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A comparison of our ideas with the ideas of J. Piaget is of great importance to us, for we also proceed from action as the central problem of mental life and psychology. We recognize that from a general biological point of view, the psyche is an auxiliary apparatus of behavior; Moreover, we believe that mental processes are nothing more than sublimated objective actions, and images - from simple sensations to abstract concepts - are the products of action with objects represented in these images.

But, apparently, we disagree with Piaget in understanding the role of action in the psyche and psychology. The constant (and in this sense the main) content of the concept of action consists of successive transformations of an object as a result of the influence of another thing on it. In the presence of psychological control, an action is a directed transformation of an object from a present state to an intended one1. This “objective content” of the action, whatever it may be (physical, mathematical, logical, aesthetic, etc.), in any form (material or ideal), neither in the process of formation, nor in its finished form - does not constitute an object psychology.

But an action is always carried out using some mechanism, and it begins to interest psychology only from the moment when it itself can no longer do without “psychology”, without control with the help of images and ideal actions. From a certain evolutionary level, the mobility of animals creates such variability in the conditions of action that only ideal example in the image field opens up the possibility to adapt the behavior to the individual characteristics of the situation; and to do this, as new conditions require, without physical tests and the associated risk.

We call this ideal activity in the field of images, by its general significance for behavior, as an orientation or, simply, orientation, and in each action of a subject we distinguish between the orientation and executive parts. What is usually called an action corresponds only to its executive part in content, but, as we see, the subject content in the subject’s action is presented twice: in the approximate part ~ as a model, in the executive part - as its implementation. However, it is not the action as a whole, and not its objective content in itself, but only the orientation of the action, its indicative part is the subject of psychology.

Logic in this regard is no exception. Since it is a doctrine of the most general relationships of “things,” thinking always has to keep in mind its relationships, operations, and laws. But to have something in mind does not mean to be this, and no mental activity can be reduced to logical or any other objective relations, although any mental activity is necessarily oriented to some of these relations. We cannot therefore agree with Piaget that "intelligence is a system of logical operations"; we think it would be more correct to say that intelligence is a system of orientation to the essential relations of the problem being solved; even by the time when logical operations proper are distinguished in the child’s thinking, the intellect is not identified with them, but is only carried out with their help.

Orientation is a psychological mechanism of action: both the process of forming actions and concepts, and their final quality, and the success of their further application - all this depends on how the tentative part of the action is built. Therefore, we are trying to organize it in such a way as to provide the desired qualities of the actions being formed, and, on their basis, of concepts. And since this cannot be done bypassing the subject, our first and main task is to orient the child in the subject that he has to master in such a way that a free and successful movement towards a clearly presented goal is opened for him.

Therefore, in our methodology, the first stage is given to "compiling an indicative basis for action" (Au). In it, we distinguish two main components: a scheme of the basic structure of phenomena united in a concept, and an algorithm of actions for its recognition in these phenomena, or their reproduction according to this scheme. These components are depicted materially, usually (but not necessarily) on the training card, in a convenient form for work. Thus, from the very beginning, the child clearly shows examples of what he has to master; they become tools of his activity and a framework of formed actions and concepts. At the next stage, in such a materialized form, Od is used to solve a system of problems. Here, in fact, for the first time, the scheme and algorithm are transformed, respectively, into the concepts and actions of the child himself. Tasks are selected and presented in such a way that actions and concepts are systematically summarized in the intended volume. At the third stage, the training card is removed, but each instruction is spoken out and orientation is carried out right there, in speech (again on the entire range of tasks). In this loud, socialized speech, action objectively takes the form of judgment and reasoning. When it becomes unmistakable and fast, it is transferred to the plan of "external speech to oneself." Here it, for the first time becoming a mental action, is also carried out over the entire range of tasks and brought to the same indicators. Then step-by-step control is removed, and this opens the way to a reduction in action and its transition to “internal speech”. The latter is a stream of speech meanings without the obvious presence of sensory images of things, sound images of words and speech kinesthesia. Naturally, in self-observation, “action in inner speech” is already subjectively represented by a thought — the thought of this action; at the same time, his objects begin to “directly protrude” in perception (depending on the nature of their attributes) as such or such images or concepts.

