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Dhaka Tribune

OP-ED: The home can be a school

Strategies parents can employ to step into the role of teacher

Update : 28 Jul 2020, 09:19 PM

A country’s future development depends largely on how its children are equipped at present because they are the next generation of leaders. 

With schools shutting down for months, children’s education has been dramatically affected, and parents’ appropriate homeschooling can play a central role in keeping education moving for their children in this time of crisis. 

During a webinar organized by the Dhaka Tribune on Saturday, Tania Mansur, academic manager for Young Learners Teaching Centre at the British Council Bangladesh, highlighted effective learning practices at home for children. Strategies involve motivation, empathy, trust and rewards, and shared reading. 

Tania regards trust as an essential thing to keep children’s learning moving in these difficult times. She says: “Trust is the basic building block for facilitating children’s learning. When parents are the primary source of teaching, lack of trust means lack of sufficient learning. This is because most children in Bangladesh rely heavily on learning at their schools or on their private tutors.”

Nevertheless, for most families, the global pandemic has meant homeschooling. With all other options off the table, parents must step up into the role of teacher. 

If or once there is trust, children are unlikely to be reluctant to learn and study with their parents. 

“Once trust is built, children can count on parents and get keenly interested in learning with parents,” said Tania.

Motivation was the other main thing: “No matter how small or big the achievement is, you want to motivate your children to keep them focused and feel appreciated. 

As children, they are happy with small things, and the little things produce big results -- such is the case with motivation.”

Parents who simply work with their children’s enthusiasm to help them chase their dreams inevitably find that their children outstrip their peers academically.

Empathy is another significant factor for leading children to success. Bangladeshi parents tend to be very result-oriented in measuring their children’s progress. Many parents tend to compare their kids’ accomplishment only with that of their peers, having less regard for their child’s actual interests or abilities.

This traditional approach is a very poor yardstick with which to measure a child’s potential for success. Pressuring children can only be counterproductive to the ultimate goal of learning and academic success.

In addition, reward is a crucial element of successful learning for children.

Tania explains that a little reward can bring out the best in them. “You don’t necessarily have to do all big things, your simple appreciation can make them feel encouraged to learn more,” she said.

Shared or group reading is an effective way to improve children’s reading. She suggests parents and their children read together about things that interest the child and this, according to her view, can bring unprecedented results. 

As an IELTS faculty member, I firmly believe that when you sit together with your children and read something of interest, it not only teaches them fast, but also helps them ask questions with confidence and without hesitation, expanding their ability to communicate.

Tania added: “When you find your children reluctant to do certain homework or to complete some task, do not simply force them to get it done. 

First try to know whether the task assigned to them is too difficult or is it just their procrastination. In the former case, help them with the task so that they feel confident to jump onto it. 

On the contrary, for the latter, giving them a reason to do it is the prudent thing to do.”

The strategies outlined here can help with many of the challenges parents face presently in ensuring productive homeschooling for their children. Despite the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, learning is something that needs to continue. Let’s keep the children’s learning wheels turning even in these tough times. We owe it today to our children, leaders of tomorrow.

Mahde Hassan works for the British Council Bangladesh as an invigilator. He can be reached at [email protected].

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