Two types of leadership relations in children’s group activity

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Two types of leadership relations in children’s group activity

G. P. Shchedrovitskii and R.G. Nadezhina Two types of leadership relations in children’s group activity // Soviet Psychology, Vol. 26. Summer, 1988. (перевод работы Г.П. Щедровицкий, Р.Г. Надежина О двух типах отношений руководства в групповой деятельности детей // Вопросы психологии. 1973. № 5.)


1. It is generally acknowledged that leadership and control relations in children’s groups play an extremely important role in child rearing, not only as a substantive behavior to be mastered but, to an even greater extent, as conditions and means by which children discriminate and learn the most varied things, from practical and organizational qualities to various moral principles. Hence, special study of types of leadership and control relations encountered in different kinds of children’s activity is one of the truly essential tasks of pedagogy.

In the last ten years, our understanding of the practical importance of this area of inquiry has expanded considerably, although investigations have so far yielded meager results. Indeed, the most profound cause of this failure is a lack of the necessary theoretical tools for investigation, primarily sociological and methodological tools. In particular, pedagogical researchers have not had well-defined and-developed general concepts about leadership and control relations, and it has therefore been extremely difficult to study these relations on the basis of concrete pedagogical material.

Given this situation, anyone who wants to delineate and analyze pedagogical problems concerned with leadership and control in a chil­dren’s group is faced with a dual task: first, to specify and define the purport of the relevant concepts for material that is much more broadly conceived than pedagogy, and, second, to analyze as subtly and in as much detail as possible, on the basis of strictly pedagogical material, various phenomena that can be intuitively presumed to contain aspects of leadership and control. The intertwining of these two lines of investi­gation will, on the one hand, help to give pedagogical concepts a necessary generality and a connection with concepts of other science and, on the other hand, will enrich the concepts of leadership and control through the specific pedagogical material obtained.

Though we shall not pursue this task exhaustively, we shall bear it i mind constantly as we discuss in this paper certain aspects of the content of the concept of leadership in terms of die characteristics of the activity and behavior of children in play groups. Moreover, we shall introduce a distinction between two types of leadership relations, distinction that, we think, is quite essential for the pedagogical study с children’s groups and children’s relations.

2. Observations of children’s group games show mat very often children «depart» from the theme of the game and the roles it assigns and enter into other relations and activities, which often function a relations and activity «for fun.»

Here is a typical example. A group of four-year-olds decided to play «airplane,» The initiator of the game was a very active boy, Andrei, to whom the other children usually listened. Andrei played an airplane at the same time continually «bossed» all the other children. «Let’s fly let’s fly,» he said, and, extending his arms, pretended to be flying like a airplane. The other children would form two, sometimes three, columns behind him and run about the room, repeating all of Andrei’s maneuvers.» The game soon began to become a bit boring, and Andrei, sensing this, changed the theme. He introduced a new role into the game, that of traffic controller, and the logic of the game became such that now it traffic controller had to have the leading role and give orders to ever] body. According to the new theme, Andrei was only one of those carrying out the orders of the traffic controller; in fact, the game did not unfold in this way. Andrei continued to dominate the whole game, the traffic controller being necessary to him as a mediator and a «symbol of the theme. Whenever the «airplanes» approached the traffic controller, Andrei would exclaim: ‘ ‘We’re flying from north to south; show us the way with your hand and we’ll fly there.» The traffic controller always did what Andrei requested. The theme of the game had changed in formal terms: in terms of the theme, the role of leader was transferred from Andrei to the traffic controller; but in fact, leadership relations remained as before. Andrei took the entire game into his hands, as it were, and led h playmates, despite the fact that the role he had assumed gave him no rig whatever to do so.

Such phenomena in children’s games have been recognized for long time in the pedagogical literature and have been mentioned repeatedly1; however, they have never been the object of a detailed and scrupulous theoretical and empirical analysis.

