By Saif Ur Rehman TGT FG Public School Boys Kharian Cantt, Pakistan

Text read by Mary Peters

Absolutism is the concern with rules. According to the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget,
(1896-1980), playing children become aware of this around the age of five. Children have blind faith in rules and ideas of right and wrong that their parents give them. Children regard their parents as the ultimate arbiters of these rules. They perceive these as being quite absolute, subject to no arguments, compromises, or changes of any kind.

Parents and the community play a vital role in the absolutism of the child. A five-year-old child tends to believe the rules. Parents are responsible for refraining from doing anything in front of the child that causes abnormal behaviour. They must expose the child to an environment they want to see in the child as a grown-up. They must keep him away from the company of children who are delinquent and learn substandard behaviour. They must teach and demonstrate before him the values that are standard. Parents should give friendly advice and avoid quarrelling, admonishing abusive language and corporal punishment. Mothers must not cheat the father in domestic matters. Parents should impart punctuality, obedience, politeness, truth, honesty, love, cooperation, tolerance, self-help, a timetable in a friendly way. The long company of parents, proper monitoring and guidance is necessary at this stage.

An important factor is the company of parents. We often observe that parents usually send their child to school, and then, after school, they force the child to attend nearby coaching classes. It spoils the personality of the child and creates a gap between parents and the child. It also exerts pressure on the mind of the child. It constricts the child like a sparrow between the claws of an eagle. In this situation, a child tends towards negative influences. And when once or twice he finds it works, the child develops an attitude that becomes permanent behaviour. Delinquency and crime become the seeds in the child’s personality. A child also reflects this in the classroom. A teacher may notice and try to combat this. However, because the child receives regular reinforcement from his street and home, the attempts by the teacher may prove to be ineffective. 

Parents can arrange for books and electronic devices to help the children remain exposed to such material and develop a better morality. Videos and picture books are ideal for teaching morals. They can give children movies or cartoons as entertainment and share stories with moral lessons again for both education and entertainment.

Absolutism, as hard luck would have it, is ignored in most of our schools. Yet, the learning power of the child is at its height at an early age. Children learn well anything you teach because the mind immediately accepts what the elders or teachers do. It is the ideal learning stage. The English philosopher John Locke (1622-1702) asserted that the child’s mind is a Tableau Rasa (a blank slate) on which you can write anything; it will leave its impression. At this stage, the child has a quick susceptibility for anything he observes and learns. However, children already learn uncountable things before they attend school. Their minds are not “tableau rasa”. All this distracts from classroom rules and management. 

But it would be quite a wrong concept to say that now the teacher has nothing to do. We need active and competent teachers for the children at this very stage. We often see that most of the school headteachers detail newly appointed or untrained teachers in primary classes. It implies that they give no or very little importance to primary school classes, and it is the biggest mistake ever committed by the headteachers. They forget the psychology of the young learners. They do not remember that only a strong foundation can let them construct a skyscraper. The result is dyslexia. We find in many cases that the students of grade five and above do not even have the basic three skills of reading, writing and arithmetic that is the major requirement of the learners at the primary level. We must consign certified, well trained, and experienced teachers to teach young pupils at schools. We must have a robust arrangement of activities, separate places, or playgrounds to play with their classmates. We need to separate their cafes and washrooms. We must remember, if there are high school scholars, they must not mix with these children in any way. When a school holds functions in which students of all grades participate, the gathering of all students can be allowed. However, we must keep their seating separate and under the supervision of class in-charges. We should also remember that only learners in the same grade should participate in competitions and co-curricular contests.  

The subject teachers must teach children in all possible interactive ways. The headteachers must also arrange for the ICT for effective teaching and audio-video aid. The use of a computer can be beneficial here. They can teach using videos and audio. Drills are the most effective tool for these young learners, and computers are the best aid for the purpose. Different poems, stories, and mathematical videos can have a positive and fruitful effect on their learning. Even the repetition through a computer is quite an easy, enjoyable, and time-saving factor in the class of such young learners. 

To forge an atmosphere of creativity, we can use blocks and complete a picture by joining different parts. Only well trained and experienced teachers will skillfully use picture books to improve vocabulary and drawing boards to satiate the aesthetic sense of a child.

To conclude, if we want to produce well-educated and learned individuals, we will have to teach and train our young learners in true spirit. Both parents and teachers must be vigilant of the learners and provide them with a comfortable environment to develop good morals.

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