In the Soviet period, G.S. Vinogradov was the first to appeal to the problems of folk pedagogy, who gave a description of the nature of this phenomenon as an integral part of the pedagogical culture of the people, who asserted the right of the term and concept of «folk pedagogics» to exist .
G.S. Vinogradov believed that the set of people’s views, means taken by the people to influence the younger generation with the aim of learning and upbringing should be called folk pedagogy .
The continuity of generations is of great importance in folk pedagogy. The most significant and the most effective feature of folk pedagogy is its relation with life.
Outstanding teachers of the past paid a lot of attention to the study of educational principles of the nation and its pedagogical experience. Teachers-classics believed that folk pedagogics enriches the science of education, serves as its support and foundation.
Y.A. Komensky put forward and developed the idea of «a mother’s school» on the basis of generalization of the experience of home education in labour families, the idea was aimed at raising all families to the level of the best families, where education was wiser . The great pedagogue also took into account people’s experience in the justification of the principle of nature conformity. Some didactic rules are given by him in the form of folk sayings, and in some cases, folk sayings are some elements of didactic regulations. His first work – «Treasure of the Czech language» was released as a separate edition, the collection of proverbs and sayings of the Czech people, «the Wisdom of the old Czechs» was a part of this work. An outstanding Swiss teacher J.H. Pestalozzi appealed to the ideas of upbringing and education of people. The work of other teachers and bright representatives of the classical world pedagogical thought such as R. Owen, A. Diesterweg testified that the truth of their ideas was checked in folk pedagogy .
Figures of the Russian enlightenment treated people’s education experience with great respect. A significant contribution to the development of the idea of nation in the upbringing was made by an outstanding Russian enlightener M.V. Lomonosov, who was the creator of Russian grammar and the first Russian University, a brilliant scientist, who also made discoveries in many sciences, namely in the science of education. His commandment says that history gives the young minds of the old .
Having analyzed the pedagogical heritage of different peoples, K.D. Ushinsky came to the conclusion that there was no general system of education for all ethnic groups. Each nation has its own system of education. Experience of other nations in the education is a precious heritage for all, exactly in the same sense in which the experience of world history belongs to all nations .
According to K.D. Ushinsky, education, created by the people and based on the national basis, has the educational force, which does not exist in the best systems based on abstract ideas. He deeply believed in the principle of «people without a nation is a body without a soul» and explained the idea of nation basing on this principle. Knowing folk customs, ceremonies, traditions, K.D. Ushinsky concluded that «the wisdom of the ancestors is a mirror for posterity, he supported national education, for it was a vivid example of the process of national development .
According to K.D. Ushinsky, to achieve success it is necessary to rely on the system created by the people, which takes into account natural inclinations of man, originality of the national character, formed under the influence of the environment and circumstances . Knowledge of oral national arts and the national parenting experience reflected in it, helps to understand the specific character of people’s historical development, customs and traditions, family foundations, in conditions of which personality of each child was brought up and developed.
Folk pedagogy reveals peculiarities of the national character, people’s face, thoughts and aspirations, moral ideals are especially evident in fairy tales, legends, stories, sayings and proverbs .
Preservation and revival of national cultural traditions can be done only on the basis of their mutual enrichment and appeal to the roots of traditional folk cultures.
For centuries people’s spiritual values, traditions, norms of conduct played a crucial role in educating and upbringing of younger generations, formation of moral, ethical, labour and social qualities . The role of education increases greatly. Education, according to its function, is a sociocultural technology which provides stability of the society and its development. Processing and understanding of spiritual culture and ethnical norms of behavior of the past will help to build the educational process in the modern school.
Search for the content, forms and methods led to the necessity of studying the traditional culture of Altai people, its history, religion, and that led to the consideration of philosophical, pedagogical and ethnic knowledge.
