Peculiar principles, methods and means of polylingual education in the frame of ethnolingual didactic approach

In the article there are considered the peculiar principles, methods and means of polylingual education in the frame of ethnolingual didactic approach. Their definition and characterization makes possible to develop the strategy for solving the valid problems of polylingual education. The authors define the subcomponent set of ethnolingual didactic approach and consider ethnolingual didactics as the science to investigate the objective laws of polylingual education. The theses aid forecasting the prospects of developing the polylingual education as the purposeful process of polylingual personality’s formation on the basis of parallel mastering three and more languages.

The ethnolingual didactic approach as the set of basic principles, specialized methods and specific means has provided both isolating and analyzing the sum of the problems of polylingual education and establishing their hierarchy, defining the strategy and principal ways of their resolving. The using of approach also has allowed projecting the prospects of developing the polylingual education as a purposeful process of polylingual personality’s formation on the basis of parallel mastering three and more languages [1].

Ethnolingual didactics being related to lingual didactics and ethnic didactics as the interdisciplinary branch of the scientific knowledge acts as the theory of polylingual education. Emphasizing the object of ethnolingual didactics is based on theoretical comparison of the objects of interdisciplinary sciences. So, language is the object of linguistics, the ways of training and learning are the object of didactics, lingual education is the object of lingual didactics, scientifically-empirical knowledge of ethnopedagogics is the object of ethnic didactics. Thus, polylingual education as a purposeful process of polylingual personality’s formation on the basis of parallel mastering more than two languages is the object of ethnolingual didactics respectively.

Assuming the thesis then there has been designated and proved developing the methods systematized according to certain principles as part of leading methodological approach. We considers the approach as ethnolingual didactic one being determined to define the initial positions of scientific knowledge of polylingual education and represented as the set of:

1) basic principles,

2) specialized methods and

3) specific means of its realization [2; 226].

The first group consists of concerning components:

  • principle of «double acquisition of knowledge»;
  • principle of functional activity of languages in ethnocultural education space;
  • principle of balance of the state and official languages in the content of

The ethnolingual didactic approach of realizing the essence of polylingual education is certainly not to be limited in only three principles set above. They are the cores. Developing their internal value is generally caused by the theory of the content of education.

The principle of «double acquisition of knowledge» known in didactics as the principle of selecting the content of education in the context of polylingualism takes on new significance since the parallel languages’ studying and mastering being carried out by studying the language disciplines and by the language of training non-language disciplines (for example, chemistry and physics are studied in English, the history of Kazakhstan and the Kazakh literature are studied in Kazakh, the Russian literature, the world history are studied in Russian etc.). Then, we can speak not only about cross-curriculum communications, but about integration of knowledge from various and unrelated subject-matter disciplines (language and mathematics, language and biology etc.).

V.S.Lednev is the first who has formulated this principle explaining its essence and deduced two lines of double inclusion of the basic components into the system: first, as «a through» line in relation to external (apical) structural components, secondly, as one of apical components. And another principle of selecting the content of education, the principle of pithiness of forms and training methods is not less important. Using the «technologies» of the doctrine is one of the general education purposes, hence, the forms and training methods can be also considered as the component of education content, of course, without disclosing this point of view as a cure-all [2;  207].

Logic course of the thought concerning to polylingual education is shown in the principle of functional activity of the languages contacting in ethnocultural educational space. The principle means creating the conditions for active use of various languages according to requirements and interests of society in institutional sphere, and in accordance with interests and requirements of the person and separate social groups in extrainstitutional and informal spheres.

The range of language’s functions and sphere of language’s distribution is defined by a level of language’s development and its relative density in the life of country and the people who speaks in it. N.V.Baryshnikov and V.V.Lazarev emphasize the uniqueness of a multilanguage society where «pragmatical principle of interaction in educational space of native and nonnative languages gets a basic value». They also believe that the ethnocultural training component which can be realized to the full only on the acknowledged national-cultural base of a native language should be put in the basis of system of lingual education in multilanguage environment. In this case there is observed contact of cultures and contact of languages [3].

