direct practical work not towards the slavish copying of specific forms of educational activity, but towards the creative application of the main ideas of eminent bygone educators, both in the conditions actually found in the modern school and family and in the activities of clubs and voluntary organizations, labour collectives and other social educational institutions. For instance, the experience and ideas of Makarenko have now become especially topical again in connection with the development of self-government, as has his understanding of the role of the most active members in the collective of an educational establishment. Attention must obviously be focused in this connection not on such specific forms of work as the system of reports and rosters in the commune, the activity of the Council of Commanders, and the various standing and temporary commissions, but on such fundamental principles as the involvement of all pupils without exception, including juniors, in various organizational functions in primary and general collectives, and the conferment of real responsibility on the collective and its subsidiary bodies for the decisions taken, for their implementation and for the monitoring of that implementation.

It may today legitimately be maintained that a more thorough and scientifically based approach is needed to Makarenko’s ideas. This is because the progress made by the socialist 6 education system and educational theory since Makarenko’s day enables a more objective answer to be given to the question of the enduring ideological substance of those ideas.

While not setting out to make a detailed critical analysis of modern works on Makarenko, we must just point out that the formation of Makarenko’s ideas was a lengthy and complex process of creative quests and fortunate discoveries. At the same time, he had to overcome those mistakes and aberrations that are inevitable in the life of anyone who does not follow the beaten track but boldly makes his own way towards the truth.

The emergence and development of Makarenko’s educational system was not until recently the subject of any special historical and educational research. It would be wrong to suppose that back in the pre-revolutionary period or even in the early years following the October Socialist Revolution Makarenko had fully come into his own as an outstanding educator of our times. There had, for example, been elements of pupil self-government in his teaching experience before the Revolution. However, in the difficult early years of work in the Gorky Colony Makarenko basically cultivated only the active participation of a few senior, most authoritative colony members, on whom he relied when organizing the collective. Such an approach inevitably led to the formation in the collective of ‘active’ and ‘passive’ elements, as is also frequently the case in modern educational practice. And only in the second half of the 1920s did Makarenko begin to develop the activities of the general assembly of colony members, which became the supreme collective organ of self-government, giving practically every colony member a hand in organizing the manifold affairs of the collective.

Experience with the development of a real collective also led Makarenko to hit on the form of organization consisting of composite ad hoc groups of pupils set up to perform specific items of socially useful work. The leaders of such groups (detachments) were as a rule chosen from those who were not normally considered as ‘active’ pupils. This gradually made it possible to involve everyone in running the collective and in leadership, and at the same time it bypassed the privileges of the elective body and prevented its members from coming to think that they belonged to an élite.

In this way, the organization of the life of the pupil collective assumed a genuinely democratic and, at the same time, human character.

The present exceptional interest in Makarenko’s ideas may be explained by the fact that his experience and theoretical views are highly relevant to those tasks with which Soviet education is concerned in practice today. This gives modern Makarenko studies not just an academic but an applied and operative character. In the first ten to fifteen years after Makarenko’s death many practising educators were basically attracted only by specific details of his educational technique, and the application in schools of his ideas was mainly confined to imitation of individual outward manifestation of his system. In recent decades, however, there has been an ever more persevering and widespread endeavour on the part of creative practising teachers to penetrate the substance of the theory and method of the educational collective, and the methods and procedures that have emerged from its educational experience.

The creative application of Makarenko’s ideas in individual schools had taken place even earlier. For example, in School No. 12 of the city of Krasnodar, the director of which for over thirty years was F.F. Brjuhoveckij, an eminent teacher and candidate of pedagogical sciences, the work of unifying, moulding and educating teachers and pupils alike was marked by the conscious application of a number of principles of Makarenko’s system: development of self-government; cultivation of traditions of collective life; unity of the learning, labour, social, aesthetic and sporting activities of pupils in and out of school and in clubs at the place of residence. There are a number of examples of such schools, each of which found its own approach to the application of Makarenko’s ideas in the education of children and adolescents. In the last twenty years, however, the use of these ideas in modern educational practice has taken on new features.

The most notable factor is the widespread character of this movement. Many educational collectives in the Rostov, Voronezh and Lvov regions, the Stavropol territory and such major cities 7 as Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev are carrying out a select programme of varied work based on the study and creative practical application of the ideas of Makarenko. In this creative educational activity there is no set pattern and no move towards unification. Many Moscow schools, for instance, are devoting special attention to development of collective learning by pupils; in Stavropol schools, well-deserved recognition has been bestowed on the activities of pupils’ labour associations; and in schools in the Voronezh and Lvov regions, hobby clubs for children and young people have been extremely successful. At the same time, this selective approach to the use of Makarenko’s ideas in modern education does not lead to any one-sided copying of his system, or individual components of it, and their exaggerated development. Modern education is marked on the whole by a striving towards variety in the content and form of the educational process, with abundant methods of controlling the process.

Another feature of modern Makarenko studies in the Soviet Union is the study and application of Makarenko’s ideas in close conjunction with the traditional and modern heritage of domestic and world educational theory. The experience and ideas of Makarenko can only be truly understood and really creatively assimilated if account is taken of their historical roots, their origin and the fullness of their ties with school and educational science in Makarenko’s time, and their influence on the subsequent development of educational theory and practice.

