If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself! Building Parental involvement is of utmost importance today. Learn how to make parents your partners in remote teaching!
School closures have been hard for students, and harder yet for parents. From coping with anxious teenagers, to facilitating the logistics of online schooling at home, parents have, in many ways, doubled up as teachers. Moreover, with friends and familiar faces nowhere in sight, and being cooped up at home with nowhere to play, primary students are struggling in their own ways. How can we, as educators, build stronger partnerships with parents, and help students emerge socially and emotionally resilient on the other side of the lockdown.
•How to help students cope with Social and Emotional struggles in this period?
Drastically increased screen time, confinement to homes and the absence of social interaction is making it difficult for students to receive the kind of Social and Emotional Learning they require. The lockdown, though unfortunate, can be utilised as an opportunity for emphasising on self reflection and emotional development of children by establishing a heart-head connect. It is important to remind parents and students to prioritise emotional health at this time of difficulty as opposed to crumbling under academic pressure. It also becomes essential for parents to understand how to differentiate between active and passive screen time so as to eliminate hindrances to social and emotional development. Reading, online classes, webinars, watching documentaries and consumption of other informative content constitutes Active Screen Time whereas, consuming irrelevant content which does not boost productivity, such as watching television, playing video games, hours of unnecessary net surfing etc. constitutes Passive Screen Time. Parents need to make an effort to monitor and moderate their kids’ passive screen time.
- How to assuage Parental anxieties about online learning?
It is absolutely essential to maintain full transparency with parents at all times and to be on the same page with them about everything happening in online classes. This is where virtual parent- teacher meetings and feedback mechanisms come into play. Direct communication with parents needs to be established and along with that, an effective feedback mechanism needs to be put in place for parents to express their concerns, suggestions and inputs. Parents should feel free to walk up to teachers for any kid of help or guidance regarding anything. In order to overcome technical challenges faced by parents and for further building parental involvement, induction programs may be conducted in order to introduce them to the online tools being used. Any technical support required by parents should be readily available by a well equipped technical team to ensure quick resolution of problems. Parents should be reminded that they need not replace teachers and ignore other household responsibilities to accompany their children at all times. Parents too, should be empowered to look after their mental health.
- How to promote stronger relationships between students-teachers-parents?
An open school culture may be built in order to ensure stronger relationships between students-teachers-parents. Orientations may be conducted which aim at educating parents about handling teenagers, parents may be encouraged to interact with one another and create groups in order to share their best practices for handling their teens. Most importantly, a safe space must be created and students should be made comfortable enough to share even their deepest emotions. No topic shall be a taboo in school to ensure students don’t hesitate while opening up. Students should be provided with an outlet to vent out their growing confusion and angst and seek guidance from their well wishers- teachers and parents. A separate class altogether can be added to the curriculum which particularly aims at imparting emotional knowledge and emphasise on teaching students life skills they may require in the real world ahead. The school can even create groups or blogs to strengthen the partnership among stakeholders and initiate conversations and discussions on all that needs their attention. For more tips on how educators can make parents more effectively involved in learning in the current scenario read our post:
- How to assist parents and students in the current situation to make it better for them?
The lockdown has posed a serious challenge to the emotional health of students and parents who were already going through a phase where they were finding it difficult to understand one another and are now bound to each other 24/7. Educators can step in over here in order to make things easier for parents and students. This can be done in many ways, one of which is- inviting parents online to discuss how to handle their fears and anxieties during this pandemic, discussing with them the opportunity to effectively impart communication skills and relationship skills to their children and empowering the parents. Parents should be educated about the importance of Positive Strokes and Transactional Analysis. Both parents and students can be given assignments which aim at strengthening their bond and understanding, facilitate an exchange of positivity in their daily lives and helps in building parental involvement further. In addition, parents should be introduced to easily available resources online to enhance their knowledge such as podcasts, videos, documentaries, audiobooks on Audible, field trips, zoo trips and museum trips which can be taken at home on Waterford.Org etc. and any other informative material available online.
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