Rights of the Child in National and International Contexts
Theoretical Aspects.

Vygotsky observed children as active learners who wish to make sense of
their experience and he observed learning taking place in a social context.
He discerned a process through which children grew into the intellectual
life of the more mature children and adults around them. This was very much
unlike Piaget who saw cognition and intellectual growth developing in a
child in several maturational stages. To Vygotsky every function in the
child's cultural development appears twice. First on the social level and
later, on the individual level; first between people (inter Psychological)
and then inside the child (intra Psychological)
(cited at p 32 of S. Bartlett et al 2004)

Vygotsky's seminal work was on the relationship between language and
thought, for him "language was generated from the need to communicate and
was central to development of thinking". Vygotsky also stressed importance
of talk as a learning tool. Pupil talk is encouraged as it allows learners
to refine what they know through expression of their thoughts. "Reports of
some Eminence have reinforced the status of talk in the class room" (cited
p 139 S. Bartlett et al 2004) Examples of such reports are the Bullock
report (1975) Assessment of Performance unit report (1986).

Concept of Psychological tools was a cornerstone of Vygotsky's theory. To
him these tools serve as " a bridge between individual acts of cognition
and the symbolic socio cultural requirements of these acts" (Kozulin 1998
cited at P138 in S Bartleet et al 2004) He explained inter cultural
cognitive differences to "variances in systems of such tools and methods of
their acquisition practiced in different cultures" (cited at P 140 of S.
Bartlett et al 2004)

The work of Vygotsky has pedagogical implication implying a problem solving
approach for the learner and a enabling role for the Teacher. Brown (1994
:7 cited at P 141 in S Bartleet et al 2004) argued that "students navigate
by different routes and at different rates but the push is towards upper
rather than lower levels of competence". Grouping and pairing of learners
with similar capacities was observed by Bruner as advantageous. In
encouraging learning, to Bruner, good pedagogy encourages students to
discover principles by themselves; the teacher provides an assistant's
role. This implies an exercise of "scaffolding" put up by teacher,
removed, when felt no longer necessary.






A concept introduced by Vygotsky to explain the distance between a child's
actual development as determined by independent problem solving and level
of potential development under guidance with elders or peers was described
as Zone of Proximal Development (cited at P 35 in Fifty Great Modern
Thinkers, J.A. Palmer Routeledge London reprint 2004). These zones vary
from pupil to pupil and extent of variation may pose a challenge to the
teacher.

Broenfen bremer (1979) offered a model of ecological systems to explain
inter connectedness of environmental factors that impact on a child's
learning. He proposed four "nested systems" of development. A micro system
(home, class room) a Meso system (links between micro systems) an Exo
system (setting where child does not participate and a Macro system
(ideology, subculture where child lives). This model helps explain the
inter connectedness of environmental factors, and its impact on a child's
learning. As for example, how Health, parental care, national level policy
decisions impact on a child's learning. (cited at p 151 of S. Bartlett et
al 2004)

Critical Awareness

Child labour and child work are two terms that have been used
alternatively. Generally a difference has been noted in house hold work
and work outside the house hold.

In such situations there is reference to external child labour or hidden or
invisible child labour. Several authorities have identified worst forms of
child labour and differences between "labour" and "work". In order to have
a more meaningful understanding of the terms one goes back to the cause of
child labour and remedies to such causes which may lead to programmes and
campaigns that are preventive. Poverty drives the child to enter the
labour market often exposing the child to dangerous and abusive work
conditions.

Child labour is defined by the UNCRC article 32 as the right to be
protected from economic exploitation and from participating in any work
that is hazardous or interferes with the child's education health or
development. Work is identified as activities undertaken by children to
contribute to their own and or family income. Some working children see it
as dignified as it contributes to family survival others see work as
harmful and exploitative.
(http//www/savethechildren.org.uk/scuk.cache/cmsattach/411-childlabour)

Save the children a Non government orgnaisation that takes a pragmatic
approach to child labour