Каталог статей из сборников научных конференций и научных журналов- Development of ethnopedagogy by G. N. Volkov

Научный мультидисциплинарный журнал
Paradigmata poznání. - 2021. - № 1

Development of ethnopedagogy by G. N. Volkov

V. A. Ivanov,  Professor, Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences,

ORCID 0000-0002-0228-4487, profiwanow@yandex.ru,

Chuvash State University named after I.N. Ulyanov, Cheboksary, Russia,

E. V. Tolstova, Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences, assistant professor,

ORCID 0000-0001-5068-0700, bella-lucia@rocketmail.com,

Cheboksary Cooperative Institute, Cheboksary, Russia


Each nation has its outstanding personalities, heroes, symbols. They are like beacons, without them people lose their bearings, degenerate. The Chuvash people were glorified by the world famous sinologist Nikita Bichurin, educator Ivan Yakovlev, architect Pyotr Egorov, astronaut Andriyan Nikolaev, world and Olympic champions Valery Yardy and Vladimir Voronkov ... Academician Gennady Nikandrovich Volkov (1927–2010) occupies an honorable place in this gallery. Doctor of Pedagogy, Professor Volkov successfully worked in the field of Soviet and Russian education, he proposed the term "ethnopedagogy" to denote a science about empirical experience of ethnic groups in the upbringing and education of children, about moral, ethical and aesthetic views on the eternal values of family, clan, tribe, nationality, nation. The founder of ethnopedagogical school Volkov outlined the range of problems that this science studies:

1) basic pedagogical concepts of a nation (care, education, self-education, reeducation, instruction, training, habituation);

2) a child as an object and subject of education (own child, orphan, adopted child, peers, friends, other people's children, children's environment);

3) functions of education (preparation for work, formation of moral and volitional character traits, development of mind, health care, cultivation of the love for beauty);

4) factors of education (nature, game, word, communication, tradition, business, everyday life, art, religion, example-ideal (personalities-symbols, events-symbols, ideas-symbols);

5) methods of education (persuasion, example, order, explanation, habituation and exercise, wish and blessing, incantation, oath, request, advice, hint, approval, reproach, reproof, remonstrance, commandment, precept, promise, remorse, repentance, preaching, testament, prohibition, threat, curse, abuse, punishment);

6) means of education (nursery rhymes, counting-out rhymes, proverbs, sayings, riddles, epics, fairy tales, legends, lore, myths);

7) organization of education (labor associations of children and youth, youth holidays, national holidays).

His works "Ethnopedagogy of the Chuvash People", "Pedagogy of Life", "Constellations of the Earth", "Life, Death and Immortality of the Patriarch", "Pedagogy of Love", "Ethnopedagogical Pansophy" and others gained wide popularity. Ethnopedagogy shows that all nations including the disappearing ones have treasures in their ancient original culture that can enrich the world civilization. The great Soviet teacher V. A. Sukhomlinsky, giving his review of Volkov's “Chuvash folk pedagogy”, stressed: “The Chuvash have not only an astronaut, but also a teacher ...” [10].

The goal of this article is to familiarize the pedagogical community throughout the world with the formation of ethnopedagogy, its emergence from the depths of Chuvash folk pedagogy, its transformation into a phenomenon of world civilization and enrich contemporaries with knowledge about the national color of pedagogical cultures of different nations.

The ideas of Volkov's ethnopedagogical concept are rooted in the spiritual heritage of the educator of the Chuvash people I. Y. Yakovlev. Both great teachers instructed: we should absorb spiritual treasures, wisdom, experience and traditions of our people, and at the same time draw on the achievements of world culture, world experience in teaching and upbringing. Historical experience of the Simbirsk Chuvash school created by I. Y. Yakovlev in 1868 resembles the community of students and followers of Academician Volkov, which formed around this scholar at the end of the 20th century and consisted of representatives of 32 nationalities.

The encyclopedia "The Best People of Russia" states that a native of Chuvashia, Professor Gennady Nikandrovich Volkov is the author of over 900 publications; dissertation advisor of at least 300 dissertations defended for obtaining academic titles including about 50 doctors of science; founder of the ethnopedagogical scientific school [6, p. 144]. Volkov was awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of the Chuvash Republic.

