For all the maligning of Governments and education practioners for lapses in the education system leading to nonperformance of learners, what have parents done to promote performance of their wards? Obviously, nothing or little to show. I would not be surprised, however, should any parent think that catering for the basic education needs of their ward is where their responsibility starts and ends when it comes to educating their wards. Of course, the Parent, a major stakeholder in the education system, has more responsibility than just providing school needs (resources) for their wards.
In fact, aside providing financial support to their wards’ education, parents must also provide effective guidance for their wards; these days, the kind of guidance parents provide, though, is highly questionable. Parents are also expected to, as a matter of responsibility, motivate their children to perform well while the shaping of the child’s behaviour also boils down largely to the efforts of parents.
Parents are actually the first, continuing and permanent educators of their children. School is only going to, basically, impart knowledge in the child, mostly for a specific period of time and the actors in that environment will exit the child’s life after that period elapses and mission is accomplished. Besides, our children change schools with time and progress. That is why teachers and even friends tend to be transient actors in the child’s life while parents/family remain unchangeable in the life of their ward. That means that there must exist an effective collaboration between parents, family and school to support learning which will lead to successful learning outcomes.
Observing your ward and accordingly notifying your ward's teacher about their attitudinal/behavioural trends will help. The child’s progress in any endeavour will depend largely on effective collaboration between parents and teachers who are the only stakeholders in direct contact with the child. Hence, sharing information on the child’s behaviour is necessary to facilitate understanding of the child which is needed to guide both stakeholders in their dealings with the child.
Take note of your ward's friends and control who they chose to befriend. When I was growing up, my guardian controlled my choice of friends so much that I incurred his wrath to give me marks(scars) that remain on my body today, and that control has helped me a lot. The elderly have remarked, time without number, that show me your friend and I will show you your character. We all know that birds of the same feathers are the ones that always flock together. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your child moves about/hangs around a decent and disciplined child. It doesn’t mean we should hastily banish them from moving with some colleagues just because we do not know their identity. What we should focus on is ensuring that whoever our children keep close to themselves are well cultured, mannered, decent and disciplined. At least, our children will pick up good behaviour, if for nothing at all. We can simply observe children to determine what type of behaviour they harbour.
Ensure that there's a routine for the child to follow when at home, and ensure they follow it religiously. Time for studies must be embedded in such a routine schedule. No matter how busy our schedules prove to be, when there is a routine for your ward, it is easier to track their activities. You must not be there to supervise everything but you can just follow up any time (when you become available) and ensure your orders are being followed. That will also inform you of how obedient your ward is. Remember, obedience is so necessary an attribute for a child to possess and so necessary that our creator according to the Bible, even added it to his commandments with a promise attached.
Control the programmes they follow on TV. There must be time allotted to your children to watch selected television programmes. Watching the news is a must. They must however retire to bed early so as to have enough rest and wake up early to prepare for school. Remember, there are a lot of television programmes that are either not for your children or have nothing good to offer them. Please, do not hesitate to ban them from watching such programmes. For children, they have a high level of gullibility but are also quick learners hence the need to strictly regulate their access to the television set. The control will also ensure they don’t become addicted to the T. V and eventually spend all their time hopping from channel to channel just to busy themselves when they could actually study their books.
You must help to promote and maintain a high level of positive regard and respect for your ward's teacher. If you are that type of parent that sees nothing good in any teacher because (maybe) you competed against a teacher for your wife but won effortlessly, then you are courting doom. No matter how disappointed you are in your ward’s teacher or any other teacher, please guide your comments against teachers, especially when your ward is around. In your absence (in school), your ward’s teacher ultimately replaces you as his parents and is expected to guide, direct, assist and care for the child for at least six hours of a school day. If you ran down such a person in the eyes of someone who should be in his care how do you expect such a child to trust and respect the teacher? It will create a situation that will only affect you in the end. And do not make the mistake of thinking that disrespecting one teacher and putting your ward in the hands of another means you are smart. The perception you aided your ward to form about the other teacher could be transferred to another and still cause you problems. Let us be very careful.
Encourage and motivate your children to perform above themselves. Help them set and achieve academic targets. You can use rewards and gifts, sparingly, to do so.
Visit them in school often to discuss their progress with their teachers. Collaborate more with his/her teacher. Once, we collaborate more with the teacher it is easier to understand and guide your ward at home while the child gets the needed support in time. If there is enough support to a child’s academic work from home, there is no way that child’s academic standard won’t rise. Children will only do well if they have time to personally reflect upon what they are taught because that is what will enable them to internalize learning for retention to happen. Only gifted learners (geniuses) are able to internalize learning by just listening to the teacher. And they can mostly get the time for such reflection/studies at home, after school time is over.
Desist from acting/reacting on unsubstantiated information that you are fed with by your ward or neighbours, without first cross checking with the school. Make sure you understand issues from both sides of the coin before drawing conclusions and taking action. That way, your actions will always be guided for the benefit of your ward, and the maintenance of your own integrity.
Promote and help your child develop their talents especially when they are extra curricular activities. It is wrong and barbaric to try to shut down a talent your child has. At all
times, try as much as possible to promote, to the best of your ability, your ward’s talents. You may never know which one will put him at the pinnacle of life.
Consciously guide your ward to adopt the concept of role model and actually keep some or one. Your ward may need someone to look up to for inspiration. It is your duty to find out the kind of things that motivate your child and based on that encourage them to follow the activities of some great people with similar interests or accomplishments in the same domain. That is how to drive the interests of your children to grow.
These are some but not all of the guidelines for excelling in your role as a key stakeholder in your ward's education. If you are a parent and you do not have the habit of doing some of the things mentioned above, then I am afraid you may as well be solely or largely responsible for causing your ward’s poor performance in school.
David Angangmwin Baganiah