The image of the mother: Its assessment in initial education

  • Degree in Education mention Spanish and Literature, Msc. Venezuelan Literature. Doctor in Education. Professor of the Nucleus of Sucre in the Lic. Integral Education.


The image of the mother is considered to be of paramount importance in the child’s formation process in the first years of schooling. Thus, in the Initial Education Curriculum of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the family is taken as the fundamental scenario to contribute cooperatively and interactively with other factors (teachers, community) with the integral formation of the child up to 6 years of age. The affective bond that is established between the mother and the child is one of the first senses that have a significant impact on childhood education. Emphasizing that the affective and the cognitive are aspects that complement each other in order to understand the place that sensitivity plays in the school space, betting on a sensitive subject that considers their abilities to feel and think.

Keywords: Initial education, sensitive subject, maternal affection

The image of a mother: Her value de ella in primary education


The image of a mother is considered to be of capital importance in the process of children education during the first years of schooling. So, in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Primary Education Curriculum family is the main environment where it exists cooperatively and interactively with other factors (teachers, community) in the integral education of children until the age of 6. The affective bond established between mother and children is one of the first senses which significantly affects infants’ education. Highlighting that affection and the cognitive are aspects that complement each other to understand the role sensitivity plays in schooling betting on a sensitive subject who considers children’s capacity to feel and think.

Key words: primary education, sensitive subject, motherly love

Reception date: 05-09-07 • Acceptance date: 06-27-07

The mother is the great image that runs through the imaginary of man and on which he builds the alphabet of his life. Those that remain in us, later become a profusion of symbols that make up the cosmogonic universe not only of man, but of culture. Mythologically speaking, the earth is considered the mother par excellence: it has been the support of man’s transit since time immemorial.

The mother as an image is a great semantic fabric, associated with the earth, it is an image of resistance forged in the ambivalence of a multiple and profound reality. Nature is mother, perhaps the metaphor that man uses the most to live protected by the energy of the world.

Edgar Morin (2000, p. 27) dives into the humanistic condition for achieving planetary coexistence, for education translated into the consciousness of the Earth-Homeland; he takes up the vision of sapiens / demens and conjugates the concept of rationality between the logical instance and the empirical instance. For this author, true rationality must recognize the side of affection, love, repentance, in the sense that “reality involves mystery; she negotiates with the irrationalized, the dark”.

The names assumed by the mother throughout social anthropology refer to a common denominator: protector and key player in the role she plays in the child’s education from the very moment of conception and subsequent birth and upbringing. But it is not only the maternal expression that delights us with our intimacy; the female image has been present in all ages and times. Scheherazade, Helen of Troy, Penelope, although literary characters, are universal images that endure in the cultural imagination of humanity for their courage, beauty and intelligence.

  1. The sensible reason

The feminine and the masculine come together in the archetypal visions of many cultures, without falling into feminist diatribes so ingrained in our days, it cannot be avoided that in modernity logic prevailed

masculine; and therefore it has deprived rationality, objectivity, as forms of this logic to approach reality. The Manichaeism of considering science as reason, abstraction against the feminine (intuition, feeling, affection) has weighed heavily on the consideration of sensitivity as an epistemological tool to deal with educational problems.

Maffesoli (2001, p. 181) assures that sensitive reason is driven by the feminine, insofar as it “reminds the ‘humus’ of which the human is made”. It is not surprising that the so-called postmodern authors resort to the female image when outlining their critical approaches to modernity, that is, considering it masculine, logical, patriarchal, associated with the rational. The saturation of these masculine values ​​was marked by the individual happiness that each one sought. For this reason, it is at present when other practices of collective association emerge.

e become dynamism, life.

In the school environment, scientism, objectivity, measurement, evaluation, etc. they made problematic the subjective, the sensibility and the emotional-expressive referentiality. The concealment of the sensible thus gave prominence to the objective, legitimizing validity and verification as the only criteria of truth.

The conceptualizations on the “hidden curriculum” could well guide us in the considerations of the expression of some categories and the burial of others. Santomé (2003) refers to this as the “configuration of meanings and values ​​of which the teaching group and the students themselves are not used to being fully aware” (p. 10). This author points out that the culture of the feminine in the school is marked by a traditional discourse about the so-called “feminine values”, among these are: feeling, sensitivity, irrationalism, passivity, subjectivism, etc. This biased imbalance swings towards sexist discrimination (“visible boys”, “invisible girls”).

