While I know you're right... I still bear misgivings, though your words are encouraging. If you are studying to become a teacher, then surely you've studied some aspects of psychology. At what ages do children typically form their ideas about society, religion, and purpose, and are able to conceive of larger ideas? When do children typically learn to feel guilt? (When you notice them starting to hide their faces when they "do something wrong"?)
While I know that parents will always be the ultimate influencer, children are attracted to structure, inclusion/not being left out/sameness/fairness, and most of all knowing the right answers... all virtues of orthodoxy, and of educational systems in our world today. In the West, our standardized educational structure promotes there are right answers, and there are wrong answers. You either know it, or you don't. You are with us, or against us.
Hi there Rathac, I've come back to this. It's end of term time and so I'm pretty busy with my courses, but I have been thinking on this topic. Please keep in mind that I speak as somebody who works with children and somebody who studies education and children. I am not a parent; therefore I don't have to make these decisions for myself. So that is my perspective.
In terms of the development of those complex themes like society, religion and purpose....I think understanding is arrived at in different ways and in a process of 'passes' throughout the course of our lives. A pre kindergarten child, or a child in day care will be taught themes of ownership of items, sharing, inclusion, friendship....they learn the "rules" as taught to them by people who care for them. More complex themes come in at later times in all of our development...the layers build and we learn things like 'tact' and weigh that against truth....etc. You talk about fairness and it's interesting because many young people I work with can understand that perhaps one child may need extra support or time or resources to reach a place of equality with their classmates. Most are okay with this when we explain it.
Middle school age is where young people really start to examine differences in peers and in themselves....developmentally pre-teens and teens are working very hard in self identity and themes of belonging. Teens often try to distance themselves from authoritarian figures and work on themes of independence....often alligning with peers. I find young people look at these themes when they are ready and that can be at different times....there is a huge variety in terms of development and maturity.
While I agree that the tone of our families and communities can work to shape who we are; they are not the sum of our identity. I'm sure you can think of people who are not like their families or distance themselves...people who are free thinkers and people who educate themselves. There is also the opposite....people who are not encouraged to be free thinkers and people who are happy to practice what they are told. I think these are the people with the narrow view and rigid thinking...not matter what their thinking is.
I think that there are so many factors that go in to determining how we will move in the world and acquire information. We can't limit it to how we are raised or what a psychology textbook says about the stages we are supposed to move through.
All I know is that increasingly the world is demanding that people think about their thinking, and use a variety of problem solving techniques. Our BC curriculum is heading in that direction. People will always see things differently and prize differing values.
I like to honour a child's process and choices to be critical thinkers. We can invite children and encourage and guide critical thinking, but in the end the young person has to make a choice about what they value. Each person makes choices about values in terms of religion/spirituality, how we treat people, what we believe to be true. You are right, these are shaped by our personal, cultural, and societal values....I personally see these things as flexible and developing over the course of a life, but I define myself as a life long learner. It's what I value.
I guess I could ask you what was your recollection of your own development? How did you come to your values and beliefs? What shaped your ideas?