Learning environment for children is everywhere. No matter what, children are going to learn – intended/unintended/anything in between. However, one ingredient is a must to ensure that the child’s learning is worthy, meaningful, and lifelong – The parent’s involvement.
The children go to school. They are exposed to a plethora of digital learning material. There is hardly a time available between their busy schedules. However, all this learning will be unproductive, pointless and lacking without one essential component – The parent’s involvement.
The schools don’t expect parents to play a role beyond paying the fees and turning up for Parents Teachers Meeting. The education establishment is perfectly fine with playing a saviour of a child’s destiny. The new-age apps are no different in their treatment of parents. However, none of these will deliver without the parent’s involvement.
What makes the parent’s involvement an indispensable element for a meaningful learning environment for children?
Classrooms Are Obsolete And Digital Is Not A Panacea
What’s the memory of your parents/grandparents of going to school? What’s changed between then and now? Apart from the usage of smart devices, what’s the difference? We say that the children have to be prepared for the unforeseen challenges when they go on to become adults. Yet, they get more of the same in schools that’s been going around for decades – classroom teaching.
Ok, the digital learning/apps are supposed to be the redeemers. They claim to shoulder the responsibility of preparing the children for the next level. However, what’s the difference between them and what the children get in schools? It is just a digital impersonation, cut-copy-paste of physical in a digital avatar. Nothing novel or path-breaking to aspire for.
So, what could be the difference? What could be the cutting edge intervention for children? The parent’s involvement. One might wonder – What could a couple of humans do for the better learning of their child when the mighty education establishment is not delivering? Is there really a scope for parents to impart learning to their children?
Well, the focus is not on giving answers to the child but on the quest for answers. Rather, the answers are not of any essence at all. What’s important is raising questions, exploring together, trying out assumptions and getting to answers is a by-product, if at all. Surely a do-able task for parents.
Learning Happens 24*7
The classrooms and the apps presume that there is a given time, a pre-defined format, a set template for a child to learn. They assume that learning happens for each subject in a silo and that, it has to be a standardized static rote. The net result – an unprepared child facing the world that has no resemblance to what s/he was exposed to in the classrooms/apps.
The learning for the child happens with each experience and every interaction, intertwined for each subject and topic. The learning for the child is a 24*7 real-world phenomenon, the whole lot wrapped up together in an unwieldy mess – which a child is perfectly suited to make sense of with her/his unique interpretation.
Withholding a child’s learning to a specific framework only limits the infinite potential of a child i.e. learning wherever/whenever/however/forever. There is no alternative to the parent’s involvement to ensure this.
Parents And Children Understand Each Other Best
For the task that is the most important to you, whom would you back? Your own self. For the task that is the most important to a child, whom would s/he be most comfortable with? With one’s parents. The most important task is, of course, learning. Yet, the child has to make do with unknown teachers/faceless apps as a learning environment; and parents focus on secondary/tertiary tasks.
It is a no-brainer that the child would learn the maximum from the parents. The parents can teach the maximum to their children. The stakes are the highest for the participants – parents and children. They are best suited to each other knowing the other person inside out. They know each other’s pace and customized personal requirements.
What is the meaningful difference between how our parents and we were taught and our children’s teaching? The education credentials have improved over the last couple of generations. Yet, the parent’s involvement has remained static in the participation of children’s learning. The responsibility of a learning environment continues to be with the patronizing classrooms/apps.
A Meaningful Learning Environment
In the above scenarios of the archaic education establishment, 24*7 learning in a reassuring environment, what/where/how would you trust for your child to have a meaningful learning environment? With the parent’s involvement or impersonal and pretentious classrooms/apps?
Parents might be unprepared for the task on hand, but they can adapt/rework and make amends. They have the incentive to improve for the sake of their children. What’s the incentive for the education establishment to get better? Apart from self-preservation and maximizing returns, that is.
We, as adults, know that learning is the most important aspect for a child. We, as adults, also know that for imparting learning, for decades, classrooms have ceased to deliver any tangible benefits to children. Their digital avatars, the apps, aren’t any better.
If the children are to have a meaningful learning environment, there is only one way – The parent’s involvement.
What are your views on the subject?
PS: PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.