Role of Parents and Teachers in Absolutism of a Child

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.

Growing up in China

Text read by Mary Peters

Wenya shares moments from her childhood.

I was born in September 1972 in Tianjin, China. My grandmother was a little disappointed because she wanted me to be a boy. What a surprise! Okay, I’m glad I’m a girl.

I lived at the university with my parents, my sister, and my brother. My father worked there as a professor in the political science department.

The first memory of my life is in 1976. Tangshan was devastated by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake, and many houses in my hometown collapsed. So, all the staff and families of the school moved to the playground. I ran excitedly back and forth between tents and open beds, as free as a child in a primitive tribe, completely unaware of the worries and fears of the adults.

In 1979, I started school. I had to walk across the university campus to my school every morning. I smelled fresh toothpaste and soap, and there was the boys’ dormitory with shirts and trainers hanging on the windowsill.

I saw the students, with their lunch boxes, walking to the canteen to get their food.

I found the chemistry department building ugly. It was grey and white, cold, and impersonal. Why didn’t it have warm colours like the houses I built with my wooden blocks? How beautiful!

I loved the outdoor cinema in the summer. I loved lying in the playground, looking up at the star-filled sky and walking through the beautiful flower gardens that opened the gates of China that summer.

One day, a teacher in the foreign language department gave my mother a gift. It was a tea that foreigners drink. It’s called “Coffee”. My mother handed me a cup of black water the morning after. Oh dear, the foreigners’ tea is terrible! My mother explained to me that it was probably bad or expired. Twenty years later, I can’t pass up that bad, expired tea every morning.

Life is so amazing!

Do you have a comment?

Education 5 – When I went to school

Text read by Mary Peters. (Please note the audio text differs slightly from the written text due to last-minute changes in the written text).

Julia from Mannheim describes her schooling.

I went to school in Mannheim, Germany from 1997 to 2010. Generally, we had classes from 8 am to 1 pm, Monday to Friday, depending on the year and the class. Most lessons were 45 minutes in duration, but we also had 90-minute lessons for compulsory subjects such as Maths and German.

Class sizes tended to vary.  In French, we were only seven pupils, which was great because you could learn better in a class with seven than thirty. There had to be a minimum of five pupils per class. I remember once there was a physics class with five pupils. We could change our “core subjects” if we wanted to. By the end of the year, there was only one pupil left in that class. We joked if the teacher used the board or wrote directly into the pupil’s notebook.

We had many subjects, including German, Maths, English, French, Spanish, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Music, Art, Sports, Geography, Social Studies. In my last two years, I could choose the subjects. In grade 7, I could choose between French or Latin. chose French. It is such a beautiful language, and Latin had limited use for me. I thought it was a dead language. Then, in grade 9 we could either choose between Spanish or Science & Technology.

German and Maths were compulsory subjects. You also had to choose a foreign language, and a science. My “Abitur” was in German, Maths, French, English. These were the subjects that were tested.

We used books, the blackboard, the OHP and we had a computer room. I remember my first email address; we were in the 8th grade, and the teacher said we would all need email addresses in the future. I used my school email address many years later. I used the Internet at home to prepare for presentations, but we did not use it at school.

I also attended some seminar courses called “Schüler Ingenieur Akademie”. It was a project in which different schools and local companies participated together with the University of Applied Sciences.

As a team, we built a little robot, solder all the pieces together, learned how to programme it. It was fun. It was the closest thing to my future career. The programme started in year 12 and it lasted about 15 months. We met for one afternoon every week, often on a Friday.

Our work could be credited towards the Abitur. I had to apply to participate in this project. This programme was special because it was organised by companies as well. I do not know if the companies were “talent scouting” but certainly it gave us an idea of what companies were about. It was kind of advertising for being an engineer, which I now am.

The lessons were very interactive. The organisers wanted us to participate, to exchange thoughts, to discuss. The problem was, as the pupils got older, they did not want to participate any longer. Only the truly enthusiastic stuck it to the end.