The explanation for this is that in themselves observed phenomena never elicit investigation; to begin a detailed investigation of any phenomena, it is necessary to have questions posed with regard to them; and they always, or at least usually, are determined by our theoretical conceptions and the problems we are faced with in theory. For any observed phenomenon to become an «empirical fact» in science and be analyzed as a fact, it must be related to theoretical hypotheses and diverge from them or refute them. This has never been the case in pedagogical studies devoted to relations among children in play.

It may be added that any phenomenon has an unlimited number of aspects and «facets,» and may be viewed in the most varied comparisons and contrasts with other phenomena and from various perspectives. The definition of any phenomenon as a fact and the perspective from which it is viewed will depend primarily on the articulateness and level of detail of the theory itself and on the objects of study it already contains.

Our task is to delineate for the case described above and others analogous to it everything that concerns the relations and activity of leadership and to examine them in more detail. In particular, we shall be dealing with the question of how Andrei’s activity when he gives orders to the other children playing «airplane» and he himself in the role of the leading airplane (first situation) differs from that in which he gives orders to the boy playing the role of traffic con­troller (second situation). To answer this question, it is necessary to undertake a special theoretical analysis of the game situations described above.

3. Children’s games are a very complex phenomenon, and may be regarded, in various contexts and from various perspectives, as a spe­cific «pedagogical form» that is an element of the system of education and upbringing, as a cultural norm of a special type, as a type of activity, which initially functions as a something to be learned for children, and then becomes a condition for learning the many other norms governing the organization of a «children’s» society, etc, (see [14]). Each of these aspects forms a special subject of study in itself; each illuminates, in turn, different facets and properties of play.

To describe theoretically and explain the above phenomena, it is necessary to regard play as an activity that is composed of a series of «organized entities»2  and the acts or processes corresponding to those entities.

Usually in such problems two systems of relations (and, later, two connections as well) are distinguished, regardless of whether the subject of concern is a game or some other type of activity: (1)relations between socially fixed norms of the game and their realizations in the acts of the game, and (2) relations between the instruments and processes of the children’s activity in the course of the game. Often these two conceptual levels of activity are not adequately differentiated. But this must be done since, although they are closely related to one an-other, they nonetheless concretize fundamentally different relations, behind which may be frequently found different mechanisms of activity and many characteristic phenomena of play, as, indeed, other types of activity can be explained precisely in terms of the differences between these two types of relations. These two systems of relations are shown in graphic form in Figure 1. The left side of the diagram depicts the relation of realizing the norms of a game, corresponding to one con­nection in schemata of the translation and reproduction of activity (see [15. Pp. 91-96]); the right side of the diagram depicts the structure of the children’s activity in the game, involving me production of some «act,» «procedure,» or «process» on the basis of certain means and instruments and in accordance with certain norms.

The way these two types of relations are combined into one para­digm and the reasons, both formal and substantive, for distinguishing them and contrasting them to one another are quite complicated and require explanation.

«An act» or a «process» in a game is, of course, normed not by the «norm of the game,» which we depicted in the left side of the diagram, but simultaneously by many norms, including all the norms defining the activity of the children playing, which we represent as norms 1 … n in the right side of the diagram. Thus, one could doubtless expand the paradigm of realization to include in it all of these norms. But we have deliberately not done this. Among the multitude of norms determining the activity of playing children we may distinguish groups of «specific» norms relating not to the activity carried out in the game, but to the game itself, the game as such, as it is delineated and concre­tized by society in norms specifically meant for this.

The typical forms for couching play in cultural norms in this way are game themes, often collected in special books. Game themes determine the basic skeletal structure of an act or process of a game, and the act or process itself may accordingly be regarded as the realization of a theme.

Then all the other norms and means that we relate to the activity of children if we regard them in relation to the theme will become part of the system formed by the mechanism effecting and ensuring realization of the theme in play activity and through play activity.

