Educating Parents About Education

In too many classrooms in America, parents are often viewed as the adversaries of teachers. While this isn’t true for every school district, even one is too many. The parent-teacher relationship is just one of the many factors that complicate our educational system, and it’s a prime example. Why is this relationship such a variable? The parent’s personal experience with education probably tops the list, but how the culture of the school accepts and relates to parents is a close second. Of course, every parent’s number one concern will be: “Is my child getting a proper education to compete and thrive in our world?”

Things Have Changed

In the past, communication has always been a key factor in bringing teachers and parents together. Today, we might add transparency as a key factor in parents’ understanding of what goes on at school.

The one thing most Americans have in common is an experience with our education system. As a result, almost everyone has an opinion on what is right and, even often more vocalized, what is wrong with the system.

What complicates these views further is the fact that most of us were educated by teachers who employed 20th century pedagogy and methodology, which means that the 20th century is the basis of our educational experience. Since we are now almost halfway through the second decade of the 21st century, we need to get everyone up to speed. This requires educating parents about the education of their children. For example:

  • No longer can a teacher’s quality be judged by the amount of homework assigned.
  • Quiet and complacent kids are not necessarily signs of students engaged in learning.
  • The teacher’s content expertise should no longer be the controlling or limiting factor in a student’s education.
  • We do not need rows of desks to ensure attention.
  • All learning is not limited to the classroom.

We are struggling today to bring teachers up to speed with all of the effects that result from our living in a technology-driven society. It has had a profound effect on many educators’ pedagogy, methodology, and education philosophy. Education is a conservative institution that is slow to change, but make no mistake — changes are occurring. As big of a struggle as it may be to affect the mindset of educators while they model and share those changes with their students, we must recognize that parents are left almost entirely out of the process.

Keeping Parents Informed

If we don’t want an adversarial relationship with parents, we need to educate them about the education of their children. Technology provides a number of methods for keeping parents informed. Of course, the most effective way of all is a face-to-face meeting. In the past, Parents Night or Back to School Night was the standard way of informing parents about the teachers’ expectations. It was one night set aside for parents to check out the mean teacher they had heard so much about at dinner. We probably need to make that a more collaborative process. These nights could be more effective if we allowed parents to pose sessions on topics that they had an interest in. Teachers could pose topics that they thought parents should be aware of. Back to School Night could be just that — a night to learn about topics relevant to education in the 21st century. Sessions could be a hybrid form of the edcamp model.

A class website could be most helpful in creating transparency. Parents could access it at any time to see what is currently going on in class. Of course, this impacts a teacher as another set of things to do, so we should expect a great deal of support from the district in order for teachers to accomplish this. Effective websites often result in parent support, as well as an appreciation for seeing their child’s work being modeled online. Kids respond differently as well, since they now have a voice and an audience that includes their parents.

There are apps like Remind that allow teachers to communicate via text to parents without revealing the phone numbers of the teacher or parent. Communication of both good and bad news can happen instantaneously in a medium that many people are familiar with. A text doesn’t take two days to go through the mail to be possibly swiped from the mailbox by a mail-notice-savvy student.

Teachers can preserve students’ work in digital files or portfolios. These can be instantly shared with parents. Grades on a report card are only subjective promises of potential, while the portfolio shows the actual work, which is proof of achievement and hopefully an example of mastery.

Parent Education Starts With Us

Today, educators are doing many things that are not in the education experiences of parents or teachers. We can’t expect parents to understand these new dynamics of education if they aren’t taught about them. Age may produce wisdom, but relevance needs to be worked on every day. In addition to the load that teachers already carry, parent education needs to somehow become a priority. If we want our kids’ education to last, they will need models that both teachers and parents can provide. And we have to work harder at keeping parents in the loop.

How do you keep parents informed about and involved in what happens in the classroom?

Original article: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/educating-parents-about-education-tom-whitby

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Teamwork and reflective practice in the family.

Imagine a company is going through some economic challenges and it comes to the point that the only way to survive is to make some immediate changes. So the Chief Executive Officer gets all the ten managers together for a meeting. You happen to be one of the managers.

 

One by one, he comes down the line asking what could be done to have this company, and by extension jobs saved. After the ninth manager, here comes your turn. With all eyes on you, the question is asked: “What can we do to save this company and your job?”

 

With a confident smile on your face you blurt out: “I have absolutely no idea!”

 

Now, if you were the last one that the company was depending on to come up with a good idea, then, there goes the jobs and the many lives depending on the employee.

 

Hi, my name is Allick, and I’m the Behaviourist Buy, and today I want to talk about actively thinking about the needs of the family as it pertains to building a stronger, better team.

So what are we talking about here?

 

There comes a time, when a parent, husband or wife, need to reflect on the direction the family is heading, and what can be done to ensure the family see the success it deserves.

