_[Summary: the following is a short reflection written by a teacher about the importance of education in the home. This teacher works for RCEF, which seeks to empower rural students through education. For more information on the organization, please go here.]
Zhang Long transferred to our class in the third grade. In the beginning, it was really hard to get a word out of him. I brought him a book Journey to the West, but he was too shy to open the it. When I opened to a page for him, he was too shy to go on, only using the tip of a pen to flip the pages for a peek. Later, I found that he couldn’t jump with both feet in PE class. After class, he only played with his old friends. With all those observations, I visited his home. I found that his parents were normal and hospitable. While looking around, I saw that floor was covered with so much cotton peels that there was no room to place my feet. A table at the corner of the house had a cooker on it. A heat-able brick bed displayed a messy cotton-padded mattress. After finding out more about his family, I learned that the economic situation was not too bad. So what led to the child’s current condition?
_After talking to his parents, it was clear that the parent’s education methods and the home environment were the most important factors. First, when the child was young, his mother didn’t realize the importance of the early education, so she provided little help to the child. Then his parents went away to make a living, thus the child was brought up by his grandmother. His grandmother never hugged him and also didn’t allow others to touch him. When he was older, his grandmother still didn’t allow others to touch him when he played outside. Children usually start their development in language, cognition, and social interaction around age 3. The family’s decisions limited their child’s ability to make friends and the develop linguistic skills. The home environment led to that the child’s incapacity to talk to strangers. Studies show that physical development for children usually occurs during the age of 0 to 2. It is obvious that Zhang long’s parents did not provide opportunities for him to engage in athletics, so his ability to perform physical exercises has fallen behind his peers.
The following is an experiment that studied children’s linguistic development:
42 families were grouped into 3 groups according to their socio-economic background: welfare families, blue-collar families, and white-collar families. When the child was 7 months old, researchers visited the family once a month for an hour, then once every two months, then once half a year. After 1300 hours of interview, researchers collected 23 million pieces of data. Children from white-collar families, on average, heard 32 sentences of praise every hour; children from blue-collar families heard 12 sentences of praise during the same hour; and children at the welfare house only heard 5. The results showed that there was a close relationship between the family environment and children’s linguistic development. In Zhang Long’s family education, his parents rarely talked to him, so his vocabulary was very limited. Therefore limited access to information lead to his problem with language.
Due to his problem with cognition and language, Zhang Long cannot not fit in at the village. People treat him with strange looks and words. This further reduces his courage to face those around him. He always looks down while walking, completely lacking in confidence. When talking about this with his father, he only replies “That is just the way he is.” As a parent, he has no idea how to educate his child and remains oblivious to his responsibilities.
From this case, it is proven that family education is critical to children’s early-stage developments.
[This article was edited by Sarah Chang, U.S. Intern. The original article was written by Huimiao Sun.]
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