Special complex and varied relations will exist between the basic norm – or, if one may use the term, the «nuclear» norm represented in the theme of the game – and other norms governing the children’s activity: while the theme becomes the basic project and plan of the game, all the other norms and instruments will in some cases comple­ment it, delimiting more subtle structures within the basic skeletal structure, but in other cases will diverge from it, entering into a contra­diction with it. Often the real process of the game will essentially be a singular result of their clash and interaction.

This clash and struggle of different norms between the theme of the game and the way it is actually given expression in activity produce discrepancies that are sometimes more, sometimes less, important. We can then speak of new formations in the game. But these new forma­tions, like the role of all the other norms of the game in general, are always evaluated relative to the basic norm, the theme; consequently, a certain hierarchy of norms is always maintained. In Figure 1 this is evident in the original contrast between the relation of realization and the structure of activity; the justification for placing them together in the same paradigm is that activity serves as the mechanism through which the theme – the basic norm and general plan of the game – is realized.

4. Many of the interrelations of the theme of the game and other norms used by the children in their activity depend on the nature of the theme itself and on the aspects and facets of the game that it reflects and fixates. A special analysis carried out at this level showed that the themes of different games differed considerably from one another, and that they could be organized to form a special branching tree in accordance with the growth and increasing complexity of their content (see [10,3]). This has a direct bearing on our topic, i.e., leadership, and hence should be examined in more detail.

Several roles may be distinguished in any sufficiently developed and expressed theme: themes in which there is only one role must obviously be regarded not as the simplest (most elementary), but as degenerate.3

Any role is, in turn, characterized and defined by the theme in terms of at least two aspects: the dynamic and the static.

Of course, it would be more correct to say that a role itself is always a strictly dynamic structure, for it is as a dynamic structure that it enters into the content of the theme and is realized in the behavior and activity of children. But when we base our analysis not on the children’s game behavior, but on the theme, and attempt to schematize its meaning in order to reveal its objective content in the form of a systemic structural scheme (and model), we always «arrest,» so to speak, the dynamics of the role behavior and represent it in static form. Then, through the means and devices used in a systemic structural representation, we discover connec­tions, dependencies, and relations expressed in special symbolic forms, and the entire dynamics of the roles disappear after passing through the filter of the devices of systemic structural representation. Hence, instead of roles we obtain «positions.» Summing up the procedure described above, we can say that a «position» is how a role is represented when we use purely structural means of analysis and images that do not fit the object – in other words, a «position» is a role described as a special static entity.

Static structural schemata are found not to fit the true sense and content of the theme as soon as we begin to compare these schemata with the way the children apparently understand the theme as they use it to shape their own activity and behavior in a game. The investigator therefore begins to create and organize complementary conceptual and symbolic means around a structural model of the theme that catches the theme only in static form; these complementary conceptual and symbolic means are specifically intended to catch and express all the kinetic aspects of roles and role behavior that were lost in creating the structural schema. Thus, there emerge all kinds of descriptions of procedures and actions, ascribing prescriptions and algorithms specifically defining operations, «diagrams of transitions,» etc., to different «places» in the structural representation of the theme. The notion of role kinetics, now represented as something completely distinct and separate from «places» and the static relations and dependencies linking them together, is added to the structural schema and forms, together with it, a complete two-sided representation of the theme and the roles it encompasses.4

Figure 2

5. If we now make use of the idea of a schematic representation of the meaning of themes and, for simplicity’s sake, discard all de­scriptions of the kinetic aspects of role behavior and retain only a stat­ic projection, then an increase in the complexity of theme content from one type of theme to another can be represented as a quite sim­ple sequence of structural schemata.

