This article provide study notes on the Influence of School on a Child.
When the child has grown still older, he goes to his school. There, he is taught not only 3 Rs but, gets an environment which greatly helps in making him social. Previously, his interaction was limited to a few members of his family. Now, he comes in contact with a big number of other children, his classmates who are more or less of his own age.
He may, also, come in contact with older or younger children. He interacts with them, while earlier; he had been shying off the new faces. His own behaviour is affected by the behaviour of others. He imbibes a lot many new social qualities, and the most important among them, is the quality to adapt to others.
The child plays with so many other children, he learns to make friends. His living with them in different situations—in the classroom, while taking his tiffin, attending classes of music, drawing, of physical and cultural education and activities and others, too, much increases his adaptability to different situations that as a grown-up member of the society he would have to live in.
His intimacy with his peers, his classmates and schoolmates goes on increasing, and members of his family and others, who have experienced his pre-school period behaviour, feel that much change has come about in his behaviour. He has become more understanding, more adjustable and social.
As wider grows the circle of movement, the more pliable one grows, and pliancy is essential for one to succeed in society, or rather, to live in society. It is unknowingly impressed upon the child that he has to depend on others for a lot many of his activities and for the satisfaction of many of his needs. This interdependence makes man a social being.
Then, there are teachers who have been entrusted the duty, not only to impart the narrow education of 3 Rs to the child but are the custodians of all the children coming to school for their all-round development. The heart is equally to be developed along with the head.
The education now, is not limited to 3 Rs only but it has been widened, and is now desired to be the education of 3 Rs, that is Head, Hand and Heart. As, before coming to school whatever, social traits are developed in the child, happen to be, mainly due to the impact of the behaviour of the members of the family; and upon the school-going children, the influence of their teachers happens to be very important.
The children observe everything very curiously; are very impressionable, hence the school environment plays an important role in the development of the child. The school happens to be the first, wider social organisation outside the family that influences the development of social traits in the character of the child.
Playing together, the children learn the lesson in team-spirit. They study together and happen to be together for a number of school activities. This enhances adaptability and team-spirit in the children. They learn to co-operate with one another.
The teacher can, consciously, try to inculcate the spirit of co-operation rather than of rivalry, which is so natural to the children. Competitions should be held between groups, rather than between individuals. Thus, members of the same group would be co-operating with one another, to make the group, a winner.
Of course, healthy competitions, even among individuals, may also be encouraged where each should make full efforts to excel others but with no intention to thwart the efforts of others to do the same.
Some cultures are competition-oriented. There, exalting over others, and striving for higher-status, are frequently and consistently rewarded. PJ Greenberg studied the development of the spirit of competition with age.
The facts revealed were:
i. A two-year-old child does not compete.
ii. Competition begins by the third year.
iii. Competition grows more intense between 4 to 6 years.
Some are highly and violently competitive, others mildly and calmly so. Some are not competitive at all:
i. Familial background also affects.
ii. Socioeconomic status, also a factor to influence the competitive spirit.
The spirit of co-operation may be raised to the level of sacrifice, when one becomes prepared to suffer for the sake of others’ well-being. If children come across practical instances of sacrifice and social service, they would be more likely to imbibe such social qualities.
Poems, stories, plays and other literary forms may, also, serve as tools, for encouraging children for co-operation, sacrifice and social service. Those whose personalities are devoid of these traits, happen to be egocentric and self-centred. They can contribute little to the society that they live in.
The first object of a child’s love is his mother. Then, he starts loving other members of the family. The school can do much to widen the circle of his love. Attachment to others with a feeling of love goes a long way in strengthening social solidarity.
Again, if the behaviour of teachers towards the school children is warm and affectionate, it would cause a wholesome contagious effect. With the help of poems, narration of historical anecdotes, stories, plays and others, personal love may be widened to include the entire nation into the ambit of love.
All these developments in the child that a family and a school ought to strive for, are less related to cognitive domain, and are more related to the conative aspect of personality. Lop-sided development of the child cannot be termed as a wholesome development. It may even prove harmful for the individual, and a source of trouble for the society.
A well-educated person, who is bodily too very strong, but emotionally or so far his feelings are concerned, is not desirably developed, would be egocentric, selfish, and might be indulging in any sort of deeds, may be unethical and even criminal, to achieve his ends.
So, the family and school will have to fulfill as their obligation, the duty of assisting each child in the development of proper feelings. Feelings are what make that aspect of one’s personality which we call heart (a colloquialism), so that his personality may have an all-round development, and such a development may prove good for the self of the child, and for the society, too.
In a school, social service programme ought to be organised from time- to-time so that the children would get practical training in activities of service to the society.
It may be in the form of cleaning or even repairing some public place or pathway, may be assisting the administration in controlling traffic, especially in a fair or on occasions when the common people gather in crowds, may be cleaning some reservoir or pond, attending on some patients in a hospital, who have none else to look after them.
