“Effective parenting demands an appropriate mix of love and discipline. The role of teachers is another key factor in shaping a child. Parents and teachers need to seek opportunities for personal interaction, one to one conversation, reflection and mentoring to build students’ self-beliefs and value systems.”
-Mr. Ashok K. Pandey in his foreword in Sonal Ahuja’s ‘Overcoming Parenting Myths’.
Education, a three-dimensional picture
If we consider education as a three-dimensional picture, then the child is the first dimension, teacher the second and parent is the third dimension which makes this picture a pulsating reality. Every school, aiming to work tirelessly for holistic development of the learners, needs to take all the stakeholders on board.
21st century schools, with a well-defined vision for the future, have realized that the parents and teachers need to work in complete harmony to bring the best learning experience for the child.
Today, the teaching process is more innovative, enriched and is supported by technology which was not the case earlier. It is, therefore, the need of the hour that parents, the school and society, collaborate and contribute to the overall development of the children.
Child protection is also becoming a great challenge for both teachers and parents. Schools can lend a helping hand by empowering the parents to understand how to teach the children to protect themselves in vulnerable situations. Child Protection sessions, workshops, conferences and parenting sessions really go a long way in making the parents understand the needs expectations and vision of the school.
What else can school do?
Here are some ways in which these important pillars of child development can come together.
Parent Teacher Associations: Cement the bond
When the school’s Management Committee opens the doors for the Parent Teacher Association, this effectively brings improvement in the functioning of the school and builds a trust factor in the heart of the parents. The parents are expert professionals in their own fields and they also know a lot which can be helpful for the working of the institution.
School Management Committees: A Multi-pronged approach
The school makes a database of parents from nursery to class 12th and lists out the professions of the parents. This database has all the details ranging from the names, phone numbers, professions and family history [in case of separation or family feud]. This not only gives the school a better understanding of the parental community but also enables it to take the help of professionals like doctors, child specialists, lecturers, teachers, lawyers among others working in other organizations. The instance of parents volunteering to do free health checkups and holding career guidance sessions in the school are examples in itself.
Connecting the dots: Using Technology
If the school wishes to bridge the gap between teachers and parents, there are not one but many ways which can help in realizing this dream. Earlier circulars were sent to parents to inform them about holidays, exams and report card distribution dates but now maintaining a day-to-day connection with the parents has become very easy by taking the help of technology. Right from the onset teachers can create WhatsApp groups where in all the parents are given a specific time to interact and a set of rules so that the group functions professionally. Making such groups has helped both the teachers and parents very effectively.
Then the next method is to make a group of email ids to send mails to parents which is more official and authentic. These group mails can be a great help in documentation and at the same time enabling the parents to be in touch with each other through mails.
Sending SMSs is another simple way to connect with the parents. A lot of schools are using almost all these methods. Although there are some apprehensions teachers may have about sharing their numbers with parents, but the schools who have been using this technique have been able to work through this.
Parent’s Day at School: Assured Parents
One of the best practices being followed by leading schools in Delhi is organizing Parent’s Day at school every week. Parents of two children per class are invited to be in the classrooms for the day to observe the teaching methodology of the school. Feedback from parents is taken and interaction between the parents and the head ensures that all steps are taken to improve the service of the school. Parents go home with unprecedented assurance in their hearts that their ward is in safe hands.
With such steps in place, we can truly conquer the nuances of bringing up a successful generation of students in the 21st Century.
Face to face workshops, conferences and Art of Parenting sessions are the best way to guide the parents who have not been able to gain an insight into parenting due to their commitments in life. The need of the hour is learning how to tackle this generation which is adept at handling technology from a very young age. Involving grandparents is another way to teach values and involving the senior generation in the task of nation building. Celebrating Grandparent’s Day, inviting senior citizens for story narration and visiting Old age homes are some activities which can enrich the teaching learning process.
Bringing up children is a challenging task, but one that can be made easier with a supportive environment all around. When teachers and parents come together, they can create a generation of well-rounded and accomplished individuals. Thus, rather than thinking of it as goal to achieve from different sides of the table, why not think of it as being on the same side?
Rather than disregarding each other’s point of view, parents and teachers can rely on listening to one another and understand where each side is coming from. Things that may seem challenging, like an outline of what kind of help a teacher wants from a parent, or a parent specifying what the school needs to do to accommodate a child’s special needs, aren’t always as difficult as they appear. The final goal is the same for the parents, teachers and the school which is helping kids be responsible, safe and successful. That fact should never be lost sight of, and it would a long way in cementing strong parent-teacher relationships everywhere.
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