We consider the historical experience of the ethnos, its history, culture, education on the basis of works of scientists of Siberia and Altai mountains. This approach will provide prospects for the study of folk pedagogy and its use in educational process of modern Altai national school .
Judging by one of the ancient human camps traditional culture of the Altaians is one of the oldest cultures, (1,5 million to 150 thousand years). This period of time accumulated rich historical and cultural heritage.
The most popular in the Russian Federation are the materials of archeological excavations of burial mounds of Scythian time (Pazyryk culture). This includes the ethnographic unit of heritage, which begins with the natural objects associated with worldview sphere. The cult of ancestral mountains is of great importance, including the highest mountain in Siberia Kydyn Bazhi (Uch-Sumer) – Belukha which is very significant for all Altaians. There are also sacred places, in other words passes, healing springs (arzhans) etc. Besides, they are objects of material culture and religious customs, traditions, devotions and rich folklore.
The first scientific research of Altaian culture, including issues concerning education of Altai children belong to the pre-revolutionary scientists. Such great scientists as G.F. Miller, P.S. Pallas, and I. Georgi participated in Russian academic expeditions of the second half of the eighteenth century and obtained interesting information about customs and traditions of the Altai people, they were trying to «open» the Altai national character and recreate an integral image of a mental type of an altaian in the context of historical and cultural reality.
Scientific data concerning issues of upbringing of Altai children belong to the middle of XIX century.
V.I. Verbitsky introduced the division of the Altaians into Northern Altaians and Southern Altaians on the basis of their language, culture and life. The division found support among the experts who paid attention not only to the difference in the economic way of life, but the features of their anthropological type and language .
V.I. Verbitsky was one of the first to explore the Altai epos in the nineteenth century. In his article «Heroes in the tales of Altai» he emphasized that «being rich in fantasy and idle time Altai people like to live in a fairy world» . He appreciated the significance of all small genres of folklore for brevity, accuracy, they highlighted folk wisdom. Proverbs collected by him are mainly devoted to the man, his character, moral qualities, labour, kindness and evil, friendship and consent, hospitality, respect for the oldest.
Immersing into the life of Altai people, V.I. Verbitsky touched «grounds» of human existence, found the same values as in the civilized world: the thirst for freedom, respect for the individual, links to relatives.
Altai constantly attracts attention of scientists, travelers and ethnographers. Scientific works of the XIX and beginning of XX centuries are of special ethnographic and historical interest in the study of traditional culture of the Altaians. Writings by V.V. Radlov, S. Shvetsova, N.M. Bolshevikov describe magnificent qualities and traits of the Altaians, which deserve to be moved into modern life.
The study of Altai folk literature began from the middle of the XIX century. The beginning of this research was initiated in 1866 in St. Petersburg by V.V. Radlov’s publication «Samples of folk literature of Turkic tribes in southern Siberia and the Junggar steppe» in all dialects of the Altai Turkic language, the publication was accompanied by a volume translated in German.
It should be noted that up to the present time this scientific work was republished neither in Russia nor in the USSR. Although in other countries, e.g. USA and Germany the work was republished on the occasion of centenary of the book and equipped with the necessary critical apparatus.
V.V. Radlov’s works reveal sincere attitude to the Altaians. Extracts of his memoirs are the examples of this attitude: «no Turkic people of Northern Asia gives such a good feeling as the Altaians do!» . Hospitality had a focus on the unity of people, friendship, respect, reverence, because a guest for the Altaians was always solemn and untouchable. He was met and allowed to enter the house, fed and always had conditions for recreation.
Children took an active part in entertaining guests, that developed responsibility, attentiveness, responsiveness to parents and guests. The one who does not respect the guest, does not enjoy respect of others. This tradition with deep ancient roots shows a beneficial effect on the upbringing of children.
