An international consensus, especially during the epidemic, has shown that the dream of providing a quality developmental environment to children cannot be fulfilled unless parents and teachers work together for the benefit of children.
What constitutes the best experiences of childhood? The most common question asked on all of these platforms is one that believes in the fact that the first eight years of life will determine how eighty years will turn out. Most of the research that has been done to find the answer to this question has seen different effects on a child’s home and school before and after the epidemic. Since this virus has changed people’s attitudes in many ways, this relevant question is no exception.
An international consensus, especially during the epidemic, has shown that the dream of providing a quality developmental environment to children cannot be fulfilled unless parents and teachers work together for the benefit of children. This partnership is more important than ever if children need to be moved away from the deadly memories of the epidemic year. Qualitative and quantitative studies conducted on high achieving gifted children in Scandinavian countries including India, USA, European and Asian countries have shown that children thrive only when the academic and domestic climate mesh is found in schools with proper academic attitude and environment.
To bring this net into reality, it is essential to bring teachers and parents together as we move into normalcy. It sounds simple but the ground data paints a different picture. Even before the virus entered, pre-schools that have attempted parental partnership initiatives through parent volunteer programs often complain about the lack of parental encouragement and participation. Furthermore, when asked about the biggest challenges to partnership, teachers often point out the lack of trust and respect from parents.
Parents, on the other hand, complain that education is considered a business in India and they sometimes feel lost. In my professional life, thousands of parents have shared with me that they have been working for a long time only to finance their children’s education through highly established schools, but how they are still not sure whether their children are getting the best exposure through school. The constant increase in fees, lack of transparency on the part of schools and lack of communication are some of the epidemics that have created some additional challenges for the already existing annoying causes. Some key issues such as school reopening plans, fee payments, child safety and misconceptions about health are controversial issues that will grow into parent-teacher collaboration.
A ray of hope
The plague has certainly challenged the effectiveness of humankind at its core, but it has also exposed some of the undiscovered strengths of the human race. As families struggle to make ends meet and work from home, recognition of teachers’ efforts has skyrocketed. Studies over the past few months indicate a very positive trend – gratitude to teachers, confidence in their abilities and their invaluable role in the overall development of children has increased by leaps and bounds. Recently in Buenos Aires, families went to their verandah to thank not only the doctors and nurses but also the teachers.
This respect for the profession and the new support for teachers need to be capitalized on. It’s time to dump her and move on. This epidemic has brought us all into a global educational revolution. There may not be another moment in the history of mankind when parents have such an important understanding of the important role of teachers in building responsible citizens.
Before we miss this boat, here are some effective ways to capitalize on the emotions through which teachers and parents can collaborate.
1. Connected schools
Schools cannot and should not work in silos Schools that are connected to the outside world through technology and are consciously focused on building relationships with parents, policy makers and society are going to be game-changers under the education revolution. Some countries, such as the USA, call this system a driven-up school because they take advantage of the partnership to help students develop life skills that are most needed in today’s world. The most important way to build a strong partnership between parents and teachers is to develop connected schools that are open to contributions from each stakeholder.
2. Redefine the role of parents in education
A significant amount of research has shown that a well-designed curriculum failed to make an impact despite serious efforts, ignoring only the strength of the home-to-school connection. Before the onset of the epidemic, the notion of parental engagement was a marginal place in the main conversation about children’s education. Fortunately, the epidemic has changed this approach. Parents need time to be involved in curriculum development and implementation. Parents should be an integral part of the instructional core and should also be the primary contributor in defining the content.
3. Notice specific training for teachers and parents
Longitudinal studies from the Brookings Research Initiative in more than 50 countries indicate that teachers need to be trained on how to manage parent-child effects. Sometimes, parental involvement in the curriculum and distrust of technology becomes counterproductive to the partnership. Parents create a cooling effect on teachers, which causes them to stop using many new world techniques. Targeted training in EPTM management, how to avoid cooling effects from parents, and ways to win parental trust are some of the notable trainings that teachers need to play their part in the parent-teacher partnership.
Similarly, educating parents about case studies like pre-school in Ghana can help parents be the source of this cooling effect. A randomized controlled trial using longitudinal data in Ghana’s pre-schools found a significant improvement in student outcomes when parents believe in learning changes. In schools where curriculum changes have been linked to dubious practices from parents, the opposite has happened. Parental involvement was resisted in that case, and the children’s outcomes were worse than in the control group. Unfortunately, the final loser was the baby.
4. Platform for interacting
No relationship building can survive if there is a vacuum of the platform to connect. In order to accelerate the education of children on the other side of the epidemic, we need to bring our parent-teacher partnership from the margins to the center. All organizations in society need to be provided with a platform that becomes a breeding ground for trust, cooperation and respect. Listening to both sides of the story, conversations about life preparation without being limited to schooling, education as a tool for long-term recovery from the epidemic are some of the topics that these two organizations – parents and teachers – need to discuss together. Organizations, schools and governments can help by organizing meaningful seminars and conferences so that real voices can be heard.
Education is, of course, the epidemic but it is the seed through which we can grow stronger from the global crisis. The only precaution is to focus on providing an education system that is no longer obsolete or unnecessary – and rather develops on partnership and innovation for children’s learning continuity.