Volkov was not an armchair scholar, he travelled from Kaliningrad to Yakutia, from Yamal to the mountain villages of Kyrgyzstan, worked abroad. His book "Constellations of the Earth" tells about friendship of the peoples of our great homeland, describes geography and history, progressive traditions and customs of the working peoples of the country. In his other book "The Oak and the Sun", he states truly: "The more good customs, the more good people" [10]. Volkov called folk pedagogy "pedagogy of the sun", and the Chuvash often depicted the sun as an eight-pointed star. On the state symbols of his homeland - the flag and the coat of arms of Chuvashia in the emblem “three suns”, the ancient solar sign – eight-pointed stars – is repeated. Based on the wide representation of eight-pointed solar signs in the academician's environment, below we will limit ourselves to the number 8 describing his ethnopedagogical activity. Volkov lectured at 8 universities in Eurasia, we will consider Volkov's trace on eight national territories where he studied progressive ideas and experience of folk pedagogy, where he established academic foundations, found factual material illustrating the main ideas of his ethnopedagogical concept. As an aside, we will look for parallels with the academician’s homeland, Chuvash people and their activity and acquaint the reader with them, drawing on Volkov’s conclusions.

Estonia is a country of millions. It enriched ethnopedagogy with a peculiar idea of a small homeland. Where does the homeland begin? – it originates from the parental home or rather from the courtyard, in the center of which there is a flowerbed, where Professor Volkov found 32 types of flowers. Among the flowers there were pieces of granite, reminiscent of the richness of the Estonian land with granite boulders. Around the flowerbed there were fruit trees, next to it was a playground covered with green grass, a horizontal bar, a swing, a slide for skiing, a net for jumping. Volkov believed that the Estonian courtyard is the face of the republic and its people, which amaze the world with quantitative data on the education of its one million population: there are  8 million books in Estonian, over 100 magazines and newsletters in Estonian are published, the circulation of the newspaper in the native language for the Pärnu region is almost 30 thousand ... National language is a key to understanding the phenomenal culture of an ethnic group and its originality, the invisible sides of spiritual and moral life. The ancestors conveyed their commandments, love for their native land, their native language by means of words, therefore the care of Estonians for their native language is an excellent example to follow, for as Sukhomlinsky once noted, “through the mediation of words, a child becomes a son of his nation,” which Volkov recalls in his textbook “Ethnopedagogy” [11, p. 14].

In this regard, the role of songs in education cannot be ignored, because they accompany all events of folk life – work, holidays, games, funerals, etc. The whole life of people was spent in songs. There are one million recorded Estonian songs. The Chuvash are called people of one hundred thousand songs, then Estonia is a country of millionaires thanks to songs. Gennady Nikandrovich describes a beautiful example in this regard: a girl in an Estonian outfit, helping her mother, whips butter in a churn. The matter is very delicate, it does not work out very well, the mother approaches her daughter, advises to work with a song - the butter obediently creams. One can draw a parallel with gatherings typical for Chuvash girls (larma – chuv.), when young people gathered for needlework at someone's home, the girls' communication was accompanied by singing songs, so a whole chest with a dowry – embroidered shirts, aprons, towels, tablecloths – was quietly gathered. Since ancient times, songs have accompanied and stimulated the labor process, they contributed to the coordination and unification of labor efforts of workers. Volkov is convinced that a child is happy when he sings.

In terms of population and territory, Estonia is officially little, but a little body often harbours a great soul, because here Gennady Nikandrovich found many interesting examples for ethnopedagogy. As for the Estonian capital Tallinn, the name is written with two letters "N": proper names do not change in a foreign language (though in Russian we traditionally write it with one N) – the city of Tallinn is on the cover of the «Soviet Finno-ugric studies» Journal [15, p. 2], one issue contains an article by the Chuvash professor M. R. Fedotov on the commonality of geographical names in the Estonian and Chuvash languages. Estonia is an example of harmonizing humanistic education based on the principle of conformity with nature.

Kalmykia is a world with the Grandmother on top. After the dissolution of the Soviet state, Volkov moved to Kalmykia, where he became a consultant on ethnopedagogical theory and head of the laboratory at the Institute for Personality Development. During his work at the Kalmyk State University G. N. Volkov deduced a formula of ethnopedagogy [12, p. 568]: "without memory – no traditions, without traditions – no culture, without culture – no education, without education – no spirituality." Reliance on the calls of Buddha awakens the heart, clears the thoughts, frees from ill will, fosters love not only for people, but also for all living creatures. The Dalai Lama's address to the Kalmyk people focuses on the need to preserve the language and culture, customs and traditions of their ancestors. Coordination of the education formula with the call of the greats is necessary and develops the sermons and covenants of the ancients at the present stage according to the moral: "Everything new is well-forgotten old", it conforms to the Kalmyk education system where the grandmother was raised to an unattainable height. Volkov quotes the words of the head of Kalmykia K. N. Ilyumzhinov: “The world begins with a grandmother. Her love is endless, kindness is limitless, patience is immense. Affectionate grandmothers raise a generation, teach children to walk and to speak. Their love is as sincere as light and heat of the sun” [12, p. 569]. The grandmother relieves any pain with one touch of her hand, and though a TV set shows and speaks perhaps better than her, nothing can replace the grandmother’s soul. The love that parents often do not have time to give to their children goes to the grandchildren. Grandmothers are needed for future generations who are still taking their first childish steps. With their tales and songs they form the core of culture. The entire ritualism of the Kalmyks is permeated with the cult of ancestors; Kalmyk prayers often begin with an appeal to the ancestors. The grandmother is transmitter of wisdom of 2–3 generations, which means that her granddaughter gets from her the experience of 4–5 generations.