So, we do not start with the general and not with the particular, but with schemes that meet the intended patterns. Nothing is memorized; everything is acquired only in action. Since the content of the concept and the organization of action are first presented and performed in a materialized form, future mental actions and concepts become available at a much earlier age. Their content is assimilated all at once and without extraneous “impurities”. Generalization does not occur by highlighting the similar, but due to the application of the rule to a variety of materials, Psychological evolution goes from a detailed external action with private objects to the most generalized, shortened, coalesced and automated action, which is performed in an ideal plan and with concepts like new objects.

In this way, concepts and mental actions from the fields of arithmetic, geometry, history, sound analysis of speech, physics, grammar, as well as various “motor skills” were formed in our works. On the basis of materials borrowed from the work of Vygotsky – Sakharov, “real concepts” were obtained for children 6 and then 5 years old - instead of the usual 10-12 years. Below is a report on the successful formation in 6-year-old children of concepts that Piaget considers to be the main ones: concepts of “conservation of quantity” for different parameters of physical quantities (L. F. Obukhova) and concepts of logical “relations of classes and subclasses” (X. M . Warm 2).

All this is almost the opposite of what the researchers have observed so far. In their unanimous opinion — and according to our data, when we repeated the same experiments — “real concepts” and “real operations” (in the sense of Piaget) usually form between 10-12 years; before that, there are different complexes and pseudo-concepts and transitional states between preoperative, concrete-operational and operational thinking. According to our technique, concepts and mental actions are formed in a completely different way: at different times, with a different set of stages and with a change in their order.

Thus, we are faced with two types of formation of the same phenomena. Obviously, the true regularity of this process does not lie in the set or sequence of its stages per se - they can be very different, but in what determines them in all cases. According to our research, these principles are: 1) the ratio of the conditions that the child (Od) actually focuses on, to the complete system of conditions that ensure the correct execution of the new action (C), and 2) the ratio of the full Od to ​​the complete system of conditions that ensure the formation of mental actions and concepts with desired properties (Cf).

The composition and organization of the C and SF systems are very complex and, on the whole, precisely as systems, are still unknown. Therefore, not only in the “spontaneous development” and laboratory experiment, where the child’s capabilities were only tested, but also in school education, which always and from the first steps strives to build the correct concepts, the process of their formation mainly occurred spontaneously, that is, with a very poor management and under the influence of many unaccounted for and random reasons.

It may seem paradoxical, but it was the incompleteness of the conditions of this process, so different in some cases and always significant, that created well-known permanent features, like the general regularity of this spontaneous formation: gradual formation of the correct content of actions and concepts (hence the movement through intermediate combinations “ everyday "and" scientific "elements), a gradual, with frequent delays, increase in generalization, a greater dependence of the formation on the individual characteristics of children and for the vast majority Twa are most protracted process; in a word - “the logic of gradualness” in achieving patterns explicitly or implicitly set from the very beginning.

All this is due to poor process control. But since the true reason remained hidden, the sequence of steps established by the method of "cross sections", the same in a variety of conditions and as if independent of them, naturally gave rise to many erroneous interpretations. There was an idea that each stage, as it were, leads to a transition to a new one, that thinking becomes “just stronger”, begins to take into account more facts, opens new connections in them, and this leads him to a transition to a new level. The excellent experiments of Piaget show well that things are not so simple. Here is one of these experiments: two identical toy blocks are laid one on the other so that their ends coincide. In this case, even younger children say that the blocks are the same in length.
But if they move the upper block in front of their eyes, the children immediately begin to claim that the blocks have become uneven. But the older children, says Piaget, begin to notice that how much a block loses on one end, how much it wins on the other and, therefore, in general its length does not change.

