ממן 12 A טקסט

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ממן 12 A טקסט

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  Maman 12Schools and Family in the Postmodern WorldBy David Elkind * The schools have already undergone a major transformation – independent of any conscious reform agenda – simply in response to changes in the society and in the family  Introduction1 The school is the mirror of society and the family. As society and the family changed, so too must the school. Over the past half century there has been a major structural change in how we think about, perceive, and value ourselves and our world. This change has transformed our arts, sciences, industries, commerce and our families. It has been labeled the shift from modernity to  postmodernity  . Of necessity the school has reflected these changes and is a far different institution today than it was at mid-century. This transformation of the school has come about not by a conscious pursuit of education reform, but rather as an adaptive response to the changes in the family and in the larger society. 2 In what follows I describe how the modern school reflected modern society and the nuclear family and how the postmodern school mirrors postmodern society and the permeable family. owever, before I proceed with this discussion, we need to look first at the shift from modern to postmodern themes and then at how these themes are translated into modern and postmodern family ties. Only then can we appreciate how the modern school was a complement to the nuclear family and how the postmodern school is a mirror of the permeable family. One of my aims in this article is to make concrete the postmodern as it applies to schools and families. Fundamental Beliefs of Modernity3 In the broadest sense, modernity arose as a revolt against the autocracy of the premodern world. It eventually overturned the medieval forms of government, religion, science, art, and education. !odernity was a continuing revolution in the sense that it did not occur all at once. "or was it restricted to one particular country or to one specific domain of society. #ationalism, humanism, democracy, individualism, and romanticism were all modern ideas that took root and flourished at different times and in different places. !oreover, *  David Elkind is a professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study, Tufts University, Medford, Mass. e is the author of Ties That Stress: The New Family Imbalance  !arvard University Press, "##$%. "&  modernism was largely a $estern phenomenon, and even today one can still find non-$estern societies that are more feudal than modern.   Although modernity emerged at different times and in different places, it did have a single, unifying motif. It celebrated the individual as opposed to established authority. #ene% &escartes is often credited with being among the first to e'press this faith in human thought with his assertion (I think, therefore I am.( &escartes rooted authority not in objective agencies but in subjective thought and reasoning. The supremacy of reason, of the individual, and of individual freedom have been the abiding tenets of modernity. )rotestantism in religion, self-e'pression in the arts, e'perimentation in science, and democracy in government all echo these modern themes. Fundamental Beliefs of Postmodernity! )ostmodernity has been germinating for a long time. owever, it is not a revolt against the beliefs of modernity. #ather, it is perhaps best regarded as a set of attitudes and efforts designed to modify and correct modern ideas that have been perverted and modern beliefs that have proved to be too broad or too narrow. !odernity, for e'ample, stressed the freedom of the individual, but this freedom was often restricted to male, Anglo-*a'on, +hristian individuals. Also, the modern belief in the endless benefits of scientific and technological progress did not anticipate the use of advanced knowledge to create ever more powerful weapons of destruction, nor did it take into account the contribution of technological progress to the degradation of the environment. !odern beliefs were not entirely wrong, but they were often idealied and blind to the dark side of human nature, of scientific discovery, and of technological development. " ike modernism, postmodernism is largely a $estern phenomenon. And, as with modernism, the rise of postmodernism is occurring not all at once but at different times, in different places, and in a variety of social institutions. "onetheless, it has its own basic model and correlated themes. !odernity celebrated reason and paid homage to the ideal of liberty and freedom for all individuals. )ostmodernism venerates language, rather than thought, and honors human diversity as much as it does human individuality. #  The postmodern themes of difference, particularity, and irregularity are increasingly transforming science, the arts, and industry. They have also transformed the family and, increasingly, are transforming that mirror of the family, the school. $e now need to look at the shift from the modern nuclear "$  family to the postmodern permeable family to see how this shift is being echoed in our schools. $he Modern Family% The family can be defined as a social system characteried by a kinship system and by certain sentiments, values, and perceptions. These components of the modern nuclear family reflected the fundamental beliefs of modernity. The postmodern family reflects the basic assumptions of postmodernity and thus can be described as (permeable.( & $ith regard to kinship, the modern nuclear family  two parents, with one working and one staying home to care for the children  has been regarded as the end of an evolutionary progression toward an ideal family form. The modern nuclear family has been seen as the configuration best suited to the rearing of caring, responsible, and productive citiens. Indeed, it came to be regarded as the regular or (normal( family form, the standard against which all other family structures had to be measured. It was also believed to be a family form that would eventually become universal, predominating in all societies the world over. 1' The sentiments that characterie the modern nuclear family are those associated with romantic love, maternal love, and domesticity. Romantic love  is the idea that, for each one of us, there e'ists one and only one person in the whole world who would be the ideal mate. On meeting that person, we fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after. The sentiment of romantic love is one reason that couples (saved themselves( for their marital partners. It also implies a lifelong commitment to the relationship and regards divorce as an admission that a marriage was not made in heaven. /ecause of the dominance of the sentiment of romantic love, many couples stayed in unhappy and unloving relationships. 