Volkov's book "Ethnopedagogical Pansophy" which became the quintessence of his more than half a century long scholarly activity appeared in Elista and put Kalmyk State University on a par with Moscow State University, Sorbonne in Paris, Charles University in Prague, Humboldt University in Berlin where the academiсian was invited to lecture on ethnopedagogy. In Kalmykia they appreciate the work of another Chuvash native - Iakinf Bichurin who was at the origins of Russian Kalmyk studies – his "Historical Review of the Oirats or Kalmyks from the 15th century to the present" was published more than 180 years ago. Nikita Yakovlevich Bichurin, a four-time state prize winner, was the head of the Russian mission in Beijing, where the great Russian poet A. S. Pushkin had been dreaming of going together with him:

Поедем, я готов, куда бы вы, друзья,

Куда бы ни вздумали, готов за вами я

Повсюду следовать, надменной убегая:

К подножию ль стены далекого Китая... [1, p. 107]

Germany is a country of thinkers and poets. Under the guidance of Professor Volkov, lectures on ethnopedagogy of the Chuvash people were given at German universities, in such cities as Berlin, Regensburg, Jena. In 1979-1982 Gennady Nikandrovich lectured and conducted seminars on pedagogy and psychology at Pädagogische Hochschule Dr. Theodor Neubauer Erfurt. For his achievements he was awarded the title of Doktor der Pädagogik ehrenhalber upon decision of the Academic Council of the German university. The resolution  explains the reason by emphasizing his contribution to strengthening friendship between nations, active participation in the publication of more than 30 works in German that were published in newspapers and academic journals. The journal «Pädagogik. Psychologie» No. 10, 1983 was completely devoted to Volkov's articles on the problem of international education, which is a component of spiritual education. In this connection he wrote: when the national exists exclusively (ausschließlich existiert) – it's called nationalism and when the national is inclusive (integriert ist) – then it is internationalism. Articles are devoted to universality of education – the harmony of social and family education, rural and urban education; cognitive value of folklore, taking into account the age characteristics of a person; family as a support for the people and the state; to the merits of educator I. Y. Yakovlev in this field who trained 2000 teachers from peasant families in the Simbirsk Chuvash school; preservation of a mother tongue. A number of articles include an analysis of Martin Luther’s Reformation and its positive consequences for education in Russia: Lutheranism had a positive impact on education in the Volga region. Peter the Great visited Luther’s house and tomb during his first visit to Germany. Leo Tolstoy enriched his humanistic pedagogy using Luther's heritage; in fostering tolerance he applied Luther's theological literature; he found novelty in education and musical training. Luther's doctrine has not lost its relevance over centuries. A number of dissertations, including the one by E. V. Tolstova, whose opponent was Professor Volkov, testifies to the universality of the significance of Lutherian studies for pedagogy. Under Volkos’s leadership, the Trakovskaya Chuvash-German gymnasium was opened and for 20 years was aimed at interaction between ethnopedagogies of the Chuvash and the German people. The gymnasium made a significant contribution to the enrichment of the language and culture of two ethnic groups - this is proved by the annual participation of students and teachers in joint educational events, including the traditional festivals of Chuvashia and Bavaria.

In the German teachers' newspaper «Deutsche Lehrerzeitung» of 18. November 1982, p. 12 G. N. Volkov and A. Herrmann develop their thoughts on labor education in the article «Gedanken zur Arbeitserziehung». Using specific material, it illustrates the role of joy and happiness in labour and cognitive activity. Creating conditions for enjoying your own creative work, overcoming difficulties on the way to happiness, inspiring children with future prospects is the meaning of education. An entire page of the broadsheet newspaper is devoted to this article. The statement made in the article is extremely important: The emotional approach to work provides the highest efficiency in shaping the need to work not because of necessity but for the mere joy of it [2, p. 12]. 30 works published in German, an invitation to lecture in the land of great thinkers prove Volkov's importance as a scientist of a European level.