I think the academy was good preparation for my life. In school, you learn how to socialise, communicate, get along. But much of the content in the subjects I no longer really use.  But one can never tell. I wish I had paid more attention to German grammar because it is so important in my current job.

Our teachers were super friendly. I know they went to field trips with us, which they did not have to do. Some teachers invited us to their homes for dinner, to talk about different things. We were treated as young adults.

My German teacher in the Abitur class still stands out. We had to read certain books to prepare for the Abitur. It was so much fun. He was a genius at explaining.  Nobody wanted to read Goethe’s “Faust”.  But the way he discussed the play with us made it fun and exciting.  We also had to read, “The Trial” by Franz Kafka. How he explained the books to us, his thoughts! I think I can still remember every book we discussed.

It is hard to compare my schooling years with those today. I do not really know anybody close enough who goes to school at the moment. What I hear during the pandemic is that the use of technology in classrooms has not developed that much.

Most of the time I enjoyed going to school. I liked seeing my friends, I think I liked learning. Sometimes I miss seeing the same people every day. The friends I travel with are from school and we are still in contact.

But going back to school? Phew! No! Now it would be boring. With the knowledge and experience you have gained; it wouldn’t be that challenging. But on the other hand, does learning ever stop?

Education 3, When I went to school.

Carolina, who lives in Wissembourg, went to school in Lisbon.

I went to a school in the suburbs of Lisbon from 1997 to 2010. We usually had classes Monday to Friday, from 8.30 am to 5 pm with 2 afternoons free. Always Wednesday, the other one changed every term. There were about 30 of us in a class.

In the beginning, when we were between 6 and 10 years old, we had Portuguese, History, Social Studies, Maths, Geography, Music and Sports.

Then, when we were older, up to about aged 15 we learned Portuguese, History, English, French, Art, and Sports.

Then in the final three years, things changed. I could choose from different options. I chose the Science and Technology path, (Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Portuguese). For me it was easy, I liked maths. The other options were not for me. I was not great at Maths, but even worse at humanities. And for the future, it was better to go this way. 

For the core subjects, you had 2 lessons per week of 90 minutes each. The other subjects: only 45 minutes. For the most important core subjects, we had 3 units.

My best friend chose languages. So, I was alone in my group. I did not see her that often, we did not have the same interests either. But we are still in contact today.

Until the last 3 years, the teaching was very theoretical. There were PowerPoint presentations, we had to ask and answer questions and do group tasks. It was interactive, with a lot of dialogue and a lot of homework. In the beginning, on the weekends, we had so much homework, that I met my friends in the library. We studied and researched together. We had more contact and not everyone was at home with Google.

In the last 3 years, we started to get our hands dirty. We had a lab, a lot of biology and chemistry lessons. We did experiments, calculations, and interpreted the results, and wrote reports. We spent a lot of time outside for our physics lessons and completed simple experiments and measurements. It was fun.

For Portuguese, we read Portuguese literature. But because it was not my thing, I always looked for summaries from other students. One book did capture my attention. It was The City of the Blind, written by José Saramago. I read it when I was 15 but did not quite understand it. It’s good, very deep, I wanted to read it.  

I had average marks. It was enough to get through. Grading was from 1 to 20 with 20 being the highest score. You needed a 10 in all subjects. I had 10 in maths and sports. It was the minimum to get through. I did not have much motivation because my learning environment was difficult. I did not want to go home. My teachers just said I had to concentrate more, work harder. Others tried to motivate me, but I did not understand their message. During my school years, I lacked a healthy learning environment.

I graduated and then I started university and studied physiotherapy. My grades were average, I was not motivated, unsure of my choice of subject, so I decided to quit after one semester. I took some time out and had time for myself. My motivation returned and I caught up on everything, repeated my A-levels. I studied on my own, at home. I had an average score of 18 points. I did not do all subjects, just focused on science. Then I was accepted in the science faculty and I started to study Energy and Environmental Engineering.