This note on feminine values ​​is highlighted, since sensitivity is seen as a marginal discourse, drive and therefore very difficult to “grasp” in a curricular design that has behavioral expressions in its configuration. The logic of the feminine is related to “the subversive, the generous, the discontinuous flow” (Helene Cixous, cited by Rivas, p. 2000).

The curricular designs marked by scientific-technical rationality forget that knowledge is related to affection, it is not only intellect, but also impulse, intuitions, emotions. The pedagogical cannot only be conferred to the cognitive, but also to the subjective, experiential; the scientific cannot be at odds with the sensitive.

The modern school with its positivist positions made it impossible for expressions such as intersubjectivity, ethics, communication, imagination, affectivity, etc., to become “problems” to the extent that they cannot be studied with positivist methodologies. If the sensible feminine is heterogeneous, multiple, it becomes methodologically “inconvenient”: How to apprehend the discontinuous?

Perhaps one of the most emblematic works of Latin American pedagogy is Pedagogy of the oppressed: suffering, oppression is understood here as a feeling of resistance. The suffering subject resists the evil that affects him. When P. Freire (1972, p. 100) proposes the need to overcome the oppressive situation, he would be in search of freedom, the critical recognition of the reason for his situation through a transforming action.

All pedagogy entails then the love that is felt for the other. Freire expresses it this way: “Love is an act of courage, never of fear: love is a commitment to men. Wherever an oppressed man exists, the act of love lies in committing oneself to his cause.”

  1. Sensitive pedagogy

We know the perverse effects of a rationalization process that prevents building bridges between the faculties of reason and sensibility. It seeks to resize the role played by affectivity, not at odds with understanding, but as a profound force of the first forms of knowledge. And one of these primal forces is affection. The affective expression then becomes a sediment, a humus in all pedagogy, whether traditional or modern, and stands as an essential principle that cannot be ignored. That maternal affection is the first “meaning”, the first matrix of human formation. Already Pestalozzi (1988, p. 138) stated that “maternal love constitutes the main force in education”.

Taking into account these assertions, the philosophical, epistemological, cultural components, etc. They should help us understand those aspects and educational phenomena that occur in school and that have a decisive influence on students. If we speak of a submerged (and therefore latent) sensibility, this “concealment” that struggles to appear must be seen as a balance that operates in a new narrative of training that leads to pedagogical dis-order.

Knowledge is related to affection. The human being as a complex entity is instinct, emotion, intuition and also reason; for this reason the interpretation of his life should be made from those affections that drive his action, his interests. Nietzsche (1999) already said it: “If we have the right to deny consciousness, we hardly have the right to deny the dynamism of affections”.

By establishing “affective ties” between categories, we epistemologically configure the aesthetic (sensitive) and the pedagogical; these tend to stick together rather than separate. Why is it that if affectivity is the tectonic layer of our being, it has been veiled in the curricular frameworks?

These considerations of affect are fundamental to trace the conditions that have allowed the pre-eminence of some categories in

detriment of others. The exclusive reason discarded the maternal, feminine, embodied in sensible reason where feeling, irrationality, subjectivism are associated with the feminine. We have suffered the imperialism of seeing. The other senses have been relegated, considered inferior; the epidermal senses (taste, touch) are stigmatized.

Altarejos (1999, p. 34) affirms that affectivity “is also a way of knowing, which classical thought has called knowledge by nature. Through affectivity I perceive the meaning for me, the value that something has with respect to my subjectivity”.

Affection needs another with whom to share sensitivities, which is why intersubjectivity can only allow correspondence to exist, and recognition is implied in that correspondence. In that communicative bridge we share, live together and communicate; It is these instances that humanize the recognition of the other as an alter ego. Subjectivities are built in that interim of affects; To the extent that I perceive the other’s feelings, I understand their evaluations of reality and of myself.

