Purpose of the program

Developed in the 50’s — 60’s of the last century pedagogical methodology of collective creative education (CCE) is known by many names: methodology of collective creative deeds, Communard’s methodology, Igor P. Ivanov’s methodology, common care pedagogy, pedagogy of social creativity. Its main principles are the following: improvement of the life around, comradeship and creative teamwork. The creator of this methodology academician Igor P. Ivanov implemented it in the Commune of Young Frunzents (1959–1968), and then in the student Commune named in honor of Makarenko (1963–1991).

The most important thing about this pedagogy is that it is the most consistent and effective (among the others that we know) attempt to put the adolescents and adults in the world of genuine human relations — human relations as they ideally should be. Such relations are based on sincerity, responsibility, trust, consideration and respect for everyone, caring about each other and the world around. Relations in which there is no alienation, where people never take advantage of each other. Thus, as M. Chekmaryov (a member of the Commune named after Makarenko) said, elements of humanism evolve in the world of consumerism.

The factors that make this world arise and exist are simple and well known separately. However, the combination of them is unique in the Ivanov’s methodology, and they are much more productive being used together. These factors are:

  1. tasks that require full involvement of each member of the group, co-ordination between participants, full commitment and «tuning on each other» while the task time is extremely limited. All these beget  unalienated human relations and develop necessary human qualities;
  2. planning in a team, collective fulfilment and work analisys, collective reflection of gained experience;
  3. informality — it is extremely important that communard groups are formed neither by order of any kind of authorities, nor by market demand; they arise from internal needs of their organizers and, ultimately, because all the participants want it;
  4. succession — it is very important for such a group to have a number of people with the experience of such relationship, people, who can transfer tradtions and the «atmosphere».

The personal factor is also very important. Such groups are often formed around a leader and fall apart when he or she leaves the group. However, as V.I. Lantsberg writes in his article «Pedagogical Mythology», CCE methodology works not only when the leaders are charismatic, it works with the help of any good, fair people. Personal factor is really important, but we don’t mean that a person should have some special talent, you just have to be yourself and to be commited to the relationship (the method does not work «mechanically»).

The teenagers and adults who took part in communard teams wanted to implement their experience in new conditions; social and pedagogical phenomenon called Communard movement (association) evolved as a result. There are different points of view on this movement and its possible impact on social development, and one of them (expressed, for example, in the preface to a collection of communard songs by Roman Sinelnikov) is that if the Communard movement had not been «supressed» in the mid-60s and were fully developed, the Soviet Union would have grown a generation of people for whom the Communard motto «Our purpose is the people’s happiness» was not a formal motto, but their choice in life. In this case the whole history would have been different…

However, even in not so good spiritual, social, and political environment the Communard movement continued existing. It exists today, although in a different, latent form, fallen into pieces, separate «islands». Here are the names of only a few of the most well-known groups working on the basis of this methodology steadily for decades: the Arkhangelsk City pupils’ headquarter, organization «Edinstvo» (Unity) in Ryazan, Moscow military search team «Dozor»,  school under the direction of V.A.Karakovsky (Moscow).

As we see it, the pedagogy of common care is the most consisitent practical implementation of the philosophical principle of radical humanism: «Every person has the Sun inside — just let it shine!» And as Olga Marinicheva wrote in her article «Idealists», «this technique works in any social and political conditions, it is for the Spirit to survive under any conditions».

At the same time, groups that work in CCE methodology, independently of the socio-political context, face some internal challengesthat  limit their development; as we know, systemic solutions of these problems have not been found yet. In the program «Formula of Unity» we are trying at least to put these problems at the center of our attention and to look for empirical approaches to their solution.