Contemporary trends in development of theoretical and educational environment of physical culture


Yu.M. Nikolaev, professor, Dr.Hab.
P.F. Lesgaft National research university of physical culture, sport and health, St.Petersburg

Key words: modern theory of physical culture, new mental activity, theoretical and educational environment of physical culture.

Nowadays the necessity of changing social consciousness is getting more urgent. Every epoch gives rise to its specific mindset, designs innovative knowledge to be based on the integration of the knowledge accumulated by humanity from the second half of the XX century to the contemporary achievements.

The purpose of the study was to make a theoretical and methodological analysis of the problems of formation of a new culturally conformable mental activity in the sphere of physical culture and sports education.

The modern TPC is a self-sufficient, integrative theory of abstract type (with L.P. Matveev himself not denying its existence, calling it a "formal abstract theory"), which forms, in relation to this type of culture, a new theoretical and methodological culturological mental activity of people. It's a theory (through its specific culturological categorical conceptual framework as well as its culturological content), which pertains to the "human spirit", one's "inner world", changing their system of mentality over physical education. A theory of methodology and culturological mentality when it comes to our area of activity, and one so significant for man that its importance cannot been realized, in our time, in the sphere of physical culture and physical education. It provides a systematic exposition of the methodology’s development in relation to the science pertaining to human physical perfection, and not the amount of knowledge accumulated regarding the increasingly evident transformation of human corporeality.

Nowadays, at the beginning of the XXI century, the century of the "civilization of intellectuality and information", in our opinion, the existing textbooks, in spite of, in general, the sufficient and good-quality information contained in them (extracted, as a matter of fact, mostly in the range of 60s - 80s of the XX century), their own structure, content and semantic character (given that the basis of their name is the term "culture"), do not match the realities of the XXI century completely, the era in which the substantial strengthening of the culture-related, humanistic and methodological features appears as the leading tendency in terms of the development of education as a whole. Yet, they underlie - as we speak - the preparation procedures of the scientific-pedagogical personnel, for whom a considerable volume of work in the sphere of physical culture lies ahead, at least until the middle of the XXI century, but still in educational institutions of the university type that are simply oriented to creating promising models of physical culture and sport development, aimed at the future. An essential reconsideration of the material in the textbooks as to T (and methodology) PC is necessary.

However, this does not mean that the informative material of these textbooks (extracted earlier by well-known scientists of our area of activity) will not be used further. That's not it. Having played a "stimulating and provocative" role in these four decades (just with its name theory and methodology of physical culture), it will, undoubtedly, be in demand, but mostly in new theoretical constructions, which are actively developing at the moment at the theoretical and educational environment of physical culture. All that is needed is to set the new image of this environment prominently before us and combine it with the old, and often pretty sufficient, knowledge coming from these textbooks in a way that they haven't been combined before. The result might reveal a whole new perception of this environment and knowledge coming from it. Therefore, it is possible that many materials of existing T (and methodology) FC, while they could be used in a substantially modernized view, they could possibly also be used in an unaltered one. We must not rule out the possibility that something would be omitted, if it hasn't been tested by time and practice. Indeed, the dynamic of the cultural processes' development is characterized by the fact that "the past isn't going away without a trace"; it's not "replaced" with the present, but continues in it, while simply getting transformed, renewed, changing its form, and taking other shapes" [2, p.37]. And that's exactly how things are, since every theory is, actually, constantly developing knowledge.

This is especially true today, when there is a real possibility of introducing students into the teaching process of the modern TPC (fundamentally different from the existing theory and methodology/ PC), which is a really world-outlook methodological basis of reassessing professional and general education of physical culture. And so, as indicated before [10], this theory:

- is on the front burner for the modern physical culture education as part of the whole;

- bears a theoretical and abstract, self-sufficient, integrative (and not cumulative) character;

- has its own conceptual and methodological framework;

- is based on a deeper understanding of physical culture's essence;

- generates new culturological mentality into scientific and teaching personnel;

- is the methodological basis for the modernization of the entire theoretical and educational environment of physical culture;

- revolutionizes the whole physical culture and sports practice;

- eliminates the old type of thinking.