Rousseau (1990, p. 48) points out that the child’s education begins at birth: before speaking he is already being educated because the child is born sensitive and sensations are “the first materials of knowledge and, therefore, intellectual life is elaborated on a sensitive basis. Thus we see how the naturalness of the child, his innate disposition to learn are milestones that mark the educational conceptions from Rousseau to our time. In addition to this, subjective manifestations, education as a relationship of alterity, the will, cannot be learned in traditional objectives.

  1. A sensitive subject

These notes may well be inscribed in the Initial Education Curriculum that contemplates in its conception an integral education expressed in a human continuum. Thus, in the reformulation that is made explicit in the first level of the national educational system, when considering that learning begins from birth, a series of elements are put into play for the conformation of a sensitive subject that will be conceived as a social being attending to to the globalization of learning under the proposal of curricular axes: affectivity, intelligence and playfulness.

These considerations lead to the image of the mother as a teacher, and also to the central role that she plays in shaping the family, and how the feminization of teaching has historically been imparted by them. In our country, the research carried out by Alejandro Moreno (1995, p. 4) on the Venezuelan popular family from the anthropological point of view in a position that interprets the way of being of the Venezuelan man is important; in other words, the world of family life is interpreted in the popular sphere.

His interpretations are interesting as a result of his ethnographic experiences, histories of life, the experiences, product of his investigations in the world of popular life where “All the threads lead to the same knot: the family. And, already in her, to a single center: the mother”. Moreno describes the popular Venezuelan family-cultural model as that of a matricentric family, and makes the caveat that this is different from a matriarchal family, since matriarchy semantically carries the power of domination as the defining nucleus: “I assume the term ‘matricentric’ because I am interested in emphasizing that the mother is the point of confluence and production of the links, the generating matrix of the family structure and the place of meaning.

This model is not exclusive to Venezuela, according to the author, it extends throughout the Caribbean and its origins are historical, cultural and ethnic. The strong figure is that of the mother, vital, a whole symbolic plot is experienced that carries with it the affective ties of language; on the mother-child relational experience “a fundamental ethic of an affective, supportive and communicational type flourishes.” (p. 19) and where the father is an absent figure, a present absence remembered by abandonment, lack, longing, desire, rage, pain.

Much has been written about the family and the changes that have taken place in it as a result of industrialization, professionalization, insertion in the labor field, etc., which lead Sabater (1997, p. 56) to think of the eclipse of the family as an institution. of primary socialization, and the inefficiency of this type of socialization in most countries. For this author:

In the family, things are learned quite differently from how school learning later takes place: the family climate is full of affectivity, there are hardly any distance barriers between relatives who live together and teaching is based more on contagion and seduction than in objectively structured lessons.

The educational sensitivity that arises, then, should point to the family as an affective-educational space, as an environment

non-family decisive at the time not only of the child’s educability, but also to the consideration in the school space of the link with the family matrix. In this way, family and school are not separated as institutions that welcome different beings, but rather a child who continues to see in the teacher the representation of his mother. Historically, teaching has been a fundamentally feminine task; Teachers, like mothers, must pay attention to the feelings and safety of their students.

In the teacher training programs for the first grades of schooling in our country, the participants are mostly women, which gives a good indication to develop an educational aesthetic framed in the sensitivity for the relational ties of the mother-child. We believe that the experience of the family has not been taken into account by the school when considering curricular content, educational reforms, teaching methods, etc. The family has a lot to contribute in the educational process, since the school cannot become the only place where training is carried out.

The initial education proposed by the State contemplates, within a new educational paradigm, the strengthening of affective ties, which in addition to being the basis of socialization, are the basis of the construction of knowledge. The established maternal level is based on the family and especially on the mother due to the affective and communicative ties expressed in the mother-child relationship.

In any case, it is not about systematizing the education that parents can provide at home, we are talking about a family education that is not emotionally distanced from the values ​​and experiences of the particular and contextual learning of which we are all a product. The child is linked to his community through his daily practice, his language, his cognitive codes, etc., which allow him to function effectively because he learns to live the values ​​of the community’s ethos.

It seems difficult and incomprehensible that one could speak of a family curriculum that takes into account personal and community aspects at the same time, when education must have universal characteristics, but it is in this dialogical attitude where all these dimensions converge. Training, discipline, character, good customs, obedience, solidarity, camaraderie, coexistence, etc., make the mother-teacher or teacher-mother the person she religates for an education. The teacher in the classroom becomes “a second mother” who must attend to her students not only academically, but emotionally, and since education is feminized, then she displays a maternal praxis, due to the same mother-child character that is presented in Classroom.