(1) The set of operations or procedures performed by each role is set down more or less completely in the theme; the relation of the roles among themselves is established through the incorporation of the operations corresponding to them into the overall process of the game (Figure 2); the theme does not, in any way, establish the direct relations and connections among the roles. Games such as «Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf,» «Buyer and Seller,» «Doctor and Patient,» etc., may serve as examples. Characteristic of all these games is the absence of any connections or relations of leadership: if the «buyer» wants something, he goes to the «seller» and «buys,» and if he doesn’t want anything, he doesn’t go. The theme of the game only sets norms for «purchasing» procedures; it does not oblige the «buyer» to submit to the instructions of the «seller» in his behavior, just as it does not oblige the «seller» to subordinate himself to the «buyer.» Hence, all the relations among the children that are necessary for the game to take a normal course are established on the basis of other norms having no direct bearing on the theme of the game. In this respect the games «Buyer and Seller» or «Doctor and Patient» differ appreciably from the game «Mother and Daughter» or «Kindergarten,» in which the «daughters» must, by definition, obey the «mothers,» and the «chil­dren» must obey the «kindergarten teacher.» But we have now essen­tially entered into a discussion of a second type of game theme.

(2) In addition to the operations and procedures ascribed to each role, the interrelationships, leadership relations included, that must be established among children in the course of me game are also concre­tized and normed in the theme. These relations are linked directly to the procedures and actions per-formed in each role;

Figure 3

they remain (or should remain) always the same, regardless of which children assume which roles. Hence, we can call these interrelations and relations between roles. In terms of a static projection of roles, these are interrelations and relations among the «positions» assigned by the theme of the game, and they may be represented by special marks (Figure 3). In addition to the above-mentioned «Kindergarten» and «Mother/Daughter» games, situations in the «Airplane» game (which we described at the outset) can serve as examples of themes of me second type if these situations are considered separately. Aspects of this way of organizing themes are also found in more complicated games.

It is important to stress especially an aspect we touched upon only cursorily above: the norms, concretized in themes of the second type, of interrelations among roles also establish and define actions and activities that children occupying certain roles must carry out in order to fulfill the leadership functions ascribed to those roles. Hence, we can say that themes of the second type also norm the activity of leadership.5

(3) In addition to operations and relations of leadership ascribed to different roles or role «positions,» many themes of children’s games also establish a series of differing situations that evolve one after the other during the course of children’s play activity. With regard to the unfolding of a game over time and this sequence of situations, we may speak of the phases of a game. As a rule, the theme of a game specifies a set of particular situations and, in a some cases (but by no means always), the sequence of the transition from one situation to another as well. The theme of a game does not contain, and in principle cannot contain, any indications of the duration of each phase and thus the relative «weight» of each phase in the game.

The game «Boat Trip» is typical in this regard. It involves (1) going aboard a ship and seating all the children, (2) selling tickets, (3) the boat trip and observation of what is taking place «on shore,» (4) going ashore, (5) taking a stroll along the shore and various games «on the grass,» (6) reboarding the boat, (7) returning to port, etc., etc.

Within each of these situations, both the norm-setting by the theme and the game activity itself may be reduced to the preceding type: each role is characterized by a strictly defined set of operations and by just as strictly defined relations of leadership and control. But taking the theme as a whole, it is not difficult to note that in the context of several different situations, the theme contains an additional component that fundamentally alters the whole complexion of the game and the behav­ior of the children in it. The essence of this component is that as the game passes from one phase into another, the functions, activity, and «social weight» of the different roles – captain of the boat, ticket-seller, ticket-taker, organizer ashore, etc. –  change.

The norms of the procedures and relations of leadership established in the theme ensure the normal unfolding of the game within each phase, but they cannot ensure the transition from one phase to another since, at the same time, the function of leadership also shifts from one role to another, from one «place» to another «place.» It may be said that one already existing and functioning system of leadership is trans­formed into another system of leadership as the game moves from one phase to another phase.

It is therefore not surprising that conflicts often arise among the children with regard to how long each phase should continue, whether it is time to move on from the boat trip itself, which is led by the captain, to going ashore, where the organizer of the games ashore plays the leading role, or whether it is still too early to do this and the sailing should continue.

