ERIC Number: ED368537
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Developing "Face and Heart" in the Time of the Fifth Sun: An Examination of Aztec Education.
This paper provides a general overview of Aztec education as it existed when the Spanish arrived in 1519. A brief history traces the rise of the Aztecs from lower-class squatters and mercenaries in the Valley of Mexico to the rulers of a loosely structured "empire" consisting of some 15 million people. Aztec society was highly stratified, but higher rank carried with it higher expectations of moral responsibility and correct conduct. The foundations of society were a religion that ensured the continued existence of the cosmos through the shedding of human blood, and warfare that provided both the blood of warriors and sacrificial victims. Aztec education aimed to promote socially appropriate behavior and instill core values such as self-control and courage in the face of death. Young children learned their parents' daily tasks, learned to tolerate hunger and discomfort, and were punished for inappropriate behavior. At ages 12-15, both boys and girls attended a formal school maintained by their kinship group, where they received religious and cultural education. From ages 15 to 20, the sons of commoners engaged in extensive military training; received instruction in history, religion, ritual, proper behavior, and music; and learned vocational skills from their fathers. The sons of the nobility attended temple schools, where they received an academically superior education, memorized vast quantities of historical and religious material, and learned to speak well. There were also instances of girls and non-noble boys attending temple schools to become scribes or priests. In short, Aztec education for young adolescents was mandatory, universal, and quite successful in achieving its aims. (SV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Aztec (People); Mexico
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 4-8, 1994).