A.S. Makarenko called the primary team, whose members are in constant close business and friendly communication with each other. In the conditions of general education school such a collective is a class.
From the point of view of A. V. Mudrik, the school class can be viewed from at least three positions.
A school class is a structural unit of an educational institution – a school designed to fulfill a state (or public) order: to provide a future citizen with a base (standard) of education that would allow him/her to realize his/her potential for the benefit of his/her own and society.
The class is a component of the educational organization. It “absorbs” and transmits the culture of this educational organization, and on the other hand, it is a “mini-organization” with its own way of life, culture and leadership. These two “faces” characterize the class as a formalized, official group.
The school class can be considered as a socio-psychological group, where the first place is given not to the state order, not to organizational goals, but to interpersonal relations in the group.
The class can be called a special group of peers. Among the various groups to which a pupil may belong, the class, being both an official and an informal group, occupies a very specific place, because, firstly, classmates spend a significant part of their time here, and secondly, they constantly interact with each other, and thirdly, in the Classroom SVG, they play at least two important roles for themselves – a pupil and a person.
Taking into account that the role of peers in the socialization of children in recent years has been steadily increasing, the class along with the family can be attributed to the most important micro-factors of socialization.
A school class is a formalized, relatively stable contact group that unites students of about the same age and has a prosocial orientation that corresponds to the goals of social education in the educational institution to which the class belongs.
The class as a small model of the world forms the system of relations of the student as follows: Its attitude to the world is presented here primarily as an attitude to the class itself, to teachers, classmates, joint activities and communication;
- – a student’s relations with the world are formed in the process of his/her self-realization in the classroom and interaction with classmates and teachers;
- – In this case, the student’s attitude towards him/herself develops as a result of the success (or failure) of performing the roles assigned by the class: a student, a companion, a participant in a particular activity, etc;
- – the attitude towards oneself depends to a great extent on the assessment of one’s personal qualities and actions by one’s classmates and teachers working in one’s class (first of all, by the class teacher).
These statements, firstly, confirm the fundamental possibility of pedagogical influence on the development of a student’s personality in the Classroom SVG, and secondly, indicate the importance of the class-community for the successful socialization of each student.
The class becomes a real collective not in every case, but only in case of special organization of joint activity and communication of children, in case they have common goals and aspirations.
Functions of the school class
1. the educational function of the school class is primarily carried out by the school class through education in extra-curricular educational work and informal communication within the class, as well as in the process of more or less purposeful stimulation of self-education of the pupil, if knowledge is a common value in the class.
2. 2. A communication function. As a socio-psychological group, the class forms another equally important experience for a growing person, related to business and interpersonal communication. According to X. Й. Liimetsa, communication is the exchange of spiritual values between people. However, the values are not passed on in a ready form, they are as if dissolved in the thoughts, feelings and actions of people. Therefore, it is possible to define the following communication of schoolchildren: communication of schoolchildren is the exchange (in the process of their direct contact) of information, ideas, emotions and actions, reflecting a deeper exchange of norms and values.
Within the Classroom SVG, students can communicate spontaneously or to a greater or lesser extent in a purposeful, organized and pedagogically guided manner. This applies both to business communication, which is characteristic of the class as a formalized group, and to informal, interpersonal relations. But it is obvious that the organization and purposefulness is more inherent in business communication, and spontaneity – informal. Moreover, as a sphere of business communication, a class can be considered only if it creates pedagogical conditions, situations of such communication: collective and group work in the classroom, collective planning and collective analysis of the life of the class, the interaction of classmates in the process of carrying out general, significant for them extra-curricular activities, etc.
Only in this case will the student develop the experience of constructive, developing business communication, which, in turn, can have a positive impact on informal communication: purposefully formed communication skills become an important factor in self-regulation of interpersonal relations in the classroom.
3. the relative function of the school class, called N. L. Selivanova’s adaptive function is related to the students’ experience of building different relationships. The essence of the attitudinal function of social education and the role of the teacher in its implementation can be revealed with the help of the statement of A. S. Makarenko: “Raises everything: people, things, phenomena, but above all and for the longest time – people… With all the complex world of the surrounding reality, the child enters into an infinite number of relationships, each of which is invariably developing, intertwined with other relationships, complicated by the physical and moral growth of the child. All this chaos does not give way to any accounting, however… It is the task of the educator to direct and manage this development.
The success of the relationship function depends on the success of the communicative function: if the class communication sphere is poor, if the class teacher does not include his or her children in various types of interaction, it is difficult to count on the correction and humanization of their relations.
4. The protective function of a school class implies the creation of a favorable psychological atmosphere and a humanistic microclimate in which every student should feel comfortable enough – this is undoubtedly one of the main conditions for its adaptation in the classroom.
5. The class’s value-added function is that in the process of communicating with classmates, the pupil to a greater or lesser extent appropriates and absorbs the norms and values accepted in the class.
It is advisable to start implementing the value and standard function by developing and adopting positive norms of behavior and communication in the Classroom SVG. But in no case should we limit ourselves to this, because external politeness can hide negative attitudes and values.
Emotional function. The success of all the above mentioned functions of the class in relation to a specific schoolchild presupposes an emotional experience of learning and cognitive activity, communication with peers and adults, and developing relations with them, as well as those values and norms, which he accepts as a member of the group.
This function of the class, intersecting with the normative one, forms a culture of emotional self-expression of the student, skills of his self-regulation in communication with people. (3)
The role of the peer group will increase in the primary school setting. Firstly, it is the period when the first independent (nonfamily) social role – “schoolboy” – was acquired. Second, the classroom is significantly more institutionalized than any pre-school group: it is a group in its full sense, well-structured, important in the life of the student, and at the same time included in the broader social context. It is possible and necessary to say that the role of the pupil is for most of us the first full social role in life. The school as a whole and the classroom as a unit of this system are a model of social relations, so it is difficult to overestimate the role of the school class in the process of socialization. However, relations within this group change somewhat throughout the school life.
In the early years of its existence, the class staff was very dependent on adults and, above all, on the teacher.
The formal structure is largely related to the teacher’s decision. The teacher distributes the minimum responsibilities, “positions” that exist in the lower grades. But the main thing is that informal relations of younger pupils are also set by the teacher’s attitude towards them. Unlike preschool children, the social and psychological structure of the school class is more stable, more connected with the interaction of the children themselves, but the dominant influence of an adult remains for some time. It will be outdated only during the teenage period. (15)