Teaching materials? Some teachers used PowerPoint, but often it was a normal textbook and a board. We had notebooks and something to write with. For science, the school provided the material.

For me, school alone is not there to prepare one for life. One learns how to think and how to solve problems. I did not have that expectation. Today, for my work, I probably apply around 20% of what I studied at University. However, our teachers taught us how to think, find information and apply it outside of the classroom. The role of teachers should be to show us which tools are available and challenge us to implement them on a daily basis.

My favourite teacher was a Russian woman who taught calculus and algebra. She was cold, militaristic, polite, and extremely disciplined. Her intentions were good. Despite the subject being difficult, it was fundamental because it served as the basis for our lessons in the future. It was clear to me that she wanted the best for us. She tried to do her best. She challenged us and I love challenges.

I cannot say much about schools today. I have too little contact. But, I have the impression that many of today’s children spend a lot of time in front of screens. Adults are partially responsible for this. Children have more difficulties with social interaction.

I liked going to school. I have fond memories of this time.

To stop learning? Never!

En cliquant sur "Send", vous acceptez le fait que vos données inscrites ci-dessus seront utilisées par Frank Peters, Peters-Langues dans le but pour lequel ce formulaire a été mis en place. Aucune donnée ne sera utilisée dans un autre but, sans votre consentement éclairé, ni ne sera communiquée à un tiers. Vous pouvez à chaque instant demander l'accès, la modification ou la suppression de ces données en nous écrivant. /// Ich bin damit einverstanden, dass diese Website meine übermittelten Informationen speichert, damit sie auf meine Mitteilung antworten kann. /// I consent to having this website store my submitted information so they can respond to the exercise.

More Cheese

Julia from Mannheim asked Emilie in England some probing questions.

How do I recognize what a quality cheese looks like? Smell, colour? 

That’s a difficult question as each cheese has its own taste profile so you will look for different smell, flavour, appearance and texture characteristics for each cheese. But for all cheeses, you want to avoid the same default such as unwanted moulds or yeasts which can give strange colours (green, blue, bright yellow or black). You don’t want the cheese to be too salty or bitter and you don’t want an aroma such as ammonia. A high-quality cheese will allow you to find a delicate balance within its aroma and flavour and brings you the sensation that you want more.

Are there cheese tastings? If so, what do you eat and drink with the cheese to enhance it?

Yes, there are lots of cheese tastings. If you do a cheese tasting just to identify the quality or taste profile of several kinds of cheese, you will only drink water. As the objective If to clear your mouth from any remaining flavour before tasting another cheese, you will as well eat a piece of apple or grape. Having said that, if you do a cheese tasting for the pleasure, most of the time, it will be organised as a cheese and wine evening. In this case, you can almost find a different wine for each cheese and of course, don’t forget the biscuits or the bread.

How many different types of cheese are there – is there some kind of cheese register? 

Keeping in mind that only France itself is called the country of 1,000 cheeses, there are a lot of different cheeses in the world and new ones are developed every year. I am not sure that there is a register which will be a full list of existing cheeses, but you can find lots of books giving you the list of the most well-known cheeses, the PDO cheeses (Protected Designation of Origin) or a list of cheeses by big categories (hard cheeses / soft cheeses / fresh cheeses/cow’s milk cheeses/sheep’s milk cheeses/goat’s milk cheeses/ buffalo’s milk cheeses…)

Which nationality prefers which cheese? (Which French region prefers which cheese?) 

I can mainly talk about France and the United Kingdom. In France, you can almost identify the preferred cheeses by looking at which cheeses are manufactured in the area. Normandy, Britany, and North are keen on soft cheeses, Mountain areas, you will find more hard cheeses and in the Pyrenees, most hard cheeses made from sheep’s milk. In the centre & west of France, they love goat’s milk cheeses and in Bourgogne, you will find a lot of cheeses which have been infused with alcohol. In the UK, people are quite adventurous and because the main cheese here is the cheddar, they will be happy to try a lot of different cheese wherever you go in the country.