Yakutia is an endless country. In terms of territory, the number of fur animals, diamonds and gold, the region is incredibly rich in resources. The vast territory of the republic can accommodate 150 Chuvash Republics. It took the first tsarist governor two years to reach the distant Yakutia. Volkov (a graduate from the Faculty of  Physics and Mathematics), who fell in love with Yakutia, operates with numbers: Volkov was 1500 times faster to get to Yakutia than the aforementioned governor, who spent two years on his way to the first place of duty there. A young doctor who was sent to Yakutia after graduating with a degree in medicine in an interview with Volkov mentioned his preferences when  choosing his first place of work: 1) not far from Yakutsk ("only 300 km"), 2) close to the pier on the Lena River, 3) not a very severe winter (sometimes below 50 degrees Celsius), 4) hospitable locals ... He got acquainted with the situation and stayed in Yakutia for the rest of his life. If he had been offered to work in America, he would have stayed in Yakutia anyway, the region where people were sent into exile, to hard labor camps, the outskirts of the country [14, p. 224].

Volkov's ethnopedagogical concept was continued and acquired special significance in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The monograph of the first doctor of Pedagogical Sciences of Yakutia, Professor V. F. Afanasyev, Volkov’s close friend, initiated the study of pedagogy of the peoples of Yakutia. It also houses the world's first museum of folk pedagogy, which was created in 1980 with the direct participation of Professor Volkov.

Arriving as an opponent at the public defence of his dissertation, Volkov really saw that it was truly public: there were at least 100 people in the hall for the defence, the same number of people was waiting outside. He was surprised to learn that the head of the republic, the secretary of the regional committee, deputies of all levels, all the staff of the Ministry of Education, the rector of Yakutsk State University were present at the defence. The topic of the dissertation is relevant, connected with the education of the sustainable use of natural resources. Poets and writers, doctors and candidates did not stand aside – science in the republic is in the limelight. The result is the famous book "Ancient Turkic language of the 6th-8th centuries" by N. K. Antonov, with 5 thousand (!) сopies published. Yakutia is a country of scientists, led by scientist – representatives of many nationalities, who are affectionately called “Yakutiane”. During his trips and conversations with the leaders of the republic, with teachers and pupils Volkov grew convinced of the parallel use of two teaching languages up to grade 8 – Russian and Yakut – and the effectiveness of bilingualism in literature, history and geography lessons [14, pp. 216–228].

Ukraine is the home of great teachers, headed by Sukhomlinsky. In his youth, Volkov corresponded with Vasily Sukhomlinsky, an ardent disciple of Ushinsky's ideas about the nationality principle as the most complete reflection of spiritual treasures of people, their age-old culture, creative abilities and activities. The outstanding humanist teacher, who was 10 years older than Gennady Nikandrovich, knew perfectly well the heritage of I.Y. Yakovlev, the Chuvash educator. Like Yakovlev and Volkov, Sukhomlinsky demands the most careful attitude to spiritual treasures of the people, of which educational traditions he considers to be the most decisive. The influence exerted by Sukhomlinsky undoubtedly affected the activities of the Chuvash scholar. Then Volkov's school of thought, the direction he opened influenced researchers in the country and abroad and impressed Sukhomlinsky, who wrote: “Under the impression of your book “Chuvash Folk Pedagogy” I decided to write a book about Ukrainian folk pedagogy. I don’t know what it will result in. I am collecting the material now ... I think this work will take me five years. If I succeed in realizing the plan, I will dedicate the book to you". In the letter to the Chuvash educator dated February 6, 1967 he writes: “Until now, no one has seriously thought about folk pedagogy and apparently this has brought a lot of trouble to pedagogy. I am sure that folk pedagogy is the focus of spiritual life of a nation". The words at the end of the letter from the famous Soviet educator to the researcher are the highest award for any person: "With respect and love for you, real Man ..." [10].