11 Maternal love  is a sentiment based on the notion that mothers have an instinctive need to love and care for their children. ere we see the impact of &arwinian ideas on the family. After much controversy, &arwin%s ideas finally became widely accepted, and our animal ancestry was used to e'plain much of our behavior. The maternal instinct could be observed in animals, and something similar was attributed to human mothers. /ut in human societies matters are much more comple', and the maternal instinct also served as a rationale for keeping women out of the work force when there was an e'cess of labor. 12 The third sentiment that characteries the modern nuclear family is domesticity  , the belief that each family member owes primary allegiance to the "'  home. $ithin this conte't the mother was often seen as providing the nurturing and care for the emotional needs of all family members, while also providing a comfortable, livable nest. At one time there were some creative outlets for mothers in such activities as 0uilt-making, weaving and needlepoint. At the turn of the 12 th  century, however mothers became consumers, rather than creators, of domestic products. 13  Although we often think of such virtues as honesty, fidelity, hard work, and responsibility as family values, they are in fact social, cultural, or religious values. $hile these values are transmitted by the family, they do not srcinate in the family. A value that does srcinate in the family is one that grows out of the family sentiments. In the case of the nuclear family, the value that is the amalgam of romantic love, maternal love, and domesticity is togetherness . The essence of the value of togetherness is that the family must be placed ahead of self and that doing things for and with the family must take precedence over doing things for oneself and with friends. 1 In the recent past, perceptions of the nuclear family have been in keeping with its sentiments and values. )arents were perceived as intuitively knowledgeable about child rearing. !odern writers for parents, such as &onald $innicott and /enjamin *pock, told parents they did not have to go to college to be good parents. They had only to use their clear-headed common sense and their natural inclinations, and they would easily be (good enough( parents. !uch of the child-rearing literature was designed to inform parents about how children grow and develop3 these were books that left it up to parents to translate child development knowledge into the parenting practices most appropriate for their children. 1! +hildren in the modern age were seen as innocent and in need of parental guidance, limit-setting, and protection. +hildhood itself was seen as a very precious time, to be cherished and protected. The literature for children of this era  Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, The Secret Garden, The Adventure of Tom Sayer  , and so on  reflected the perception of childhood as a magical time that children should be able to look back on with great pleasure and no regrets. 1"  Adolescents were perceived as immature, as very much in need of adult limit setting, guidance, and support. The many adult-led clubs for junior and senior high school students were evidence of this perception. There were debating teams, garden clubs, chess clubs, and stamp clubs. !any of these were led by school faculty members who saw directing such clubs as part of their "(  teaching responsibilities. )ortrayals of adolescents in the media reflected this perception and often showed young people getting into typical adolescent scrapes from which they had to be e'tricated by annoyed, but wise and patient adults. $he Modern School1# The kinship structure and the sentiments, values, and perceptions of the nuclear family were mirrored in the modern school. /ecause public schools took the nuclear family as a given, they reflected its sentiments and values as much by acts of omission as by acts of commission. The kindergarten as it functioned during the first half of this century is a case in point. In many states and in many communities, there were no publicly supported kindergartens. In those school districts that did provide kindergartens, attendance was not compulsory. 4indergarten itself was a half-day program. +hildren attending kindergarten played (dress-up,( listened to stories, engaged in arts and crafts, and went on field trips to farms and firehouses. The noncompulsory, play-oriented modern kindergarten thus indirectly supported the sentiments of maternal love and domesticity. It reinforced the idea that young children should not be separated from their mothers or from their homes for long periods. 5ull-day kindergartens, so common today, would have been regarded 6and in some circles still are7 as a threat to the togetherness of the nuclear family. 1% Other modern educational practices also give evidence of how the sentiments of the nuclear family were reinforced by omission rather than commission. The personal information forms that children and adolescents were re0uired to fill out presupposed the sentiment of enduring romantic love and made no provisions for young people from families of divorce or remarriage. ikewise, many elementary schools were built without cafeterias because it was taken for granted that children would go home for lunch or bring their lunches to school. This presumed the sentiment of domesticity 6a mother at home to prepare lunch for her offspring7. 1& The family value of togetherness was enshrined in the public schools% focus on  personal adjustment  . )rogressive education was meant to facilitate children%s adaptation to the larger society. In the process, however, many children met with frustration. !odern educational psychologists used the term adjustment   to describe the child%s response to frustration8 ")
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