All the above lead to the methodological, structural and mental-semantic reconstruction of the informative material in the theoretical and educational environment of physical culture. And the coming second decade of the XXI century (2011-2020), which has already begun, probably can be marked as a "systematic-implementing" one when, actually, specific results can and must be achieved through the systematic alteration of methodological positions of the modern TPC. As to the given pedagogical plan, the implementation of a series of interlinked theoretical aspects, which have an essential significance for the actual practice, is of extreme importance.

A significant focus on the plans of research scientific work (including those at the federal level) regarding the matter of "Theoretical-methodological fundamentals of the formation of physical culture and sport", as it is determinative for the progressive development of our area of activity (and at the same time, the least developed).

We have previously pointed out [7] that we don't "excel" in the sphere of mass physical culture, but "concede" to the main sports competitors of top achievements (teams of China, the United States, the UK, Germany, etc.), in spite of the enumeration and aparithmesis of a large number of entirely justified factors (causes), mainly in a methodological sense (if the organization form of people's mental activity and, on this basis, their balanced vital activity are comprehended under methodology).

It is reasonable that the reform of any system (including physical culture) starts with a rational theoretical suggestion of it (shifting, at first, human awareness), rather than an attempt of "violent", forced introduction of it to someone's life. Except for this number one ("imposing") component, all efforts are oriented at the federal level in the ascending order: financing of the field of physical culture, creation of a material and technical basis and the "percentage" of those engaged (that, of course, must be given the greatest and thorough attention) can be and, most likely, will prove to be insufficiently effective.

By that means, in the modern age, the priority needs to be principally given to the theory and methodology of development of physical education and sports for the sake of the effective functioning of the practices. It's good to bear in mind, though, that methodology always outweighs theory in terms of importance, whilst actual practice is not feasible without a well-established theory. And here we come to the following very important position for the sphere of professional physical culture education.

The writing of a textbook, under the rules of modern TPC, as a multi-profile, self-sufficient and integrative scientific and academic discipline, forming a new culturological theoretical awareness and mentality into the scientific-teaching personnel (which is missing today from professional physical culture education). This includes the most essential feature of modern TPC. Indeed, everything starts with a thought.

But, in fact, such a textbook may be written only on the condition of a preliminary implementation of a number of interrelated positions, which we comprehensively disclosed earlier [9]. Now we only point them up. In consequence, it's necessary to:

- have a clear understanding of the status and place of the modern TPC into the theoretical and educational environment of physical culture (i.e. of its correlation with other theories and, first and foremost, the TPE [Theory and Methodology of Physical Education]). Today, it is obvious that modern TPC is indeed a completely self-sufficient, integrative theory of abstract type that forms a new people's theoretical and methodological culturological mental activity, as to this type of culture, not having anything in common with TPE. And, in addition to this, this T (and methodology) PC is fundamentally different from that of the existing textbooks, which in reality are a combination (summation) of theories, where the focus is on all that material of the former TPC. Apart from that, they are purely practical, theoretical and methodological.

- be inspired with the conforming culturological vital activity (the methodology of thinking), formed under the influence of a new conceptual and methodological basis of the modern TPC.

So, today it's necessary to learn thinking in a new way, truly from a culturological point of view. And, therefore, they need to be constantly in this new atmosphere of culturological views, ideas, concepts, because, as noted in the literature, they don't teach a person the methodology; instead it is "nurtured" within them (O.S. Anisimov, 1996). In this case, a totally different world-outlook view gets formed in a specialist, regarding physical culture as a type of general culture, and a wide range of new scientific research directions in the area of this type is offered to him/her (as well as their realization in practice), directions primarily associated with the reproduction of an integral person and not just the development of their corporal-motorial side, in connection with the formation of MA, MS and the development of PA; to wit, a new vision (new picture), with regard to our field of activity, appears before them.