Outwardly this conflict looks like a clash between two systems: one leadership system trying to preserve itself, and the other, now in the process of being formed or present in only rudimentary form, endeav­oring to come into its own and replace the first. But this is actually only the external or visible aspect; the true clash takes place not between leadership systems, and not even between roles – that would mean violating the norms defining them – but between the children occupy­ing the respective «positions.» The roles or «positions» serve as a touchstone for the aspirations of each child: the child occupying the place of «captain» insists on continuing the sailing precisely because he is captain, while the child occupying the place of’ «game organizer» insists on going ashore because he is the organizer of the games ashore and must not stand idle. None of these children has any advantage in this dispute; in any event, the theme of the game proper gives none of them the advantage. And if additional arguments independent of the theme are not introduced into the game, the game will stop.

Figure 4

In practice, such halts occur constantly in games with sufficiently complex themes. Often conflicts among children reach such a pitch that the game must be completely discontinued. But even when the conflict is surmounted and the game goes on, events unfold and relations are established in the children’s activity that are in no way provided for in the game theme.

To overcome a conflict arising because of the transition of a game from one phase to another so that the game may go on, the children must step out of their roles and role «positions» and create a new activity space surrounding the «space for performing the theme» (Figure 4). In this new space –  second-level space –relationships and activity develop among the children that are no longer reducible to the theme and the norms specified in it.

The activity of the children in the «second-level space» depends on a variety of factors: their striving to have the most «important» and «active» roles or, on the contrary, their fear of responsibility; habits of commanding in some children and. habits of obeying in others; goals often external to the game itself6; the children’s temperament; their prior personal interrelations and feelings (e.g., friendship, respect); their notions of honesty and justice; etc. At the same time, the children’s activity in this new space is in no sense dependent on the game theme or on the roles and leadership relations among them specified in the theme, since the very reshuffling, the very alternation of leadership functions proper to these roles, is, in the particular case, a goal of the activity; and what happens with the functions and the «weight» of the roles as a result of the conflict between the children and the complex activity in this new second-level space cannot depend on the roles themselves.7

Hence, from the very outset, having identified the interrelations and activities on the second level as a special reality in itself, we also gave it a special name: the activities and interrelationships among the children «because of the game» (see [9,13]), the intention being to stress that they have their own special structure, are governed by their own laws and mechanisms, and have a specific role in pedagogical work.

We shall not here describe the structure and content of interrelations and activity at the second level; this has to some extent been done already in the aforementioned studies. Let us attempt to pursue further the point in which we are interested, namely, to characterize leadership activity and relations of the second type as counterposed to relations of leadership between roles (or «places»). All the necessary model in­struments are available for this: a series of structural schemata depict­ing themes that become successively more complicated in content, and the activities necessary for performing these themes in a game. It remains only to see what takes place in these structures when gaps and difficulties arise in moving from one game to another.

6. The emergence of second-level interrelations and activity in accordance with phases of a game does not, in itself, yet ensure that the game will go on. So far we have only a conflict because of the game; and like any conflict, it unfolds according to the individual purposes of the different children and under the influence of the general norms and cultural media that each of the children has already assimilated. Differences in the individual assortments of means and ends of culture are quite great; this has a considerable influence on the course of the conflict, and can hinder its resolution. Hence, a conflict among children often goes so far that the game itself must be completely abandoned. Consequently, if we see the overall picture from the standpoint of normal continuation of the game, what is essential is not the second-level interrelations and activity themselves, but how they develop and are organized. The true condition for normal continuation of the game is not the conflict, but getting out of it, resolving the conflict as quickly as possible.8

This means that we must discuss ways and means of getting out of the «explosive» situation arising because of the transition of the game from one phase to another.

One way has essentially already been outlined in our previous discussions. A game, together with its transitions from one phase to another, constitutes a whole, and hence should be organized and normed as a single whole. The theme of the game, which establishes the duration of each phase and the order of the transition from one phase to another, may serve as an instrument for this norming.

