Childhood and Education
My childhood in the classrooms of India was a mixture of different experiences. The direct and indirect ways of learning from outside the classroom or in the classroom had shaped me into a person of clear perspective who keeps things simple. As a child, I was taught everywhere that religion, culture, and traditions are the things of utmost importance. But in spite of learning the same thing from everywhere, I developed my own perspective regarding the things of utmost importance in life. I can’t recollect the exact memory or events to support my situation but I can say that I did think about the creation of the Earth, the existence of the God or several criminal activities told by the news channels without even sleeping for the whole nights even in the childhood days when I was 10-12 years old. All those overnight thoughts and many questions led me to seek for answers silently. And now I have a clear perspective that humanity, a scientific temperament within ourselves and a sense that we all are the part of each other are the most important things in life. It is unbelievable that I figured out these things in my early teens.
The story of my learning throughout my childhood was quite different from what I used to think a few years back. Now, I have started to think differently about the same thing. I would like to share an example of one of my childhood event when I was in 6th grade, my academic performance was really bad that I failed to get good grades. Then my parents sent me to a tuition center which was a private institute to help students get good grades. Even my school teacher was happy that I joined the tuition center. I got the good grades and everyone was happy including me. Going regularly to the institute after my school timings made me dependent and I developed a habit of seeking help in every homework. Now I totally disagree with the idea of giving excessive help to a student. My performance was improved but my ability to think creative was hampered.
Defining Childhood and Education
When I was fresh in HIST 3510 class, my definition of Childhood was “Childhood is a period of life when a child is totally dependent on others and is vulnerable to outside environment.”
My definition is still the same if I talk about ‘vulnerability’. In case of Aboriginal children, they were exposed to the outside environment i.e, residential schools away from their homes and parents which affected them emotionally, physically and mentally.
On the other side, if I talk about ‘dependency’, my viewpoint has changed because the children in Nova Scotia in mid and late nineteenth century were working as labors to support their families which shows that it all depends upon the society and environment that how a child will reflect as a person. As at that time in Nova Scotia they were mostly fulfilling their responsibilities as a bread earning member of the family.
My definition of Education was “Education is learning outcomes which are acceptable to the society. It is possible that a person can be highly qualified but not necessarily highly educated.”
If I talk about the ‘social acceptance’, my definition has not changed. The children in Nova Scotia were not enrolled in schooling and they were earning bread for their families. Working from an early age was equipping them with some hands-on abilities and they were securing stable employment when they became adults. This whole process was acceptable to the society and the children were learning by doing.
The latter statement of my definition was basically about the education system which makes a child academically profound but fails to embed moral qualities in him. So this is true in all cases and this part of my definition is still the same. However, if we talk about the children who were forcefully engaged in prayers in residential schools, and were asked to adopt new ways of living i.e, modern ways, these were all forceful implications which doesn’t hold any educational importance because the children are vulnerable to any negative element (according to my definition of childhood) in the society which can affect them adversely in their development.