Importance of Children Literature on Education of Children
It is widely acknowledged that some of the basic purposes of education include perpetuating the culture of the individual as well as ensuring that the person develops to their full potential. Education generally frees a person from ignorance and prejudice, leading to the development of their character, ability, and skills. Many education systems across the world are very dependent on written words and this means that learning to takes a special place in the learning process. The increased reliance on printed books has various advantages which include the fact that the materials can be reread many times or compared to other sources. In fulfilling the various purposes of education, literature plays a critical role, especially when it comes to the education of the children. In the context of children, literature can be said to be the accumulation of different writing of quality which the child can hear, read and understand it. In this paper, the impact of literature on children’s education will be discussed through a comparison of two texts, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery and The Giver by Lois Lowry. The two literature books fulfil some of the aims of education like giving children skills such as emotional intelligence and morality skills as well as discuss some of the factors that help students to achieve better academically through the perspective of some of the characters and themes in the two books.
In Anne of Green Gables, the importance of education to the children is further stressed as it is largely considered to be one of the central themes in the book. In the book, education is considered as one of the most important aspects of the upbringing of a child. Anne is seen to come to Green Gables after her adoption process being a girl who does not know much about society. She is mainly regarded as a girl of her nature and not that brought up with education. Due to the strict adherence of her own nature, she initially rejects and resists any formal rules which are bestowed on her (Montgomery 26). However, in the process of living in society, she acquires education, not from the classroom, but from observing and adapting as she closely monitors the people around her: “You must just imagine it. I behaved terribly to you- and I’ve disgraced the dear friend, Matthew and Marilla, who have let me stay at Green Gables although I’m not a boy. I’m a dreadfully wicked and ungrateful girl, and I deserve to be punished and cast out by respectable people forever” (Montgomery 83). All these are done even though she forces the world to accept her on her own terms, rather than conforming into their own culture. However, throughout the tussle of learning to adapt to society, it is eventually education that makes her free and autonomous. Such has eventually culminated in her relationship with Miss Stacy who discovers the intellectual power that Anne has. Being educated makes Anne be an all-around person with fully devoted values for the community.
The relationship between Miss Stacy and Green Gables can be very important to children learners, especially due to the fact that it outlines some of the importance of having positive teacher-student relationships. It should be noted that ensuring the relationship between teachers and the students is improved is very important due to the fact that it results in positive and long-lasting implications to both the teacher and student, with regards to the academic achievement and social development of the student. Various studies have found the importance of fostering a good relationship between the teachers and the students (Yıldırım 136). In one study, it was seen that students who have positive relationships with the teachers mainly attain higher achievement levels academically when compared to the other students who have conflicted relationships with their students (Vale et al. 51). Teachers also offer emotional and academic support to the students and this enables them to gain the required motivation needed to push them to attain higher achievement levels as it enables the teachers to provide instructions to the students in a more efficient manner as they are able to discern their weaknesses (Yıldırım 140). Such is further shown in the book as the relationship between Miss Stacy and Anne enables her to acquire a prestigious college scholarship which makes her be an important person in the society: “Miss Stacy wants to organize a class among her advanced students who mean to study for the entrance examination to Queens. She intends to give them extra lesson after school. She came to ask Matthew and me if we would like to have you join it” ((Montgomery 254). As a result, this book can be very helpful to young students as it makes them be aware of the importance of education in their lives. In the process of pursuit of her education journey, Anne also competes to be on top of her class, with the main notion that working hard in class always result in better outcomes, especially when one finishes schools. These are important moral values which can be transmitted to the children as they grow and go ahead with their academic journey as they read the literature in classrooms. The concept of competition and excellence in education is further reinforced in the novel, The Giver.
The importance of knowledge in The Giver is further shown in the way the knowledge is acquired and its importance in society. In The Giver, Jonas is seen to be the chosen one, who discovers the sole truth of the world in which he lives currently. The wisdom as well as memory which he gains from the giver give him the capability to understand his purpose in the community. Throughout the novel, the issue of education, with regards to the amount of knowledge given or acquired, has mainly positive and negative effects on the person and the community. In The Giver the importance of education is further reinforced by the importance of memory in the lives of humans. According to the novel, memory is a very important part in the life of a person. Such is reinforced by the committee of elders who recognize the immense power of memory. According to them, if one does not have elaborate memories of their errors, they are much likely to repeat them (Lowry 21). Due to this, they designate a person, the Receiver, who is tasked with keeping a historical memory for the community. Furthermore, as Jonas undergoes his trains, he realizes that just as there is no pain without memory, lack of memory also does not bring true happiness to the people. The Giver thus satisfies one of the aims of literature and education to the young ones. Literature mainly undertakes to satisfy curiosity as well as provide information to young learners.
