The role of Christian pedagogy in the system of Latvia secondary education

22. November, 2001


Nils Sautiņš

Ziņojums konferencē Veidojot pilsonisko kultūru Centrālās un Austrumeiropas valstīs,2001. gada 19. - 21. novembrī


A contemporary pupil is the one who will form the society of the 21st century – they will be the future research workers, teachers, Members of Parliament, intelligentsia who are bringing intellectual and cultural values to the generation to come.

Future changes make us understand surrounding people more deeply, find mutual harmony and cooperation, think about the possibilities of the individual development.

The Conception of Education in Latvia emphasizes the necessity to promote the formation of a knowledgeable, competent, educated, virtuous and ethical individual who is characterized by the harmony of feelings, intellect and will.

The aim of my research is to give a notion about the basic issues of Christian pedagogy at school, promoting development of a harmonious individual of the new century. On the basis of the findings of the research I came to the following conclusions:

  1. The analysis of the basic concepts of general and Christian psychology show that Christian pedagogy plays a significant role in the system of secondary education in Latvia, it brings the intellectual and cultural values to the future generations, and is an integral part of the European culture.
  2. The tasks of Christian pedagogy indicate to the fact that it is an essential part of pedagogy promoting the development of a harmonious individual in contemporary society.


A contemporary pupil is the one who will form the society of the 21st century, including scientists, managers, teachers, intelligentsia, that is inheritors and carriers of intellectual and cultural values to the future generations.

Changes that will affect the future, make us understand the surrounding people, find mutual harmony and cooperation, think of the best possibilities for developing of the future individual.

The Conception of Education in Latvia remarks that in order to upbring a citizen of a democratic society, it is necessary to promote formation of a knowledgeable, competent, educated, virtuous and ethical individual who possesses harmonious share of feelings, intellect and will.

The aim of my research is to give a notion about solution of the basic issues of Christian pedagogy in school practice, promoting development of a harmonious individual of the new century.

Basic concepts of general pedagogical process

Throughout centuries starting from the Middle Ages, a pupil was considered to be the object of pedagogical influence when the content of learning at school was isolated from regularities of life and nature. Pupils studied speculations of philosophers of the time accepting them as dogmas without any justification.

Today the society has changed in Latvia and so has changed the pedagogical process at school ensuring implementation of interconnection between development of a child and society, that is integration.

Therefore the issue of the essence of the pedagogical process is very important to the science of pedagogy and pedagogical practice.

How to define the pedagogical process? I. Jurgena offers the following definition: Pedagogical process is a purposeful, deliberately organized, developing interaction of teachers and pupils. [1]

I. Maslo in her turn defines the pedagogical process in the following way: Pedagogical process is an autonomous, self-developing and self-adjusting system with multi-meaningful structure of interactions, in which educational aims and tasks of school are being integrated. [3]

A. Špona says that pedagogical process – self-developing and self-adjusting interaction of all its subjects, that is directed towards human ideals of creating self-developing opportunities and self-adjusting conditions for each pupil. [6]

So the pedagogical process is being considered as a unit of children centred educational and developmental process.

The subject of the pedagogical process is creation of conditions for revelation of individuality and socialization of each child – pupil, which is creation of conditions for self-adjustment of a personality.

The driving forces of this process are the main factors of individual self-development:

  • human inclination for independence,
  • inclination for self-realization,
  • inclination for self-determination as a personality.

The pedagogical process at school is formed basing on general impulses of human development, attentively and flexibly developing them into pedagogical reality. [1]

The content of the pedagogical process is a unity of all its components (subjective and objective), principles, preconditions and relations. The content of the pedagogical process exists and is carried out in concrete forms and cannot be separated from them. The process and its aim set the principles of an organization – its wholeness, humanism, accessibility, socialization and individualization.

Humanism in the pedagogical process at school requires an advance towards an individual and human dominance in social activities at school.

As I. Maslo and A. Špona remark: Perfection of versatile personality is based on its organic self-development according to general human and national ideals. [5]

The principle of individualization anticipates single educational orientation for which achieving pupils can use different individual methods. School pedagogical individualization means creation of possibilities and conditions for alternative ways to reach educational results, taking into consideration individual features of each pupil.

Individualization of pedagogical process is organically connected with its socialization. Socialization in the pedagogical process is widening of a pupil’s sphere and volume of social relations that would encourage the pupil’s participation in social life.

The accessibility of the pedagogical process express itself in adequacy with each pupil’s needs and opportunities and its content but wholeness of the pedagogical process is a unity of all its components and relations.

The main conditions of real existence of the pedagogical process are: development of a pupil’s individuality and his/her desire to perfect himself/herself, a teacher’s desire to promote a pupil’s perfection and his/her own perfection, mutual confidence between a teacher and a pupil. [1]

The atmosphere of school life, which is characterized by mutual confidence and educational relations, is the main condition for school pedagogical process.

The pedagogical process transforms a pupil into a subject of development for whom educational relations become as a means to orient himself/herself in the world. Trust in teachers, parents form the structural basis of a pupil’s personality. Distrust and anxiety in mutual relations limit possible development of a pupil as a harmonious individual.

So the school pedagogical process connects the development of a pupil’s individuality with its socialization and acquirement of cultural inheritance the previous generations.

In this respect an integral part of the pedagogical process is mutual relations between a teacher and a pupil, which are being formed and exist in concrete environment. Only the teacher who allows his/her pupils to educate themselves can be an effective teacher. [1] Taking into consideration the double-sided character of a link a teacher – a pupil it is important to stress those desires which a pupil sets for a teacher’s personality, that is, understanding of a pupil’s situation, fairness, trustfulness, steadiness, patience, sense of humour and calmness.