Now this approach of becoming a reflective practitioner can help solve most, if not all major problems a family may have.  The following are some steps you can take to help you become more reflective of issues affecting the family and how to solve them:

 

Step 1: Identifying the problem.

An adult may say to a child: “You never listen to me when I say go cleanup your room.” And this is normally followed by some kind of argument, back and forth. Now, most times the conflict would have been averted if the adult had said something differently. What I mean here is that if the adult was more specific in what the child appears to not be doing, this may reduce the chance of a conflict escalating.

 

So the next time you are having a disagreement with your child, try to be specific.  For example, if you want them to cleanup their room, let them know what is to be done.  So we are looking at things like remove clothing and books from the floor and pack them in their respective cupboards, dust writing desk, place shoes under bed, side by side in a straight line.

 

Step 2: Try to see the problem as though you were the other person.

This means, that you must walk in their shoes, as it were. That would mean, that you look at the named issue, and try to see if it would really be considered a problem for all persons.

 

Let say, again, it has to do with cleaning up their room after playtime. You as the adult may look at the entire room and say it is untidy. But, could you see, that for a child, it may be that they can still get to bed and sleep; at least if they arch their body just right, they can actually fall asleep between the rubble. And, that is a reason why they may not see an untidy room as a problem.

 

Step 3: Think in terms that the child may not be previously aware of the behaviour we are calling to their attention.

The child may see for instance the room with a number of stuff thrown about, but a question that could be ask is: Are they aware of the reasons for keeping their room clean? Don’t take for granted that they know.

 

Why?

 

Because they are 10 years old or 12 years old or because they are teenagers?

 

Sometimes what can happen is that we look at the child’s physical structure and make a determination, that cognitively or their ability to reason, should be commensurate with how they look. And that’s, not always the way to determine knowledge.

 

Step 4: How could I modified the child’s behavior?

It is often stated that a picture can paint 1000 words. This means that at times you may have to show them a picture of what behaviours you are expecting them to engage.

 

Video content is something that can keep the interest of a child. So it may be that you show them someone engaging in the behavior you want them to also engage in.

 

At times you may have to tell a story from your experience.  For example, when you found as a child a scorpion in your untidy room (or something else with a little shock factor). Let them know how you felt scared and what you decided to do after that experience (hopefully it was to start keeping your room tidy!).

 

You may need to also build, or purchase cupboards for them to pack away their stuff. Also, teach your children how to label sections of the room, so that they will know exactly what goes where.

 

Step 5: Think about whether you are showing reasonableness or patients.

Sometimes you may want a particular behavior to stop immediately. Fidgeting for instance or speaking out of turn might be one of them.

 

Or once more, for them to clean up their room.

 

But it is important to think about the age group of the child, and the length of time they may have taken to develop this unwanted behaviour.  As such, it may also take some time to reverse, or learn different behaviours; or the more positive ones.

 

It is important to note that there are some behaviors that are simply age specific. And so, more than likely, with proper guidance or appropriate discipline, the child will grow out of this unwanted behaviour.  Please understand that this will also take time, patients and reasonableness on your part as the adult.  In so doing, you will help the child to successfully navigate through this time.

 

So, you are a good manager, who can come up with how to solve family problems.  Especially with how you interact with a child when there is a perceived problem. Follow these five steps and you’ll be fine.

 

Well, that’s all for now. This is Allick. Hope you learned something.

 

See you next time.

 

Essential things to know about physical child abuse (Script)

Child abuse is the mistreatment of a child or young person under the age of what is considered to be an adult. In a number of countries a person might be considered a minor if they are under the age of 18. 

Hi, my name is Allick, and I’m The Behaviourist Guy, and today I want to talk about physical child abuse.

 Physical child abuse seems to be all over the news these days.

I want you to imagine this story, and I am telling you this because when you hear of it you can make your own judgment.

 So it goes like this, a boy’s father looks through the window and see his son forcing the face of his pet dog into a puddle of water to drink. His son is about eight years old, the dog is a puppy just a couple months older. In the child’s mind, this seems to be no malice. He simply wants his dog to drink the water, because he thinks it is thirsty.

His father runs out of the house after witnessing what was happening outside.

 Pulls the puppy away from his sons hand and drags the boy by his shirt collar. He shakes him a couple times. Then ask, “What is wrong with you, are you stupid?”

 The boy dropped his chin. The father, not getting an answer pulls his son back to the area where the puddle of water was and pushes his son’s head into the water, as he screams at him, “Why don’t you drink, you want to drink now, don’t you?”

 Do you think the father was being physically abusive to the child?

 Now, some persons may say, the father is simply punishing his son for doing a bad deed. They may even see it as a form of discipline.

