Education as system of standards
The contradictions between formal and informal education seem to be born with the education itself. FROM `en_en_my` point of view these contradictions are not antagonistic: formal and informal education can constitute consecutive parts of one and the same process.
The value of this attitude is evident if we treat education as a system of standards. The usual methods and methodological material, which are inseparable part of the formal education, are nothing but a certain system of standards that regulate the demands of the society (state) to the educational system and the volume of knowledge the students are expected to get during the process of education. Without such, teachers could express themselves in an exceedingly free way. Imagine, if a teacher would teach mathematics based on the roman counting system and offer physics theory based on the antique theories about interplay of the three elements “fire-air-water”. In this respect it has an obvious advantage.
But the system of standards in education is static in its nature, like any other system of standards and it failed to keep up with dynamic development of the knowledge system. It always stays behind the knowledge that the human kind had time to get. At the constant, speeding up development of science and knowledge storage the standard educational method cannot provide for all the information within reasonable timeframe. To break through these time limitations we have to break through the taken standards of formal education. Usually it means appearance of new, non-standard methods.
Creation of these methods and methodologies is a creative innovation. Those who support the formal education change their attitude to any creative innovation, including this one, within three stages. The scientific folklore characterizes them as follows:
First stage can be characterized by the words “It’s an insane idea” or “it can not be because it can never be!”. This stage is most difficult for a creative personality (or a collective) as it combines the creative preferences difficulties with the difficulties of finding misunderstanding and rejection by the social environment.
Second stage is characterized by the words “there is something in that” Then the idea gets its chance to continue its life.
The third stage is characterized by the words “It’s so simple!”. But there is also a danger that when creative personality is substituted for, the “ mere mechanical” attitude of the new comers can destroy the creative essence of the idea. Sometimes the authors have to spend quite some time and strength to overcome this process.
The informal method that managed to survive all of the three stages, having proves its life force and advantage finds its application and finally, becomes traditional. Further on, this method is included into the education system standards, i.e. becomes part of the formal education.
If we compare education system with a growing tree, then formal system would stand for the trunk, while informal would be represented by a young branches. Tomorrow these young branches would become real wood and constitutes part of the trunk which in turn would be the base for the new branches to appear. Considering the endless process of the knowledge search and storage, the cooperation of formal and informal education should be seen as endless as well.
Today we call virtual interactive methods informal. It is said that the contemporaries can hardly assess the ideas as it requires a long historical interval. But there already was a great leap in the quality of education. First one was connected to the transference FROM `en_en_the` roman counting system to the system of decades, second – virtual method of education. It seems sometimes that virtual form of education can substitute the traditional dialogue between a teacher and a pupil. There is a certain danger in that. It can definitely speed up the process in teaching mathematics, but can be successfully applied in teaching terrorist methods. That’s why it is important to keep an eye on it, in whose hands this powerful instrument is and which purposes it serves. No PC can explain better than a teacher what is god and what is bad. It proves that the virtual educational methods and the teacher-student dialogue do not contradict. On the contrary they are parts of one and the same process. (though it requires a higher level of teachers’ qualifications but it is another problem).
I would like to mention another point in virtual education. The virtual education systems are based on questions and already prepared list of answers. It lets a student absorb a large amount of information within short time but it does not contribute to the creative thinking development, as it requires the skill of posing questions and finding answers for them and solve the tasks that the students set themselves. This contradiction is easy to avoid if a teacher is still a key figure in the formulation of the creative thinking. But he has to be well skilled and prepared and apply virtual methods of education, so that students will get the necessary volume of knowledge.
We may come to the conclusion about dialectic correlation between traditional (formal)and non traditional (informal) methods of education. The first can be introduced as educational standard system and the second – as the system that would improve those standards and help them keep up with the present level of knowledge.
Progressive Research Institute of Arkada