It can be mentioned that a teacher’s orientation towards a pupil, his/her desire to understand and help, his / her interest in a pupil’s problems are the ruling ones in the relation a teacher – a pupil.

Besides a contemporary pupil values a human teacher more highly than a professional teacher. It is so because a contemporary pupil can acquire knowledge individually and independently. Reality shows that a pupil lacks human communication with grown ups. Therefore mutual relations between a teacher and a pupil, parents and children, teenagers and other teenagers are inestimable.

If there are no educational relations, there is a free zone which can be filled with different other influences.

Therefore educational relations can be formulated as relations of confidence between the subjects of interaction that emerge when one party accepts psychoanalytical opinions and behaviour habits of the other. [1]

It needs to be stressed that the school pedagogical process anticipates creation of conditions for accumulation of pupils’ personal experience, possibility to solve conflict situations independently and opportunity to make mistakes and acquire contradictory experience.

Therefore in school pedagogical process, it is desirable to form a manageable field in the pupils’ independent activities to help them to develop their independence, self-education and self-development in order to acquire their personal experience. [5]

Successful formation of educational interaction has a certain influence also on a teacher’s personality – it perfects him/her, changes his/her attitude towards people and the surrounding world.

Basing on understanding of the developmental process of a personality by Ā. Karpova [2], it is possible to say that the basic criteria of effectiveness of a school pedagogical process are:

Social criterion includes feelings of a pupil at school, educational relations of mutual confidence between the subjects of the pedagogical process, satisfaction with knowledge, relations, his / her status.

Activity criterion includes volume of choice of alternative activities, taking into consideration individual features of each pupil in choosing those alternatives, taking into consideration each pupil’s individual speed and regime, taking into consideration of individual features of the subjects of the pedagogical process.

Personal criterion includes level of needs and adequacy of them to the possibilities of an individual, adequacy of self-evaluation level, level of self-determination and self-actualization.

The final goal of the pedagogical process is personality of a pupil as a self-organizing system with a certain self-education degree.

Development of a pupil’s personality in the view of Christian pedagogy

There are two characteristic approaches concerning Christian pedagogy in Latvia that should be taken into consideration in the activities of Christian schools. They are: socioanthropological and sociopsychological.

The first is being characterized by the focus on how the belief and rite strengthen traditional links of each individual stressing the ritual and mythical role of symbolization of the basic values of the society, that keep alive social structure of a group.[4]

The second approach particularly stresses the way the religion can satisfy individual cognitive and affective needs for stability and safety which is a guarantor of a developmental process of a human personality.[4]

Religious education at Christian schools is being organized basing on theories of axiology and pedagogy. Axiology of education, as one of the aspects of educational philosophy, is a discipline that puts forward an issue about mutual influence of values, their connection with nature, culture, society and personality.

One of the main directions of a liberal and democratic Christian school in Latvia is existentialism. It means that a teacher forms such pedagogical environment that gives opportunity for each pupil to take his/her own personal decisions irrespective of the existing system of values, doctrines and norms traditionally chosen by previous generations.

The teacher does not give ready answers but directs to the problem and brings it forward pupils for investigation. This is problem-oriented approach in Christian pedagogy. Each pupil himself/herself can critically evaluate and draw personal conclusions as well as take decisions.

The aim of a teacher is not to involve pupils in a certain denomination but to reveal the essence and basic principles of Christianity at the same time stimulating attending religious rites in the churches to which families have historically belonged.

Trend towards human pedagogical personalization, which is based upon development of a harmonious individual through subjective emotional feelings, cultural and historical realities, defines contemporary tendencies in Christian pedagogy.[4]

The aim of Christian pedagogy is to promote the inborn desire of a personality to approach the knowledge about the objective world, based on the ability to update oneself through self-revelation in effective cognitive activity ensuring holistic functioning and developing one’s inner potencies. [4]

Grounding upon the aim advanced in Christian pedagogy, there are several tasks:

  • to promote the development and refinement of creative potencies of an individual;
  • to ensure multisided cognitive activities (learning through revelation);
  • to promote self-expression in mental development and to achieve inner and outer harmony of an individual;
  • to ensure the integrated content of education in humanities and social sciences;
  • to ensure the accessibility to many-sided information about the newest scientific conclusions in metaphysics, psychology, ethics, etc., revealing their importance in cognition of existence levels and in formation of active life position in the content of Christian pedagogy;
  • to enable fundamental comprehension of the content and traditions of religion, as well as express historical experience of divine expression of the reality;
  • to reveal ecclesiastical character of transcendentalism and its many-sidedness in religious rites in different cultures and different historical periods;
  • to enable development of positive inter-religious dialogues grounding upon universal and cultural values and the order of general existence of humanity.[ 4]


Analyzing basic approaches of general pedagogy and Christian pedagogy, it is possible to conclude that Christian pedagogy has an important role in the system of Latvia secondary education, promoting hand-over of cultural and ecclesiastical values to further generations, integrating in European circulation of developing civic culture.

The mentioned tasks of Christian pedagogy show that it is a basic component of pedagogical science, which enables the development of a harmonious individual in the contemporary society.


1. Jurgena I. Vispārīgā pedagoģija. R.: RPIVA, 1998
2. Karpova Ā., Plotnieks I. Personība un saskarsme., R.: 1984
3. Maslo I. Skolas pedagoģiskā procesa diferenciācija un individualizācija. R.: RAKA, 1995
4. Starptautiskās konferences Konflikta teorija un prakse multikulturālā sabiedrībā rakstu krājums., R.: SO Izglītība un tautas attīstībai, 2001
5. Špona A., Maslo.I Skolas pedagoģiskais process., R.: Latvijas pedagogu biedrība, 1991
6. Špona A. Audzināšanas teorija un metodika., R.: Latvijas Universitāte, 1996 raksts

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