THE CONTEMPORARY FOLKLORE REVIVAL IN THE MOUNTAIN SCHOOLS OF THE UKRAINIAN CARPATHIANS: EXPERIENCE AND ASSESSMENT
The current state of socio-economic conditions in our country envisages the need for promotingrapid development of the mountain school in Ukrainian Carpathians. The aim is not only highly-educated, intelligent personality capable of using modern devices, but also a person who above all is a patriot and a true lover of the native land, history and traditions, someone who can consciously and responsibly carry out national duties, professional choices and be willing to give huge folk experience of our ancestors to next generations.
Purpose of the article: analyze the features of using ethnographic elements, including folklore, in modernmountain schools of the Ukrainian Carpathians paying attention to some the leading principles of learning (education according to nature, nationality, connection between training and life, etc.).
The main material of research. Ukrainian Carpathians are very similar to Appalachians. However, we have severaldifferent problems in the mountainous region, including problems dealing with education and culture.
Development of mountain schools in the Ukrainian Carpathians is characterized by some specific features: colorful nature of the area contributes to the accumulation of vast experience with man and nature, and as a result old traditions of careful management, spirituality, respectful attitude to the outside world were formed. Sufficiently are preserved traditional folk crafts and trades, progressive religious rituals, folklore, which serves as the key to the harmonious development of the growing personality.
People living in the mountain regions of Ukraine are usually deeply religious, they educate children according to their religious beliefs. Therefore, in the mountain schools of the Ukrainian Carpathians much emphasis is given to teaching Christian ethics and Religion in the educational process of primary school kids for understanding the religious mentality, spiritual formation. In today’s Ukrainian Carpathians we can observe a very interesting social phenomenon – mutual balance of technological rationality and not lost folk spirituality.
The main objective of training students in Carpathian schools today is forming pupils’ respectful attitude to the environment, their social and cultural development based on cognitive-developmental opportunities of the region, orientation on traditional professions encouraging graduates after university studies return and work in their native mountain areas. Today due to employment problems, lack of proper infrastructure, poor roads, and other such factors young people choose to live and work in cities.
The contemporary Ukrainian mountain school has extensive experience in the education children’s social skills alongside with nature, the use of mountain region for rehabilitation and recreation.
Once the Czech educator John Amos Comenius substantiated the principle of education according to the nature. Since the man, as a part of nature, obeys its principal, the universal laws that operate with equal force not only in the world of animals and plants, but also in the world of human beings. Based on this idea, Comenius persuaded that “the exact order of the school need to be borrowed from nature”, and tried to establish patterns of education by analogy with the laws of nature. He said: “Nature is carefully adapted to a convenient time. For example, a bird, ready to propagate the generation, proceeds in this case not in winter, when frost is severe and stiff, and not in summer, when heat weakens everything around, and not in fall when the vitality of everything falls with the sun and winter approaches, which is dangerous for the chicks, but only in spring, when the sun turns around and gives life and vigor”. The scientist carries these provisions to the pedagogical process that require consideration of the natural characteristics of the child. Natural methods of education is designed to combine the natural laws and the laws of teaching. The process involves the following stages of learning, based on the unity of these laws: observation of practical action –practice – ability to independently carry out their performance.
Later on these issues are reflected in pedagogical attitudes of Ukrainian writer and poet Ivan Franko. He noted that the central idea of a perso’’s world is the scientific search for truth because science should teach people to learn the laws of nature, and be able to take advantage of those laws. “There is no knowledge, there is no truth outside nature,” said Ivan Franko.
I. Franko perfectly realized that it was impossible to study society and a person as part of environment without recognizing nature. Today many schools in the Ukrainian Carpathians implement the ideas of education in nature in practice. In the village of Kryvorivnya in Ivano-Frankivsk region Ivan Franko used to stop in a small wooden house. There he noted down local folklore. Today this house is Ivan Franko Museum. The poet was in love with the Ukrainian Carpathians. There he spent a lot of his life time. He noted down local folklore in mountain villages speaking with the native. Then he translated it into 25 foreign languages. At the same time, he wrote a lot of poems based on ethnographic material himsef.
Ivan Franko’s soul mate overseas is considered American writer Thomas E. Wolfe. He majestically described the beauty of Appalachians. Speaking about Thomas E. Wolfe, who displays self-determination both as an artist and as an art educator in an Appalachian region, we attempt to make connections to the influences of culture, social experiences, regional identity, and family traditions that play to his development as an internationally celebrated novelist. His work is valued by his community and his teaching practices helped develop a greater sense of community. Thomas Wolfe had a prolific teaching career that spanned over forty years and his works reflected a rural Appalachian landscape, architecture, and culture.
