This Friendship Day: Linking Education and Friendships!
This friendship day, we want to talk about a space that has been dear to most of us reading this blog: schools. Apart from just being a place where knowledge is disseminated, schools are fundamental to one’s personal development, where most of us as children, interacted with peers and formed special interpersonal friendships.
Educational spaces and friendships
It requires no thorough referencing to say that human interaction has always been core to holistic education and that education is a social process. Schools are one of the first places where a child interacts socially, outside of their primary home. In schools, most children start forming friendships and understanding peer relationships and emotions. Even for children who are at a younger age, friendships form as a result of them having similar developmental capabilities and skills, and thus similar social exchanges. As children grow older, social exchanges become more complex, following sophisticated cognitive and behavioural development. Even without jargons of the field of psychology, most of all can agree that we formed precious relationships in schools with our peers and cherish our school- days as a wonderful phase in our lives.
Schools as spaces for other ‘social’ learning
At a deeper level of analysis of educational spaces like schools, research has shown that they are spaces for social conditioning of children. Schools are generally spaces where children learn through interactions with cross- cut themes like authoritative- relationships (with teachers) and relationships with different races, genders and classes. It is also well known and experienced that at schools, most of us learn about different social causes and issues like inequality, progress, racism, justice, etc., which overall helps in widening our perspectives and deepening our friendships with people whom we most get along with. With this, also comes the fact that most of us, since we are merely four years old, are socially conditioned with society’s rights and wrongs at schools, which also reflect in how we live the rest of our lives.
And what did young children have to report about this?
In an interesting study about what children aged between five and seven had to say about forming friendships at schools, the cumulative lessons given to the researchers were beyond their years, to say the least. By ethically analysing their activities like drawings, doll- play and short interview interactions, the researchers found that at school, young children did display and develop emotional understanding in relation to friendships with their peers. Their answers provided an understanding into childrens’ friendships at school that was not thought of by the adult researchers, proving that school systems need to be sensitive to children’s needs, which may be often overlooked universally.
With the above insights and a unique new- found appreciation for educational spaces, we wish you a happy friendship day!