On December 25 in the live broadcast of MosObrTV Isaak Kalina, the Head of the Moscow Department of Education, answered teachers' questions. According to the rules of the program, from all the questions which arrived earlier, and there were more than 130, only three of them are chosen, they are not disclosed in advance, Isaak Iosifovich heard them only in the studio for the first time, at the end of the broadcast the audience in the studio could also ask additional questions. The program took more than an hour, we publish the main statements of the interview, and the reference to the full video is at the end of material.
Question 1. How does the basic and additional education correspond? Does the additional education supplement the basic or do they compete?
I am afraid that it is a problem of programs and textbooks, rather than a real school life. A normal teacher never limits a lesson to the program or the textbook. In the same way neither does the head of a club or section puts barriers between the pupil's theoretical knowledge and the abilities which are necessary in extra-curricular activities.
Knowledge becomes a person's abilities when it is studied and applied in life. Therefore, it seems to me that the connection of the main and additional programs consists in what is studied according to the basic program, and is considered an application basis in the program of additional education. Colleagues talk about convergence, and life in general is convergent by its nature. I always give a remarkable example: in what subject a bird should be studied? Someone will probably say in biology. I will agree, but then what example is a bird in physics, or in literature, and in fine arts? Life is not divided so rigidly by cross-disciplinary barriers, and requires a convergent approach.
Additional education is such a binding thread between different subjects, between the theory and practice, sometime will pass, and we will stop to divide education into the main and additional. Life makes us not divide them; today they are divided only by the form. The fact that today at all Moscow schools there is a wide range of additional education is a good sign, as well as the fact that it has stopped to be divided by the form.
I do not hide the fact that I have seriously participated in the promotion of the National State Exam, and I am not sorry about that. The NSE was extremely necessary that time, it made it possible to forget the time when to enter a higher education institution one had needed strong connections with universities, not always in a corruption form, but, for example, it had been necessary to attend preliminary training courses. The NSE has helped to solve this problem, but it is clear that everything strong has also its weaknesses. And, today an Achilles' heel of the NSE is in the fact that it contains very few practice-focused tasks.
I think that final tests have to accumulate gradually the information about a person’s knowledge and abilities. And, if knowledge is generally acquired in the format of lessons, skills are acquired in the format of additional education. I think that today all of us still continue to divide them because, unfortunately, our final test assesses only one part which is obtained at the lessons, but I am sure that over time the grade will definitely consist both of knowledge, and abilities. And, we will forget about the division into the main and additional education. I believe that in about 5-10 years teachers will not set such a question.
Question 2. Is it possible to replace the teacher by the artificial intelligence in the near future?
In human relations the originality, unpredictability, sympathy, antipathy are always very important. We form not only the knowledge of formulas, laws, but we form the most important thing - a person's attitude towards other people, ourselves, the world.
If our generation could be divided into those whom it was easy or difficult to teach, today the word "teach" cannot be applied to the present generation of children. They have got a quality which was not common for our generation, it is an ability of self-training. We sometimes do not consider it in the work. And, if today's children get interested in something, they study it further without us. We underuse and underestimate this new phenomenon. It is an absolutely new nature of the "teacher – pupil" relations when our task is to interest a pupil so much that the self-training mechanism starts working.
I am sure that nobody, except the person, can interest a pupil to such an extent. In the near future teachers who can interest children, start their mechanism of self-training do not have any reason to worry. We do not fully consider it in our work with children yet.
Question 3. What are the advantages of studying in a comprehensive school for children with special needs?
It is a very difficult question. I absolutely understand parents of children who worry, who are afraid to send a child with special needs in the healthier children's environment.
But, you know, may I not answer this question? I will try to reformulate it. Advantages of training – I do not know. Why is it necessary for the kids with special needs to study at a comprehensive school?
The school realizes not only the standard written down somewhere, but it realizes the standard of natural life of the society in which it is impossible to divide [people]. Education is called general for a particular reason, it is the education that does not give only knowledge, but forms one's attitude to the world, themselves, other people, ability to understand, respect, accept, and live with people, unlike you.
Only in a flock, all have to be alike, but we do not want to be a flock, we want to be a society. Moreover, if they are divided in the childhood, when will they form a society? They will get used to thinking that everyone is a community, which is not connected to others. It seems to me that it is much more important than subjects for those, who have no problems since this is the only way to grow a person capable of accepting and respecting people who are different, as it is a person’s trait.
Unfortunately, I have not found anywhere in the world an experience of teaching blind children at a comprehensive school. The world has not come up with any ways to help these children to study together with the others; however, not all other health problems are an insuperable barrier for children with special needs to study at a comprehensive school. It is more true to say even not to learn but to live. Classes can be separate, forms of education can be different, but the life among other kids became a standard of a normal society long ago.
An additional question. At the Moscow schools there are engineering, medical, cadet classes. What do you think of the creation of pedagogical classes at the Moscow school?
The city project involves an attempt to turn a part of Moscow schools towards the organization of such pre-professional education, which the city has needed. It is no secret that there was a moment when the Moscow school students practically did not enter medical higher education institutions. At the same time, Moscow was, is and will be the center of medicine. In addition, this direction of life of our children will be demanded by the city. Therefore, we have begun the project "Medical class at the Moscow school". Today we see that among first-year students of the Medical University after Sechenov a part of Muscovites has grown considerably. It is clear, that these students are graduates of medical classes, pre-universities, which are open too.
The same situation is going on with engineering, cadet classes. Moscow was, is and will be the center of a design thought, high technologies, and the safety of the country.
We have opened very few academic classes. Such children are necessary too, but we understand that a number of scientists cannot be high and will definitely not be, therefore, there are few classes of this kind.
Since September 1 we have been preparing, and we will absolutely precisely start the project on the development of IT classes. As for economy, law and other classes there used to be so many of them that Moscow has never experienced a shortage of specialists in this field. It is impossible to say that this direction has not been a success.
As for pedagogical classes, they have to exist, too, but to say that they have to be a global project would not be absolutely honest in relation to our high school students since we practically have got no pedagogical vacancies at our schools. That means that we will tempt them … but you are not ready to give them a chance.
Here is the answer to the question – there can be any classes, and the city project has to be directed to the elimination of staff shortages in the city.
It is possible to watch the full record of the program on the website of the Moscow educational TV channel http://mosobr.tv/programs/release/6009.
December 26, 2018