The premise of such a judgment about length is that the child generally begins to distinguish length as a separate value, while before, for him, only a specific object, “the whole” object and only “the way it is” was the size. But when the property of an object becomes an independent object of knowledge, this means a radical change in the theoretical position of the child, and the main question is why this change occurs.

The "abstract" idea that the subject has not changed, "because we didn’t add anything, didn’t decrease anything" (see the message by L. F. Obukhova), appears very early, but costs little. Seeing that the ratio of values ​​(in the parameter that dominates the perception) has changed, the child sees in it a change in “the whole object” and attributes this change to the action performed: “it (the block) has become shorter (longer) because you shifted it”. In order for the preservation of quantity to become a full-fledged conviction of the child, it must be taught: 1) to separate the parameters of the object and 2) to establish experimentally the invariance of size for each of them. And for this you need a tool, and measure serves as such a tool. Measure is not just a technical means of quantification; it is an indicator and witness of the transition from direct and global comparison of objects, which they appear in perception, to their indirect assessment by the results of preliminary measurement, this is an approach to assessing values ​​from an objective rather than “egocentric” position.

The extent to which such a separation of individual properties as new theoretical objects is significant is shown by the following observation by L. F. Obukhova. She formed the concept of conservation of quantity by separating the individual properties of things and determining their size for each property. Between the initial period, when the children made the measurement before and after the transformation, and the final period, when they apparently did not use the measure, the middle stage came in when the children measured both quantities only before the conversion.

But at this moment, the objects seem to be the same, so why the measurement? Here, it could serve only to reinforce the distinction between parameters in children. When their difference is clear, then it becomes clear to the child that the effect changes the object in only one parameter (say, the water level in the vessel), but does not affect the parameter about which the question is posed (about the amount of water). The separation of parameters and the initial measurement for each of them is the foundation of the concept of “conservation of quantity”.

The apparent independence of the spontaneous formation of action and concepts from external conditions naturally led to the idea that this process, in essence, is spontaneous. Piaget directs the doctrine of the spontaneous development of thinking against the theory of two factors (organic maturation and external learning), and to this extent it plays a useful role. But the concept of spontaneity is not free from the dangerous idea of ​​self-movement and self-deployment of structures, even if it is assumed that initially these structures are borrowed from the outside.

We defend the view that, unlike animals, the human psyche is all set from the outside and all its structures are subject to assimilation. It is true that assimilation occurs only through one's own activity, but it itself must be formed, and therefore, organized. It is also organized from the outside, and can be organized in different ways. Since ignorance naturally precedes knowledge, poor organization naturally precedes good. But this, of course, does not mean at all that for a process itself a bad organization is more natural and better expresses its spontaneity than a good one, that “oneself” is always better than “under leadership”.

Of course, the leadership can be different and the best organization of activity can be so imposed on the child that he will perceive it as a stranger. But this is a bad pedagogy, and not an internal relationship between one's own activity and one or another of its organizations. One cannot do without a child as a subject of activity in teaching, and, therefore, one should outline not only the optimal organization of his activity, but also create conditions under which it would be perceived by the child as his own, for him no less “spontaneous” and “natural "Than the organization that develops in blind trial and error.

The apparent independence of the general order of the spontaneous formation and development of actions from specific conditions easily gives rise to the belief that this order reflects the internal regularity of the process, that this is not only actually happening, but it should be so. Piaget says, for example, that measurement develops later than the concept of number, because it is more difficult to divide a continuous whole into interchangeable units than to list already divided elements. This is true, but only within the boundaries of generally accepted instruction in counting, and such instruction grossly violates the rational sequence of initial mathematical concepts.