The principle of balance of the state (Kazakh) and official (Russian) languages in the content of education means the account of features of sociolinguistic situations in a certain region. The accent onto these two languages is explained by their inadequate functional activity in various regions of Kazakhstan. It means that the Russian language is less active in southern areas of the country whereas it possesses wider sphere of the use in northern ones.

Academic and pragmatic interest in the problem of a language situation is caused by the matter of solving the actual sociolinguistic problems and the problems of conscious setting the language situation. All the complex real language life of human societies is difficult to learn without multilateral and complex studying. So are the polyethnic societies where the languages never run separately from each other but are always interdependent and interconnected into compound and multidimensional macrosystems.

One of the central sociolinguistic concerns is the analysis of functional language features relating to a specific language situation. Language functionality is always connected with the role of language in the society, with performing the language’s mission in various social spheres. The language situation represents the interaction of languages and various forms of its existence in the course of serving the social spheres of one or another people’s life [4].

According to linguistic popular idea the language situation is a component of many-sided structural social relations within the limits of this or that society. V.A.Avrorin considers the language situation to be characterized by interaction of numerous conditions and the structure’s elements settling down at different levels. The real social and historical conditions are the most important ones. The people’s living environment and its range and character can be changed owing to historical and social processes. Therefore it immediately affects the character of language existence forms and leads to the changes of language situation [5].

The state language policy in multilingual communities is generally of two types: either monolingualism is supported in the territories entering the communities and bilingualism considers to be «a private affair» of migrants and immigrants; or one or two languages are in official use for administrative purposes and there is spent the policy to meet the ethnocultural demands of national minorities, first of all, demand of getting education in a native language [6].

Uniqueness of language situation in polyethnic region is created by both extralinguistic (the numerical, geographical and social distribution of various ethnoses, migratory processes, historical, political, etc. reasons) and peculiar linguistic factors (types of mass bilingualism, character of sphere for applying the national, state and official languages and their functioning in the education system, levels of proficiency, etc.) [7].

Development and function of polylingual and polycultural education system in the polyethnic environment, apart from permanent changes or innovations of existing system is the complex process that needs a careful planning. The process starts with the statement of priorities: representations and substantiations of competence level and using each of languages, definitions of type of integration into the cultural traditions, expressed by one or another language, and, hence, into the set of traditions presented in the system of ethnoses.

The goal setting depends on language policy. Being realized into political decision and adapted to the formed cultural-educational situations it is finally directed onto the problem solving by contributing integration in the country and simplifying the contacts and mutual understanding with an external world. The issues of language policy and language situation emerge at any stage of society development with interaction of two or more peoples (polyglot collectives). Therefore, there is the problem of choosing the communication medium for mutual understanding and arranging the public life and there is the tendency to use the native language at any situation. Only the correct language policy and measures aimed at organizing the language life with considering both the language rights of the person and the minority people and the nation should promote a peaceful co-existence of the people in the multinational state. It should encourage preservation and development of national cultures and languages, a linguistic and cultural variety in the world. Studying the language behavior, language consciousness, the language competence and language orientations of different ethnic groups’ representatives, classes, social strata and groups are of scientific and practical interest in the modern multipolar world, in the conditions of globalization, dialogue of cultures and cultural revival of national minorities.

The language policy, first of all, deals with a choice of language, with choosing the forms of language essence, language unit for one or another communicative purpose. The programs of language policy are made for solving the language problems in certain society. The macroproblems concerning the distribution of language formations in dialogue spheres (official, daily, school, mass-media, religion, fiction and so forth) are considered by studying the functioning of language formations and the description of language situations. The analysis of certain language situations allows to develop the modern theory of coexistence and interaction of languages as social institutes, and also to predict certain tendencies in their development both in social and proper linguistic aspects.

The complex problem of language policy and language planning, the problem of functional differentiation of various ethnic languages and the basic languages of interethnic dialogue are the decision points having the political, social and economic and cultural-language nature. The range of private communicative language functions depends on external factors: presence or absence of own people statehood, the social and legal language status, the national policy in the polytechnic state etc. Inadequate consideration of the general tendencies of language development, and also underestimation of sociological factors lead to failures in social and language forecasting.

