The institutional influence and the making up of the infant mind decide its way of looking at things and lay the foundation for its perception. The cultural influence with certain basic and indispensible institutions involved makes up the individuals’ mind which bear an influence over it and keep directing it.
Change may alter the structure or its agencies but the basic mechanism retains its nature at maximum unless recognized and restructured.
As we are familiar with empirical notions of the experiencing and learning things, ideas and other aspects of it that govern learners mind at its full and this learned whole has an effect on its overall life, future, behavior and so on.
The reality to us is not what we see but how we are taught to see it. We see the world through the glasses we wear that were put on us in our schools, family, peer groups and the overall society we live in. We speak the language of the society, the language we were taught to speak in. The position implies that if the socializing machinery is effective, the products must be effective but if it is defective, the products must be.
Similarly if the language is biased, the communication will be too. “Tabula Rasa is an epistemological idea that individuals are born without a built-in mental content and that therefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception”. John Locke argues that we have no innate knowledge and the human mind is a sort of blank slate on which experience writes.
Well, I am concerned about the writing that lays impressions on the mind and makes it its own and over the experience that cages the mind and snatches its positive freewill. I am concerned toward the philosophies, theories and more focused over the practical work of them. The point may lead us towards what we know or do is reigned by something that lies behind it and can’t be traced without challenging our own ways.
Socialization is a process through which we learn the values, norms and culture of our society. Tender minds are the recipients of almost everything we give them. For me, we are not authorized to select for them what is right and what is wrong based on our own unenquired experience. We are simply supposed to show them the ways of approaching the things with skeptical, reasonable and in harmonious ways where defective ideas, traditions, values (so labeled) and so on don’t overcome and cage them.
The false solace and the virtue that we imagine and get in the ways of deciding for others’ lives destroys the future, extinguishes the spark of learning and ultimately the future of our society. The point, however, is that we must let children enquire rather make them board the Titanic.
The belief that education is the sole medium that we can expect a reformation and revolution through is , to a large extent , true in reference to historical evidence.
FAMILY: Recognized as the most influential agent in the socializing of the individual. The experiences and its intimately felt nature are such that they make deep impressions as the individual in infancy and early childhood is more sensitive to stimuli and passive than it is later.
The repetition of experiences and teaching makes the impressions concrete. At many places in the world, we read and see the basic gender bias that gets its recognition in the family. Gender discrimination starts with common practices and biased notions in a family a child is a part of. Usually we see two types of children in a family, that is, a boy and a girl. The boy enjoys its freedom and the girl usually exempted or restrained from. The girl child is usually treated inferior to the boy child and following this inferior treatment the girls fail to understand their rights. The biased notions are so strong that the girls feel it going normal to them. For granted notions are so strong that at times questioning them becomes a sin.
School(ing): The school is another active agency which can’t be escaped in the process of making the child into a developed and learned individual. Considering the passivity of the mind in this stage , the child again is a recipient of the teaching as per the culture of the society he/she lives in.
Cognitive training which the child is supposed to receive for its development of reason usually fails to get which further makes the recipient to flow with suggested taught.
The teacher in an elementary school teaches students (young minds) and the teaching creates certain concrete impressions on the learners’ minds which governs their overall life. Now, if teaching is proper, we expect the proper attitude of the students towards life, career, society and so on; in case it is the opposite then obviously the attitude is the converse.
In certain cases, the irony comes into play when the teacher grades the students into three categories: intelligent students, average students and unintelligent students. There is in fact the hierarchy of positions as well like the first class students should sit at forefront followed by average students and lastly by so called unintelligent students. The fault lies here.
It seems a usual task but has catastrophic consequences which I focus on. The young student who was labeled as unintelligent (the false idea induced in his or her mind) determines its approach to life always.
The challenges which life throws to us later on are best faced up by the students who are encouraged time to time but unfortunately the discourse of being unintelligent suppresses the young one who was falsely labeled as unintelligent. The suppressed mind believes that it cannot stand the competition; it doesn’t have the capability to participate. Alas, that false labeled notion extinguishes the spark in him or her, the spark that we all have inside us which demand encouragement and support to light it.
Gregory Mitchell comments on how we all are born equal. He notes that at birth we have the same fundamental knowledge and that our senses and intelligence are at the same developmental place( but not for a long time). Everything in someone’s environment has the potential to drastically influence their knowledge. He further argues that everyone’s experience and environment shapes their intelligence into something immeasurable.
Intelligence can’t be measured by testing if the child or individual has memorized the assigned question or through academic based tests. It more or less depends on the accessibility, the availability of facilities and knowledge, and at the best the unbiased and indiscriminate atmosphere around and the motivation. Hence, I disagree that there are intelligent and non intelligent beings.
We must be prepared and well aware that the way a young mind is molded in a given society by its social environment will mold the social environment the same way.
Why do I emphasize upon on childhood learning and the socializing pattern? As it is hard and at times impossible to unlearn the learned, the broken mind/self may remain so forever and may exert influence on other minds.
Much care is to be taken in schools, families and in all the socializing agencies which either creates or destroys minds. The production of minds through the agencies of family, school and so on, in view of maintaining the sufficiency and survival of the society for its welfare and advancement may not turn out to be hazardous to it.
The children are our future generations; they follow what we let them, they do what and how we want them. The tender minds are usually passive. We have to be sensitive about what we give them; we have to be genuinely responsible for how we let them learn. We have to be indiscriminate and obliged to create or construct equity based families and schools. We have to be responsible and obliged to bless them with cognitive development skills. If biased notions are socially constructed, we can reconstruct them with certain reformations and innovations.
The author, a sociology student at Kashmir University, can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org