At the beginning of the XXth century in the U.S. and Europe have spread the ideas of American educator, philosopher and founder of pragmatism education, John Dewey. In his work “My Pedagogical Creed” the scholar paid much attention to the problem of interaction between school, community and environment. He stated that all the social environment of the child affects it, positively helps or makes upbringing difficult. He proved that school is a reduced community in miniature. It is in a mountain school the environment, especially natural or ethnographic, has a powerful influence in shaping the child’s personality.
We believe that maximum consideration of local ethnographic features, and nature of folklore and traditions in particular is an important task of education and development of children and the youth living in the mountainous region. Modeling of social-educational school environment promotes successful socialization and deep knowledge of the environment.
Ideas of education in nature, based on local folklore heritage are reflected in the philosophy of many Ukrainian educators.
Vasyl Sukhomlynskуі is a Ukrainian educator, Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences, honoured teacher of Ukraine. He is also the author of 41 monographs and pamphlets, over 600 articles on educational topics, 1 200 short stories and fairy tales. Sukhomlynskyi’s works are issued in 53 languages, with a circulation of almost 15 million copies. The book “I give my heart to children” has been translated into 30 languages and has 54 editions.
He explained the children that nature itself evokes many emotions, impressions and values. Eminent Ukrainian teacher Vasyl Sukhomlinskyi considers nature the most important source of children’s development. He said “... among nature – rich with vivid images, it seems easier, better to imagine, select the best accurate words.” He encouraged children to explore and create their own folk tales and poems of nature “under the blue sky”. His educational system is based on the idea of “harmony of natural influences.” These are Nature, Work, Empathy, Creativity, Word and Beauty.
Today Ukrainian Carpathian schools have extensive experience of using ethnographic characteristics of local folklore in education.
The pupils of a mountain school situated in the village of Yavoriv, Kosiv district of Ivano-Frankivsk region is very famous in Ukraine and outside it. Its headmaster is the candidate of pedagogical sciences, corresponding member of National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine, national neacher of Ukraine, Petro Losyuk.
Petro Losyuk has got many awards in his life. For his active teaching career in developing mountain school he was awarded with the medal of H. Skovoroda (2011). In 2003 P.Losyuk was a winner of the Regional Prize in Education of M.Stelmahovych, in 2005 - High-Prize of V. Vernadsky, in 2006 he was awarded the Medal of NAPS of Ukraine, and in 2008 the Decree of the President of Ukraine awarded him the honorary title “People’s Teacher of Ukraine,” the honorary award of the International Academic Rating “Golden Fortune”.
The basic idea of modern mountain schools is the extensive use of ethnographic component. First of all much attention is given to Hutsul study (knowledge of Hutsul history, nature and agreeculture, folk art, folklore, customs and traditions). P.Losyuk faced urgent problems of logistics and training to support mountain schools. He was the founder of the “Hutsul School”, and later – a research laboratory “Hutsul ethnopedagogics and hutsul study”. He is also known as the establisher of the project of author mountain school “School of skills” which provides each student with equal access to quality education based on individual characteristics, aptitudes and abilities.
The focus of this school is given to mountain aesthetics and manual study of pupils. In classes children are brought up according to conscious attitude and love of labor. Employment workshops give pupils opportunities to learn the knowledge and skills to handle wood and metal, work with fabrics, grow plants and take care of the animals.
Boys of the 5-9th graders are engaged in joinery, wood carving, senior pupils work on the computer in terms of decoration and aesthetic modeling of products. Girls of the 5-9th graders learn service work and embroidery, seniors make colorful blankets of wool. The peculiarity of the mountain schools in Ukraine is a combination of folklore and work in education, which helps in choosing a future profession.
Modern senior pupils of mountain schools practice excellent decorative woodwork, representing best samples at trade shows and sales. They willingly organize master classes for those who want to learn the crafts. These children often acquire skills even from parents. In this way they attempt to continue family labor dynasties exercising occupations that do not lose their relevance today.
Creative developments of the school organized by P. Losyuk became an object of interest in the Ukrainian American Community (“Hutsuliya”, Chicago, USA).
Leading ideas of development of a mountain rural school in general is consistent with the provisions of Ukrainian and international official documents and materials, “Programs of sustainable mountain development” UN, “Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians” (2003), an international research project “Mountain School: Status. Problems. Prospects of Development”, in the framework of which a scientific-methodical journal “Mountain School of the Ukrainian Carpathians” is published annually (since 2006), the Decree of the President of Ukraine “On the preservation and promotion of Hutsul culture” (2009) and many others.
Mountain School of Ukraine is a continuation of family traditions and folklore, formation of love of country, love for the nation. Another example: the village school of Sadzava, Ivano-Frankivsk region. With the efforts of local residents the Village Ethnographic Museum was established where materials of local history are exhibited in 9 rooms – old tools, musical instruments, articles of clothes, dishes, jewelry, furniture, etc. The interesting fact is, in this museum teachers often conduct lessons of History, Geography, Ethnology, Literature. They encourage pupils to become better acquainted with traditions and the way their ancestors lived.
