Friday, October 10, 2014

Mama: Feral Children

This is a scary movie, but this scene is great. It shows a child that was separated from society and spends several years alone in the jungle.

I. Discuss with a partner:

1) What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

2) Do you remember your first school? What do you remember?

3) How would you think someone's life would be if he/she were separated from society at his/her very early years? 

4) Could this person be reintegrated to society? What difficulties would they face?

5) Have you heard of the stories of Mowgli and Romulus & Reno*, who were raised by wolves? What do you know about them?

* In ancient mythology, Romulus and Remus were brothers who were raised by wolves and went on to become the founders of Rome. In Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Mowgli is a boy who lives in the wild and behaves like one of the animals. He is stronger and lives by a higher moral code than most human children.

II. Read the definition of Feral Children below and then discuss the questions:

feral child (also, colloquially, wild child) is a  child who has lived isolated from human contact from a very young age, and has no (or little) experience of human care, loving or social behavior, and crucially, of human language. Some feral children have been confined by people (usually their own parents); in some cases this abandonment was due to the parents’ rejection of a child’s severe intellectual or physical impairment. Feral children may have experienced severe  trauma before being abandoned or running away. Feral children are sometimes the subjects of folklore and legends, typically portrayed as having been brought up by animals.

Scientific Interest in Feral Children:
Feral children provide scientists an interesting view of humanity that no other person could provide. Feral children are devoid of acculturation, meaning they lack the basic social skills and communication skills that are naturally developed in a healthy child when they are surrounded by other people. More than anything else, however, feral children have changed the way scientists look at human language. Having never been exposed to human language, feral children do not speak. In fact, they have a severely impaired ability to learn language and inter human communication. This supports a hypothesis known as the Critical Period Theory. This hypothesis states that first language acquisition can only occur during a critical development period, when children are very young. 

Taken from the wonderful:

III. Share what you read, using your own words, and say whether you agree or disagree with the passage.

 IV. Watch the segment and discuss the questions that follow:

1. What happened to the children?

2. Which of the two girls are considered feral children?

3. Describe the younger sister's behavior.

4. Describe the older sister's behavior.

5. How different are they from each other? And what about  the rest of the girls of their own age?

6. Do you think they will ever be "normal" again? Explain it.

7. What should their caretakers do to make them behave more appropriately?

V. Web Search:

Visit the site below and choose one of the feral children's real stories and then report it to a partner. Explain why you chose that particular feral child.

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