By Shamia Davis
Let’s be honest – teachers cannot do it all. Monday through Friday for hours on end, they unselfishly pour knowledge into the minds of each student in hopes that something – anything – sticks. Most are running on fumes by the time they get home to their own families. Why, then, is all that effort sometimes still insufficient?
In my experience as an instructional designer, I have learned that different environments produce different learning outcomes for different students. Many students fall into the sensory learner modality: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. None of these styles are wrong, but how do we best help these types of learners, and others, succeed in the classroom?
An alliance must be formed between teachers and parents.
Many studies over the years have validated the claim that parents play a critical role in a student’s classroom performance. According to an article by PTA.org, “The Positive Relationship Between Family Involvement and Student Success,” […] when families are involved in their children’s learning both at home and at school, their children do better in school.” This comes as no surprise – reinforcement of the knowledge and skills taught in the classroom is critical in the home.
As a parent myself, I know this to be true. My youngest son struggled to learn sight words in kindergarten. No matter how much the teacher worked with him, he just could not recall any of them. One day after a brainstorming call with his teacher, a light bulb came on. I realized that my five-year old loved music – he enjoyed making it with anything he could grab, and he loved to hear it. I immediately began to sing, hum, and create a beat imitating a familiar tune for each word, and he mastered them all in record time! I continue to use this same auditory learning approach with other challenges he faces, even as he prepares for the 5th grade!
Parents and teachers should have a shared responsibility for each student’s success. It is important to understand that no piece of the puzzle can function well in isolation. Waterford.org’s article, “How Parent Involvement Leads to Student Success” states:
“Students with engaged parents don’t just have high test scores: their attendance, self-esteem, and graduation rate rise, too. Parent-teacher relationships are more than an optional classroom benefit. They are key for helping students on a personal and classroom level reach their academic potential. If we as educators don’t make a space for parent partnerships in our schools, we’re limiting our classroom’s capacity for growth.”
Engagement is not only beneficial for the teacher and the parents; it helps the student as well. With a strong support system at home and in school, students can improve school performance, foster healthy relationships with others, and increase self-esteem exponentially.
On this special day, I stand with fellow parents – biological or otherwise – who link arms in solidarity with committed educators to invest in the future of our students. Let us continue to make a positive impact on the educational landscape, one student at a time.
Happy National Parents’ Day!