By Gloria G. Salandanan
March 28, 2009, 8:24pm
A partnership between home and school is indeed formidable if characterized by genuine sharing and collaboration between parents and teachers. The parents have their children’s best interests at heart and there seems no limit to what they are willing to harness from their resources. The teachers equally feel attached to and concerned about the children and are ready to offer their utmost effort and time even beyond the confines of the classroom. Every child under their care is valuable and there is nothing, no matter how time-consuming, attention-demanding, and physically-draining, that they will not do for him or her. The benefits derived from a free flow of useful and relevant information between the home and the school cannot be over emphasized. One cannot fully achieve its goal without the help of the other. Nothing is impossible if both are sincerely willing to share responsibilities and to commit their time, effort, and resources for this noble investment – child growth and nurturance.
It is in recognition of the tremendous benefits both parties stand to enjoy that an attempt to situate them in real, easy-to-attain alliance is hereby being offered.
In the Home
Careful observations of parents in the home can serve as inputs in planning learning tasks. Easily, the mother can communicate to the teacher certain behaviors that need to be corrected. Lack of initiative in doing homework regularly can be traced to unchallenging homework or inconsistent checking of assignments. The information children sometimes are required to gain through home reading may not be accomplished if there are not many books at home. In such cases, the gathering of data through explorations in the immediate environment might be a more effective methodology. A system of rewards will definitely generate eagerness in tackling home investigations.
Respect for elders is a commendable trait that can be modeled and internalized at a young age in the home. If the children carry this to the school they will continue to show consideration and high regard for the rights of others. The teachers in return can exhibit the same respect for everyone.
Strong unusual interests of the child that are observed at home are worth communicating to those who plan their daily activities. The inclination to music or poetry can be part of the motivational strategies. Special talents such as sketching and painting can be nurtured by both the home and the school through activities that expose the children to nature. Inventiveness and originality are values that can be developed during their formative years and much depend on both parents’ and teachers’ sensitivity to early manifestations.
Learning to cooperate starts in the home and is enhanced in a conducive school atmosphere. Today, one of the organizational techniques being employed, whether in class discussions or group experimentations, is one that is termed cooperative learning. In a group of five or six, a member is responsible for a part of the lesson and later the members meet to discuss or perform the experiment as a group. Such cooperative attitudes can be reinforced in similar activities when members of the family share responsibilities for a particular task.
In the School
Common difficulties and problems met in school can be threshed out through a dialogue between the two parties. Extremes of behavior like bullying among boys and shyness among girls need a detailed look at past experiences gained in both locales. A joint pledge to lessen such tendencies through proper counseling will surely develop a “spirit of togetherness” among them. A strong feeling of self-worth and self-esteem emerges at a young age. Proper guidance, recognition of exemplary behavior and achievements, and respect for their individuality will work towards enhancing personality development.
The case of slow learners, though not a behavior problem, deserves as much attention. Remedial teaching, which entails additional effort and time, can be jointly agreed upon and undertaken in both places. Whatever format is planned and done in school must be continued at home. Teachers must provide additional instructional materials when needed.
Causes of irregularity in attendance can be traced together and solutions become easy to implement if both parties concerned are willing to be involved. Getting a child ready for school early in the morning needs tact on the part of the parents. Their readiness can arouse enthusiasm and pave the way for a “good day.” Incentives for regular attendance are now being practiced. Minimizing causes of failures in daily learning activities, rather than capitalizing on single accomplishments, can result in sustained interest and enjoyment.
Creativity is a value that is best developed at an early stage in life. Though prized by both parents and teachers, its development is often left unattended. Teachers, owing to their strict scheduling of activities, fail to notice some original ideas or ways of doing things attempted by students. The parents, owing to their busy households or business chores, become restricted to routine activities. Inflexibility in both cases kills initial signs of creativity. One of the pervading goals of education is to develop creative thinking skills. Such skills, which enable children to try new and original approaches borne out of their own imagination and ingenuity, are cultivated throughout their growing years in both the school and the home. Nurtured in a conducive classroom and home climate, these skills are strengthened and are carried to adulthood.
Cleanliness, neatness, and good grooming are of mutual concern, which can be looked into habitually by both teachers and parents. Tactful reminders can work towards children developing a wholesome personality and appearance.
Activities organized in connection with their lessons such as field trips participated in by both teachers and parents can provide the much-needed time and occasion for forming bonds and enjoying youthful freedom with fun and laughter.
A number of pointers to “cement their togetherness” are hereby offered:
1. It would be nice for parents to show appreciation and gratitude for whatever the teacher is instituting for their children. Teachers can likewise express their thanks for the cooperation that the parents willingly offer.
2. During regular dialogues, both sides should emphasize the good rather than the bad behavior and performance, the pleasant rather than the unpleasant daily encounters and the accomplishments rather than the failure in simple learning tasks.
3. Both parents and teachers can arrive at workable solutions to observed difficulties if they are honest, candid, and open, as against tendencies towards evasiveness, partiality, and bias.
4. Both must “learn to listen.” If not, actions and solutions will be one-sided and isolated.
5. Both should commit quality time. Hurried consultations will not result in effective resolutions of common concerns. Haphazard implementation of remedial measures agreed upon will likewise be a wasteful exercise.
6. Trust in each other’s abilities, professional or otherwise, is the key to a smooth exchange of advice and opinions and will lead to a “meeting of the minds.”
7. Faultfinding and the blame game must be avoided. A “sour relationship” closes the door to a cordial settlement of differences.
Parents and teachers are each other’s valuable allies. It is expected that both are willing to communicate in order to better understand the children under their tutelage. This teamwork, which harnesses the favorable and positive attitudes and skills of all members, holds tremendous promise in realizing the goals of education. At this time when many other factors in the environment impinge on the concerted efforts of both, a vigorous and dynamic collaboration is badly needed. It is indeed a privilege to be an active partner in preparing children to acquire the knowledge, skills, and values for lifelong learning and decision-making. Such an opportunity should not be missed by parents and teachers. Wonderful relationships create aspirations, hope, and trust that can make a difference in the lives of all concerned.