Ethno-pedagogics in continuous physical education system


PhD, Professor I.I. Gotovtsev1
Dr.Sc.Soc., Professor U.A. Vinokurova1, 2
PhD, Professor I.E. Maksimov3
Postgraduate G.G. Alekseeva1, 4
1Churapcha State Institute of Physical Culture and Sport, Churapcha, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)
2Arctic State Institute of Culture and Arts, Yakutsk
3International Slavic Academy of Sciences, Education, Arts and Culture, Novosibirsk
4North-Eastern Federal University, Yakutsk


Keywords: eco-spirituality, ethno-pedagogics cultivation, sacred landscape, natural attraction, ecology-spirited personality education, physical education.

Background. Any athlete in his/her individual professional career operates as a subject of interethnic interactions dominated by acute competitive situations and struggles for leadership. The higher are the individual's athletic accomplishments the more “globalised” is his biography (the notion was offered by W. Bek). The globalisation process gives a new operation dimension to the individual i.e. puts the local personal reality into the global context thereby advancing the role of the individual in his/ her place of residence.

Furthermore, it is only natural for any human to strive for the harmony of the two worlds – the world of nature and world of culture. Higher education serves as an instrument for realizing the student’s cultural rights geared to protect the genuine human values and natural environments including the local cultural and biological diversity. An athlete specializing in an ethnic sport discipline normally progresses as an ethnophor i.e. the indigenous people’s values protecting and cultivating individual. Consequently, he/ she needs to build up the relevant ethno-pedagogical competency to complement the intrinsic incompleteness, with the success of personal fulfilment being largely dependent on efficiency of his/her abilities to practically and productively mobilise the natural resources of the Motherland, cooperate with the indigenous communities and built up the home resources using the best practical experiences of the other nations. A competitive athlete is the one who can actively design his/her own life and sport career reasonably combining external resources with the eco-spiritual national values and assuming due responsibility for own individual faith from the ancestors. Such a person accepts the genuine cultural behavioural models as obligatory knowing perfectly well his/her potential within the frame of the individual consciousness and reality.

An athlete’s life and career may be designed as driven by the mix of knowledge, energy sources, real practices and calculated risk. Therefore, the knowledge accumulated at a university are complemented by a variety of practices largely based on reasonable competitive risks and high determination towards competitive success through, among other things, the efforts to overcome own weaknesses. A highly mobile, open-minded and multicultural athlete’s growing and development process is designed both to accept the local genuine ethnic cultural values and to advance them based on the eco-spiritual resource available in the education establishment location area.

Eco-spirituality may be defined as the drive to preserve, renovate and advance the genuine ethnic and mental relations of man with the Motherland and its nature in the context of the natural aspiration for the ideal of higher reason.

The Sakha people’s ethnopedagogics is largely based on the trinity of the human soul that combines the natural origins with the individual human spirit and reality, with a special contribution from the passionate creative energy of culture that has long been formed in the extremely cold local environment (with the air temperatures coming to as low as minus 68.2 degrees Celsius and the land frozen by permafrost up to 1500 m deep). The long-term human evolution in the Far Northern environments have generated a variety of physical and spiritual energy conservation and generation technologies still mostly untapped in the modern academic education system. The intellectual and cultural assets of the local indigenous people cover the human relationship with the ancestors’ spirits and the animal world of the Motherland.

Objective of the study was to offer and substantiate the design and content of ethno-pedagogics in the Sakha Republic physical education system with an emphasis on the eco-spiritual potential of the natural and traditional cultural environments and sacred landscapes.

Study results and discussion. Churapcha State Physical Culture and Sport Institute (CSPCSI) has long and traditionally advocated for and advanced the ethnic sports of the indigenous people of Russia including draughts, Nordic combined events, mas-wrestling and national Hapsagay wrestling.

Theoretical rethinking of the eco-spiritual aspect of the ethno-pedagogical focus of the national education process was launched in 2015 during the International Round Table Discussion “Research and Didactic Role of the Olonkho in the Eco-Spiritual Personality Progress” hosted by CSPCSI, with support from the relevant research and didactic projects to implement the ideas of eco-spiritual personality progress with contributions from different ethno-pedagogical innovative methods applicable in the physical culture and sport sector specialist training systems.