It is also important to note that modern Makarenko scholarship is, as we understand it, not so much the activity of a comparatively restricted circle of professionally concerned educators and researchers as the large-scale creative work of teachers, students and broad social groups, which include: Makarenko detachments of young workers, employees, students and senior schoolchildren helping to organize the leisure time of children and adolescents at home; Makarenko branches of the educational community familiarizing a mass audience of parents with the ideas of that eminent worker for socialist education; and school clubs, museums and other independent associations bearing Makarenko’s name.

A prerequisite for the success of such a large-scale, creative and social educational movement is of course professional research work proper, involving the search for new sources, textual analysis and a thorough study of all the facts helping us to understand and explain the origin of Makarenko’s educational system, together with its formation and development in changing historical circumstances. It must be remembered, however, that if it is confined to a narrow circle of specific scientific interests and does not have many links with practical matters and life, such research work may turn into fruitless scholasticism and abstract theorizing. The unity of theory and practice was the most important methodological principle of Makarenko’s entire system. It also remains an unchanging condition for the success of that varied activity of researchers, practising educators and society at large, who together are engaging in a creative quest under modern conditions—but based on Makarenko’s principles—aimed at improving the modern educational process.

There is a need for further creative study of Makarenko’s ideas and for the preparation for publication of archive material which has not yet been fully circulated and which throws light on many important problems of educational theory and practice. A start has been made on preparation of a new scholarly edition of the collected works of Makarenko, which it is intended to complete for the centenary of his birth; and basic research has been undertaken on the experience and views of the outstanding Soviet educator as an integral part of the experience of Soviet education and educational theory as a whole. Nothing of all this detracts, however, from the importance of what has already been done as regards making varied use of his experience and his literary and scientific works in order to improve socialist educational science.

As shown by recent research in the Soviet Union, by A.A. Frolov, F.I. Naumenko and others, there is still a great deal of unpublished Makarenko material. There are many dozens of documents concerning Makarenko in the Central State Archives of Literature and Art of the USSR. Makarenko material is also to be found in the archives of Moscow, Kiev, Kharkov, Poltava 8 and Kremenchug, and in major libraries and museums. In conjunction with the published works of Makarenko, the vast amount that has been written about his life and activity, and special research, this new material enables a more thorough study of his legacy to be continued.10

At the same time, new research by Makarenko specialists in no way reduces the significance of what has been done earlier in this area. An important contribution has been made by students of the practice and theory of Makarenko such as I.F. Kozlov, A.G. Ter-Gevondjan, E.N.

Medynskij, N.A. Ljalin and V.A. Suhomlinskij. Constructive work has been done in this respect by the staff of the laboratory of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, who included I.A. Kairov, G.S.  Makarenko, V.E. Gmurman, M.D. Vinogradova and a number of other scholars specializing in education. Equally important is the investigation of specific problems of educational theory and method directly connected with the creative legacy of Makarenko. This concerns problems of school discipline (E.I. Monoszon, L.E. Raskin), the collective and school self-management (T.E.  Konnikova, V.M. Korotov, S.A. Mal’kova, L.I. Novikova) and many others. Emphasis must finally be laid on the enormous interest and importance attaching to study of the experience and theoretical works of Makarenko abroad, in countries with differing social and political systems and their own traditions regarding the education of children and young people, and a host of differing conceptions with regard to educational theory. This growing interest is one sign of the undeniable trend towards closer contact between people and state systems in the modern world, a matter in which both science and art have a pre-eminent part to play.


  1. This profile was first published in Prospects, vol. 11, no. 3, 1981, under the title ‘The Educator Marenko.’
  2. G.N. Folinov (Russian Federation). Ph.D. Member of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences and member of the editorial board of the review Pedagogika. For more than twenty years he was a member of UNESCO’s International Jury on Literary Prizes. His numerous publications have been concerned with human beings in a changing world and relations between the individual and society. Recent publications in Russian include Educating the Pupil’s Personality (1985) and Educating Citizens at School (1990).
  3. Anton Makarenko, Collected Works in Seven Volumes, 2nd ed., Vol. IV, p. 20, Moscow, 1957.
  4. Anton Makarenko, Collected Educational Works in Two Volumes, Vol. I, p. 258.
  5. Ibid., p. 261.
  6. Ibid., p. 13.
  7. Ibid., p. 14.
  8. Ibid., p. 37.
  9. Ibid., p. 73.
  10. See A.A. Frolov, ‘Unpublished Archive Material as a Source for Study of the Experience and Theoretical Views of A.S. Makarenko’, in Pedagogiceskoe nasledie A.S. Makarenko i sovremennaja skola [The Educational Legacy of A.S. Makarenko and Modern Education], p. 81-6, Voronezh, 1981.


The following text was originally published in

Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education

(Paris, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education), vol. XXIV, no. 1/2, 1994, p. 77-91.

©UNESCO: International Bureau of Education, 2000

This document may be reproduced free of charge as long as acknowledgement is made of the source.


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