But norms should always already be established before the game starts, which in principle means that they should already be implicit in the cultural norms given to the children as material to be learned by them and represented by the initiator of the game in its initial conception. Consequently, this way of overcoming breakdown in game activity makes sense only in terms of the history of development of a game and its themes. If we are talking about overcoming a conflict that has already developed among the children, i.e., not on a historical plane, but on a purely functional plane – of precisely «this» game, in particu­lar conditions with particular children – then other means and other ways ate necessary to do this.

One of these is control of the interrelations and activity of the children at the second level, and is realized through steering how the game itself actually unfolds.

Usually teachers themselves provide the models for the activity of leadership and control: they intervene in the children’s conflicts, assess their positions and behavior, and generally say what each of them must then do in the particular case. But if there are no teachers nearby or they, for some reason, do not wish to intervene in the children’s activity, then the children themselves may assume the function of steering the activity unfolding at the second level.

It is good for the game itself and for the children’s collective if the collective children – one or more – in a conflict situation assume the leadership in a game and begin to determine, say, the length of each phase, and to command all the other children, indicating to them when and why it is necessary to pass from one phase to another.

In the process, the structure of the game activity increases in complexity. The children controlling the interrelations and activity of the other children, and thus steering the course of the game, enter, so to I speak, into a third level of activity. They create one more new activity space, built up on the second and first levels and essentially »assimilating» them (Figure 5). It is important lo stress especially that this leadership function and the corresponding leadership activity and con­trol over the interrelations among children and over the course of development of the game itself differ from the relations (or ties) of leadership and the activities maintaining them that are established by the theme of the game and are attributed to the roles in it. In this situation a particular child assumes the leadership – and the other children acknowledge this function – not because of some particular role. Indeed, from the standpoint of the game theme, the different roles, i.e., organizer of the trip ashore, captain of the boat, ticket-seller, etc., have merely different functions, and each of them is the principal function in its phase of the game, but there is no role that can be considered the main role and direct the game as a whole. In the «real» life of adults, the time during which different production roles are in operation is usually determined by the external circumstances of activity; in this case the phases of activity are

Figure 5

often «led,» if we can use such an expression, by the very conditions of production. In a children’s game, there is no such thing in many cases, and the necessity therefore arises for specific leadership and control of the overall game activity.

But a child cannot assume this function on the basis of any role. On this level, his situation differs essentially from the situation of adults, particularly of educators, who guide children’s activity on the strength of the social roles they fulfill. If we limit our analysis simply to game activity and the group of children playing the game, we have to say that this new activity of leadership is carried out by children generally without any role and without any »position,» and therein lies its fundamental and principal difference from leadership of the first type, i.e., that in which norms are established by me theme of the game.

But of course this does not mean that this leadership is appropriated by a child and carried out entirely without reason. If a child has already assumed the function of leader, if he has begun to lead the other children and control the course of the game, this means that he has done this for some other reasons, reasons that are external to the game and cannot be reduced to motives ascribed to the roles assigned by the theme of the game.

* * *

At the beginning of this article we described two phenomena quite similar to one another that are usually referred to by the same name: »relations of leadership (or control).» But despite all their similarities, one proved, in light of our theoretical conceptions, to be completely natural, while the other, in contrast, evoked surprise and required special explanation. In any event, these phenomena had to be com-pared, and it was necessary to define clearly in what ways they were similar and in what ways they were different. To make such a comparison, it was necessary to describe these phenomena in the same theoretical terms and even to represent them as different states of the same object; in other words, it was necessary to construct a unified model for them.

This has now been done; and both types of leadership relations have been represented, on the one hand, as stages in the development of a child’s activity and, on the other, as components in the unitary structure and, correspondingly, the unitary process of an activity.

Although our entire study has been based on findings obtained with children’s groups and children’s games, the distinctions made during the course of our study are of general importance because of the analytical tools used and the models constructed on their basis, and can be applied to any human group and any type of social activity. Thus, children’s groups and children’s games have served in this particular case not only as the end and the object of investigation but also as auxiliary material, quite simple and at the same time graphic, by which our arguments could be illustrated.