To define the basic communication medium in the international context is extremely important in the conditions of globalization and extending economic integration. Working language definition is a legal issue. As to the sphere of international cooperation, there should be taken into account the supranational nature of legislative maintenance for guaranteeing the international uniformity of the basic contract rules and definitions of specific terms while considering the conflict situations.

The international law has developed a number of principles of the language policy providing preservation and development of language ethnocultural identity:

  • the most-favored-nation clause concerning each of the state language;
  • the principle of maximum satisfying the language requirements of the people and ethnic minority;
  • the principle of absolute lingual providing for each citizen;
  • the principle of interdiction for any discrimination of national minorities’ languages;
  • the principle of giving every encouragement for the citizens who aspire the high culture of bilingualism and multilingualism and the specialists who promote acquiring the very culture [8].

The principles are taken as a basis of language and educational policy of our republic.

Realization of the given principles calls for corresponding methods, i.e. the ways of getting a goal and solving a specific target which implicitly presented in the content of principles set above (and other ones).

Methods which are made actual and become more active in a special way in the frame of ethnolingual didactic approach should be specialized owing to objectively present features of the investigated phenomenon. Besides it, dealing with the methods in pedagogics one should consider not just their classification but the concretized classification, i.e. accurately remember whether there is an accenting the methods of pedagogical research, or the training methods, or the education methods, or the methods of pedagogical management. Hence, there is presented the set of methods which reflects all groups stated above. Relying upon it in the given set of methods there are included:

  • method of an ascension from abstract to the concise;
  • methods of motivation and stimulation of using the various languages according to requirements and interests of the cooperating in ethnocultural educational space;
  • methods of organization of educational process for studying the languages (first of all, the state and official) according to sociolinguistic situation in a certain

The method of ascension from abstract to the concise is a universal method of knowledge. Nevertheless, it was necessary to integrate it in the structure of ethnolingual didactic approach. While researching the object this method consists of transition from abstract and unilateral knowledge of subject to more certain subject’s reproduction in theoretical thinking. First of all, the method lets learn and explain the nature of polylingual education. Secondly, any theoretical knowledge is realized as ascension from abstract to the concrete. While studying languages the person deals with the sign system, so, in reference to the problems of language training the "abstract" means the high degree of abstractiveness.

Then, their organic unity in the frame of polylingual educations predetermines the situation while studying language through the medium of another disciplines (mathematician training, for example, in English) the subjects of polylingual education use languages as means of active interaction, dialogue and knowledge. In other words, within the method the language acts both as object of knowledge and as knowledge means.

Methods of motivation and stimulation of using the various languages according to requirements and interests of the cooperating in ethnocultural educational space is the group of methods directed onto formation and fastening the positive learning attitude and stimulation of informative activity. These methods have indirect and mediated relation with the methods of scientific researching the problems of polylingual education. It means that the given group of methods is applicable in scientific searching the investigated phenomenon provided that cognition is considered from the point of view of the organizing research activity (practical as a matter of fact). The present group of methods is obviously concerns the training and education methods. The described method is clear to have general didactic value for organization of polylingual training as pedagogical process.

The current language situation in the Kazakhstan society incompletely motivates and stimulates the active realization of available language skills’ luggage. It means that uniform requirements of using the languages in institutional sphere aren't generated. For example, official procedures are conducted in two languages, and in many regions the documentation in state language duplicates the documentation in Russian. Motivation and stimulation both as training the languages and their using in educational process are obligatory by all means [9].

Methods of organizing the educational process for studying the languages (first of all, the state and official ones) correspond to sociolinguistic situation in certain region. Being the unitary state formation and owing to the territorial integrity Kazakhstan covers a various geographical landscape that determines the mental specificity of the settlers and residents. Hence, there is created a various language situation in different regions (areas).

