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The article presents the procedure for developing spiritual and moral values in the content of education through the application of an interdisciplinary approach, the use of certain ontological and axiological grounds that make it possible to build a hierarchy of twelve educational/human values that can be included in the content of education.
Keywords: content of education, spiritual and moral values, self-determination, freedom, information theory of emotions.

Vozniuk O. V.
Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences, Professor,
Ivan Franko Zhytomyr State University, Zhytomyr, Ukraine


The problem of substantiating the content of modern education is the subject of works by domestic and foreign scholars. The conceptual foundations of education as a global phenomenon and a social institution are the subject of works by V. Zagvyazynskyi, V. Kraevskyi, V. Krychevskyi, and others; the synergistic approach to the content of education is reflected in the studies of O. Vozniuk, G. Kremen, V. Matkin, etc.; goals and objectives of education at certain educational levels of general education institutions are substantiated in the studies of N. Bibik, V. Lednev, I. Lerner, O. Savchenko, M. Skatkin, etc. However, spiritual and moral values need to be developed in depth in the content of education [1; 2; 4], which is the subject of our article, which aims to use an interdisciplinary approach, certain ontological and axiological grounds for creating a system of spiritual and moral values in the content of education.

There are two polar pedagogical theories about the content of education. The material theory is the theory of didactic materialism or encyclopedism, which states that the leading social and pedagogical role of education is to transmit to students as much knowledge as possible from various fields of science and technology. The theory of didactic formalism considers learning mainly as a means of developing the abilities and cognitive interests of all participants in the educational process.

However, as K. Ushinsky believed, just as the knowledge of certain facts influences the formation of thinking, so does the development of thinking determine the possibility of a student’s mastery of factual knowledge.

Today, we can talk about a number of innovative approaches to substantiating the content of education, including from a formal point of view. For example, a graduate of a pedagogical faculty must memorize about 5000 pedagogical concepts, including personalities and dates. Despite the fact that pedagogy operates with humanitarian, “lightweight” pedagogical knowledge, its assimilation is truly a tantalizing work, since, according to our analysis, only 10-20% of the semantic fields of pedagogical concepts (including those related to pedagogical personalities) overlap in one way or another due to their semantic disconnect. That is, there is a weak structural and logical connection between pedagogical realities due to weak interdisciplinary connections, as well as due to the lack of a coherent and clear model of educational goals that determine the means of achieving them, which in aggregate should shape the educational policy of society.

We are deeply convinced that the new paradigm of educational content should be based on universal values that set interdisciplinary guidelines for the basic meanings and goals of the educational sector.

The first universal value of man and humanity can be considered the Absolute, which, along with life, is the second most important value, a condition of human existence, the top of all other universal values. The third human value is freedom, which is a condition for the actualization of Homo sapiens, a thinking being that is fundamentally different from animals that are “identical to their existence” and are, in a sense, biorobots.

Man, unlike animals, has freedom, a unique “I,” i.e., the ability associated with such phenomena as personality, reflection, abstraction, transcendence, supersituationality, transcending the actual given, intrinsic motivation, creativity, self-determination, etc.

Thus, in order to become the Self, a person must be free from the determinism of the world, i.e., go beyond it – to stand “on a par” with the Absolute, which by definition is free and transcendent to the world.

The next highest human value is happiness, which has many aspects and individual preferences. However, it is advisable to talk about a single criterion of happiness – the psychophysiological state of a person that indicates happiness – a state of satisfaction/joy. Joy is accompanied by a person’s increased vitality: this is indirectly evidenced by the fact that when vitality decreases, a person usually feels tired, irritated, which can easily transform into anger and aggression. Joy as a state of increased vitality realizes the next human value – health/harmony. Increased vitality fills a person with energy and love, which is the next value in life.

Let’s explain this idea. According to the information theory of emotions by P. Simonov, stress is understood as a human reaction to the information uncertainty of environmental events, which can be accompanied by emotional arousal in the form of fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, etc., leading to the depletion of human energy resources, a decrease in vitality, and a weakening of the immune system. Release from stressful reactions leads to an increase in vitality, which activates love, while a decrease in vitality, a lack of energy in the body manifests itself in the form of suffering, realized in the form of pain, which occurs whenever the processes of decay and destruction of biological structures begin to prevail over the processes of organismic synthesis.

There is a productive mechanism for completely reducing the information uncertainty of events in the human environment that is not associated with numerous psychological defense mechanisms: faith in the Supreme Intelligence as a person’s belief in the existence of the Absolute, the creative principle of the world that generates and harmonizes everything. It is a belief in absolute harmony and a just world order governed by a Higher Will that “keeps everything under control.” In turn, a person who believes in God opens up to the internal intuitive and subconscious resources of perception of the world, which is realized in the next highest life value, whose name is wisdom/truth (true picture of the world).

A person who believes in the highest divine justice, on the one hand, realizes the next highest life value – justice / conciliarity, since justice, as applied to the social organization of life, implies a conciliar social system. Hence, in addition to the freedom discussed above, we get two more imperatives of the French Revolution – equality and fraternity.

On the other hand, a person who relies on the divine will significantly reduces the stressful nature of social life, crystallizing fundamental optimism and showing excellent health, which is confirmed by the observations of W. James, who in his book “The Diversity of Religious Experience” gives examples of people who have radically changed their value system because they believed in God as the highest harmony and justice. Thus, if negative emotions and stress, according to P. Simonov’s information theory, are the result of a lack of information about the process of satisfying a person’s actual needs, then the positive value attitude “everything is under the control of the Lord God”, who is the guarantor of order and justice, is an attitude to overcome stress, which is the main consumer of our energy. W. James’s book contains many examples of the most amazing metamorphoses that have occurred to people who have opened themselves to the will of God: “I was amazed at how much the energy and resilience of my spirit increased, how much stronger I became in all life’s encounters, and how much I wanted to affirm everything, to love everything” [3].

A person with a high vitality also shows increased vital activity, which, in turn, is expressed in the desire to work and create. Hence, the next vital value of a person is work/creativity. Labor, in turn, reaps the rewards in the form of such a value as goodness/benefit. The highest level of labor – creative labor – leads to the improvement of the world and its beauty, which realizes the next value – perfection/beauty.

The expansion of perfection and beauty in space and time, in turn, actualizes the twelfth highest value, which can be defined as the creation of descendants/future.

There is a hierarchy of human life values that can be included in the content of education: 1) life/eternity, 2) the Absolute/creator, 3) freedom/self-awareness, 4) happiness/joy, 5) health/harmony, 6) love/faith, 7) wisdom/truth, 8) justice/collegiality, 9) work/creativity, 10) goodness/benefit, 11) perfection/beauty, 12) creation of descendants/future.

List of references

1. Vozniuk O. V. Main aspects of postnonclassical pedagogy. Problems of education. Kyiv, 2015. Special issue No. 85. P. 21-31.
2. The content of general education and its humanization. Continuing professional education: problems, searches, prospects. Kyiv: Vipol, 2000. P. 81-107.
3. Kremen V.G. Content of education and didactic strategy. Uchytel. 1999. № 11-12. C. 30-35.
4. Onishchuk L. A. Theoretical and methodological principles of designing and implementing the content of education. Adult education: theory, experience, prospects. 2016. Issue 1 (12). P. 46-53.