The Parent-Teacher Partnership – Educator’s Advice

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Education and technology have evolved rapidly over the years, creating areas that demand both parents and teachers attention for the benefit of the students. Several studies have indicated that an open and healthy relationship between teachers and parents improve the outcomes for students. However, certain factors continue to be concerns, meriting timely and frequent dialogues.

Topping the list of some of these concerns are the widespread usage of social media, the combination of internet access and gadget proliferation and the blurring of boundaries where students meet people outside their communities.

These changes call for re-drawing the invisible lines of demarcation. In this, there is a need for defining roles of sharing responsibilities and strengthening the parent-teacher partnership, while never losing sight of the student’s welfare.

Addressing questions ranging from how much should parents be involved in children’s social lives, or the impact of the home environment, AM Taleem speaks to senior educators for their advice.

The first edition of this two-part series focuses on the impact of social media, the home environment, and lessons beyond the classrooms.

Yvonne Donoghue

Essential Social
Social media has fundamentally changed the way people communicate, more so in the case of the younger generation. “Social and the related communication skills are relative to the setting. Balancing the suitability of different types of communication in the variety of settings possible is an act that adult and children alike are learning in our present society,” reminded Yvonne Donoghue, Head of Inclusion, Swiss International School.

Even as social media platforms have added controls to safeguard children from cyber abuse of any kind, in many ways, it is still the Wild West in the digital world. Aslam Khan, the principal of New Indian Model School emphasized that parents need to monitor their children’s activity. He explained that parents must guide children constantly to ensure they are not influenced by unhealthy trends that are at times presented as norms on social networking sites.

“It is very important to strike the right balance between being socially interactive with friends in real experiences as well as not being excluded from social networks, which is now a large factor of most children’s lives,” advised Laura Miller Head of Primary, Aspen Heights British School.

Of Morals & Ethics
In every society and culture, it is imperative to instill moral and ethical values in the younger generations. For long, this has been accepted as a joint responsibility for parents and teachers.

Reiterating this, Mr Khan said that both school and parents need to work with each other in order to get the desired results on this. “It starts with home and the school then carries it forward and makes sure that it is embedded in their lifestyle. It is a collective duty,” he said.

In a new world order however, where globalization is a clear reality, both Ms Miller and Ms Donoghue are of the opinion that schools have to play a much more proactive role. It is a school’s duty to turn students into global citizens. Parents must engage teachers and school authorities to know more than what is being taught in the classroom or how a curriculum and additional activities contribute in the overall development of the child. This should be a key deciding factor while choosing a school.

The Home Effect
One of the oldest debates in a student’s life is how much of an authority’s involvement, parent or teacher, is too much involvement.

A popular answer to this is while it is very important for parents to know about their children’s activities, it is also necessary for children to make their own choices.

“Parent must show interest in their children’s learning in order to motivate them but they should also encourage them to be independent learners and try to achieve their very best,” said Ms Miller, adding, “it is essential for schools and families to work together in order to look after the children’s wellbeing.”

Creating a positive home environment that reinforces positive ideas within children is hence a critical component. Ms Donoghue pointed out that parents need to give confidence to their children so that children can open up about any social pressure, distress, isolation that may need immediate attention. “At the same time, it is very important for parents to draw boundaries and enable their children to make independent decisions and reflect upon their learning.”

Aslam Khan

How children are treated at home has a great reflection on how they perform and behave in school. “Parents and schools both have to be aware. We need to train our children in such a way that they use all tools of new age constructively,” said Mr Khan.

In addition to these broader questions, there are specific areas to consider in context to schools, in order to ensure that the parent-teacher partnership delivers its best. Watch this space to know more.

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