Viktor Shatalov

Viktor Shatalov

Innovative teacher, professor at the Donetsk Institute of Social Education
Country: Ukraine

  1. Biography of Viktor Shatalov
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Development of Teaching Methodology
  4. Recognition and Later Years
  5. Legacy and Passing

Biography of Viktor Shatalov

Viktor Fedorovich Shatalov, a Soviet and Ukrainian pedagogical innovator, dedicated his entire life to educating schoolchildren and later students, remaining true to the idea that anyone can be taught regardless of their current level of knowledge. He believed in finding an individual approach to each student and using various teaching methodologies.

Viktor Shatalov

Early Life and Education

Viktor Fedorovich Shatalov was born on May 1, 1927, in the city of Stalin (now Donetsk), Ukraine. He attended school in his hometown. Towards the end of the Great Patriotic War, he joined the army and participated in the war against Japan in the Far East in 1945. After being demobilized, Viktor returned to his hometown, completed his education at the Pedagogical Institute, and began working as a teacher in a local school.

Development of Teaching Methodology

From the very beginning of his professional career, Shatalov was concerned with the principles of education. He questioned the validity of many basic teaching principles in the Soviet school system, which made him the target of criticism from many colleagues. Nevertheless, Shatalov began searching for methods that would later form the basis of his own teaching system. His methodology was simple but required specific skills from the teacher.

The essence of his approach was to present knowledge during lessons through the teacher's narrative, notes on the blackboard, and a concise summary that included diagrams, key terms, mathematical calculations, and more. This summary was the result of the teacher's meticulous preparation and was designed to be compact and easy to remember. During the lesson, the teacher conveyed information to the students through the narrative and relied on the summary on the blackboard. The result was the effective delivery and retention of the required knowledge with minimal notes, ensuring efficient memorization. This method was known as the verbal-visual approach.

In addition, Shatalov emphasized that students should not be expected to understand and memorize the material simultaneously. He believed that students should first understand the material through the teacher's narrative and the notes on the blackboard, and then transfer this information to their notebooks. The summary served as a coded narrative from the teacher. The consolidation of the material also involved students reproducing the summary on a sheet of paper or on the blackboard and narrating it back. This repetitive decoding of the summary ensured better retention of the material.

Another important principle Shatalov advocated was "teach first, then assess; no grades for solving new problems!" He believed that students needed time to fully grasp the material and to develop confidence in their abilities. Shatalov extensively used group activities and peer assessment in his lessons.

Recognition and Later Years

In 1971, Shatalov's teaching system gained recognition beyond the school walls after an article titled "Shatalov's Method" was published in the newspaper "Komsomolskaya Pravda." In 1973, he became a researcher at the Pedagogical Institute of the Ukrainian SSR, and in 1985, he joined the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the USSR. From 1987 onwards, Shatalov worked at the Institute of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the USSR in Donetsk, earning the title of Honored Teacher of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1990, he was awarded the honorary title of People's Teacher of the USSR.

In the 1990s, Viktor Fedorovich worked at the Institute of Postgraduate Education in his hometown and became a professor at the Donetsk Institute of Social Education. Throughout his life, he dedicated himself to educating schoolchildren and later students, remaining true to the belief that anyone can be taught, regardless of their current level of knowledge. Shatalov's system included over 200 pedagogical innovations, and he authored more than 60 scientific and pedagogical publications.

Despite the political events in Ukraine that began in 2014 and led to a civil war, Viktor Shatalov did not leave his hometown, despite the conflict taking place on its outskirts. He supported the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and became a citizen, continuing to pass on his experience to young generations of educators. His teaching system was also well-received internationally, with educators from China coming to him for training.

Legacy and Passing

Viktor Fedorovich Shatalov passed away on November 20, 2020, in Donetsk after a prolonged and serious illness. His contributions to education and his innovative teaching methodologies continue to impact educators and students, both in Ukraine and around the world.