So while physical abuse may be seen as hitting, punching, kicking, shaking, not all people will agree with these being physical abuse. A matter of fact, some people accept some of these as normal or acceptable part of child rearing.

“Surveys of parents for example, show that 90% use physical punishment on their children,” states the book Family Violence Across the Lifespan.

Murray Straus, he died in 2016, was a professor of sociology and he said: “Spanking is harmful for two reasons. First, it legitimizes violence… Condoning the use of violence as a way to deal with frustration and settle disputes. Second, the implicit message of acceptance contributes to violence in other aspects of society.” He called this a “cultural spillover”.

 Research supports this perspective that spanking is positively correlated to “forms of family violence, including sibling abuse and spouse assault”.

 While official estimates indicate that child physical abuse is increasing, in a number of countries, there is a lack of definitional consensus.

 Characteristics Of Victims

Age: research findings suggest that a little over 50% of all physical child abuse takes place when the child is between 0 to 5 years old.

 Gender: research findings are mixed with some showing a 50% for both males and 50% for females.

 Consequences Of Physical Child Abuse

Children who experience physical child abuse often present with medical complications such as injuries to the hand and legs, even head and abdomen.

And then there is a number of behavioral problems such as aggression, fighting at schools and on the streets. These behavioral problems might even manifest themselves in noncompliance to authority, oppositional defiance or conduct disorder and in some cases may lead to antisocial personality disorder.

And there might be a number of cognitive difficulties as well, where, because of feeling of inadequacy, the child may not be motivated to engage school task. As such, areas such as mathematics and language skills might be deficit.

 What You Can Do.

Many times a child may come to you and disclose that they are physically abused, other times it will be evident by means of their behaviors. Once they come to you it is important that you believe the child. This is not a time to second-guess whether or not the child was actually physically abused. But in believing the child, you place yourself in a better position to now listen to what the child has to say to you. And that places you in a better position to offer help.

Another thing you want to do is to be as calm as possible. Sometimes a child may role play or draw a picture depicting the physical violence or physical abuse and it may be upsetting, but try to be as calm as possible. The reason is, if you display shock, panic or disbelief, the child may close in and not continue telling you what happened.

Also, do not be afraid to report all cases of physical child abuse as the relevant authority will determine whether or not the child was actually abused. In a number of situations, reporting physical child abuse to the police, health centers and hospitals, may not even require you leaving your name or a telephone contact.

 So let’s protect our children

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO3zxJipjE0nFe5Bq_ITWVg/videos

 

Essential things to know about physical child abuse

Physical child abuse is to be taken seriously, as an abused child is a traumatized child. And so, while physical child abuse can be seen on the body of the child, it is also inflicted mentally. As a result the child is therefore affected emotionally and behaviorally. What is physical child abuse? Who is affected? What can we do to assist a child experiencing physical child abuse? Listen as I discuss the answers to these and other questions in the video.

Building relationships between parents and teachers: Megan Olivia Hall at TEDxBurnsvilleED

TEDx Talks

Megan Olivia Hall teaches science and service at Open World Learning Community, an intentionally small Expeditionary Learning school in Saint Paul Public Schools. She founded Open’s first Advanced Placement program, recruiting students from all walks of life to college prep classes. She is a leader in character education, providing professional development, curriculum and mentorship. In 2013, Hall was named Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

Childhood experiences: Creating a classroom at home.

Children never stop learning, therefore the experiences we expose them too should be positive educational ones. The home and the classroom should share some vital similarities. In this way, the child can feel safe, have continuity in expectation and be able to use similar positive behaviors in both settings. I truly believe that behavior modification cannot take place in isolation and be successful; as such, both parents and teachers must work collaboratively to assure the best possible teaching and learning experience for the child.

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Ten Parenting Practices That Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem

by

After jumping down from a  tree at the park my son stood up, did a little victory dance and then ran off to play on an obstacle course. It’s a pretty tricky course that requires balance, agility and coordination. It looked like it would take him a while to have it mastered.

Sure enough my son struggled for a while. I saw him fall and get stuck many times but eventually he completed the course.Then he came running to tell me about his adventures. He was excited, recalling many details, like a rope that caught his shoe and a scary moment when he struggled to clip the safety.  But one thing he said stood out to me the most.
“I almost fell down like a hundred times mom, and then I finally figured out the whole thing. It was kind of tough. But it was awesome!” 

“I saw you!” I told him smiling. It was nice to see this budding confidence coming through, especially because in the toddler years, he was often very frustrated when things didn’t really go his way.

Self-Esteem: It’s Important For Healthy Development

Children with positive self-esteem tend to recognize their abilities and feel proud about what they are able to. When a child’s self-esteem is positive and well balanced, they aren’t afraid of making mistakes because they recognize within themselves the ability to try again (or to quit because it feels right to do so).  Most of all, they are able to manage worries,  frustrations and the learning process pretty well. Especially when parents are able to encourage and support them along the way.