Modern educators in Western Ukraine actively work in the mainstream of folklore in the Ukrainian mountain schools and their impact on the sustainable development of rural communities. Experts of folk art organize workshops and master classes for children. Pupils learn the art of painting Easter eggs.
An important task of Ukrainian education is to prepare future teachers to work in rural mountain schools, to further the development of folk traditions and their modernization. Therefore, the scientists of Precarpathian National University work at preparation of specialists for teaching in mountain schools.
American scientist John Dewey in the book “Experience and Nature” (1925) describes the idea of rapprochement with nature. According to Dewey’s empirical naturalism, experience is experience of nature, and that it is in nature. Project Method by John Dewey is widely used in work with senior pupils: nature discovering, hiking trips in the mountains.
Climbing to the top of the Ukrainian Carpathians – peak Hoverla – forms pupils’ patriotism. There one can feel special spirit of freedom, the aura of light, goodness, majesty of nature. On top of a mountain every person should sing the national anthem of our country “Ukraine is still alive”.
The excursions and hiking trips are not only informative but also have practical guidance. For example, pupils participate in project activities. The definition of “project” is “five P”: Problem – Planning – Product – Presentation – Portfolio. After synthesis of materials, children are prepared to present the results of their work and create a portfolio of all the topics of educational projects.
In modern pedagogical science and practice project training activities become very popular. The Ukrainian pedagogical institutes and universities entrenched experience of involving students to creating projects “My lineage,” “My Town”, “Traditions of my family,” followed by their presentation. Study of technology of usage projects in education we find extremely positive in terms of pedagogical innovations in ethnic education of future teachers. That means forms of the educational activities of student and teacher who are able to use information and communication means of study. Work at this project provides individual or group collaboration within a specified period. The main feature of the electronic project is its interdisciplinary idea. That is opportunities to improve pupils’ knowledge of various branches of scientific knowledge – language, history, art, culture and more. We believe that the participation of students from different countries in e-learning projects will serve not only enrichment of their knowledge of foreign history and art of different peoples, but will also help improve the foreign language culture, promote the formation of inter-ethnic tolerance and socialization in a multicultural environment.
Today some European educational projects have been successfully implemented. The information space created a large number of projects involving students and teachers around the world to exchange information, develop communicative culture, establishing social contacts, development of multicultural thinking, a sense of relevance of opinion in the globalized world that serve as prerequisites for their development as because of their detachment and reluctance to contact they may communicate through the Internet much easier.
Project activity is widespread in schools of the USA and Canada where almost in every subject pupils get tasks of an applied character that provide for independent group and search activity including through the Internet. The pupils are involved in many electronic projects which are implemented by computers. The given projects are aimed at intellectual development of the pupils, formation of their creative thinking, ability to establish contacts with representatives of other countries and nations with assistance of educational bodies and world international organizations.
Precarpathian National University students participate in folklore projects on the topics “Embroidary of My Land”, “Easter Egg Warms the Universe”, “Wreath is love for life”, “Ukrainian Folk Doll” and others. Such creative works harmonize environmental perception of the objective world.
Today, wreaths of flowers can be bought everywhere in the markets and exhibitions. But Ukrainian mountain school girls learn weaving wreaths mostly by participating in educational and ethnographic studies. Motanka doll is the ancient amulet of a Ukrainian family. Doll – Motanka (or Knot Doll ) is also sacred talisman. It is a Ukrainian folk doll, a symbol of feminine wisdom, family guardian. Motanka differs from the usual toys by absence of face. According to ancient beliefs the soul inspires through the face of a doll, and the soul might be good or evil. That is why Motanka is faceless, instead of the eyes and the mouth there could be a cross – a solar sign, sun sign, a sign of prosperity. It carries and attracts solar energy from all four corners of the world. Motanka carries the warmth of human hands, love and care. It brings solar energy!
New knowledge of Ukrainian folklore and ethnography, acquired in summer mountain schools, will be the basis for future students research works. Interesting, exciting excursions expand horizons of young people. They learn about Hutsuls’ life, work, and art, improve their knowledge of historical and architectural heritage of the region.
Conclusions. Consequently, the use of folklore in modern Ukrainian Carpathian mountain school serves as a means of development of students’ national values and feelings of respect and honor of their ancestors’ customs and traditions. Folklore should be handed down from one generation to another, undergo revival and qualitative transformations in the contemporary world.
The important task of preparation of future teachers of elementary grades to social and educational activity in mountain conditions we determine to be the formation in an educational institution of positive social and educational environment, the principle functions of which are: diagnostic-and-forecasting function, fulfillment of social defence of a student, assistance in social adaptation, provision of social guarantees of professional training of a future pedagogue as an individual and a professional, development of priority personal values of a future teacher personality and provision of interaction with the community.
Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences,
Senior Research Fellow,
Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian
Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences,
Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian