“Some, as reported in this newspaper on Friday, are so demanding that they have been at loggerheads with schools and teachers over how their kids should be treated” (Mum And Dad Want To Know Best, Mr. Teo Xuanwei).
The trend of parents seeking help on how to raise their kids more effectively – as reported by Mr. Teo Xuanwei in the commentary “Mum And Dad Want To Know Best” (June 9, 2012) – is a positive one. It signals two constructive developments: first, groups of parents are more receptive to new parenting strategies, and are more willing to consider different methodologies to heighten levels of communication; second, the Ministry of Education (MOE) could potentially harness these energies during involvement, and encourage parents to pay progressively complementary roles in the education system.
The key is to get parents meaningfully engaged, if they desire, in the schools.
Strengthening And Developing Productive Relationships
As parents become hungrier for more information on parenting, and as their children begin to advance through the education system, they would become cognisant of their roles in the teaching-learning processes. There is an assortment of policies that could be considered to increase awareness: allowing parent-teacher meetings to go beyond discussions on scholastic performance per se; introducing focus group discussions for parents with common interests; having educators – through special sessions – explain aspects of the curriculum, and the need for nuanced disciplinary measures; allowing them to join their children in co-curricular activities or community service endeavours.
It is important for parents to recognise the importance of working closely with their teacher counterparts, instead of going against them every step of the way. Being more receptive to current pedagogies will be tremendously advantageous, and could help interested parents craft approaches back at home. If plausible, and if the manpower and resources permit, they could be extended to pre-school environments.
The idea is that these programmes would serve as an extension to the School Family Education (SFE) initiative run by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), since education features so heavily in the lives of their children. If parents faithfully embark on this journey with their children – in spite of their busy schedules – not only would they be able to create healthy learning environments within their households, but also make a myriad of academic challenges less daunting.
A version of this article was published in TODAY.