IELTSData Reading Passage 117 – The Concept of Childhood in Western Countries

IELTSData Reading Passage 117 – The Concept of Childhood in Western Countries

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13, which are based on the IELTSFever Academic IELTS Reading Test 63 Reading Passage The concept of childhood in western countries is below.

The Concept of Childhood in Western Countries

The history of childhood has been a topic of interest in social history since the highly influential 1960 book Centuries of Childhood, written by French historian Philippe Aries. He argued that “childhood” is a concept created by modern society.


{A} One of the most hotly debated issues in the history of childhood has been whether childhood is itself a recent invention. The historians Philippe Ares argued that in Western Europe during the Middle Ages (up to about the end of the fifteenth century) children were regarded as miniature adults, with all the intellect and personality that this implies. He scrutinized medieval pictures and diaries and found no distinction between children and adults as they shared similar leisure activities and often the same type of work. Aries, however, forsaken or despised. The idea of childhood is not to be confused with affection for children that particular nature which distinguishes the child from the adult, even the young adult.

{B} There is a long tradition of the children of the poor playing a functional role in contributing to the family income by working either inside or outside the home. In this sense, children are seen as useful. Back in the Middle Ages, children as young as 5 or 6 did important chores for their parents and from the sixteenth century, were often encouraged |( or forced) to leave the family by the age of 9 or 10 to work as servants for wealthier families or to be apprenticed to a trade.

{C} With industrialization in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a new demand for child labor was created, and, many children were forced to work for long hours, in mines, wo9rkshops, and factories. Social reformers began to question whether laboring long hours from an early age would harm children’s growing bodies. They began to recognize the potential of carrying out systematic studies to monitor how far these early deprivations might be affecting children’s development.

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{D} Gradually, the concerns of the reformers began to impact the working conditions of children. In Britain, the factory Act of 1833 signified the beginning of the legal protection of children from exploitation and was linked to the rise of schools for factory children. The worst forms of child exploitation were gradually eliminated, partly through factory reform but also through the influence of trade unions and economic changes during the nineteenth century which made some forms of child labor redundant. Childhood was increasingly seen as a time for play and education for all children not just for a privileged minority. Initiating children into work as useful children became less of a priority. As the age for starting full-time work was delayed, so childhood was increasingly understood as a more extended phase of dependency, development, and learning. even so, work continued to play a significant, if a less central role in children’s lives throughout the later nineteenth and twentieth century. And the useful child has become a controversial image during the first decade of the twenty-first century especially in the context of global concern about large numbers of the world’s children engaged in child labor.

{E} The Factory act of 1833 established half-time schools that allowed children to work and attend school. but in the 1840s, a large proportion of children never went to school, and if they did, they left by the age of 10 or 11. the situation was very different by the end of the nineteenth century in Britain. the school becomes central to images of a normal childhood.

{F}  Attending school was no longer a privilege and all children were expected to spend a significant part of their day in a classroom. By going to school, children’s lives were now separated from domestic life at home and from the adult world of work. The school became an institution dedicated to shaping the minds, behaviors, and morals of the young. Education dominated the management of children’s waking hours, not just through the hours spent in classrooms but through ‘home’ work, the growth of ‘after school activities, and the importance attached to parental involvement.

{G} Industrialization, urbanization, and mass schooling also set new challenges for those responsible for protecting children’s welfare and promoting their learning. Increasingly, children were being treated as a group with distinctive needs and they were organized into groups according to their age. For example, teachers needed to know what to expect of children in their classrooms, what kinds of instruction were appropriate for different age groups and how best to assess children’s progress. they also wanted tools that could enable them to sort and select children according to their abilities and potential.

IELTSData Reading Passage 117 – The Concept of Childhood in Western CountriesQuestions 1-7

Do the following statements agree with the information given in IELTSData Reading Passage 117 – The Concept of Childhood in Western Countries Passage?

Write your answers in boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet.

TRUE                       if the statement is true

FALSE                      if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN             if the information is not given in the passage

Question 1:- Aries pointed out that children did different types of work as adults during the Middle Age.

Question 2:- During the Middle Ages going to work necessarily meant children were unloved indicated by Aries.

Question 3:- Scientists think that overworked labor damages the health of young children.

Question 4:- The rise of trade unions majorly contributed to the protection of children from exploitation in the 19th century.

Question 5:- With the aid of half-time schools, most children went to school in the mid of 19 century.

Question 6:- In 20 century almost all children need to go to school on a full-time schedule.

Question 7:- Nowadays, children’s needs were much differentiated and categorized based on how old they are.

IELTSData Reading Passage 117 – The Concept of Childhood in Western Countries Questions 8-13

Answer the questions below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the IELTSData Reading Passage 117 – The Concept of Childhood in Western Countries passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 8-13 on your answer sheet.

Question 8:- What is the controversial topic that arises with the French historian Philippe Aries’s concept

Question 9:- What image for children did Aries believe to be like in Western Europe during the Middle Ages

Question 10:- What historical event generated the need for a great amount of child labor to work a long time in 18 and 19 century

Question 11:- What legal format initial the protection of children from exploitation in the 19th centenary

Question 12:- what the activities were more and more regarded as being preferable for almost all children time in 19th centenary

Question 13:- Where has been the central area for children to spend largely of their day as people’s expectation in modern society?

IELTSData Reading Passage 117 – The Concept of Childhood in Western Countries


(2) TRUE

(3) TRUE




(7) TRUE







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