  1. As far as we know, the first Soviet investigators to devote attention to this point were I. Mel’tser and D. Mendzheritskaya (see [8]), in the late ’20s, and, later, V. P. Zalogina (see [1,2]) and V. V. Lishtvai [7], in the late ’40s and in the ’50s.
  2. On the concept of «organized entity» in the context of a systems study, see [12,19-22,17]; on the concept of «level of organization of activity,» see [6. Pp. 14-18; 16. Pp. 15-69].
  3. Discussion of what games may be called «theme-role» games and the true meaning of this term has a long history; without going into the matter in detail, we shall here merely record our own view (see the positions put forth in [3. P. 32]).
  4. In our view, the main shortcoming of sociological role theory is that it docs not draw a clear distinction between the static and kinetic aspects of a role (nor can it by its very nature do so) (see [18; 5Pp. 6-41]). The failure to make this distinction makes it, in turn, impossible to understand the real structure of the behavior and activity of people for whom roles, in the norms of culture, function in both their genetic and static aspects, yet nonetheless are constantly being surmounted (and sometimes formally established in real activity).
  5. It is characteristic that in games of this type, direct relations between the procedures effected by different roles may exist, but the game does not lose its integrity for this reason since the relations and dependencies among the places themselves remain established in the theme.
  6. In the short story «The school play» (see [4]), V. Kavarin demonstrates splendidly, using more complex material, how varied the motives and goals that may be behind, and usually are behind, the «plot-role» behavior of schoolchildren may be. This story is also good because it demonstrates the isolated – we can even say alienat­ed – existence of formal roles and «places» that are consciously used by youth as «media of life» and presuppose a special relation to them different from the relation to the person who occupies and makes use of the role.
  7. See the discussions and the symposium organized in 1963 by the Institute of Preschool Education of the RSFSR Academy of Pedagogical Sciences (see [11. Pp. 278-84, 286-88, 290-91, 307-308]).
  8. Leaving aside its educational aims and regarding a children’s game as an end in itself, the ideal will not even be the most rapid escape from the conflict, but in principle a totally conflict-free game. As we know, leading educational theorists recently achieved such an organization of a game, and many practical educators followed in their footsteps. But after all, the true aim of pedagogy is to rear children, not the games themselves as such. Hence, the ideal of a truly effective pedagogy, after it has been freed from a confusion of actions and relations with regard to the theme with the actions and relations because of the theme and its performance, can only be continual con­flicts – but again, not in themselves, but organized and controlled in such a way that they give children the conditions and the opportunity to learn new means and norms of behavior and activity and, on this basis, to develop in the direction required for pedagogy.


  1. Zalogina, V. P. [Inculcation of comradely relations in a creative game]. Doshkol’noe Vospitanie, 1949, No. 2.
  2. Zalogina, V. P. [Educating a friendly children’s collective in play]. In [Creative games in kindergarten]Moscow, 1951.
  3. Ivanova, M. Ya. [The structure of the plot of children’s games], Doshkol’noe Vospitanie, 1965, No. 5.
  4. Kaverin, V. [School play]. Novyi Mr, 1968, No. 12.
  5. Kon, I. S. [Sociology of the personality]Moscow, 1967.
  6. Lefevre, V. A. [Conflicting structures]Moscow, 1967.
  7. Lishtvan, Z. V. [Instilling friendly relations in play]. Uchenie Zapiski Rostovskogo na-Donu Ped. Instituta, No. 1, 1956.
  8. Mel’tser, I.,& Mendzheritskaya, D. [Games at preschool age]. In [Games and work in the preschool age]Moscow, 1929.
  9. Nadezhina, R. G. [Games and relations among children]. Doshkol’noe Vospi­tanie, 1964, No. 4.
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