When the contents move away from the practices of the community, from everyday life, most fall into a void because they do not represent a sense with what is known in their world view. Or when teachers do not belong to the community where the school is located, they are generally isolated from the problems of the school and their homes and, therefore, the teaching process becomes difficult. Hence, many times, the reforms are displaced to the programs, methods, curriculum, evaluation, etc. and they forget the reality experienced by people who are educated in official institutions.

  1. Initial education: the affective as a center

The important thing is that the first level of the educational system is defined and characterized based on initial education from 0 to 6 years old, when the child is considered as a social being, a member of a family and a community. That is to say that more than preparing the child for the level of Basic Education, it is understood that he is a being with particular, social, linguistic and cultural characteristics that learns in a constant relationship with his environment. Thus, the denomination of Preschool Education is replaced by Initial Education, and the curriculum is framed in an integral development that includes the school, the family and the community.

The proposal for Initial Education proposed by the National Government with respect to the consideration of affections comes up, and especially the importance of touch in the maternal phase that this educational level contemplates (Simoncito Project: (2004, p. 13) :

An important element in this phase of life is physical contact, the mother-son or daughter relationship, to establish the bond that will allow social and emotional development, the boy and the girl in these early years need human contact. This link or attachment constitutes the first social bond that develops between mother and child, the basis of the individual’s socialization.

The importance given by the Venezuelan State to this comprehensive care of children is connected with the references to the image of the mother as the effective symbolisms that contribute to the comprehensive development of children. The Little Simon as an expression of

Initial Education provides care from pregnancy to six years of age. This education is operationalized through formal and non-conventional pedagogical care: Daily Care Multihomes and Nursery Homes. All this combines the importance of early education as a factor of human development, since the period from birth to three years is a forgotten or neglected period in the family, social and educational environment because it is considered that the child has little to learn. in this stage.

Caregiver mothers play an important role as agents that favor the child’s skills for her daily life; they are mediators in these unconventional care scenarios and their interaction with the child promotes learning effectively. Children begin to be social subjects of rights, above all because of the laws (LOPNA) that make children the protagonist, and the responsibility for protecting the child falls on the State, the family, the community and the children and adolescents themselves.

In this sense, it is committed to an affective subject against forms of mistreatment, discrimination, which considers the capacities to feel and think; That is why we believe that in addition to the four fundamental learnings: “learning to be”, “learning to know”, “learning to do”, “learning to live together”, of the CBN in accordance with the curricular model, it is convenient to propose another learning: learning to feel and in a kind of return to the sensitive, the sensible, looking for typical traits of man, who in addition to being sapiens, is demens, loquens and amans.

In the affective CBN, feelings remain in an ancillary place in the transverse axis “values”; Today, just like yesterday, feelings are attached to ethical postures. Héller (1999, p. 7) tells us that in “Antiquity, feeling was fundamentally a question of ethics, and the analysis of feelings was always subordinated to the analysis of virtues.” The most virtuous man was the most citizen.

Here we take the view of Héller (1999, p. 15) that “Feeling means being involved in something”. That implication can be another person, a concept, a situation, another feeling; involvement can be negative or positive, direct or indirect, active or reactive. Feelings are an expression that is at the same time information about our face, gestures, tone of voice, behavior of another, his mood, his relationship with the other, etc.: “We know that the other is just as Me as we are, we recognize ourselves ourselves in the Other… it is a mirror in which we contemplate ourselves”. (p.75).

From the anthropological point of view, affects are “residues” of an instinctual act, they are expressive, communicative; their expressions are “signs for the other and signs whose meaning can be interpreted without the need for clues”. (p.95). It is for this reason that “feeling” is considered important as a dimension of learning in the CBN: sensitivity also leads to a situation of alterity, of closeness in all spaces of the school institution.