School and colleges, through their students, may provide very substantial service during periods of natural calamities, such as earthquake, land-slide, flood, famine etc. Such activities would develop feelings of social service among the students, and they would become competent to render such services.
Sympathy and empathy are very effective in establishing close bonds, in moving one to come to the help or rescue of the other. ‘Sympathy’ is ‘fellow-feeling’, to feel what the other is feeling, and ’empathy’ is identification with the other in such a way that his predicament can fully be comprehended.
These are the qualities which should be developed by further evoking feelings, by asking such questions—”What must he be feeling then, under those circumstances?” “What would you have done for the redressal of his grief?”
“Whom do you consider responsible for his miseries and why?” and so on. Whenever the behaviour of a student indicates the presence of sympathy in his heart, he should be praised. Children are greatly encouraged when good things in their behaviour get prompt recognition.
Courtesy or proper manners are taught to the students in every good educational institution. They form part of the school curriculum. The importance of good manners in society cannot be over emphasised.
Only through good manners, a harmonious social milieu can be maintained, as lack of the same would generate bitterness and clashes, and this may result in the disintegration of society. Again, both devices, “practice” and “preaching” should be operative, side by side, to achieve the objective.
Good manners also demand obedience to the seniors or elders. The society cannot work if directions of the elders and seniors are not complied with, so the quality of obedience also needs to be inculcated. Only that society can work effectively and properly, where there are good leaders and good followers who sincerely obey their leaders.
In the classroom, the students are taught to do as their class monitor asks them to do. They have to obey their teachers, and have to behave in compliance with the instructions of the school authorities.
Society needs good leaders, too. Leaders who can initiate actions, and lead others along with themselves till the objective is achieved. Leadership is a social quality. Preparation for leadership needs a psychological approach. Some children by nature, and also because of good physique or stature, can command following or compliance.
Such children deserve proper guidance by the elders of the family and teachers of the school. They should be encouraged, too. For class control, the teacher requires a monitor, monitor is the leader of the class. For making the students play in a proper system and with discipline, a captain is the leader. When a student is entrusted the duty of a monitor or of a captain, the qualities of leadership get a boost.
A sense of responsibility also develops. For a society to prosper, both capable leaders and sincere followers are needed. School can play a major role in developing the qualities of leadership through a variety of curricular and co-curricular activities.
Society can have responsible citizens and competent leaders, only if responsibilities are assigned during the developing periods of childhood and adolescence. Leaders should always be selected whether the students are going out on an excursion, or some scouting or social service camp is being organised.
They will learn how to seek co-operation of one another. The leaders will be, further, skilled in the art of organising their fellow-students in groups, in such a way that they can work like a team, co-operatively and in a harmonious manner.
The quality of initiation is also essential in a leader. There may be occasions when the leader needs to take his own decisions. He should be so trained that he can do it objectively, in a judicious manner. The more opportunities a student gets for leadership and for initiation, the more developed these qualities would be.
The speed of socialisation is influenced by the rate and speed of physical, motor and language development. With age increases the mobility of the child, he can come in contact with more and more persons outside his family.
The motor development of the child enables him to have interaction with more and more of his peers, and with older and younger ones. In such interactions, the role of language is very important. Language is the means of communication.
As the linguistic development goes on, the ability and skill for communication also increases, and this all helps in the widening of circle of contact, and the result is that the child grows more and more social.
Parten has classified the nature of social participation into six categories:
(i) Unoccupied behaviour;
(ii) Solitary play;
(iv) Parallel play;
(v) Associated play and
(vi) Co-operative or organised play—especially, the plays of the last category immensely contribute in socializing the child, in emulating the spirit of co-operation, team spirit and co-ordination among the children.
In the words of the author, “composite social participation scores were highly correlated with chronological age” [r = + 0.61]. As social interactions become more frequent, they also become more complex. Many aspects of social behaviour change simultaneously— children may become more aggressive, bossy and competitive, but they may also become more co-operative, friendly and sympathetic.
Sincerity is a moral virtue which is very much praised in every society. The reason being, sincerity is the quality of the thinking and working habit of a person, who would never do anything half-heartedly, or without involving the best of himself may it demand the severest of labour that he is capable of.
One who is sincere in one’s work, will also be sincere in regard to time, that is, he will be doing his work on time, would reach his duty point or to any programme on time.
His dealings with all, and in regard to all matters, will always be fair and transparent. And, fairness and transparency are the qualities very much needed, in the unscrupulous consumerist society of today.
Shirking from one’s duty, irregularity and non-punctuality, and doing a work not to the best of one’s ability, to deal with others in matters of money and others, with an intention to serve one’s own interest only, even at the cost of others, are the forms of insincerity for which a society has to suffer.