DEVELOPING SPIRITUAL AND MORAL CULTURE OF ACADEMIC STUDENTS. CASE STUDY OF THE RUSSIAN EDUCATION
Currently the spiritual formation of the Russians is going under the conditions of socioeconomic transformations characterized by the devaluation of traditional values of the national culture as well as aggressiveness of the information environment that actively imposes ideals and hedonistic attitudes not typical of the Russian mentality. Besides, individuals have been challenged with new requirements that do not always correlate with morality. ‘Moral absolutes’, as a spiritual core of the personality, often undergo deformation, therefore, the need for supporting the younger generation to correct the vector of their spiritual development is becoming more obvious. Development and improvement of spiritual being and spiritual maturation of young people is especially important in a student’s life – the time of professional and personal formation when young people are ready to accumulate experience of being and master the world in the form of knowledge, values, and meanings.
However, there has been revealed that in institutions of secondary vocational and higher education there is insufficient attention paid to the formation of students’ spiritual and moral culture. Comparative analysis of the research, which involved 210 students of colleges and universities of Kazan and Orenburg regions and the data of the Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences (Moscow), has shown an objective situation of spiritual distress among young people: students are not fully included in the process of conscious spiritual maturation; they acquire spontaneously experience of solving meaningful life problems; only 12% of the respondents feel the need to experience spiritual states and make spiritual efforts; 36% of the respondents are aware that such personal qualities as justice, compassion, tolerance towards the representatives of different nationalities, religions, and views must be exercised in society.
Spiritual and moral culture of students can be formed by their involvement in educational as well as extra-curricular activities. As part of educational and cognitive activities formation of the spiritual and moral culture is carried out in the process of comprehension of spiritual and moral content of the subjects, for example, by studying biographies of scientists and putting emphasis on their personal characteristics, analysing achievements and importance of a particular branch of science for the development of mankind as a whole and preserving humanity in it, ‘embedding’ new knowledge into students’ scientific picture of the world by understanding its spiritual meaning. Extra-curricular activities enrich students’ spiritual and moral culture by their involvement in public activities and self-organised activities (clubs, voluntary work, quests) which give them an opportunity to acquire skills in spiritual and moral life (“by doing charity, mutual assistance, showing compassion, promoting patriotism”, Hegumen Cyprian).
The role of university educational environment in the formation of students’ spiritual culture as a factor of “bringing the ‘I’ into the environment that increases its value” (V. Ignatova) has not been fully studied yet. In this regard, the problem of identifying optimal conditions to minimize a negative impact of environmental and cultural factors on the process of spiritual maturation is important.