Professor Colin Diamond from the University of Birmingham School of Education writes an encouraging note to parents who now need to become teachers at home.
As schools were closed several weeks ago, suddenly parents were given the job of teaching their own children at home. This is no easy task as parents across the world have discovered, but we are all learning about how to be the best teachers we can.
At the University of Birmingham we have students from across the globe and that has enabled us to build up a strong international network of educators. My own specialism is developing education leaders: those who wish to be the leaders of the future and those who are already leaders looking to build up their qualifications.
But right now with the CV19 pandemic I have turned my attention to what is happening when children are home educated. At the beginning of the lockdown I wrote a blog entitled Becoming the Teacher and that contains 12 top tips for parents teaching at home.
Many weeks in, we are now seeing what works best at home and what’s possible in a home teaching environment. Some head teachers who are educating their own children at home have told me ‘if I can get 2 hours of quality learning a day I am happy’ and that’s because learning at home is so different from the classroom and as parents we have a different relationship with our own children.
This week my main message is for those with very young children who have just started school. There’s nothing better than the time honoured practice of reading to your children from one of their favourite books or a new one you have chosen together. Listening to stories, perhaps cuddled up hugging a teddy bear, is one of the best ways in which a child’s mind develops. It helps to enrich language and engages the child’s imagination. Your children will become better readers and writers if their language is anchored in story and this is one of the key building blocks for you as a home teacher.
Good luck and I will be writing again next week.
Prof Colin Diamond
University of Birmingham School of Education
Colin Diamond has worked in the field of educational leadership for many years in England and has been a Head of Faculty, Associate Headteacher, Local Education Authority Adviser, Assistant Director and Director of Education/Children's Services. He has helped many young people to read and enjoy literature to the full and led improvements in two local authorities.