Vasily Aleksandrovich Sukhomlinsky is an example of the trinity of pedagogy elements: ideology, nationality, humanity. In the era of interpenetration of cultures of fraternal peoples, the book "To children I give my heart" became the basis for the "School of Joy", and education turned into a science about humans, the teacher became a friend, a like-minded person and a comrade of the child in a joint effort. He managed to transfer into young hearts the habits, customs and traditions passed on by the ancestors [8, pp. 3–4]. Sukhomlinsky calls himself a laborer in ethnopedagogy, he remained so forever, rejecting offers for career promotion. Sukhomlinsky devoted many classroom hours to communicating with nature, considering this to be lessons in thinking and developing the mind. He believed that the development of a child's brain occurs most effectively among visual images, in particular among images of home nature. On warm autumn days children went to his school barefoot like peasant children in the old days. He realized a child’s spiritual life of in the world of play – the life-giving source of children's thinking. His attitude to child labor is also important: without labor a person turns into a nobody. He understood that grandfathers and great-grandfathers passed on their commandments in proverbs – pedagogical miniatures, forms of folk wisdom. Sukhomlinsky's commandments are based on folk proverbs. For example, a Ukrainian saying goes: "A person has three disasters – death, old age and bad children." Old age is inevitable, death is inexorable, no one can close the doors of their house in front of them. But one can protect the house from bad children, as well as from fire. It depends not only on parents but also on children themselves. Sukhomlinsky said: school becomes a true center of culture only when four cults reign in it: the cult of Motherland, the cult of Man, the cult of the book, and the cult of the native word [11, p. 14].

The transaltion into German of “To Children I Give My Heart” [7] took into account the fact that the author was no longer alive, but his commandments are alive and will live on. Volkov who visited Sukhomlinsky’s secondary school in Pavlysh highlighted some commandments, for example, those that are relevant for inhabitants of 200 countries on Earth, speaking 2796 languages:

Science is international, but wisdom is deeply national.

The mother is the greatest teacher, she manifests herself systematically.

Getting older a peasant strives to return to the graves of his relatives.

Ethnopedagogy is the pedagogy of national salvation.

In order to get to know the people you need to know their traditional system of education.

To love the mankind is easier than to love one man.

In Pavlysh, Volkov heard from a local resident that when Sukhomlinsky fell seriously ill, he refused to go to hospital saying: "I want to die among children." We add that the hospitable land of the Chernihiv region received Volkov’s countryman – the classic of Chuvash poetry Sespel, without whom ethnopedagogy would be incomplete, the Kiev region surprised the professor with blooming chestnuts, the Kharkiv region prepared one of the favorite Yakovlevologists, Ivan Trofimov, a participant in three wars in the 20th century; in the Lvov region the author of this article, V. A. Ivanov – Volkov’s post-graduate student served in the Samara-Ulyanovsk Iron Division - all of them and other friends became spiritually close. Ukraine is reach in songs too, the beauty of their lyrics and form develops the voice, strengthens the lungs, accompanies work. Therefore putting his hand on his chest, Volkov taught: "A vibrant song expands the chest." Ukraine is a country of hardworking and kind people: local residents brought buckets of pears to Soviet Army soldiers for free.

Ossetia is a country of mountains, higher than which are only mountains. Volkov sees in them an additional fact: the bi-unity of South and North Ossetia, the two countries are brothers for him, he is not interested in who is older or younger, they are like twins: according to Chuvash ethnopedagogy, no one can be closer to each other than twins. The process of comparison leads the scholar to similarities with Chuvash – the Chuvash are divided into Turis (the northern Chuvash) and Anatri (the southern Chuvash). In these conventions, Volkov relies on folk pedagogy – legends say that the ancestors of the Chuvash people, for example, the Thracians, came to the Volga (Atal – chuv.) from across the mountains, from the shores of the Black Sea, from the Balkan Peninsula, through the Caucasus (where the Kabarda-Balkar Republic is situated nowdays, and nomadic tribes founded the Volga Bulgaria after they had settled on the Middle Volga). The surviving folk songs about swans-geese prove that Ossetian ancestors and ancient Chuvash people were neighbours. Volkov knew the history of the Great Mirgration, initiated by the Huns led by Attila. Based on the vocabulary, he cites the words that sound alike: the Ossetian CHIGYT is pronounced like the Chuvash CHĂKĂT with the general meaning “cheese”. The Ossetian tree – KAVRYZ sounds like the Chuvash KAVĂRÇ (ash tree), the Ossetian KABA – like KĔPE (shirt), ADYL – the name of a fairy tale king, and the Chuvash ATEL – the pagan name of the legendary commander, about whom the author of the article has three books: Attila und die Hunnen. Stuttgart: Konrad Theis Verlag, 2007 (392 S.); Attila und die Hunnen. Düsseldorf: Albatros Verlag, 2006 (315 S.); Attila. König der Hunnen. Berlin: Schneekluth Verlag, 1998. (937 S.)