Based on recommendations of the above Round Table Discussion, a Children’s and Youth Eco-spiritual Culture in the Continuous Physical Education Scholar School was established under the Institute. The Scholar School was designed to integrate the available interdisciplinary knowledge base with concern to the ecological, spiritual, ethical, psychological, anthropological and physical personality education at different stages of the education and competency-building process in application to the CSPCSI students’ careers of academicians, educators, coaches, social leaders, healthy lifestyle activists and patriots.

It is the Tayair Khaiha Eco-spiritual, Sport and Health Centre under CSPCSI that has been designed as one of the key educational and practical projects of the above Research School. The sport and health base of the Institute has been established in Myryla Village located in the highly attractive Tayair Khaiha locality some 100 km away from Churapcha State Physical Culture and Sport Institute.

It was back in 1999 that the 580,133 hectare-large Kuoluma-Chappanda Republican Resource Reserve was established and listed with the Yakut Republic Preserved Areas List. The Tayair Khaiha Eco-spiritual, Sport and Health Centre was established on the southern border of the Reserve on the administrative border crossing of the Tattin and Churapchin Uluses (Districts). This place has always been ranked among the most mysterious and sacred areas by the indigenous Sakha people and is highly popular up to now as it is believed to give connections to the noosphere and universe; and many visitors come there hoping to get in touch with the universal sources of the positive energy and vital power and to be healed. The sacred Yakut mountains in the location form a closed quadrilateral structure believed to protect the local people from dark powers, with the generated energy flows believed to cross at the Tayair Khaiha Sacred Mountain. Prominent and popular shamans were buried on the slopes of the mountain and their vigilant powers are believed to be heard at times as distant tambourine rhythms coming from the depths of the sacred mountain. The mountain slopes have long been a living place for the most famous Yakut families renowned for their legendary physical strength and intellectual and creative geniuses. This is one of the reasons why the mountain has become the highly popular and sacred creative studio for multiple artists and writers. The recent decade has seen an uncontrollable inflow of visitors to this beautiful natural locality and many of them have been regretfully negligent to the local natural and cultural treasures.

The above Project implemented at the Institute is designed to facilitate the inter-Ulus cooperation to preserve and protect the natural and cultural assets of the locality and develop due respect to the place and culture in the young people visiting the sacred places by a variety of initiatives including sport/ health tourism and environmental volunteer services. 

The Centre encourages the initiatives to familiarize students with the legal and regulatory provisions on the protected natural localities; explore the origins for the protected Kuoluma-Chappanda area being established; collect the original legends, myths and historical narratives from the local communities in the Kuoluma-Chappanda area, particularly in the two villages of the Tayair Khaiha locality and the Tattin and Churapchin Uluses.

The Centre recruits volunteers to clean up the sacred area and to conduct the public elucidation campaigns in the local communities within the sacred mountain area. A set of special psychological, sociological and ecological survey forms and methods has been developed and applied to survey the local communities and their traditions and attitudes to the sacred Tayair Khaiha Mountain, with a few special surveys of the Myrala and Daaya Ammata village population conducted. The survey data and analyses were used to support the development concept for the Tayair Khaiha Eco-spiritual, Sport and Health Centre under control of CSPCSI.

Conclusion. The Project was acknowledged as beneficial for the academic education process in the following aspects: practical sessions under the academic Recreation, Sport and Health Tourism discipline; Youth-focused Activity discipline; Sakha People’s Ethnic Education discipline; Sakha People’s Culture discipline; Sociology of Youth discipline; Youth Leisure Time Design discipline; and Life Safety discipline.


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The study considers the need for ethno-pedagogics cultivation in the national physical education system with an emphasis on the eco-spiritual potential of the natural and traditional cultural environments and sacred landscapes. The cultural and natural universes have been organically combined in the educational and cultural curricula of Churapcha State Physical Culture and Sport Institute (CSPCI) focused on its Tayar Khaikha Eco-spiritual, Sport and Health Centre Project. The Project was acknowledged as beneficial for the academic education process in the following aspects: practical sessions under the academic Recreation, Sport and Health Tourism discipline; Youth-focused Activity discipline; Sakha People’s Ethnic Education discipline; Sakha People’s Culture discipline; Sociology of Youth discipline; Youth Leisure Time Design discipline; and Life Safety discipline.