Children actually participate in the social processes of adult activities, and their participatory learning is based upon what the American anthropologist Margaret Mead called empathy, identification, and imitation.
Education is designed to guide them in learning a culture, molding their behaviour in the ways of adulthood, and directing them toward their eventual role in society.In the most primitive cultures, there is often little formal learning—little of what one would ordinarily call school or classes or teachers.Their teachers are not strangers but rather their immediate community.In contrast to the spontaneous and rather unregulated imitations in prepuberty education, postpuberty education in some cultures is strictly standardized and regulated.For a treatment of education as a discipline, including educational organization, teaching methods, and the functions and training of teachers, see teaching; pedagogy; and teacher education.
For a description of education in various specialized fields, see historiography; legal education; medical education; science, history of.
Literature becomes laden with advice on the rearing of the younger generation.
In short, there develop philosophies and theories of education.
The magnitude of change needed makes clear that closing the economic gap with developed countries will require major structural changes in schooling institutions. In this sense, it is equivalent to what social scientists term socialization or enculturation.
Children—whether conceived among New Guinea tribespeople, the Renaissance Florentines, or the middle classes of Manhattan—are born without culture.
This article discusses the history of education, tracing the evolution of the formal teaching of knowledge and skills from prehistoric and ancient times to the present, and considering the various philosophies that have inspired the resulting systems.