The role of the parent
Education is more than just schooling, and the child learns even beyond the walls of the classroom. It therefore becomes the parents’ responsibility to lend a hand in inculcating the love of learning in children.
The parent can encourage a child’s interest in learning in a number of ways, the easiest of which is teaching him to love reading. Extensive reading, as is universally acknowledged, can broaden a child’s understanding, introduce him to new concepts and experiences, and help him learn beyond the syllabus in school. Reading to children from a young age, regular bedtime stories, exploring libraries and new stories with your older children, and sharing your childhood favourites with them – all these can develop a passion for reading in children.
More directly related to the schooling process, even the busy, working parent should ideally spend quality time with the child and be involved in his daily educational activities, helping him out with homework and projects, and participating in school activities.
Furthermore, parents would do well to understand the theory of multiple intelligences and appreciate that their child may be more gifted in one area than in others. It is up to the parent to recognise the kind of intelligence that the child is most comfortable using and encourage him to exploit his talents in that direction. Do check out our cover story in issue 1 (www. parentedge.in/cover-story) on Multiple Intelligences and how to identify the kind of learning that is most effective for your child. But this kind of parental involvement requires that the average Indian parent recognises the importance of student-centred learning and understands what it really implies.
According to many educationists, what is needed is a drastic mind-set change in parents to convince them that a studentcentred education does not imply a dilution or watering down of what the child needs to learn but rather empowering him to better face real-life problems and to be a critically-thinking, problem-solving individual. A number of schools that profess to follow such methods of education hold regular parent workshops to involve them in the students’ learning process, and they have seen, over time, sceptical parents becoming their greatest support system!
Finally, there are two conclusions that we can draw – one is that it does not really matter which board your child studies in – what matters more is the school and the practices it adopts. Each curriculum offers enough scope and potential to the schools to make learning innovative and to encourage critical thinking. What the school does with this is what decides how the students will approach learning.