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Which type of education should we give to a child?

amirbey's picture

          It is from the moment that we are given birth, that we first become a scientist.  Indeed, we discover what is all around us and it is when our brain is more apt to receive information and to memorize it.  In fact, at birth, the brain of a new born baby is not yet complete.  Around the age of four months, an infant can respond to all of the sounds and languages in the world.  It is from hearing all of those sounds around him that a baby learns to then reproduce these sounds and at the age of ten months, he can say things like “da-da-da” but unfortunately, he cannot pay any more attention to the sounds of foreign languages.  A baby learns also to distinguish who is dear to him, and discovers emotions, such as sadness, angriness and happiness.  So, education might contribute to his brain development.  I am therefore interested in knowing what sort of education would be favorable to a child?  How will his education affect cultural evolution?  


          I believe that there are two main types of educations that a child can be given, which are the “French way”, which is when a child is being mentally pushed and its brain is being filled with knowledge, and the “American way”, where the child is more independent, he has more free will and he discovers the world on his own.  Luckily, I have been growing up in these two countries, so I have had the benefit of both of these educations.  I was born in France, so ever since I was a child, I had encountered the “French method” of learning.  I can remember when I was about three years old, instead of reading me a bed time story, my father would teach me a “Fable de La Fontaine” each night and then make me recite it to check if I had not forgotten it.  When my parents had visiting friends, I would go around the table and ask every guest which one of the “Fable de La Fontaine” they wanted me to tell.  They would give me the title and without any hesitation in the words, I would perform by heart the Fable that they had asked for.  Also, my parents who are both involved in the medical field knew that it was best to educate a child when he was young, so they made me learn English.  I started taking lessons at the age of three and a half years old and this is thanks to my parents that I can pick up a language so easily because they had educated my brain in a way that helped me develop my ability to memorize.  Therefore, today I can say that I have a very good memory.   Another way to educate a child’s mind is through music, which is also a very good asset to education since it helps a child develop a very good sense of hearing and distinguishing many different sounds.  Children who took some music lessons are usually the ones to pick up a second language faster than a young person who never had the chance to listen to some music.  So I believe my harp also contributed to the development of my memory.

          However, in other countries like the United Sates of America, the education of young people might be a little bit different, also due to a cultural difference.  Indeed, I have discovered that adults let their children grow up without forcing them to do anything they would not do on their own.  As I said before, new born babies are scientists because that is when they first experience life; they make some observations and learn from them.  I believe this way of educating young kids is also a good approach because it lets the youngster build a creative mind.  Also, he learns to become more independent, which will help him a lot in his future adult life.  This way of learning and discovering things on his own, will help a young person act and make decisions by himself when he grows up.  He will not be depending on his parent’s suggestions as much as a young adult who has been educated without having the possibility to be creative.  Being educated in an American college, I could see a big difference from the “French way” of teaching.  In fact, I was more independent because I was the one making my own schedule and choosing my own classes.  Also I did not have my mother to help me do my laundry, so I saw myself a little bit lost at the beginning of my freshman year.  However, I learned very fast to work on my own, and how to be independent.  I did not miss my parents that much and I was completely responsible for my own actions.  When I came back to France to see my parents, they could not help but notice how I have changed my behavior, how independent I had become and better-rounded I was in my ways of thinking.  In general, they saw that I had become a mature young woman just within a year.   


          After having analyzed both types of education, we can see that in order to grow up, a child should be able to benefit both of these educations, if achievable.  He should be educated as early as possible in order to form a better brain before he reaches his adult state but also, be given the option to be creative and independent in his way of thinking.  However, if a child benefits only from the “French type” of education in which he is too well surrounded by adults who are feeding him with an immense amount of knowledge and is pushed in order to succeed, then, once he reaches maturity, he could have problems to let go of his family, start being autonomous and more importantly, come up with his own ideas.  This can be a problem for cultural evolution if people do not have a creative mind, they will not make their culture evolve.  However, on the other side, if a child benefits only from the second type of education, the “American way”, which is to let him do what he wants, exploring the world and understanding it better from his own point of view, then he will have a lot more free will when he reaches his adult state.  I think that the American education contributes more to a cultural evolution since we can see today that the United States of America possess the more advanced technologies and they are the one country pushing the world forward.  Thanks to this way of education, it allows the future adults have a more creative mind and therefore be more apt for research because they have much more ideas which push cultural evolution forward.  


Anne Dalke's picture


As someone w/ a bilingual and bicultural experience, you have a unique perspective from which to look @ this question of “what type of education” can best benefit a child. I take your point that the “French type” of education is good for memorization, while the “American type” encourages more creativity and free will. What I’m wondering about is how generalizable your own experience is (you say, for instance, that children who take music lessons “are usually the ones to pick up a second language faster”—what’s your evidence for that claim? On what sources are you relying? Anything aside from what you know experientially?)

The absence of any sources outside of your own experience hampers this paper throughout. You say, for instance, that you have become “better-rounded” since you began the American portion of your own education, but I can imagine a very different outcome: that someone who is self-selecting in their educational experiences might actually become much more narrow and focused in what they attend to. There are also lots of articles lamenting the fact that American education is “falling behind,” globally; what are the measurements of that failure? Against what standards might a country say that its children are being well or poorly educated? Are you challenging the standards that are being used?

You might be interested in reading kcofrinsha’s paper, which is a theoretical exploration of the sorts of personal differences you trace.

I’m also very much interested in theories of education, and have written a lot about them. Perhaps the article that is most relevant to thinking about an “evolutionary” form of education is one called “Emergent Pedagogy: Learning to Enjoy the Uncontrollable—and Make it Productive.” If you’re interested, see
Rajagopalan's picture

the Indian way--Brahminical way

India is a country with varied and variegated culture.Hence the Indian society has all components.But the unique way of reciting psalms from Vedas and memorizing difficult passages from epics and slokas has contributed to their strong cognition and memory and hence helps abstract thinking and mathematics. Further up to a certain age children are taught to worship God with slokas on a particular time of every day.They fantasize with stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata where they learn war like situations of fight of good vs evil.the non-brahmins have their own culture worshiping Kali and Ayyanar.They have coribantine events in some places with feast and sacrifice of animals etc.90% of the brahmins are vegetarians except some Bengali brahmins who eat fish daily.
Mentally brahmins are superior and physically the non-brahmins are better.
Now some blurring is taking place.But some fanatic non-brahmins still believe in exterminating or ethnically cleansing out India of brahmins.These intermediaries of caste system are politically motivated and cheat their own people.In the south Dravidians are majority and are trying to remove and subjugate the brahmins by propaganda and anti-racism telling that brahmins are Aryans and belong to north India.In the north Muslims are trying to ethnicvally cleanse the area of brahmins example Kashmiri pundits.
All westerners should see whether the person is a brahmin to asses his mental power and peace loving nature.