- build one from the standpoint of the generated culturological mental activity "critical analysis", being available by theoretical knowledge in the sphere of physical culture (and especially in the existing underlying textbooks on T/and methodology/ FC [4, 11]).

Without that, a recourse to a new, higher-level understanding and perfection of theoretical knowledge in the sphere of physical culture is simply impossible as well. Unfortunately, to date, the existing textbooks about T (and methodology) PC, as we have indicated earlier [9], are full of contradictions and paradoxes as to mentality. And they themselves, in connection with the more and more increasing clearness of modern TPC, after their 25 years of existence, in our view, don't exist and require their own reorganization and rebuild. It is no coincidence that the matter of crisis, regarding the building of T (and methodology) PC, has constantly been underlined, prolonged for many years (N.N. Vizitey, A.S. Zapesotsky, G.G Natalov, Yu.M. Nikolaev, et al.)

- proceed (which is possible only after that) with the development of the ''design and construction"'' phase of the textbook's formation regarding the modern TPC. For argument's sake, by no means mechanically and without rejecting the fundamental theoretical knowledge, obtained by previous generations of scholars (including the existing textbooks on T/and methodology/ PC), but redistributing and, in some cases, by modernizing it in correlation with the fitting to theories of various levels and different degrees of similarity.

From the standpoint of the four methodological guidelines as to the building of the textbook on the given discipline, we have already identified some theoretical outlines of the modern TPC at the level of its development: the object and the subject of the research, objective, tasks, principles, methods and so on, approaches to its main content [8]. An analysis of the actual functioning practices of the system of physical culture, even in the context of an identified categorical conceptual framework of this theory, reveals the low level of its development in our country on both the personal and the public level. At the same time, it singles out and updates the most poorly-performing parts that require great effort for the effective development of this system. Personally, it's in this case that one of the most important functions of the modern TPC makes its appearance: the practical function.

However, today we do not need elaboration on segregated parts of this theory; we need the building of an integrative and holistic self-sufficient textbook on the given discipline that forms a trully new world-outlook theoretical and methodological culturological view at our line of business to the future specialists. Indeed, the very fact of the building of such a textbook is expected to significantly cut down (and, perhaps, establish a barrier to) the stream of the repeatedly republished and replicated, especially in recent years, textbooks on the existing T (and methodology) PC, which are based on all that theoretical and methodical material of the former TPE (not forming mental activity and oriented to the future). And what's more, with the advent of the modern TPC, the TPE will require significant adjustment as well as new vision as to the theoretical and educational environment of physical culture.

A return to the theoretical and educational environment of physical culture as a self-sufficient discipline, modernized by culturological positions, of the theory of physical (of the physical culture type) education (theory of educational physical culture), on the basis of a complete material reorganization of the existing T (and methodology) PC.

An in-depth analysis of the theoretical statements of L.P. Matveev (though sometimes controversial), published in the literature [9] and actually acting as initiators regarding the transition from the TPE to the TPC in the already long-ago 1979, attests that:

- no matter the period, he saw TPE as a self-sufficient scientific and educational discipline.

- presented the T (and methodology) FC itself as an only transitional (i.e., temporary - Yu. N) course from the TPE to a more integrated system of knowledge on physical culture (i.e., consider - modern TPC - Yu.N.). In our view, the accents as to the interrelation of these theories were theorized quite correctly by L.P. Matveev.

A natural question arises. Why did the - included in the year of 1979 in the educational plans of IPCs as a multi-profile scientific and educational discipline - "T (and methodology) FC" actually absorbed the whole material of the former TPE (and by doing so, it did not come to this intended greater level of integration as to theoretical knowledge in the sphere of physical culture right from the outset, which was forethought and was associated with the presence of this "holistic-integrative", holistic-systemic", "essential-general" level that enabled the comprehension of the totality of the theory's main components, the most significant of their characteristics and interrelations, etc., but still within the FTPC [Foundations of the Theory of Physical Culture])?

