We have all been children some time back. We see children around us at all times. Yet, we parents and teachers, in spite of our constant attempts, find it difficult to understand children. Each child being unique, it is only by constant observation and interaction that we can hope to fathom their mind.
No education is possible if we do not understand children.This is all the more true in early childhood and primary education. We need to discover ways of connecting to children.
These calvin and Hobbes comic strips which powerfully convey the difference in adult’s and children’s perspectives can act as a starting point for debating this issue. No child is perhaps as articulate as 6 years old Calvin. But the strips show how unreasonable adults can be at times; how unthinking they are while responding to children’s queries or how harsh they are when killing their imagination or play.
Will children grow up to be brats if not corrected or restrained when they are young? How do we know if our corrections and restraining is not killing their individuality and creativity?
Extending the debate: Add and View Comments
In the developing world, livelihood options are a prime motive for schooling. Adults, particularly the poor, live with the constant fear that their children's chances for a better living than their own may be jeopardised by lack of skills and knowledge. Schools must endeavour to reassure and provide guarantees against these fears. It is in this context perhaps that a teacher's ability to understand children takes on its most challenging forms. For children from deprived backgrounds to be able to obtain a chance to stand up and seek their space under the sky can be the best service teachers and society can render unto mankind.
In fact all of Calvin and Hobbes is a commentary on such parenting. Sometimes we suspect, the very concept of schooling is an attempt at 'taming'. In the B.Ed course, we were introduced to the purposes of curriculum. This included fitting a person into a society, getting that person to question its mores and finally attempting to transform it. Schooling should not stop with the first purpose alone but enable children to transform society. Everyone knows that this is the eventual truth about society. But why should it be so much of a battle between generations. If parents and teachers recognised it, perhaps it would be easier on children and help them fulfill their roles in making society a better place for everyone, and help them do this sooner.
Adults have a universal obsession to see, or rather transform (high hopes) children into some extension of an image they possess. All attempts at correcting, coaxing, appealing to, blackmailing, and even forcing children to behave in the 'ways of adults' are perhaps based on a belief that left to themselves, children will be up to no good. Not only has this belief been disproved over and over again, but has even been counter productive to children's development. The purpose of understanding children should therefore be to protect them from harm's way and help them blossom in to what they are destined for.
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