Parents Being First Teachers
In loco parentis is the perfect phrase to describe the teacher’s role in the classroom and the responsibility they have towards their students. Young children spend many hours in the classroom – an atmosphere created primarily for learning, teaching, and socializing – and many more hours in the home – a different learning atmosphere inhabited largely by family members and, sometimes, friends. In a bygone era, the teacher’s role was seen as sacred and their knowledge as unquestionable, in some cases; given that a majority of the pre-baby boomer population may have been uneducated, it was felt that their knowledge was not like the teacher’s and therefore they trusted their children over to the teacher, largely adopting a tendency to support the teacher in their decisions and judgments (naturally this is a generalization of that era and its social perspectives.)
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Nicholas M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Nowadays, given the higher education and different life experiences of parents, the role of the teacher has shifted, as has the parent’s discernment of their child’s development: parents are more educated and confident than their ancestors once were and, therefore, less trusting of strangers to educate their children. Unfortunately, this has created somewhat of unspoken friction between teachers and parents; both trying to educate their students/children in the most effective manner possible.
Therefore the greatest role a parent can play in their child’s education nowadays is that of a collaborator and assistant. In many cases, if parents simply do not wish for a stranger – or institution – to educate their child, then they would simply home school them. However for those parents who wish not to take this drastic leap, they can either continue fuelling the fire of the “negative teacher” stereotype – by continually putting themselves between their child and the teacher by challenging the teacher’s methods – or try to alleviate their child’s confusion and involvement in the teacher-parent conflict by acting rather as a mediator; someone who can assist their child with homework and schoolwork, as well as general life lessons, while delivering understandable, non-threatening arguments when they feel the teacher may not be right on the mark (or more precisely, presenting their child with an alternative method to looking at ideas presented in class if they feel the teacher’s explanation to be insufficient.)
Exposure to Teachnology
Another subject which is taking precedence in the discussion of parents and their children’s education nowadays is that of exposure to technology and social media. While it is true that younger people are increasingly exposed to excessive amounts of technology and social media, it need not always be counterproductive. Excessive exposure to these mediums – and some of their unfavorable content – unfortunately bears the consequence of depriving young people of intellectual stimulation and may carry negative effects on the brain’s capacity to reason and reflect thoroughly as time passes. However, whether we as teachers are in favor of it or not, young people are simply going to continue using technology; phones, tablets, computers and the like. Therefore here we have two options open to us: one is to make sure that we, as parents, are controlling the amount of time our children spend exposed to these mediums and the other is to monitor the content they are viewing (by which I mean encouraging our children to favor educational content rather than stagnant, sedative content.) Trying to prevent children from using technology may seem like a losing battle for parents, and in some cases a simply erroneous act, therefore parents need to assure themselves that their children are using the medium to its full potential.
Because we tend to think primarily of the classroom and the scholastic atmosphere when we think of the word “education”, this may cause us to forget that we educate our children every single day simply by talking to them, talking in front of them and interacting with others in front of them.
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Therefore the role of the parent is one of the most pivotal and should be executed responsibly: parents need to remember that they are role models to their children; there is little sense in scolding one’s children for demonstrating behavior that they pick up from the person who is scolding them (this distinctly reflects the old saying of “do as I say, not as I do”.) It is universally understood that children, given their inexperience and virtue, possess an unrivaled curiosity and, therefore, act like sponges when it comes to learning new language, behaviors, content, sounds, and feelings, to name only a few. Therefore by exposing our children to the best models possible and assuring them that they can turn to us – as parents – to help them see a different point of view, we are only benefiting them and assuring a strong and positive role as a parent in their education.
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