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Veraksa Nikolay
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Scientific school: structural-dialectic approach in psychology

Despite early 1980’s publications mentioning the problem of solving contradictory situations, the establishment year of the school should be considered 1985, when Nikolay Veraksa began lecturing Likening principle in psychology” course at Lenin Moscow Pedagogical State University, which was the first work to consistently use and regard dialectic as a method for content analysis.

This time also brought the school’s first following – a group of second year students fascinated by the ideas: Bagdasarova N.A., (presently PhD in Psychology, director of Invisible College, Kyrgyzstan), Bayanova L.F. (presently PhD in Psychology, Dean of Birsk State social-pedagogic University’s Social Pedagogic and Psychology faculty), Krasheninnikov E.E. (presently PhD in Psychology, assistant professor at Moscow State Psychological-Pedagogic University’s Department of Social Psychology of Development), Shiyan O.A. (presently PhD in Pedagogy, assistant professor at Moscow State Psychological-Pedagogic University’s Department of Social Psychology of Development), Shiyan I.B. (presently PhD in Psychology, assistant professor at Moscow State Psychological-Pedagogic University’s Department of Social Psychology of Development, professor of Central Arkansas University). For more than 15 years these scientists have been working on and evolving the ideas of structural-dialectic approach. Presently, Nikolay Veraksa’s scientific school attracts the third generation of its following.

In 1991 Nikolay Veraksa successfully defended a doctoral thesis “Origin and development of preschoolers’ dialectic cognition” and the year after theses in this field of psychology began to be defended with professor Veraksa as a scientific adviser.

Early 90’s brings ideas of dialectic education to kindergarten #1602 in Moscow (Head of kindergarten – Sokol I.V.). Later on, in mid 90’s great efforts were made to introduce and perfection the program, namely at kindergarten #140 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia (Head of kindergarten – Ovchinnikova N.N.).

 “Learn to Think” (“Uchimsa dumat”) experimental project of preschoolers’ dialectic education is being put into effort in kindergartens of Lvov, Ukraine: teaching and educational kindergarten-school establishment “One, Two, Three” (Head – Kozak L.F.), kindergarten #69 (head – Sindega G.M.), kindergarten-school “Little Bell” (“Dzvinochok”) (head – Yurchenko B.G.). The dialectic education program ideas are also in use in “Shining Eyes and Busy Mind” child center in London (directors – Dolya-Higgins G.N., Higgins D.)

Presently, at the instance of Moscow city department of education professor Veraksa conducts experimental work in 35 city kindergartens. From 2007 professor Veraksa is a research director of Resource Center for intellectual development of preschoolers "The Ingenious Little Ones" (Joint Pilot Project "From Infancy to School" - UNESCO and Moscow Goverment, Moscow City Department of Education).

Main experimental site, where researches are underway and “Dialectic” (“Dialektica”) program for schoolchildren is still on trial is Moscow school #1716 “Evrika – Ogonek” - federal and city’s experimental site School “Dialectic”. Experimenting work in that school had started in 1992, at the instance of its first director L.A. Adamskaya and under supervision of Nikolay Veraksa. Dialectic education of schoolchildren is still on in “Evrika – Ogonek” in cooperation with its present director O.V. Kerzhner.

In 1994 an article on position education was published in “Questions of Psychology” (“Voprosy Psikhologii”) magazine, originating the development of position education concept for adults. The system of position education for students and teachers is being realized generally by means of exit seminars, except for Krasnoyarsk Regional Pedagogical College #2, where it is a primary teaching method of pedagogic-psychological disciplines (director of the college – Prokoporskaya T.I., Head of student’s position education laboratory – Nepomnashaya T.I.). 

Mathematical modeling of dialectic structures holds its special place within the approach and since early 90’s mathematical models were created and developed by S.A. Zadadaev – PhD in physical and mathematical sciences, associate professor of Russian FederationGovernment Finance Academy’s Department of Mathematics and Financial Applications.

In 2003 under the direction of professor Veraksa Department of Social Developmental Psychology was established at Moscow City University of Psychology and Education, having intensified the school’s scientific life, which incited new publications and experimental programs to be introduced and doctoral theses to be defended by the disciples who joined the school in late 90’s. Up to present day, over 30 theses were defended, over 20 monographs were written and over 150 articles were published in leading scientific prints on development of dialectic cognition, application of structural-dialectic analysis method, constructing of normative space and analysis of normative situation, all of which accomplished under guidance of professor Veraksa as a scientific adviser.

Apart from their scientific work, personnel of Social Psychology of Development Department is engaged in various other activities, like organization of Young Researcher exit trainings and regular theoretical seminars on the approach, conducting online debates at the department’s official web site and publishing their own magazine “Shift Alternatives” (“Smena Alternativi”). More about the department is available at its official web site at www.inpsy.com.

Nikolay Veraksa, his work and work of his following have established a new branch in the science of psychology - Structural-Dialectic Psychology (Structural-Dialectic Psychology of Development section was established within Moscow division of Russian Psychological Society). The core of the direction is a structural-dialectic analysis of different mental phenomena, based on distinction of the antithetical elements of the phenomenon in study, ascertainment of their interrelations and construction of different variants of such interrelations, ultimately arranging them in an integral structure. This method gives an opportunity to analyze not merely mental activity of children and adults, but also social interrelations and processes of development in general.