His discussion lasted intermittently until late at night.
This is especially true of the New Age movement, which often presents itself in the form of philosophical schools and psychotherapeutic cults; distorted interpretation of the concept of “freedom of conscience”, which is often understood as permissiveness and a negative analytical and critical approach to a particular doctrine; lack of a clear understanding of the differences between historical for Ukraine and colored Christianity, which has a positive emotional and Christian terminology used by neo-cults in the implementation of their prevention programs (for a healthy lifestyle, against drugs, etc.); low awareness of teachers about such concepts as cult, cult dependence, recruitment, psychological violence and exploitation, manipulation and control of consciousness, critical thinking; insufficient level of psychological knowledge of teachers, due to the fact that academic training in the basics of psychology in the state system of training and retraining are often only theoretical in nature and contain outdated information.
In view of all the above, we have proposed and implemented measures and programs to prevent the negative impact of cults in the education system both through students and through the professionals in the field of education (including heads and administration of educational institutions).
During 2003-2004, the Union for the Protection of the Family and the Individual organized a set of events, which included classes in educational institutions, round tables, consultations, seminars and conferences, as a result of which two prevention programs were created.
Socio-psychological program “Prevention of psychological manipulation and control of consciousness”, designed for senior classes of secondary schools.
And the second – training program “Psychological safety – teachers”, which includes distance learning, a section in a specialized journal, materials posted on the site, specialized seminars and training for professionals in the field of education.
Education is generally associated with the acquisition of new skills and knowledge, psychological and spiritual growth of a person for his successful subsequent activities, the formation of a free, independent and self-sufficient personality. Everything related to education, educational structures is perceived in the mass consciousness not quite unambiguously, but in general – positively. Yes, the conservatism of educational structures can cause us to criticize the inconsistency of curricula to today’s requirements, but also pride in tradition and continuity with our alma mater. However, we can say clearly that the field of education leaves no one indifferent: neither parents, nor children, nor the specialists in this field.
The topic of education attracted our attention not by chance. The great importance of the period of study in educational institutions for human life has been noticed not only by us, but also by people and organizations of different religious orientation, who are trying to use the education system for their own purposes.
We have begun an attempt to understand the reasons for the very possibility of cults penetrating the state system of compulsory secondary education, which is secular in Ukraine. The analysis led us to disappointing results: today there are mostly people left in the school who either love their profession very much, or who have nowhere to go, or it is too late to change their profession; the level of knowledge and socio-psychological awareness of the teaching staff is very low; managers tend to choose directive and authoritarian methods of leadership; a large number of teachers use in their practice elements of the Soviet system of education.
A small study of organizational culture, conducted by us among teachers, showed the advantage of an authoritarian bureaucratic system of management (real organization) in educational institutions. In this case, the dream of teachers (ideal organization) is associated with activities as independent individuals who are able to self-realize, jointly solve common problems. This discrepancy between the real and the ideal picture leads not only to the psychological problems of the teachers themselves, but also to the fact that teachers tend to choose manipulative and authoritarian methods of management when communicating with students.
In the course of our classes with teachers, we came to the collective conclusion that psychological manipulation is a very common phenomenon in the domestic secondary education system. Sometimes the participants of the seminars felt a certain shock: “I am a manipulator! And I always did it “,” We ourselves bring up psychologically dependent people “.
The second point is that the social and psychological instability of the teacher, feelings of hopelessness often push him to seek solace in various cults and sects. And then teachers begin to pose a direct threat to the psychological health of their students.
For example, in one of Kyiv’s lyceums, a biology teacher, who can be safely classified as an “old-fashioned teacher,” became a follower of one of the New Age groups and told students about the near end of the world in several classes … Of course, she did it out of the best of motives and holy faith in her own rightness. But at home, some children were hysterical. Then the parents were hysterical. Then – in the administration of the lyceum, when the parents came. The conflict was resolved. The parents were told about the difficult life situation in which the teacher found herself – her grandson died. The incident appeared to be closed, but the potential threat to students’ psychological health remained.
The third reason is that the teaching environment is very poorly informed about the activities of totalitarian and destructive cults, about such concepts as cult, cult dependence, recruitment, psychological violence and exploitation, manipulation and control of consciousness, critical thinking.
This is not due to the fact that such a problem does not exist. Thus, a small 15-minute video about the dangers of the cult influence of one of the charismatic churches in Kyiv was shown at a lesson with teachers, which was attended by about 50 teachers from all over Ukraine. His discussion lasted intermittently until late at night. We were asked many questions, and we, in turn, heard a lot about the specifics of destructive cults in different regions of Ukraine. But the fact that such activities could carry some serious danger, said only a few people who were directly faced with the consequences of cultic influence. For others, it was just an interesting topic, nothing more.
To illustrate the informational and psychological unwillingness of teachers to meet with cults, I would like to give the following example. The administration of one of the Kyiv colleges asked us for help. The problem was that the college students, creative, active and non-standard young people, went with their heads to the Krishna Consciousness Society. They began to preach in the college dormitory, formed their own small community. The administration did not know what to do with these students, what guidelines to give teachers about how to interact with them, or how to prevent similar incidents in the future. We spoke at a meeting of teachers and informed teachers from a legal, religious and psychological point of view about this organization. We were surprised by the reaction of teachers. Many people wondered – why do anything at all? Children are good – they have found themselves, they believe in something bright and high. Everyone can believe that he is free to choose. This is the freedom of conscience.
It was worth a lot of work to explain that in this case we can not talk about freedom. Where destructive cults appear and psychotechnics of consciousness control work, there is no place for real freedom of choice. We were helped to convey this to the audience by those teachers who interacted directly with the young Hare Krishnas, drawing the attention of others present to how the children had changed after attending this cult. Finally, an understanding of the following ways of developing the situation was found.
The lack of a clear understanding in the pedagogical environment of the difference between a destructive cult, a sect and a traditional church leads to the fact that they are in line with their influence. It is not uncommon to hear from teachers statements such as that the largest totalitarian cult in Ukraine is the cult of the Orthodox Church. And here new opportunities for manipulating 123helpme.me information open up. Thus, a representative of the traditional Ukrainian Orthodox Church may not be admitted to the school, citing the separation of church and state, but may allow representatives of a new religious movement operating under the guise of a public organization, philosophical and educational movement, and sports section.
With the official permission of the administration of educational institutions under the guise of lectures on the dangers of drugs, healthy living, preparation for family life, advanced methods and forms of mental and spiritual self-improvement members of cults and sects actively promote their own religious views and worldview doctrines.
Thus, at the level of city and district departments of public education, the Church of the Unification of the Moon, through its subsidiaries, organized large-scale seminars for school principals, head teachers, and teachers.
These people for a period of three to five days were collected in boarding houses or sanatoriums by order. The program was full of intensive “educational” classes, as well as a group cultural program. Many of our colleagues have held such seminars. Yes, one of the psychologists, a participant in the seminar, still keeps a collection of songs that they sang with other school principals in the evenings. She recalls the seminar with a light sense of humor, but notes that not everyone has developed such an attitude. A group of teachers were quite enthusiastic about the new training and then held a “wedding ceremony”, which was organized at the central stadium of the city on one of the sunny summer days. And the initiative group of one of the city gymnasiums after such a seminar organized a system of seminars on the territory of its own educational institution on the methods of this cult.
Unfortunately, the interest and use of certain methods developed by cults in the education system is already becoming very noticeable. Such pedagogical and psychological innovations are presented as something exceptional, know-how.