V.V. Radlov thought it was necessary to live for a long time with the people to know them better, appreciate all their qualities. In his work «From Siberia (the diary pages)» he noted an important detail in the nature of the Altaians, it was mutual aid and assistance. On this occasion, he wrote: «Give Kalmyk what you want, and he instantly shares it with everyone who is in a yurt. But if anyone needs a piece of bread or sugar, he will split it into as small number of pieces as would be enough for everybody» .
The Altaians are noted for mutual assistance and reciprocity, and also honesty and directness. «No other nation has the same honesty and frankness as the Altaians have» .
This characteristic features of the traditional Altaian culture shows that the spiritual culture is still on a high level. V.V. Radlov tried to convince missionaries that baptized Altaians should preserve their distinctive character instead of Foundation of Russian schools, because only baptized Altaians could influence unbaptized relatives.
G.N. Potanin began his collection work after V.V. Radlov. He collected and studied Kazakh, Mongolian, Altai tales, legends which were partially published in the book «Essays about the North-West Mongolia». G.N. Potanin devoted many years to the studies of spiritual and material culture of the Asian East, the study lit by the light of the broad idea .
Scientist G.N. Potanin showed a vivid interest in folk art of the Altaians. He publishes well-known Altai legends «Caraty kaan», «Iren’-Shain-Chichirge «Demichi-Eren», the famous epos «Altai-Buuchay» and others. It is represented in oral stories, cosmogonic myths and legends about the universe, stars, animals, birds, myths about the origin of the names of mountains, rivers, lakes, valleys.
S.P. Shvetsov’s works about Altaians are of great importance, he was the head of the statistical, economic expedition, organized in 1897 by the administration of Altai mining district. In «the usual legal views of the Altaians (the Kalmyks) and the Kirghiz. Marital and family relations», materials related to the Altaians who preserved the traditional way of life was summarized. Much attention is paid to the customary law related to marriage and wedding: the right of girls for dowry, the role of relatives in solving the issue of marriage and the reasons of occurrence of the custom of avoidance. Woman in the family was a labor force to care for a large number of livestock. S.P. Shvetsov describes «a look at a woman as a work force, necessary in the household, and as a creature, which can give birth to a child and raise a child» .
The development of ethnographic science in Russia aroused an interest to customs and ceremonies, public and family life of different peoples. In this sense, the end of XIX century passed the baton to the developing modern ethnography. One of the substantive work of that time is the collection of epic tales prepared by N.YA. Nikiforov. Notes on the family life of the Altaians readers can meet in A.V. Andrianov’s works. He is one of the first to pay attention to the independence of Altai women in making decision concerning some household affairs .
Homely atmosphere in which a child is growing up is very important. It is typical for an Altai family relations typical to avoid conflicts and to be tolerant towards each other. A.V. Anokhin points out the cause of such relations: «every husband feels and realizes on whose shoulders rests all material well-being at home, so every Altaian treats his wife with excellent attention and always answers with affection or complete silence when wife is in a bad mood. Rudeness between husband and wife is a rare thing in Altai families, probably because men always prevent any misunderstanding between husband and wife» . Such nature of relations, in our opinion, is projected onto the attitude to children. Parents oppose all kinds of aggression, physical and verbal, which damage good relations between people. The Altai Proverbs teach in the following way: «When a stone is thrown at you, you throe butter in return» .
Folk culture, transmitted to the child in the family, gave him spiritual integration in the local society, the proper mentality, static socio-ethnically fixed identity. Family laid the basic pattern of behaviour which was then carried on the relations outside the family. The dominant principle of this model is the education for respect for elders, inclusion of the children to the world of social relations, work, understanding of traditional life, with its customs and traditions, the whole picture of the world goes through family contacts. Interest in family, its educational role is due to the fact that it has a major impact on the consciousness, and the formation of personal qualities from birth until the moment when a man becomes a full part of the society.
Thus, the problems related to the education of the younger generation, never lost and will never lose its relevance. Altai folk pedagogics deserves close attention, in-depth study for the creative use of the modern practice of education.