L.S. Georgiev and I showed that with such a training in counting, the initial arithmetic operations and concepts acquire a highly technical character, have not been used for a quantitative assessment of quantities for a long time, they do not change their global understanding of things in children, they do not educate them in mathematical thinking. We further showed that the formation of a full-fledged account involves a rather large “propaedeutics”: the introduction of a measure (with its thorough qualitative and quantitative differentiation), the separation of individual parameters of things with it, the conversion of specific quantities into mathematical sets proper, their one-to-one correlation, comparison and only then on this basis is the introduction of numbers and actions with them. Such training, built on action (“measurement”), is much more natural for children than traditional teaching with initially meaningless memorization of a number of names and the arbitrary assignment of another word to another subject; to start with the application of the measure is much easier, more interesting, more productive. This formation of the count has a profound effect on the intellectual development of children: it removes the “Piaget phenomena”, that is, a global assessment of values ​​according to the prevailing perception parameter (absolutely dominant in the assessments of children of the same age trained in counting according to the usual method), removes “impulsivity judgments ”(instruction of A. V. Zaporozhets), brings up an objective approach to the estimation of values. But, of course, our methodology significantly restructures the traditional way of learning.

Дети должны уловить принцип сохранения количества прежде, чем они смогут образовать понятие числа, говорит Пиаже, и, может быть, это соответствует обычному обучению. Но как мы видели, по нашей методике понятие числа формируется не на основе сохранения количества, а на основе отнесения величины к принятой мере, «единице измерения», и сохранение количества первоначально выступает в качестве нелогического принципа, а экспериментально установленного факта. Его доказательство предполагает использование меры и превращение объекта в определенное количество, каким он до этого ребенку не представляется.

И, может быть, самое плохое в бесконтрольном господстве метода «поперечных срезов» состоит в том, что констатируемая им последовательность этапов выдается за внутреннюю закономерность процесса, — и этим узаконивают и оправдывают убогую (в массе) действительность стихийного формирования вместо того, чтобы раскрыть ее причины и радикально ее изменить.

Принципиальный недостаток «метода срезов» заключается в том, что он ограничен наблюдением и констатацией того, как испытуемый действует, но не раскрывает, почему он действует именно так. Не раскрывает и не может раскрыть, потому что не выявляет всей системы условий, определяющих ориентировку человека; и не может выявить их потому, что неизвестен процесс, условий которого нужно выявить. Ведь это — психическая деятельность, о содержании которой не удавалось составить контролируемого представления. И мы совершили бы в известном смысле непоправимую ошибку, если бы забыли или «отодвинули в сторону» то обстоятельство, что стоим перед вопросом о предмете психологии.

Классические опыты В. Кёлера, затем опыты Бойтен-дайка, Блоджейта, Фриша, исследования на детях Штерна, Выготского, Пиаже незыблемо установили: то, на что ориентируется испытуемый, можно доказать вполне объективно: то, как осуществляется такая ориентировка, обычными методами установить нельзя. И это значит, что объективное изучение психической деятельности остается эпизодическим и не может стать систематическим, пока мы не найдем пути к объективному исследованию идеальных действий.

Этот путь открывает гипотеза, согласно которой идеальные действия по содержанию не отличаются от материальных и происходят от них. Но если мы будем только наблюдать, как это происходит, мы опять не сумеем установить всех связей даже для простых физических действий: их ориентировочная часть образуется с необходимостью и без нашего содействия, а следовательно, и без нашего контроля. Лишь в том случае, если мы поставили задачу сформировать действие не «как получится», но всегда с определенными свойствами, мы будем вынуждены подбирать, а следовательно, и устанавливать все условия, которые для этого необходимы, которые это задание обеспечивают. И не беда, если окажется, что таких возможностей несколько, — это подскажет общие принципы их организации.

Итак, магистральный путь исследования психических явлений — это их построение с заданными свойствами. Лишь после того, как будет установлена шкала такого планомерного формирования, можно по ней вести анализ уже сложившихся форм психической деятельности.

При формировании по такой шкале «хронологические возрасты» настоящих умственных действии и понятий, этапов интеллектуального развития и этапов общего развития личности, значительно расходятся. Очевидно, это требует нового анализа всех этих процессов. Но сейчас по условиям места и времени мы не можем на них останавливаться.
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