It should be noted that even though children books are supposed to be enjoyed, they also serve a special purpose of providing information to the little learners. Factual accounts and stories usually present interesting twist and turn to the children in a very attractive format which usually attracts the attention of the learners. It should be noted that without knowledge and education, a person is always deemed to be not exposed to the truths in the society, which is further corroborated by the life experiences of Anne as soon she lands in Green Gable. She is seen to have trouble handling social situations and thus was forced to recline to herself (Montgomery 45). On the other hand, lack of knowledge in the giver is shown to have major disadvantages especially in the life of an individual. According to the Committee of Elders, lack of memory is usually destructive as it results in hatred, war, and lack of emotions towards others. These books, therefore, transmit the same values to the children as they read through them. Children are therefore told of the importance of education through the characters of the story as they progress on with the story.
Education is also regarded as the best equalizer in the two narratives. Education of children is regarded as the best thing that can bring equality in a community, despite the racial or income differences between people in society. The main reason for this is that with education, a child is able to have enough knowledge which further encourages them to get good jobs in the society or be able to discern between right and wrong and therefore change their lifestyle (Marsh 70). There are various situations in the book which highlight the fact that despite the upbringing that a child has, they need to acquire better education for them to have a better future as seen by the path taken by Anne and Jonas. These can provide a good source of motivation to the child learners, especially those that come from lower-income communities or are faced with major discrimination like racial discrimination.
The two books also reiterate the importance of education promoting social and intellectual growth in the children. From the book by Montgomery, Anne is portrayed as an imaginative girl who is mainly driven by her own imagination and not easily swayed by the trends in society (Montgomery 25). She is observed to make up imaginary friends when she realizes she cannot easily make friends as her peers. However, beneath the immense imagination that the girl has, is the huge intellect that she has, especially regarding various life matters and these forms some of the integral things that make her survive through her childhood. The book Anne of Green Gables mainly aligns these two notions of imagination and intellectual in the human minds as being complementary to each other. Furthermore, the novel shows that overreliance on either one of them can be very detrimental to a person. A good example of this is the character of Diana. In the book, she is brought out as being a young girl who is purely imaginative to the point that she really ignores the power of intellect and only fantasizes all the time (Montgomery 103). Such is contrary to Anne who is able to transform her imagination into an intellectual living process. Such means that Diana is only able to live in the roles prescribed by her thoughts due to the fact that she cannot focus beyond these. Another case of this is Gilbert, who is regarded as being very intelligent, but in the end, it is only his imagination which helped to reach out to Anne towards the end of the novel (Montgomery 93). As such the novel favors the idea that it is important for a person to have a balance of these two powerful constructs that make up education and knowledge acquisition. In The Giver, importance and intellect are further shown by the curiosity of Jonas. In the text, Jonas first becomes curious about the apple mainly because of the changes in colors that he sees in it and therefore takes it home to have further evaluation of the apple.
In this, “Jonas has noticed, following the path that he couldn’t adequately understand-the apple had changed. Just for an instant. It had changed in mid-air, he remembered” (Lowry 30). After asking his friends whether they had seen the apple change color, they all acclaimed that they had not, and instead of only relying on and resting after the conclusion by the friends, he did not settle for their opinion and continued his quest of finding the truth. Such portrayed that Jonas is different from all the members of the community in which he lived in at the moment. Curiosity is one of the factors that make one have the yearn to learn more and this makes them more intellects. Furthermore, curiosity is also taken to be a construct of imagination as it mainly helps the person to raise the question of what would happen in any instance hence spurring further investigation and the resultant dimension is that they eventually find the truth.
