Cultural-Historical Approach to Education



The article raises questions about the causes of those problems and difficulties that occur in modern Russian education, and ways to overcome them. The starting point for the authors' thoughts is the problem posed by L.S. Vygotsky of the correlation and interconnection of training and development. The assumption is made that a lot of troubles and difficulties in education are due to the lack of scientifically based didactics. The current theoretical ideas about what and how to teach children go back to the didactics of Y.A. Komensky, built on the basis of worldly experience and evidence of common sense that have nothing to do with scientific didactics. Studies of prominent Russian psychologists — P.Ya. Galperin and V.V. Davydov, as well as theories of training they created, according to the authors of this article, do not withstand criticism in the light of the requirements presented by scientific didactics. The main flaw is seen in the fact that these researchers were staunch supporters of the activity approach in psychology, which, in a sense, is an example of that traditional psychology that was rightly criticized by L. S. Vygotsky, since its method, historically established in natural science, does not even allow approach the study of such psychological realities that are behind the concepts of human freedom, his consciousness, personality, development, will and arbitrariness. The only constructive path in the psychology of education leading to the creation of scientifically based didactics is seen in an in-depth analysis and further development of ideas and principles put forward by L.S. Vygotsky, including, for example, the principle of historicism, the principle of integrity, the idea of a systemic and semantic structure consciousness, the paradoxical identity of communication and generalization. The gate leading to the correct understanding of the cultural-historical approach in psychology may be the position of D.B. Elkonin that the most important and fundamental for creating a theory of child development is the “individual-society” relationship, which in child psychology looks like a real relationship and communication of the child with his mother.

General Information

Keywords: non-classical psychology, natural science method, logic of internal self-justification, development as self-development, freedom, personality, consciousness, leading activity, formative approach, training and development, historicism principle, integrity principle, experimental genetic method, causal dynamic analysis, scientific didactics, activity approach, reflection, generalizations, systemic and semantic structure of consciousness, autonomous theory of will

Journal rubric: Theory and Methodology

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Kravtsov G.G., Kravtsova E.E. Cultural-Historical Approach to Education. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2020. Vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 4–13. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2020160401. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Vygotskii L.S. Istoriya razvitiya vysshikh psikhicheskikh funktsii [The history of the development of higher mental functions]. Razvitie vysshikh psikhicheskikh funktsii [Development of Higher Mental Functions]. Moscow Publ. Akademii pedagogicheskikh nauk, 1960. 505 p. pp. 60.
  2. Davydov V.V. Sootnoshenie ponyatii «formirovanie» i «razvitie» psikhiki. [Correlation of the concepts of “formation” and “development” of the psyche.] (Obuchenie i razvitie: Materialy po simpoziumu (iyun’-iyul’ 1966). [Training and Development: Proceedings of the Symposium (June—July 1966).] Moscow: Publ. Prosveshchenie. 1966. pp. 35—48.

Information About the Authors

Gennady G. Kravtsov, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Federal Research and Clinical Center for Critical Care and Rehabilitation, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Elena E. Kravtsova, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Federal Research and Clinical Center for Critical Care and Rehabilitation, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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