Saturday, March 14, 2020

Outline and critically analyse a prominent contribution to the construction of modern childhood, illustrating your argument with contemporary examples The WritePass Journal

Outline and critically analyse a prominent contribution to the construction of modern childhood, illustrating your argument with contemporary examples Introduction Outline and critically analyse a prominent contribution to the construction of modern childhood, illustrating your argument with contemporary examples ). Education is conflicted since there is pressure to see it as a preparation for the real world of work and the child-centred pedagogy appears to be abandoned in both national and international policy (Moseley 2007). Locke made it clear that children were not to be indulged or spoilt by their parents and he preferred praise and encouragement to punishment.   Locke believed children should not be spoken to harshly, lectured or chastised, but felt that children should be listened to and engaged with. Physical punishment was only a last resort and should never be carried out in anger, but measured and controlled, (Moseley, 2007). States schools in England abolished corporal punishment in 1987 responding to new constructions of childhood which saw corporal punishment as cruel and inhumane and children as vulnerable and in need of guidance and protection. Locke wanted children to become virtuous and to override their negative urges and internalise self-discipline, through the right amount of praise and example, especially public praise. However, there has been some criticism of Lockes highly conditioned child since Locke encouraged the love of reputation, for control purposes (Ryan, 2008, p. 569).   Ryan argues that this love of reputation was also encouraged with a obedience to a politically correct world. Ryan (2008, p.569 cites Locke, 1963) and argues that there are many examples where Locke explains how to avoid the exercise of the masters brute force and make the desired habits â€Å"natural in them† without the child perceiving you have any hand in it. Lockes ideas on esteem and disgrace, public praise and private admonitions, were also seen by Ryan as another example of punishments and rewards. Ryan (2008, p. 569) acknowledges however, that Lockes conditioned child helped to encourage a new construction of a more authentic, political and developmental child, for the future. Locke promoted the idea of virtue in children meaning to have the powers of rational thought and to defer gratification. Locke also suggested that unruly children should be cultivated rather than curbed. The Department of Educations advice to modern day head teachers (2014) reminds us that discipline is still a priority in schools with head teachers responsible for promoting good behaviour, self-discipline and respect.   Locke argued that learning should be appropriate to a childs stage of development and consideration had to be given for a childs immaturity when they behaved inappropriately.   The work of Jean Piagets stage theory confirmed the idea of developmentally appropriate education for children in schools, with materials and instruction appropriate for pupils in terms of both their physical and cognitive skills (Eyesenk and Flanagan 2001). However, Lockes idea that learning should be tailored to each childs needs is virtually impossible in schools today with rising class sizes, increasing discipline problems, special needs requirements, language differences and mixed abilities. Locke preferred wherever possible for children to be home tutored. However, research shows that young people in Britain in the 21st Century are some of the least confident and unhappiest in the developed world (Blundell 2012).   In 2008 the policy think tank Compass reported that childhood was being excessively commercialised and children were the target of aggressive marketing which included both gadgetry as well as brand names (Blundell 2012).   Palmer (2006) argues that childhood is under pressure from the marketing and promotion of consumption as the root of happiness and opportunities for play are becoming increasingly limited.   Recreation time has now been replaced with adult organised play and sport, homework and exams. The Childrens Society (2009) discovered that childrens lives were being negatively affected by fears for their safety. They were also given unrealisable materialistic desires and goals as a result of the pressures of the consumerist culture. This is contrary to what Locke believed about free play and learning without fe ar (Moseley, 2007, p. 36). The discourses on childhood reflect a deeply dualistic and contradictory way of thinking with childhood   seen both as important in itself and at the same time as a preparation for adulthood, (Jones, 2009).   Children can be seen as both vulnerable and in need of protection, but also seen as capable and competent.   Jones, (2009) writes it is these dualistic, ways of viewing children, that contribute to their silence and invisibility. Jenks (2005) adds to this discourse by describing this dualism in terms of both chaotic and disorderly (Dionysian) and   sweetness and light, (Apollonian). Stainton-Rogers (2011) writes about an unequal relationship between the child and adult and argues that we treat children like they are another species as object to be studied rather than as people. At the heart of the UNCRC however, there is a rather different approach to childhood and one which now recognises childrens rights, (Gittins 2005). Children are seen as active agents and engaged participants in their lives. Children all over the world are now involved in the digital world of mobile phones, social media, interactive games, social networking and blogging and this has had significant influence on childhood, their play experience and their literacy. Waller (2012) argues that children are now actively involved in co-constructing their own lives, culture and activities, in their own time and space. Emerging is an acceptance that there are multiple and diverse childhoods in the globalist world we now live in (Waller 2012).   The emphasis is on participatory rights for children   which challenges the way we carry out child research and the ways we study children, as well as approaches to teaching. A modern view of children therefore acknowledges agency and childrens capa city to both understand and act upon their world   (Waller, 2012 p.8). Although this may seem far removed from Lockes construction of childhood as a time for parental guidance, example, protection, supervision, discipline, control and virtuosity, many of his ideas have laid the foundation for children to be viewed in a more humane and enlightened way and has led to contemporary discourses on childhood.   Bibliography Blundell, D. (2012) Education and Constructions of Childhood.   London: Continuum International Publishing Group. Buckingham, D. (2000) After the death of childhood: growing up in the age of electronic media; Cambridge: Polity Press. Children’s Society (2009) A Good Childhood. London: Penguin. Compass (2008)   The Commercialisation of Childhood, London: Compass. Dahlberg, G., Moss, P. and Pence, A.(2007) Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education and   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Care:    Postmodern Perspectives, 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge Falmer. Department of Education (2014) Behaviour and Discipline in Schools:   Advice for Headteachers and School Staff. Available at [Accessed 18/12/2014]. Eysenck, M. W. Flanagan, C. (2001) Psychology.   Sussex, UK: Psychology Press Ltd. Gianoutsos, J. (2006) Locke and Rousseau: Early Childhood Education. The Pulse (Vol 4, p. 1-23).     Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Available at   [Accessed   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   16.12.2014]. Gittins, D. (2009) The Historical Construction of Childhood in Kehily, M.J. (ed) An Introduction to Childhood Studies. Buckingham: Open University Press. James, A. and Prout, A. (1997) Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood: contemporary issues in the sociological study of childhood. London: Routledge. Jenks, C. (2005) Childhood. 2nd Ed. London: Routledge. Jones, P. (2009) Rethinking Childhood: Attitudes in Contemporary Society. London: Continuum   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   International Publishing Group. McDowall-Clark, R. (2010) Childhood in Society in Early Childhood Studies. Exeter: Learning   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Matters Ltd. Moseley, A. (2007) John Locke.   London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Palmer, S. (2006) Toxic Childhood: How the Modern World is Damaging Our Children. London:   Ã‚  Ã‚   Orion Books Ltd. Penn, H. (2008) Understanding Early Childhood: Issues and Controversies. 2nd ed. UK: Open   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   University Press. Ryan, P. J.   (2008) How New Is the â€Å"New† Social Study of Childhood? The Myth of a Paradigm   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Shift.   Journal of Interdisciplinary History, xxxviii (4), p. 553–576. The Plowden Report (1967) A Report of the Central Advisory Council for England. Available @   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Accessed   Ã‚   18/12/2014. Waller, T. (2012) Modern Childhood: Contemporary Theories and Childrens Lives in C. Cable., L. Miller., and G. Goodliff, Working with Children in the Early Years. 2nd Ed.   NY: Routledge. UNICEF (2012) A Summary of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Children. Available at   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚     Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   [Accessed   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   18/12/2014].

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