The Portret of a Contemporary Child and Youngster in the Global Education Space

The Portret of a Contemporary Child and Youngster in the Global Education Space

Zanda Rubene (University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/IJSEUS.2018070102

Abstract

The world of transformations changes radically the education process. Theoreticians and practitioners of pedagogy recognize that methods and strategies consolidated over centuries very often have become ineffective in modern education practice. Therefore, the researchers' interest in childhood studies nowadays is natural. They define children's and youngster`s culture as different, unknown and incomprehensible. The researchers initiate a number of questions that need to be answered in order to cooperate with children and youngsters in school and in the family. How can teachers work efficiently in the modern school? How should adults implement modern pedagogical goals and which pedagogical methods to use to attain them? How do they perceive this world, what do they want to achieve in life? Which are the specific features of the representatives of this generation and how do they wish to cooperate with other generations? This article will be an attempt to provide some possible answers to those questions.
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Introduction

The present century has been named differently – the century of transformations, globalization, pluralism, digital or the access century (Rifkins, 2004; Fulans, 1999; Druker, 1969). However, a common feature unites this diverse time in which we live – this creates a number of uncertainties and challenges as we think about the education of our children and students.

Changes in the modern society in the discourse of social sciences are often explained with the development of the information and communication technologies and they, in their turn, promote significantly the economic, political, cultural and legislative transformations. It has to be admitted that the world of transformations changes radically the education process: the organization of the teaching/learning process, didactics, and the competency development of the individual nowadays have become a broad field of discussions. Namely, theoreticians and practitioners of pedagogy recognize that methods and strategies consolidated over centuries very often have become ineffective in modern education practice.

Researchers emphasize that the pluralism of thinking and life styles characteristic to the modern social situation promotes the liberalization trends in parenting (Dinka, 2014; Jansone-Ratinika, 2013). The pluralism of values in the Western culture has resulted in transformations in school and family institution as well as in the traditional hierarchic models of social relations, including education. Thus, modern parents and teachers in this sphere often face the situation, which requires the change of the ideological focus which makes the child, the youngsters and their needs the centre of the pedagogical process. These are serious challenges for social sciences and, concretely, pedagogy because the necessity of changing the traditional approaches in practice also change the essence of the theory bringing about the discussion about the differences in understanding such concepts as “childhood”, “a child” and “a youngster” from their traditional scope of definition. (Postman, 1982)

Traditionally the parenting process comprises in itself the formation of understanding the attitudes and values (Špona, 2004). The interaction of two key concepts – the correspondence of adults’ demands to their responsiveness to children’s needs - characterizes the effective implementation of this process. Demands and responsiveness in relations with the child reflect the adults’ views on parenting; they express themselves in the adults’ communication style and emotionality (Baumrind, 1978).

It is important to stress this idea in the context of the changing society. It has to be admitted that nowadays the basis of pedagogical failures often is the adults’ insufficient understanding of the children and youngsters’ needs. Simply it means that adults often fail to understand their children. Global changes have significantly changed the social habits of children and youngsters; they differ radically, e.g., from the everyday actions, understanding of values, goals in life from the children who grew up in the 70s of the 20th century (Riederle, 2013). Thus, the adults’ ideas on how it should be and what would be the right way do not correspond to the ideas of children and youngsters. Without knowing the children’s needs it is impossible to react adequately to them; thus, also the demands put forward by adults are not satisfied in the way acceptable for them. This means that the parenting process actually is not being implemented.

Therefore, the researchers’ interest in childhood studies nowadays is natural. They define children’s culture as different, unknown and incomprehensible. The discourses of topical childhood researches can be related to three theoretical perspectives: social ecological, public and biographical (Grünert & Krüger, 2006). The above-mentioned approaches explore, on the one hand, the society trends and their impact on the child and the youngster, on the other hand, the child and the youngster as an active subject in the construction of the reality in the communication with the social and material environment.

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