Education and Childhood - Essay Example

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Education and Childhood Introduction Education starts at a very early age. Its efficacy is often also best gained when started at the earliest age possible. For which reason, most children, starting in their infancy have development and learning milestones which they are expected to accomplish at each month or year in their lives…
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Download file to see previous pages It will draw on historical and contemporary examples and research findings drawn from extensive reading to establish adequate proof for these results. This essay shall also consider the oft rehearsed claims that childhood is being crucially compromised by a range of contemporary social, political, economic, moral, cultural, and/or technological developments and may actually be dead or dying. Finally, this study will reflect on arguments about whether education and schooling are contributing to this decline and what, if anything can be done about this. Body Historical and cultural perspectives on childhood Various historical and cultural perspectives on childhood have been discussed and considered by various scholars. Keith Sawyer, a professor with the Washington University in St. Louis sought to conceptualize childhood based on a historical view of paintings as well as current conceptions and interactions for current perceptions. He discusses that medieval society perceives childhood to be non-existent (Sawyer, 2010). He cites medieval art where children are rarely portrayed and when they are, are shown as miniature adults (2010, p. 2). He discusses that medieval times showed that families shifted from the extended to the nuclear set-ups; moreover, age-graded schools were also founded (Sawyer, 2010, p. 3). Thirteenth century paintings also portrayed a growth of interest in childhood; the 16th century showed the coddling period with children viewed as innocent; and the 16th and 18th centuries were the moralistic times for these children (Sawyer, 2010, p. 5). The 20th century is considered the century of the child, where they now had access to progressive and free education. The goals for these children have been directed towards educating the public and ensure their progress. Gender issues became more paramount issues in the 20th century especially with both females and males given equal opportunity to gain education. Gross (2010) also discusses that there have also been various perspectives on childhood throughout the years. Ancient Greece and Rome acknowledged the various stages of development of humans, which included infancy, young childhood, and adolescence. Children were highly valued, especially for boys who were pegged as future warriors. These males were inspected and those not considered fit were often abandoned (Gross, 2010). For a while, infants were considered for the contributions they could make to the family and to the future of the state. In Medieval Europe, fears for the welfare of children were high, mostly because of the high mortality rates of these children from the plagues and other diseases (Gross, 2010). Abandonment of children was still common, especially when these children were sickly or weak. The treatments used at these times were religious interventions (Gross, 2010). Selling of children was also common. In effect, the perspective on children at this point has not been favourable as yet. During the renaissance period, children were still abandoned just like previous times; reforms to these perceptions were however introduced in pursuit of Thomas More’s Utopia. The child was then also perceived as pious, disciplined, as well as teachable. In the setting of Colonial America, children were seen as innocents who were likely to commit evil acts, if not enlightened (Gross, 2010). Children had to be disciplined by parents as ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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