Childhood And Education: Analysis Of David Blundell Approach

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Children indisputably are a very important part of the human population and they play a crucial role in society and its continuum. We can often see the word ‘education’ next to the word ‘children’ in different social pieces of literature explaining how education or the lack of it can have a tremendous impact on a child, not only during their childhood but also later on when they become adults. This essay is aiming to appraise and evaluate a social problem that has been fundamentally advantageous for a lot of studies and researches. Childhood and education have been the topic of discussion and researches for many years, as well as the reason a lot of developments regarding childhood have come to the surface of the sociology spectrum and provided solutions that have contributed to the improvement of education, psychology, criminology, and other social sciences. The Childhood and Education chapter from the book ‘Social problems In the UK: an introduction is written by David Blundell (2015) and it seeks to provide answers to very commonly asked questions such as what childhood is and what role education plays when it comes to focusing on different social problems and how they are being addressed through it. It must be noted that the understanding of this chapter is essential because it is considered to be a social problem not in the United Kingdom, hence why it is a part of the book. Having chosen a social construction approach the chapter aims to understand social problems to a deeper extent and understand the way these problems are constructed.

At the beginning of the chapter Blundell points out questions surrounding childhood, the importance of schools, the impact it has on a child’s life, and how a child is molded into an adult through it, since school is one of the places children spend the most of their childhood in, and it is considered to be a platform where a lot of concerns regarding social problems are raised, not necessarily having to do with children. The chapter encourages taking a look at different educational institutions or else institutions of childhood as described by social scientists, institutions like nurseries, schools, children’s hospitals, and play centres can provide a better understanding of what a childhood should be like and even though not all of them work in the same way, they still have the same aim and want to achieve the same thing and that is nothing else other than offering children what they deserve; a good education. It also raises the question that has been a debate for a long time of how childhood should be like, stating two examples of two different working models where one of them has the kids not doing chores, and just letting them play and enjoy their childhood while it lasts. To that is brought another argument from a second working model where it claims that a child should do house chores for them to become a responsible adult. One argument is that children should enjoy their childhood, whereas the other one is about a child becoming an adult. Through social construction, we can understand how family contributes to the shaping of the child. Blundell explains that these types of differences or discourses as social scientists would name them, are not personal opinions, but are formed from different ways altered cultures observe and perceive the world. Throughout language, television news, images, and films discourses are shaped and are essential for us to learn and understand more about social theories. There is also an emphasis given in this chapter on the orthodox western approaches that aim to understand children, approaches that are claimed to be rooting from the European Enlightenment period and also support that children can be understood through their natural environment, and they nurture and mature through what nature provides to them and consistent laws of nature that should remain unaltered if the child is to become a wholesome and accountable adult. The author of the chapter also acknowledges the contribution of the findings of the Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget, and his work on child development, highlighting some of his key concepts surrounding childhood. Jean Piaget supported that childhood is a biological occurrence that can bring both somatic and cerebral progression that can be broken down into different stages (Piaget, 2003). Social scientists argued with Piaget by questioning his claims of universality (that all children are alike) and naturalness (that child development can be defined by different stages) adding that not all children live under the same circumstances, therefore, the way of how children should be understood varies from culture from one culture to another, and needs to be re-evaluated to be understood in a better extent. With that being said, Critical Childhood Studies came into light acknowledging the differences between children and adults and asserting that even though biology does not provide an answer on the meaning of these differences or how they should answer them, it is stated that it can be interpreted differently by different cultures (Alanen, 2010)

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As already mentioned, Blundell has chosen a social construction, which can be helpful to understand childhood from many different perspectives and therefore have a broader understanding and provide more accessible solutions to social problems and social issues that surround childhood and education. Mentioning that, a closer look at the educational system can further our understanding of the shaping of childhood, and as mentioned in the chapter a child does not only learn what educators teach them but they learn from the whole schooling and have declared that teaching has appeared to be difficult and not suitable for them that most period and along with family they make a big contribution to the development, and shaping a child into a wholesome adult. Blundell also points out how educational systems fail to address social problems and is uncertain whether or not a child is ready to face issues regarding society and unsure how that will affect their childhood and their development. 


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