How do you find a good cheese producer? 

When we look for a new partner/cheese manufacturer, we look for a family company that has a passion for its products and which will not just sell cheeses but also, love, history and quality. We also want to work with companies that work closely with farmers.

Cow, Sheep and Goat are there other animals?
These are the 3 main species, but you can also make cheese with buffalo’s milk (Mozzarella)

Can you make synthetic cheese – not from animal milk? (What do Vegans do when it comes to cheese?) 

You find on the market more and more vegan “cheeses” mainly, they are manufactured to try to be close in taste to cheeses such as cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan or feta. They are plant-based products made mainly using coconut oil, modified potato starch, oat fibre, maize starch.

What is the most exotic / most expensive cheese, if it exists?  

In France, I will say that it is a mountain hard cheese called Beaufort.

What is the optimum temperature for cheese? Do different cheeses have different optimum temperatures? 

The optimum temperature for cheese is important during the maturation stage of the production process. It can go from 10 degrees to 20 degrees depending on the cheese and sometimes changes during the maturation process. After that, when cheeses are packed, they are all stored at refrigerated temperature. For a soft and hard cheese, we also recommend taking them out of the fridge between 30 minutes to 1 hour before eating them to enhance their flavours.

When was cheese first produced? What is the history of cheese? 

From my knowledge, no one really knows who made the first cheese, but some historian found traces of cheese beginning more than 7,000 years ago. Having said that, all traditional cheeses, especially those which have a Protective Designation of Origin have their own history.

What is it that makes cheese “stink”? 

Most of the time, it comes from the type of starter cultures (yeast and moulds) used in the milk which helps to develop a specific aroma and flavour. It can be also linked to specific steps during the production process such as rind washing.

Can you really tell the difference in cheese if the animal eats good grass or excellent grass, or is it from Normandy, Bourgogne, or Bretagne? 

Telling the difference linked to the type of food given to the cows is possible but especially between cows eating outside fresh grass and cows being inside eating fermented food. You can also see the difference between winter milk and summer milk because the grass is richer during summer and contains flowers. You will also have differences between mountain milk and valley one. After this, it becomes difficult to make difference between French areas for example but more because you cannot compare similar cheeses to anything else. You could do the difference between some Normandy butter and British ones.

What does it require to become a cheese producer? What is the training required? 

You have some great schools to become a cheesemaker, but I will say that the best way to become a good cheesemaker is, on top of patience and passion, spending time with someone who manufactures cheeses for a long time. There is nothing better than learning from someone who has the experience and the knowledge and can show you how the milk can react differently according to the season, the weather or other small parameters.

How do you make cheese? What are the steps? 

Each type of cheeses has its own production process but the main steps are: receive the milk on site, adjust the quantity of fat if needed, pasteurise the milk if needed, add some starter cultures and then leave the time for the starter to do their action during the fermentation. You will then add some rennet or coagulant in order to obtain some curd and get rid of the whey. When the curd has the right consistency, you will do the moulding. Some cheeses can then be pressed. The following step will be the draining and the acidification of the cheese before the salting (dry salting or in brine). After this, the cheese will mature before being sometimes cut and packed to be ready to be dispatched.

How can you learn about cheese? 

The best way to learn about cheese is going to visit some sites when you are on holiday but otherwise, you have lots of books giving the stories and characteristics of the main cheeses or even the internet.

En cliquant sur "Send", vous acceptez le fait que vos données inscrites ci-dessus seront utilisées par Frank Peters, Peters-Langues dans le but pour lequel ce formulaire a été mis en place. Aucune donnée ne sera utilisée dans un autre but, sans votre consentement éclairé, ni ne sera communiquée à un tiers. Vous pouvez à chaque instant demander l'accès, la modification ou la suppression de ces données en nous écrivant. /// Ich bin damit einverstanden, dass diese Website meine übermittelten Informationen speichert, damit sie auf meine Mitteilung antworten kann. /// I consent to having this website store my submitted information so they can respond to the exercise.