Assistant teacher course/Teachers' handbook/Parenting

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  Any education given by a group tends to socialize its members, but the quality and value of the socialization depends upon the habits and aims of the group. Hence, once more, the need of a measure for the worth of any given mode of social life. In seeking this measure, we have to avoid two extremes. We cannot set up, out of our heads, something we regard as an ideal society.
We must base our conception upon societies which actually exist, in order to have any assurance that our ideal is a practicable one. But, as we have just seen, the ideal cannot simply repeat the traits which are actually found. The problem is to extract the desirable traits of forms of community life which actually exist, and employ them to criticize undesirable features and suggest improvement.  

Democracy and Education, John Dewey

The school can demand a parenting driver's license from parents to ensure that parents are qualified to complement the work of the school.

Parent service

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Some US schools make parent service mandatory and demand that families contribute about four hours of work per month, otherwise the school fee is increased by a penalty. This can also include compulsory school attendance for parents, for instance for parent education programs. A beneficial effect can be that families are motivated to debate who accepts what responsibility in this context, which can give a family council an additional purpose. Pupils are also unlikely to disregard additional work parents accept in school that could easily be delegated to the pupil; the parents represent a positive role model by accepting voluntary work in a context that is accessible to a pupil. A publicly administered school may not be able to demand this but a mentoring organisation (or parents' society) associated with the school can do so. As with tuition fees for an assistant teacher program one can impose some limitations on the use of offers financed by members or made possible by voluntary work of members. Course offers, for instance, can be restricted to members but make remaining seats available to non-members (by lot, if necessary), which can be seen as an invitation to consider membership or just as a generous invitation; scholarships can be granted to welfare recipients in order not to exclude people who may not be able to pay. A possible psychological effect of the invitation is to create a feeling of obligation to at least consider joining the mentoring organisation, which is a desirable effect.

Personal Interests in Education (PIE)

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A "Personal Interests in Education" group can help to gather ideas, question pupils and plan additional elective and voluntary courses. Participants of a PIE group can meet with groups of five to ten pupils at home and invite the pupils to propose and discuss ideas that could help to bring their personal interests in relation to school education. This may create a certain overlap with mentoring but redundancy is not a mistake here: Mentors should be able to give useful input to a PIE group, too. A PIE group can be formally represented as an advisory committee of a mentoring organisation or parents' society.

The group should gather information about the hobbies and interests of pupils in a grade once a semester for the following semester. Once a semester may appear too frequent but the younger pupils should be invited to learn that this is a means of exertion of influence; young pupils may need a frequent reminder in order to realize the potential. Information gathered should also aim to quantify the demand for specific courses. In order to make courses with less demand possible additional course offers can allow participants from different grades. High school pupils might want to assume the responsibility themselves and plan the organization of additional course offers in their respective grade parliaments.

Formal parent cooperation

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  If we take, on the other hand, the kind of family life which illustrates the standard, we find that there are material, intellectual, aesthetic interests in which all participate and that the progress of one member has worth for the experience of other members -- it is readily communicable -- and that the family is not an isolated whole, but enters intimately into relationships with business groups, with schools, with all the agencies of culture, as well as with other similar groups, and that it plays a due part in the political organization and in return receives support from it. In short, there are many interests consciously communicated and shared; and there are varied and free points of contact with other modes of association.  

Democracy and Education, John Dewey

Formal parent cooperation allows to define minimum standards for parenting that must be adhered to by all parents or a group of parents. The beneficial effect of a formal agreement is that parents are motivated to reflect on demands they can place on others and concessions they are willing to make. Groups of parents can agree on independent standards if a general agreement for a grade appears too difficult to reach or would require too many concessions from some parents. Standards for cooperation between parents can specify rights and obligations of parents towards children of other parents and limits for children that should generally be observed. Formal parent cooperation can also recommend provisions, as for instance a family council, that should be considered by all families and may be supported in parent education courses of the school and receive further consideration in communications of the school, parents' society or mentoring organisation.

Early parent education

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Parent education should begin long before children join a secondary school. The parents of seventh graders may still benefit from parent education courses aiming at parents of teenagers, but a secondary school should consider to cooperate with elementary schools and preschools in its catchment area in order to offer early parent education. Parent education courses should be offered without knowledge of later school attendance to avoid undesirable exclusion. Some municipalities have welcome programs for young parents, [1] which present a good opportunity to invite parents to parent education programs. Schools can invite parents to participate in welcome programs or other parent service (service for parents) as a choice of parent service (service by parents).

Pupils with a better socialization and upbringing are likely to make the work of their teachers easier and more rewarding, consequently teachers should aim to support parent education as early as possible. Teenagers can be invited to write a parent education course, [2] which can be a contribution to the parent education of their parents and their own generation.


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  1. e.g. KiWi in Cologne
  2. Parent Education Course Writer's Guide (Wikibooks)

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