The way we parent and communicate with our children can certainly have an impact on their self-esteem. There are parenting practices we can strive towards that can help our children maintain (and boost) a positive sense of self.

Here are Ten parenting practices that promote healthy self-esteem:

1. Use Encouraging words: It’s tempting to shout out “You are amazing! You are so smart!” When you notice your child doing something well. But this puts all the focus on outcomes. Self-esteem is actually reinforced when children feel confident in their abilities, even when things are tough. Encouraging words help children stay the course. It might sound like:

  •  “You fell but you kept going.”
  • “You weren’t sure and then I saw you figure it out.”
  • “Not yet, it’s true, you haven’t been able to finish yet.”

2. Welcome boredom into your home: It’s really OK for kids to feel like they have nothing to do, and to feel like they are bored. When boredom shows up, children start to get creative. They tap into their inner resources, discover their interests and learn to rely on their own abilities.  Allow for plenty of (screen free) unstructured time for your child every day. Even better if you can get them outdoors!

3. Validate feelings without eliminating every obstacle: Every child will face struggles and challenges as they grow. It’s tempting to brush these off or to rescue our children to lessen their burden but this isn’t helpful at all. In fact not letting children face obstacles is worse.

Jane Nelsen D.Ed. and Author of the Positive Discipline Series reminds us of how important it is not to rescue our children from their struggles with this anecdote:

A little boy was watching a butterfly try to break out of the chrysalis. As he watched the butterfly struggle, he felt sorry for it. So he decided to help. He broke open the chrysalis and was so delighted to see the butterfly soar into the sky. But then he watched in horror as it fell to the ground, because the butterfly had not developed it’s muscles.

So, when your child is struggling, try to validate and listen. Have faith that your child will be able to feel a full range of emotions and get through their feelings. You can give them space or stay close and listen. If they are open to it, help problem solve. Just avoid rescuing or shutting down feelings.

4. Teach Self-Care skills: Children are very capable,  especially when we allow them to develop skills gradually. Without expectations that are set too high. Show your child how to care for their body, belongings and home. Allow your child to participate in tidying up the house, cleaning their rooms and helping with other life skills such as cooking, writing a shopping list and so on.  Self-esteem really starts with knowing you are able to care for yourself, so allow your child to be an activate participant in their care from the very start.

Related reading: Giant List of Self-Care Skills for Children 

5. Listen: Children need someone to listen to them so they know their voice matters. Strive to make time to be together each day so you can listen to your child talk about accomplishments, fears, worries, ideas and more.  A fun way to do this is to end each day with a game of Highs / Lows where you invite your child to tell you some of her favorite and least favorite moments of the day. You can take it a step forward and ask your child how they might change those least favorite moments if they had a do-over.

6. Acknowledge Worries: It’s pretty normal for children to have worries and anxieties. When a child feels like her worries are being understood she is better able to deal with them and move forward. So, try not to dismiss worries and instead acknowledge them. It might sound like “You aren’ t sure if you can do it? Did I understand you?” Or “This is really worrying you. Want to tell me more?” Talking about worries and feeling acknowledged is an opportunity for a child to find and use her inner resources as well.

7. Have Courage & Be Kind: Our children really are watching us and reflecting on the choices that we make. So face your own obstacles, fears and worries with courage. Be kind to yourself, don’t speak badly about your failures or general abilities. Highlight the good and how you worked things out.  Of course it’s ok to be authentic and admit defeat, but strive to do so with general compassion and kindness towards yourself.  I would encourage you to remember that what you are modeling makes a big impact on your child. You might think you are not good enough, but your child really does look up to you.

8.Welcome mistakes and imperfections: Sometimes we have to try, and try again. Chances are you and your child will both make many mistakes along the way. See these as opportunities to learn, to persevere or to know when to quit and move on. Each mistake can be a chance to learn something new, or at the very least to model what it takes to problem solve.

9. Spend time together: Play, fun and laughter are incredibly powerful ways to connect to your child’s heart and mind. Seize the opportunities that you have to enjoy each other. Children that feel connected to their parents feel good about themselves. (I know parenting is not all sunshine and rainbows  – there are many challenging moments but I cannot stress enough how important it is to make time for play and laughter. This practice has tremendous potential to reduce stress, misbehavior and increase your child’s well-being.

10. Use connected, positive discipline: When your child is having a hard time listening, following rules and not cooperating, skip blame and punishments. Focus on working together, on understanding the root of the problem, setting limits well and being present. A respectful, kind and clear approach to discipline helps your child feel secure, loved and understood. A great mix for growing up with a healthy and with balanced self-esteem.