Pedology

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pedology

[pe′däl·ə·jē]
(geology)
(medicine)
The science of the study of the physiological as well as the psychological aspects of childhood.

Pedology

 

the sum of psychological, anatomical, physiological, biological, and sociological conceptions about child development, a field of study not presenting a comprehensive theory. The term is not used abroad, where the subject is included within the area of child and pedagogical psychology.

Pedology came into being as a result of the influence of evolutionary concepts on psychology and pedagogy and the development of applied branches of psychology and experimental pedagogy. The first pedological studies were published in the early 20th century by such non-Russians as G. S. Hall, J. Baldwin, E. Meumann, and W. Preyer and in Russia by V. M. Bekh-terev, G. I. Rossolimo, and A. P. Nechaev, among others.

In prerevolutionary Russia, pedology was represented at congresses on pedagogical psychology in 1906 and 1909 and on experimental pedagogy in 1910, 1913, and 1916. After the October Socialist Revolution of 1917, a network of pedological institutions developed, an extensive literature was published, a conference (1927) and a congress (1928) of pedologists were held, and the journal Pedologiia was published from 1928 to 1932. By the late 1920’s pedology began to lay claim to the role of a “Marxist science of children” monopolizing the right to study children, forcing out pedagogy, and seeking to absorb the psychology, anatomy, and physiology of children.

Pedology’s orientation was idealist and mechanistic. It was opposed to psychology, viewing this discipline as merely the study of what was subjective, and was excessively infatuated with scientifically unfounded tests which determined the intelligence quotient of pupils and students. All this negatively influenced psychology and pedagogy and, in particular, caused much harm to schools. As a result, by the early 1930’s many tenets of pedology, such as problems of the subject of pedology, biogenesis, sociogenesis, and tests, had been severely criticized.

Criticism of pedology’s characteristic slighting of schoolchil-dren’s activities and of the crucial role of upbringing and instruction in child development came to a climax with a decree of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) dated July 4, 1936, On Pedological Distortions in the System of People’s Commissariats of Education. The harsh and largely just attacks by Soviet pedagogues on pedology, with references to this same decree, often sought to negate all the positive work that had been done by Soviet scholars, such as P. P. Blonskii and L. S. Vygotskii, who were in one way or another connected with pedology. These educators had in fact committed serious errors but nonetheless had creatively contributed to the development of pedagogy and psychology.

REFERENCE

Petrovskii, A. V. Istoriia sovetskoi psikhologii. Moscow, 1967.

A. V. PETROVSKII

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