Volkov's folk heroes are personified: the Chuvash delegation headed by the folk poet Khusankai went to the centenary anniversary of the Ossetian poet Khetagurov (1959); during the Great Patriotic War, Ossetians under the aliases Mikhail and David fought in the guerrilla movement under command of the Chuvash Nikolayev; during the 8th and 9th five-year plans, 150 thousand people left Chuvashia for the Far East, Siberia and the North, and many sons and daughters of the Ossetian people went to distant lands to work on labor construction projects there. Volkov participated twice in a research-to-practice conference in Ossetia, he got the most valuable gifts – a wooden handle with the inscription IRISTON – the most ancient name of Ossetia. Ossetians proudly call themselves “Alans”. Volkov reveals in Ossetian tales the characteristic features of a perfect highlander, the most important of which are hospitality, hard work combined with intelligence and kindness: "To drink and eat alone, without friends is a shame for a good highlander"; “When my father was alive, he didn’t grudge churek and salt, either for his friends or for his enemies. I am my father's son ”; "May your morning be happy!"; "Let your road be straight!" In the Ossetian fairy tale "What is more expensive?" one of the young men by his personal example proves to the other that the most precious thing in the world is not wealth, but a faithful friend, and loyalty in friendship means joint work and struggle. The whole life of a traditional Ossetian was based on a solid foundation of age-old moral laws and traditions, which presupposed knowledge of mountain etiquette, which included such laws as hospitality, respect for the elderly, respect for the woman and the young. Considerable attention was paid to fostering tolerance towards representatives of other nationalities, since Ossetians have long lived alongside Russians, Kabardians, Chechens, Ingush, Kumyks, Svans. The code of Alanian honor, recorded in ancient historical sources, read: “Never offend anyone’s national and religious feelings. Every nation is a gift from God” [4, p. 269].

Volkov could never forget the performances he saw "Dance of Dzhigits", "Children of Ossetia", "Dance of the Highlanders". The scholar was deeply impressed by children's drawings “Flight of an eagle over the mountains”, “Mountain waterfall”, “A boy with a national instrument under an old tree”, “A mountain goat enjoying the melody” and “Fighters with long swords on the battlefield”. The days of his stay in Ossetia were fabulous, and Volkov reflected in his works the effectiveness of folk means of education - the art of dance and types of wrestling [13, pp. 135–141].

Kyrgyzstan is a temple of ethnopedagogy. The patriarchal-clan social structure and the nomadic way of life of the ancient Kyrgyz were reflected in their educational traditions. The nomad's worldview is the unity of nature and man. The Kyrgyz built their relationship with nature on reciprocity and deep respect for each other, on a delicate balance. The nature of Kyrgyzstan is unique: more than 90 % of the country's territory consists of mountains, no one remains indifferent to the beauty of their snowy peaks. Lake Issyk-Kul – the pearl of Central Asia – is located at an altitude of 1600 m above sea level at the foot of the Ala-Too mountains. The Kyrgyz worshiped the sky (Tenir), earth, water, fire, the moon and the stars, respected spirits of their ancestors and sacred animals (for example, Bugu-ene or Mother-deer). The Kyrgyz taught their children to take care of nature and live in harmony with it, without ruining it, but taking from it just as much as necessary for survival. Approaching the river, trees, mountains, their ancestors asked permission from the spirits of the earth, mountains, trees, streams and rivers to pass through [3, p. 168]. Certain Kyrgyz tribes called themselves by names of animals and believed in their origin from these animals, for example, one tribe is called "deer". This means that main teacher of this people is nature – lake, valley, mountain, salma. One of the most powerful means of national education of Kyrgyz folk pedagogy is the “Manas” Epos, which to Volkov sounds like the Chuvash MĂNĂS (wise man), he read and reread it for a month, being on the lake Issyk Kul, the second deepest lake in Europe after Lake Baikal. At the same time he recalled the Chuiskaya valley, felt in his mouth the taste of salma yashka – a soup with dumplings. He restored in his memory the content of the story "White Steamer" by Kyrgyz writer Chingiz Aitmatov, was amazed at the existence of 40 types of salma – small, cut, figured, round, long, large, ball, oval ..., at the joint movement of a flock of a thousand sheep under the "command" of a "king" – a shepherd with a long whip. It’s hot down around the lake and up in the mountains there is always white snow, supplying the lake with clean water. The ethnopedagogue compares this gift of nature with a huge bucket of water, he animates it calling it Issikov (the Chuvash pagan name). In the distance Volkov could see Mount Kumyshtag, 4251 meters high, the Kyrgyz forest 40 km long and 20 km wide is a real storehouse of pears, apricots, apples, nuts, berries and many valuable herbs. These treasures form the personality of the inhabitant of these places and their language [13, pp. 144–150]. If you use the environment and animate it in songs, fairy tales, paremias, works of art, it will modernize moral values and forever serve to  the formation and preservation of the environment.

