The option of online learning will play a huge role in education moving forward. Understanding that many parents may not be equipped to take on a shared teaching role at home, here are a few suggestions for teachers to make this transition easier for parents.

Schools came to a sudden close and overnight, the roles of teachers and parents suddenly took a sharp turn. Teachers are now limited to “one-dimensional” interactions with students, and parents are expected to be an ever-present guide for their children during school hours.

Navigating the ‘hows and whys’ during these uncertain times without research or experience can be confusing for everyone involved. Although it’s hard to recommend the best way forward, it’s clear that the option of online learning will play a huge role in education. There are limits to the number of students physically allowed in classrooms and learning schedules now happen on a rotational basis. Students will be learning in school on some days and expected to learn from home for the remaining days.

To leverage the ability for students to do online learning, parents must also transition to share the weight of responsibility as an educator at home so that common goals can be accomplished together. Understanding that this is a role many parents may not be equipped for, how can teachers make this transition easier for parents? Perhaps it starts with taking small steps, together.

1. Get everyone involved: Encourage parents to collaborate

A common challenge for teachers is receiving the support and direct involvement from parents in their child’s education. With so many responsibilities already riding on their shoulders such as working, managing household needs and keeping their families safe, the added responsibility of teaching their child can be burdensome. To encourage parents to help with monitoring student learning from home, teachers can suggest various ways parents can get involved. Break it down into simple and doable steps.

Image by Kool shooters

Parents who only have 10 minutes to spare can arrange checkpoints to keep their children accountable. Alternatively if a parent has more time, they can support by going through all the layers of learning with their child and be involved in lesson activities such as in this FrogSchool lesson when their child is learning from home.

A great example of the positive effects of collaborating with parents is seen at SJK(C) Choong Cheng where engaging parents through meetings and sharing sessions for extracurricular activities led to many amazing opportunities.

“Parents have always been the backbone of our school, and if it weren’t for their support, SJK(C) Choong Cheng wouldn’t have achieved so many great things.”

2. Let’s talk: Communicate student progress

Research shows that students are more likely to pay attention to their studies when parents monitor their progress closely. A great way for parents and teachers to work together in this area is for parents to help monitor lessons and academic improvements at home.

Communicating openly and kindly has always been an important element of teamwork, but especially so during the pandemic. We encourage parents and teachers to make time to talk and together decide on their approach in engaging students in their learning. It’s also a good idea to agree on how frequently student progress is monitored. This helps ensure that goals are clear and aligned.

For example, if a parent understands that their child is weak in Mathematics, they should be encouraged to ask for help from teachers. Support from teachers can come in the form of explaining the learning concepts to the students online or advise supplementary lessons for the student to take. An example of parents and teachers using technology to effectively communicate can be seen through SK Sungai Abong. The school set up group chats to create a Parent-Community task force where parents can reinforce student performance and receive support from others.

“Some parents have also created their own learning groups where they meet up to help one another.”

It takes a village to raise a child

When students are physically away from school, it can feel like an isolating experience for many parents and teachers. Not all things will  go as planned and even the “simple task” of getting an online class of students to settle down at the start of lessons can be challenging.

We want parents and teachers to know that you are not alone and we want to encourage you to be part of a community that can help build a dynamic and supportive teaching and learning environment at home.

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