Uni 10: Growing Up

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Google Arts & Culture

What ideas come to your mind when you think of childhood?

You will be surprised to know that childhood as a concept, has varied along the time. I invite you all to read the following extract adapted from Peter N. Stearns “History of Childhood”, centered in early agricultural societies.

The history of childhood features two massive, structural changes in the position of children in society. The first occurred in the transitions from hunting and gathering economies to agriculture. The second involved the equally dramatic shift from agriculture to an urban, industrial economy. The second transition, deeply relevant to an understanding of trends and problems in childhood today, is of course complicated by the fact that many societies are still experiencing it, with some outcomes that are difficult to anticipate.

Within the context of basic shifts to agriculture, and then from agriculture to industry, several other factors have a role. One, obviously, involves the extent to which other changes, though less sweeping than the structural transformations, deeply affect the experience of childhood. How much, to take a crucial example, did the rise of new religions affect childhood during the long agricultural period of world history? Or to take a modern example: how much did the emergence of globalization generate additional changes in childhood within an increasingly industrial context?

The dependence on child labor, however modified, generated three or four other characteristic features of childhood in agricultural societies, amid a great variety of regional and cultural specifics. A strong emphasis on the importance of obedience was one standard feature, often reinforced by religious beliefs. Pronounced gender division was another common pattern, potentially affecting children from a very young age; this would include effort to control girls’ sexuality. A distinctive emotional climate for children included the frequency of death. Finally, agricultural societies may have encouraged a tendency to devalue childhood in favor of encouraging greater maturity, though this is less easy to demonstrate and certainly permitted some exceptions.

Distinctive emotional features for children in agricultural societies are predictably harder to pinpoint, but there are at least a few clear elements. The omnipresence of death is an obvious point. Very few families would not experience the death of at least one or two children, which means that very few children would not experience the death of siblings during their own formative years. High rates of maternal mortality in childbirth (one in ten women would die during one of their attempts to give birth), or the possibility of accidents or violence for fathers, meant that many children also would live through the death of a parent. Historians once speculated that the frequency of death generated stoicism among agricultural families, in which grief would not necessarily loom large.

Some historians have also claimed, for at least some agricultural societies including premodern Western Europe, that agricultural childhoods were full of fear, and deliberate adult efforts to inculcate fear. Fear could certainly be used to enforce obedience. This might follow from the frequency of death. Some religions may have played on children’s fears as part of socialization. Less formally, many village families, in at least several cultural settings, invoked the threat of bogeymen or other sources of fright as part of instilling discipline and also warning children away from imprudent interactions with strangers or any tendency to wander too far into the woods or other dangerous settings.

  1. What is the main idea of this extract?
  2. How much would you say this concept of discipline has changed along the time? Expand your ideas.


Unit 9: Let’s Celebrate!!

Celebrating the 201st Peruvian Independence Declaration

Simply read through this adaption from encyclopedia.com and learn a few points about the Peruvian Independence Declaration that may surprise you.

In January 1817 San Martín led his army of Argentines and fugitives from Chile over the Andes and surprised the Spanish army in Chile. After having captured and occupied Santiago on February 15, San Martín was offered the supreme dictatorship of Chile but declined in favor of his friend and colleague Bernardo O’Higgins. He made Chile completely free of Spanish troops by May 15, 1818 and began planning for an invasion of Peru.

In August 1820 the army of San Martín was transported toward Peru, convoyed by warships under Lord Cochrane. Within a year San Martín was able to occupy the capital, and on July 28, 1821, he proclaimed the independence of Peru from Spain. On August 3 he accepted the position of supreme protector of Peru.

However, considerable fighting was still needed before Peruvian independence was assured, since the bulk of the Spanish army had merely withdrawn into the mountains and was still a viable fighting force and a threat. San Martín considered that he did not have enough force to meet the Spaniards and would need the aid of the armies of Simón Bolívar, who had just liberated the areas of Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. For that purpose, San Martín and Bolívar met at Guayaquil; that conference is one of the most disputed points in South American history.

Possibly they disputed over Guayaquil, which Bolívar had just occupied, and which San Martín wanted to be a part of Peru. Possibly they disagreed on the type of government to be instituted in Perú. San Martín did not believe that Peruvian were ready for democracy, and he probably preferred a constitutional monarchy, whereas Bolívar believed, at that time, in complete democracy. Possibly they disagreed on the terms by which the armies of Bolívar would be brought into Peru. At any rate, San Martín left the conference in a precipitous manner, returned immediately to Peru, resigned his power and positions to the Congress, and left Bolívar in undisputed leadership.

Adapted from Enciclopedia.com

a) After reading the text, I discovered two aspects regarding the Peruvian Independence Declaration that I was not informed of:

 b) Do you concur that we weren’t prepared for democracy, as San Martin claimed? Consider your response in light of these 201 years.

Unit 8: Language and Communication









Picture from Statista.com

Read this piece of text adapted from “The Guardian”, a British newspaper. For further reference go to http://labs.theguardian.com/digital-language-divide/

The relationship between language and the internet is a growing area of policy interest and academic study. The story emerging is one where language profoundly affects your experience of the internet. It determines how much – if any – information you can access on Wikipedia. Google searching “restaurants” in a certain language may bring you back 10 times the results of doing so in another. And if your language is endangered, it is possible it will never have a life online. Far from infinite, the internet, it seems, is only as big as your language.

What would be the best title for this article?

  1. Internet as a powerful force for communication
  2. Internet: the language you speak matters!
  3. Internet promote equality amongst all the languages

Are these statements True or False?

  1. Language and internet are not related
  2. The amount of information you may find on internet depends of the language you speak.


Unit 7: Critical Thinking








From iStock/adventtr

Your active participation in this blog will reinforce not only our book learning activities but most importantly it will shed light on how you express your own opinion regarding these two questions:

  1. How well do you think university education (higher education) prepares people for the difficulties of the twenty-first century? (to extend and express your opinion regarding this question, it is highly advisable to read first the reading content of your book Unit 7, page 90).

The second question is based on the passage from Unit 7 on page 94.

  1. What historical engineering feats can you find in your country or city? What makes them special?


Welcome to the blog that has been specifically designed for Comprensión Lectora en Inglés -Course 3 – administered by Idiomas Católica.

This blog aims at providing opportunities for participants to exchange information related to the course. Although our reading course is not meant to develop oral or written communication skills, we have noticed that many of you can and wish to “have your say” in English about issues that we look at in the course. Your participation in this blog can award you up to 5 points in the assessment area labelled Tareas de Evaluación Continua.

Ready to begin? It is easy. The questions on the next message are waiting to be answered! You may want to participate TWICE. The first time, just write your answers to the questions. The second time, you are supposed to reply somebody else’s answer.

Enjoy the experience!

(Source: educatednation.com)

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