Volkov explains the expression “Many love children, but the Kirghiz love a child,” by the existence of the cult of the child; he continues: there are large stars in the sky of Kyrgyzstan but the best star is a child, he is the family star, the domestic king [14, 1979]. The "Manas" Epos is of particular importance to Professor Volkov because its profound moral is aimed at a harmoniously developed personality and awareness of the place where "his umbilical cord is tied with a clean scarf", where "he ran barefoot", "his youth bloomed", "the batyr swore to batyr ”,“ passed sleepless nights ”and where he thought about what“ will be with his fatherland ”, where“ the old and the young, great and small - the people shouted exultantly: “Eh, Kyrgyz, my children. Be someone's grandchild, son and grandfather. Long live the aksakal! " [12, pp. 419–425]. The Kyrgyz have many beautiful rituals associated with the birth of a child. A large family was always welcome: “A house with children is a bazaar, a house without children is a grave,” said the Kyrgyz.

The cult of child, along with the cult of the sun burning without a flame and a cloud floating without wings, and star rays in the Kyrgyz sky, is in the focus of international pedagogy (the term pedagogy comes from the Greek paidos "boy, child" and agogos "leader").

Moscow is the capital of capitals of the Soviet and Russian republics. The Ministry of Education of National Ministries, the general center of science invited the vice-rector for scientific work of the Chuvash State Pedagogical Institute Volkov to work in the capital. It was not easy for Volkov to leave Cheboksary and move to Moscow. By that time, Volkov's name was known far beyond the borders of the country but Moscow opened new opportunities to expand the horizons of his activity. He knew Moscow well: here he defended his doctoral dissertation in the presence of the authorities of pedagogical science, earned the title of professor, for his great services to science was elected an academician of the USSR Academy of Pedagogical Sciences and the Russian Academy of Education, was referred to lecture and conduct seminars at European universities. Volkov was aware that there is no broad highway in science to reach its shining peaks and boldly followed the thorny path protecting interests of people, educating them with the knowledge of ethnopedagogical pansophia: knowledge is power.

A diligent student Volkov followed the principle of Docendo discimus (we learn by teaching) and Live and learn, studied the works of  Comenius – the founder of ethnopedagogical pansophy, Ushinsky – educator of multi-ethnic Russia, Yakovlev – patriarch of the Chuvash people, Krupskaya – designer of national and international unity, Tolstoy – herald of the call “let's become Chuvash and listen”, Luther – founder of schools for all boys and girls, Bichurin – a four-time laureate of state awards, Altyuk Appa – his mum.

The number of Volkov's teachers is infinite but the main teacher – his mother – is associated with such a fragment of our memories: a group of students and relatives accompany the Teacher who is going by train to Moscow, He stands in the carriage, the train starts to move, everyone waves and remains in place, only a 90-year-old mother runs after the train: she cannot believe that her son is leaving. A month later, he returned to Cheboksary to visit her, the delegation met Volkov and accompanied the Teacher along Lenin Avenue to house number 24 to his mother. His visits to her were not occasional but quite regular. Among those who came to welcome the professor were 3 ministers of education of the republic, 3 rectors of the Chuvash State Pedagogical Institute - all of them were Volkov’s students.

The teacher lives in his students, who are scattered throughout Eurasia, as evidenced by the honorary titles deserved by the international-national scientist: Volkov is a member of the USSR Writers' Union, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, Honorary Citizen of the Republic of Kalmykia, Excellent Worker of Public Education of Kyrgyzstan, Teacher of teachers of the Republic of Sakha, he was  awarded the badge "For Merit in Education" of the Republic of Tatarstan, the title of doctor – die Würde eines Doktors der Pädagogik ehrenhalber (doctor paedagogicae honoris causa) – at the Erfurt Pedagogical Institute, the Herder Gold Medal "For outstanding services in the dissemination of the Russian language and Russian culture in the spirit of German-Soviet friendship.” Again, we will restrict ourselves only to this octave of awards, this list will be continued by university and school accolades and diplomas.

