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Contemporary Childhood Analysis
Transcript of Contemporary Childhood Analysis
"Children's lives are lived through
childhoods constructed for them by
adult understandings of childhood
and what children are and should be"
(Dahlberg, Moss & Pence, 2007)
The days where children are bought up primarily by their mothers until school age seems to be a thing of the past with the emergence of more mothers returning to the work force. We are seeing the shift in attitudes and roles in the household are shared by all family members and fathers are becoming more hands on.
The emergence of this new trend is beneficial to children; it instils morals of gender equality, teaches a sense of comradeship and also introduces them at a young age the
notion of helping others achieves a happier environment
The Healthy Child
The emergence of educating children on the importance of being healthy and active is becoming increasingly common.
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- The emergence of technology in education is not something that can be ignored - the insurgence of computers into classrooms has been astronomical. Education has in such been revolutionalised technology, gone are the days where teachers tools were often restricted to dictative learning and books to teach students; technology has seen the emergence of interactive learning with more resources available at the click of a button and instant access to information
- It is however extremely important that educators create a working balance; whilst it is important to embrace the use of technology, essential skills such as handwriting can not be glossed over and students should not become over-reliant on technological tools.
Modern Day Learning
It is widely accepted that the term 'social construction' is used to explain the understandings of childhood as not being the same everywhere. In every culture, society and demographic there are different values and practices to abide by which both directly and indirectly impact a child's development. What is considered to be 'normal' in one environment may be frowned upon as dangerous in another.
The importance of the ever-changing perceptions of childhood throughout the years is detailed in the six modes of childhood detailed in 'The History of Childhood' by L. DeMause and highlights the evolution of how a child was once viewed in a much more negative light as opposed to today where children's rights are extremely important as constituted by UNICEF and their 'Convention on the Rights of Children'.
Taking into consideration the differing social and cultural contexts is important when considering an educational setting for children - it is essential that no child feels ostracised and that diversity and equality is instilled in a learning environment.
"You who are wise must know, that different nations have different conceptions of things; and will therefore not take it amiss, if our ideas of this kind of education happen not to be the same with yours' (quoted in Drake, 1834)
The perception of children has changed dramatically over time to the advantage of the children themselves
Children, once condemned to days long manual labour and apprenticeships to educate, children now have the access to many avenues of learning.
A child's development and learning should not only be measured by their formal education; but also through the everyday exploration and play a child undertakes which often provides meaningful and engaging situations for a
child to develop new skills.
Children in Society
- Children were often condemned to long hours of work; they were "children without childhood" (Cunningham, H., 2006)
"Each generation continues to revise and adapt its human
and cultural and biological heritage in the face of current circumstances" (Rogoff, B., 2003)
The Modern Child
- Children in a Westernized Modern society are typically allowed to learn through many avenues; exploration and play is a key driver and are commonly viewed as 'the future'
- In tougher economical times, The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found almost 80 per cent of women whose youngest child is aged between six and 14 participated in the labour force in 2010 to 2011. (www.bodyandsoul.com.au)
Fast Paced Era-
The working Mum
"Childhood has become more time consuming and expensive"
(deMause, L., 1974)
- Traditionally, the man was the main income earner of the household with the wife staying at home to take care of domestic duties and to raise the children
and Stay at Home Mum
- As children's product awareness increases due to target market so does the incidence of sugar laden, nutritionless snacks - junk is often offered instead of healthy alternatives
Spoilt with choices
"Children who are overweight is “50 per cent more likely to become overweight adults” (Early Childhood Australia, 2012)
- Instilling a solid foundation of positive attitudes towards healthy living and working with parents ensures that all children ‘have the best start in life to create a better future for themselves and for the nation’ (DEEWR, 2009, p5)
Raising Awareness -
- With the consumption of media exploding, it is very rare in the modern day era for families to sit down for
a meal without a television; minimising interaction and
The Family Time Barrier
"There's camaraderie and the family bonding that goes into
sitting down and talking about your day over dinner"
(Burke, N., n.d.)
- In previous times children learned through books, experiences and education from an adult but the use of 'apps' and computer programs is becoming more prevalent both through formal education and at home learning
a babysitter and teacher
- The emergence and revolution of technology in everyday life cannot be ignored; nor can the implications that it has had on revolutionizing childhood. If you look around in social setting it is evident and often dismaying the effect technology has on the interaction of a family.
- For technology to be an effective education tool, the amount of time and the content that a child is exposed to should be monitored - after all, the more time a child is on a device, the longer they are sedentary; thus disabling the opportunity for them to play, enjoy exploring which has a downward effect on their development of social and motor skills
These days, children are being more involved in sedentary activities rather than physical ones; the government's of many westernized countries have highlighted this as a high focus in education.
Childhood obesity poses many problems physically,
socially and emotionally so the importance of
early education should never be underestimated
- Technology is clearly a focus area for education, with both the state and federal governments providing funding to students and schools to ensure that all students have appropriate access
- Due to the large size of the classes; learning was usually very regimented with the teacher writing information on the blackboard and students copying - repetition was the common teaching method
Constructs of childhood have changed over time; as have the images of childhood. Gone are the days where children "were to be seen and not heard", in todays society a child has a right to a voice with adults often taking a child's opinion into evaluation.
Whilst it is important to consider a child's opinion, we as educators must create the healthy balance to ensure that a child feels valued in an environment, but we also must guide them and educate them in a clear direction to ensure the best possible development for them physically, emotionally and socially.
“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.”
– David Warlick