The School as Ecosystem of Developing Child-Adult Communities: Activity Approach to Designing the School of the Future



The paper analyses the main paths of designing an effective model of the ‘School of the Future’ through the lens of cultural-historical theory and activity approach. Contrary to the existing models (such as the ‘Chinese School of the Future’, ‘European School of the Future’ etc), the design strategy in cultural-historical approach is aimed at creating a communication- and activity-based environment of sign which is based on the variety of child-adult communities and activity types. Thus in such an environment the process of growing up is shaped by the children’s inclusion into various communities and by the rich opportunities for self-determination through the acquisition of different social practices which, in turn, promote the development of individual cognitive strategies. According to the principles of cultural-historical psychology, the source of human development in the school of the future is closely related to the acquisition of patterns of action and sign means that mediate the individual’s status in different communities mastering different activities. Acquiring such socially adopted patterns of action enables the children to participate in the activities of various social communities that have their own practices, to understand the general principles of their functioning, to coordinate different activity types while preserving their self in many social communities simultaneously, and, eventually, to influence the development of these very communities; and, the last but not the least, to establish new social communities, if necessary, and design their new activities.

General Information

Keywords: activity approach, cultural-historical psychology, school as ecosystem of child-adult communities, leading type of activity, spatial organisation of schools, communication- and sign-based environments, digital platform of the school of the future

Journal rubric: Theory and Methodology

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Gromyko Y.V., Rubtsov V.V., Margolis A.A. The School as Ecosystem of Developing Child-Adult Communities: Activity Approach to Designing the School of the Future. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2020. Vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 57–67. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2020160106. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Yury V. Gromyko, Doctor of Psychology, Professor of the Department of ‘Pedagogical Psychology named after Professor V.A. Guruzhapov’ of the faculty ‘Psychology of education’ of MSUPE, Head of the Master's program "Psychology and Pedagogy of project activity", Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Director, Institute for аdvanced studies and human resource management in the name of Eugene Shiffers (Shiffers Institute), Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Vitaliy V. Rubtsov, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Professor, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education, President, Head of the International UNESCO Chair «Cultural-Historical Psychology of Childhood», Moscow State University of Psychology & Education (MSUPE), President of the Federation of Educational Psychologists of Russia, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Arkadiy A. Margolis, PhD in Psychology, Rector, Professor, Chair of Pedagogical Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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