The priority of fairy tales in education is undeniable, they are food for children. Of the 20 fairy tales that Volkov cited in the book "Oak and the Sun" (Юманпа Хĕвел – chuv.), our attention was drawn to the fairy tale "Golden Land" (Ылтăн çĕр-chuv.). It says: Once upon a time there came to this land ambassadors from a distant rich country. The guests were warmly received by the hosts – the ancestors of the Chuvash, entertained with national dishes and drinks, presented with souvenirs. The guests repaid the kindness. But  when parting they were struck by one moment: before boarding the steamer, the hosts politely asked to wipe their shoes on a damp rug so that not a speck of dust or a particle of their native land would go away because this land is mother. In the Chuvash folk song it is sung: Anne (mother) is neither sold nor bought even if there is money, the moral of this tale is patriotism. In every fairy tale there is also a reality, here it is contained in the word "ambassador", probably about one of them an encyclopedia writes: in 921 the Baghdad caliph Muktadir sent a caravan to the Volga Bulgaria to the king Almush through Bukhara and Khorezm, secretary of the embassy was Ibn Fadlan, for one year and two months he kept records in Arabic about the life, language and traditions of the Chuvash ancestors [5, p. 62]. We have at our disposal a German translation of Fadlan's “Notes” with a solid introduction and critical remarks [9, pp. 1–295]. We have no doubt that the researcher Volkov knew about the work of Fadlan and the translation of Togan and left a trace in the fairy tale about the Arab embassy, about a caravan of 5,000 people and 3,000 horses with camels, which overcoming the hardships and deprivations of nomadic life delivered in zigzags funds for the construction of cities in Bulgaria – fortresses to protect the clan and tribe.

G. N. Volkov sincerely loved his people = language although at times he thought of the paradox: Nulla propheta in patria; but above all he believed in ethnopedagogy and the motherland – that one which exists three times according to the motto, which is symbolized by the three suns on the Chuvash coat of arms: We were, we are, we will be (Эпир пулнă, пур, пулатпăр – chuv.).


Those who were lucky enough to know Academician Volkov and communicate with him will never forget him. The author of the Volkov monument was sculptor Vladislav Nemtsev, a countryman and a relative of Gennady Nikandrovich. The sculpture, cast in bronze, was installed on a low pedestal. An open, benevolent, surprisingly sensitive and kind person is not tall and is close to everyone. In his left hand he holds a book with the title "Ethnopedagogy". His right hand is pressed to his heart – as a sign that he gives it to people.


1. Denisov, P.V. Zhizn monakha Iakinfa Bichurina [Life of the monk Iakinf Bichurin]. Cheboksary: Chuvashskoye knizhnoye izdatelstvo, 1997. - 270 p.

2. Deutsche Lehrerzeitung, der 18. November 1982, S. 12

3. Imanaliyev, K. Kult prirody v natsionalnom vospitanii kyrgyzov [Cult of nature in the national consciousness of the Kyrgyz]. Vesntik KRSU, 2009. Vol. 9, № 4. – p. 168

4. Khetagurov, K. L. Collected works in 3 volumes. Vol. 2. – Moscow: Publishing house Khudozhestvennaya literatura, 1974. – p. 269

5. Kratkaya chuvashskaya encyclopaedia [Short Chuvash encyclopedia]: Cheboksary: Chuvashckoye knizhnoye izdatelstvo, 2001. – 525 p.

6. Luchshiye ludi Rossii [The best people of Russia]. – Moscow: Spetsadres, 2008. – 498 p.

7. Suchomlinski, W. Mein Herz gehört den Kindern. Berlin: Volk und Wissen, 1981. – 225 S.

8. Suchomlinski, V.A. Serdtse otdayu detyam [To children I give my heart]. Minsk: Publishing house Nar.asveta,1982. – 288 p.

9. Togan,  Ahmed Zeki Validi. Ibn Fadlans Reisebericht. Leipzig: Deutsche morgenländische Gesellschaft, 1939. – 336 p.

10. Vasilyev, Ye.V. G.N. Volkov. URL: http://gov.cap.ru/home/79/portrait/mold/citsal/istori/volkov/glava2.htm

11. Volkov, G.N. Etnopedagogika: Uchebnik dlya stud. sred. i vyssh. ped. ucheb. zavedeniy [Ethnopedagogy: course for secondary and higher pedagogical educational institutions]. Moskau: Akademiya, 1999. – 168 p.

12. Volkov, G.N. Etnopedagogicheskaya pansofiya [Ethnopedagogical pansophy]. Elista: Publishing house “Dzhangar”, 2009. - 575 p.

13. Volkov, G.N. Yumanpa khevel [Oak and the sun]. Cheboksary: Chuvashskoye knizhnoye izdatelstvo, 2016. –  175 p. (in Chuvash language)

14. Volkov, G.N. Sozvezdiya zemli [Constellations of the Earth]. Cheboksary: Chuvashskoye knizhnoye izdatelstvo, 1979. –  444 p.

15. Yegorov, V.G. Etymologicheskiy slovar chuvashskogo yazyka [Etymological dictionary of the Chuvash language]. Cheboksary: Chuvashskoye knizhnoye izdatelstvo, 1964. – 355 p.

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