First of all, this situation is connected with character of bilingualism: the Russian-Kazakh and/or the Kazakh-Russian. Therefore, it determines the prevalence of bilingualism in one or another region: the Kazakh-national and the national-Kazakh (for example, the Kazakh-Uigur or the Uigur-Kazakh) or the nationalRussian and the Russian-national (just like the Russian-Uigur or the Uigur-Russian). But the Kazakh and Russian languages are pointed up. Unlike foreign languages they are developed in the natural language environment but differ by degree of activity. The state obligatory standards of education don't provide this situation but there is potential possibility for its updating and regulation. Therefore, distributing the study-time in variative parts of working curricula it is necessary to consider priority of studying one of the languages (as a rule, the southern region needs a greater study-time extent for studying Russian language, and vice versa, the northern regions do).

Revealing the principles and selecting the methods of ethnolingual didactic approach for searching the essence of polylingual education is logically carried on with developing and choosing the means of its realization (this component according to well-known definitions of the concept «the methodological approach» has the practical focused character). Here the means are:

  • parallel functioning of several training languages in educational institutions. It provides the working out the Typical regulation defining the list of disciplines taught in the state, Russian, foreign languages irrespective of training language in educational institutions. The document also regularizes extra-institutional studying the native languages of ethnic groups;
  • material compensation and moral encouragement project the increasing motivation of polylingual education’s subjects while questioning the parallel studying of languages;
  • developing the uniform rules for drawing up the academic documents in the sphere of polylingual education.

We consider ethnolingual didactics as the science investigating objective laws of polylingual education and developing the theories and concepts as «tools» for the further analysis and construction of educational process. In our opinion, the development of ethnolingual didactics is rooted in:

  • disclosing the valid pedagogical essence, the sense and content of the external ethnopedagogical phenomena; the definition of content and purposes of polylingual and polycultural education;
  • revealing the principles and norms of activity of «subjects-organizers» in traditional ethnic and modern educational process;
  • working out the ideals and norms of the purposeful organizing the modern pedagogical process enriched with ethnolinguistic knowledge;
  • studying the socially-pedagogical mechanism for starting up the revival of ethnic educational traditions.

Thus, according to the set of presented theories and methodological provisions there are main principles and purposes of the polylinguistic education based on ethnolingual didactic approach:

  1. High level of linguistic erudition and the competence, that is formation of the intellectual, highly moral lingual personality on the basis of a native language and culture; formation and development of polylingual personality in the course of studying the native language, language of international dialogue and lingual personality enrichment with foreign languages knowledge and culture of the native
  2. The interconnected languages training, using the elements of comparative-typological studying the languages as means of developing the trainees’ linguistic abilities and their linguistic feeling, ability to realize the general and national-specific languages
  3. A culturological orientation of languages The interconnected studying the languages and cultures (elsewise, dialogue of languages is dialogue of cultures), that is reflection in languages of universal and national cultures.
  4. Formation of the language, communicative and culturological competence of There is different parity and intensity of mastering the languages according to their basic functions: dialogue means (communicative function), thinking means (discourse function), levers (educational function), experience means (cognitive function). It depends on specific goals of studying the native language, the language of international dialogue and foreign languages.
  5. Mastering the native language, the language of international dialogue and foreign languages should be based on the psychology and pedagogical basis of pragmatic developing training, on the principles of functional and communicative linguistics, on the theory of speech activity, the psycholinguistic theory of the text, the theory of personality development, lingual and culturological theories of languages

Etnolingual didactic approach representing the central strategic line of organizing the polylingual education can strengthen the positions of polylingual education as he allows:

  • to isolate the actual problems of polylingual education and to define strategy and the main solving ways;
  • to analyze the sum of problems of polylingual education and to establish their hierarchy, and on this basis
  • to carry out forecasting the prospects of polylingual education’s development as a purposeful process of training the polylingual personality on the basis of parallel mastering three and more



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Name of author: B.A.Zhetpisbayeva, N.Mikhailova, G.T.Smagulova, A.K.Bolatbekova
Year: 2013
City: Karaganda
Category: Pedagogy