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Conditions of successful task solving in high school students with mental retardation (on the material of grammar task)
The experimental study is aimed at revealing the potential abilities of mentally retarded students using grammar tasks solving as an example. Seventy seven 5—8th grade students studying in a special school for children with mental retardation participated in the experiment. The results of the preliminary experiment showed that students were not able to use their grammar knowledge on their own. In the training experiment children were offered help in solving grammar tasks. Four types of help differed in the extent to which visual and verbal components were present. Adults attracted children's attention to words in examples, helped them to identify and use characteristics of a word. The type of assistance that was aimed at helping children to transform their "passive" knowledge into "active" proved to be the most effective. Different children need different types of help, and studying these differences made it possible to define the zone of proximal development for each student. The zone of proximal development happened to be different even among the students of one class. Educatedness (обучен-ность) as a component of the zone of proximal development revealed itself in the influence of rendered assistance on students' subsequent activity and determined their learning ability. The author shows that revealing children's' absolute and relative progress in studies should serve as a criterion of effectiveness of differentiated correction.
Keywords: mental retardation, help, learning ability, educatedness, zone of proximal development, relative and absolute progress