Chaga Childhood

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This account of traditional education among the Chaga, a Bantu-speaking people of Tanzania, was one of the earliest studies of indigenous education. The first part of the book is an historical survey of existing literature on the subject in English, French and German; the second and main part of the book is a description of the informal education of the Chaga child in the family; the self-educative process in play group and age class; the formal training received during the rites leading up to circumcision, initiation and the preparation for marriage; and the changes in relationship between parents and children as they grow older, from the infant stage of biological dependence to the point at which the child fills the place occupied by the parent through descent, inheritance and succession. Psychological, anthropological, linguistic and pedagogical problems are discussed, including the development of speech during infancy, the extension of classificatory terms in the kinship group, the significance of the rites of development, and the differentiation of behaviour according to age, sex and rank of the children by means of taboos, punishments, songs and proverbs. The third part of the book offers practical conclusions from this study of indigenous education, in particular with regard to education policy, teaching methods and school organisation in Tropical Africa.