Man, living in society, needs the other; he loves, he relates to another in the affective search for recognition and mutual acceptance. The other is accepted by superimposing the “we” on the “I”. The school conceived from a rational point of view has hardly insisted on the intersubjectivities that are handled within it, on how students share and establish gestures of solidarity in certain situations. It could be said that proxemia in school is expressed by how it is taught to feel or not to feel. According to these approaches, we must ask ourselves about the type of teacher and the type of student who wants to be trained in the expression and experimentation of feeling. The problematization of teacher training that must take on the challenge of curricular transformation must be in line not only with educational theories, but also with the challenges imposed by the contemporary dynamics of the various contexts.

In the vision of the country that you want to build, you must respond to the demands of a society that is increasingly exposed to scientific and technological processes, to which the teacher must respond paradoxically because while managing the precepts of globalization, for example , there is another reality that is manifested in poverty rates that emphasizes the contradictory nature of opportunities.

We consider that if the reform of the first level of Basic Education (Preschool) covers conventional and non-conventional contexts, due to the wide spectrum that is going to be given to child care, the training of these teachers should be accompanied by these non-school forms , nor academic, that is, the inclusion of the family that will account for the habitus in which the child grows and socializes in order to better understand their learning processes.

Before we have made reference to a family education, since each n

The child carries a family history, full of beliefs, daily rituals, values, personal positions, imaginaries, desires, affection or disaffection, etc., to which the child is inextricably connected. Each family has a culture worthy of being valued in learning scenarios, in which it can be legitimized as valid for the effects of diversity and cultural differences, especially if we take into account the indigenous groups to which education is also provided. bilingual in their native language.

The borders between both roles of women in the education of the child simply merge: the symbolism of the mother weighs heavily in the process of socialization and learning; The fundamental thing is that mother-son, teacher-student relationships are mediated by affection and understanding as a primordial and profound relationship. As an archetypal force, the image of the mother corresponds to the teacher, then in the classroom, the mother as a symbol of transformation is projected in the figure of protection and shelter (“maternal womb”) has that symbolism: “the child’s word ma-ma (maternal breast) is repeated in all possible languages” Jung (1971, p. 263) tells us in his work Symbols of transformation when he refers to the symbolism of the mother.

The experience of breastfeeding is universally considered as a determining factor in the life of man. There the bodies converge in a relationship of otherness: the mother represents a body as a nurturing image that makes her discover the world and feel secluded in it. The body is the place of varied languages: gestural, mimic, graphic, plastic, symbolic. It is the meeting place, where a certain way of being is inscribed, a cultural way of being, it accounts for us, just as we are.

The care in the daily care homes, the cradles and other non-conventional dependencies has been delegated to the caring mothers, which indicates that the concept of care has implicit the affective relationships in the practice of upbringing at the same time that they guide in the acquisition of habits, as well as in the conscious mediation of the learning that may take place.

The transition from home to preschool follows a common thread represented by the mother-teacher; In the meantime, socialization processes take place and the child is introduced into a social and cultural world of new habits and new relationships with his environment that will cause changes in his daily life. The child begins to be more independent, but the perception of the mother’s affect does not disappear, but is transitory due to the different experiences that are lived at home.

The importance of initial education shows that caring for children from the maternal stage must make sense not only because of a welfare vision of the State, but also because it has repercussions beyond that of welcoming the family institution as the background from which to promote a subject of aesthetic characteristics that can be understood in a relationship of solidarity and sensitivity. For this reason, family education should take into consideration family and community experiences where dialogic relationships, civic responsibility, parenting and playful relationships are established, etc.

This vision then goes through considering that the environment of Initial Education cannot be circumscribed to the school space of the classroom, because if the family and the community are taken into account, the spectrum becomes flexible by opening up to cultural possibilities and other community actors of mediation. All these agents come together for training that is not precisely academic, but environments that collect the imaginary, intimacy, cultural and emotional baggage when the child discovers her life environment.

It should be kept in mind, according to Moreno (2003, p. 95), that the structure of the popular Venezuelan family is made up of a dyad, a binomial:

as a relational knot that stands on itself and compensates for itself. It does not need anything else to live and subsist as such. This is a complete and seamless structure. A binomial structure, not triangular.

It is through the home-family-mother-child continuum that the sentimental line can become epistemological options to address the educational fact. We believe that the attention of the State and the school to the family would become a triangle to assist a caring and affectionate citizen who contributes to the development of his country.


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