These two novels, therefore, highlight the importance of imagination and intellect in society. It should be noted that as children grow, they mainly desire to be like their role models. These role models can range from being their parents to being the fictitious characters in their lives such as the characters in movies or books. These books are therefore important in providing education to young learners as it emphasizes the importance of imagination and intellect in their lives. Imagination and intellect are some of the important ingredients in making people become inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs who mainly solve some of the problems that are encountered in society. The books, therefore, pave the way for the arousal of the imaginations of the young children, preparing them for their future purposes in the society as part of the aims of education (Forstenzer 35). One of the core values of education is to enable people to develop emotional intelligence as well as morality. As mentioned previously, education mainly prepares a person to be a better and productive person in the society by giving them skills and knowledge that may help them perform better in these external environments. As a result of these, more schools have been observed to teach their students on ways in which they can manage their emotions and thus be able to deal effectively with the teachers and their own peers. Such mainly helps in improving the behavior and relationships of the learners. Furthermore, a recent study has shown that emotional intelligence is indirectly linked to the academic success of a person (Abdolrezapour & Tavakoli 12). Moral or emotional intelligence is largely defining as the ability of a person to apply some of the ethical principles to various actions, goals and values. It mainly grants the person the ability to discern from what is right or wrong in a given context, which helps them to behave ethically regardless of a given situation.
In children, ensuring that education offers them the ability to have moral and ethical intelligence is very critical in ensuring that they are productive people in the society. It should be noted that even though moral or emotional intelligence has been studied less with regards to their impact in the education of a student, they provide a great avenue in the understanding of the human behavior and learning process (Isserow 251). Children literatures have the ability to help the students develop emotional and moral intelligence. The main reason for this is that the various works of literature have the ability to result in the promotion of moral and emotional development in the children. The Giver and Anne of Green Gables provide many situations of crisis which demand that the characters make moral decisions and also demonstrate the need for contemplating on some of the reasons for making these decisions, which are important skills that children need to learn in their education process. In Anne of Green Gables the need of emotional intelligence is well tackled through the actions of Anne as she interacts and socializes with various characters in the fictional novel. The feelings of Anne are observed to run deep, allowing her to hate and love with utmost passion, which makes her to dream with spirit. However, due to the fact that she is a child, she is not in a position to distinguish between mere sentimentality and true emotions. Her weaknesses in emotional intelligence mainly adds color to all her fictional stories, ranging from the melodramas, eternal devotions, tragic loss and true love. It is observed that together with her friends, they have histrionic displays of emotions, which involves the working up of the weepy farewell that was done to Mr. Phillips even though they have utmost dislike of him (Montgomery 29). However, in general, the emotional intelligence shown by sentimentality of Anne allows her to get refuge from the real emotions which she has of fear of loss which she experienced as being an orphaned child. It should be noted that due to the death of her parents, she is left at the mercy of others who at times do not treat her well like other children are treated. However, due to the fact that she knows the value of pain and loss, Anne is able to be sentimental, which offers her comfort. These skills are very valuable to children as they learn and read the literature and also make up an important part of their learning.
The issue of emotional intelligence and morality is also prominent in The Giver. The Chief Elder warned Jonas that he will be faced with pain which none of the people in the village had witnessed before. Such will be contrary to the type of pain that people had witnessed earlier which only included bruises and bumps (Lowry 63). However, it is this statement that enabled Jonas to lead a life of conformity and sameness in the future. Moreover, Jonas understand that the decision taken to the Receiver of Memory for the town demands a lot of sacrifices. On the other hand, he understands that the people in the town had never experienced love, peace or love. Such prompts Jonas risking pain to the monotonous of stability that the community had known for ages and thus undertakes to sacrifice. The action of Jonas can provide vital education to the children with regards to how they can understand and gauge consequences of various actions before making a decision. These are very vital lessons that they need to live well in the society.
The paper mainly discussed the relevance of the two texts, The Giver by Lowry and Anne of Green Gables by Montgomery which are some of the famous children literature. In the discussion, it was found that these books touch on important facets in the education of the learners as they mainly enlighten the children on the social values and norms in society. These values and norms include the importance of education in their lives as well as learning to live well in a society surrounded by many other people. Furthermore, one of the dominant themes which were visible across all the books was the importance of education in the life of a child. In this, it was seen that education not only prepares a child for their future roles in the society but also makes them be exposed in the real world and therefore determine the truth about societies, hence making them able to adapt to the different situations in the world.
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