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Uncovering deceptive concept in children's education

By Yang Ning (China Education Daily)

16:39, May 15, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

"Do not let your children lose at the starting line" has become a popular advertising slogan for many early education institutions and advertising agencies in recent years, enticing countless parents into running like mad together with their children in the race of early and basic education.

Infant determinism believes that early childhood experiences determine the formation of a person's attitudes, talent, and emotions when he or she grows into an adult.

However, Jerome Kagan, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, strongly criticized this doctrine in his book, Three Seductive Ideas.

In certain areas of the United States, pregnant women liked to play Wolfgang Mozart's sonatas to their baby, in hopes that they will have musical talent. However, no scientists could prove that the first two years of life make people who they are.

A basic contradiction facing modern education, especially basic education, is the contradiction between the explosion of knowledge in modern society and steady physical and mental development of children.

The most common ways to cope with knowledge explosion include constantly increasing learning burdens, bringing forward learning courses, and increasing learning time.

Children are asked to start doing a lot of literacy and numeracy learning in kindergartens, and learning foreign languages in their third grade, first grade, or even kindergartens.

Previously, foreign language classes did not start until junior high school. Children are deprived of the opportunity to participate in games, sports, and other activities that are really good for their growth. This type of "anti-natural" education has become a serious problem, and the popularity of the "starting line" slogan is just one of its symptoms.

Read the Chinese version: 揭开“起跑线”口号的诱骗性

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