As we see it, the following answer can be given. What the point here really is is that the passage from one theory to another can be achieved in accordance with the methodology of the building of new theories (A.G. Zdravomyslov, B.M. Kedrov, V.S. Stepin, etc.), as a minimum, under two principal conditions: - a deeper understanding of the essence of the studied phenomenon (in this case the PC); - the development of its new conceptual and methodological foundations. There are other such conditions as well, but these are of the greatest significance.

34 years ago, at the period of the determined transition from the TPE to the T (and methodology) FC (note: not to the FTPC that previously was of paramount importance), neither the first one existed nor the second one. L.P Matveev, therefore, had no other choice but to let his elucidated T (and methodology) PC towards the cumulative (aggregate) rather than integrative direction, the primary basis of which amounted to the same material of the former TPE. That's the form in which the existing T (and methodology) FC is circulated nowadays, which he also confirms (with a certain degree of doubt) in his latest textbook [4, p. 12]. And the appeared sections of the "Introduction to TPC" have little change in vision of the T (and methodology) PC.

Today, when creating the basic conditions for the formation of the modern TPC, it's important to return to the theoretical and educational environment of physical culture, modernized with culturological positions of the TPE (theory of educational physical culture) in the function of a self-sufficient discipline, as we have already noted, on the basis of a complete material reorganization of the existing T (and methodology) PC. So, the modernized TPE (theory of educational physical culture) itself will be purely theoretical and practical (methodological). And this process of its modernization offers great scope for creativity to the faculty of the divisions pertaining to the theory of physical culture.

The self-sufficient status of TPE is confirmed by another famous theoretician, G.G. Natalov, who notes that "the TPC is neither above, nor instead of, but on an equal footing with the TPE and TS "[5]. In a few words, it's much more comprehensible with the help of the following provision.

A system conversion from the standpoint of the modern TPC of the entire theoretical and educational environment of physical culture as a combination of interrelated theories of various levels and different degrees of similarity.

Conventionally, this provision can be divided into two subsections:

- the development of materials and the building of textbooks with culturological positions on the theories of the types of physical culture. We'll not touch on this issue deeply, due to the fact that nothing regarding the interrelation between theories of types of physical culture is that simple, as we mentioned earlier [7].

And here it should be noted that, by obtaining an increasingly certain conceptual organization in the sphere of physical culture, they are still being developed in isolation, without having to the ninth degree a united (general) methodology of knowledge at the level of a developed theory to date. This methodological and informative function for their development in the first phase should be implemented by the modern TPC. Today, the theory of adaptive physical culture (S.P. Yevseyev, L.V. Shapkova) as well as the theory of sports culture (V.K.Balsevich, L.I. Lubysheva, V.I. Stolyarov) are the ones that develop in the most intensive manner, becoming leaders in the implementation of this first subsection;

- the introduction to the perspective of essential adjustments in educational curricula of universities (institutes, academies) of physical education (including Russian), where the theoretical and methodological materials of the modern TPC should be a priority from the very first days of the students' teaching for the university (that is, in the first year), forming a new culture-form theoretical consciousness and mentality, regarding the learning process, to them right from the start. More details about this can be found in our educational and methodological manual "History and methodology of the science on physical culture". – St.Peterburg, 2010.

However, the full implementation of those two subsections in the teaching-learning process is only possible in the condition of their closest informative interrelations and truly complete preparedness.

The studies resulted in the conclusion that the theoretical and educational environment of physical culture (within the formation of the modern theory of physical culture and design of theories of types of physical culture) is expected to suffer essential system transformations. It is to give an integral idea on this essential sphere of personal and public activity. Nowadays we are to fill this environment with high spirituality, humanize and cultivate it, subject to principal changes the system of theoretical and methodological thinking in it. It is possible in physical education only in case of the culturological approach applied to it, since it is "culturology of education", as fairly marked by A.S. Zapesotsky (2011), that promotes real formation of an absolutely new educational policy in the country where the sphere of physical culture is not an exclusion.


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