Student Learning: Expectations vs. Reality

THE BIG QUESTION:

Are students learning?


Shouldn’t that be the most important accountability factor for both parents and educators alike?

Shared responsibility and accountability is the only true way we can honestly answer that question.

Of course, the teacher creates the map and plots out the direction which has the most direct impact on the success in the classroom. But, does the accountability stop there?

In order to give the students the best opportunity for success in the classroom, everyone must take responsibility. That includes the parents and guardians of the students.

THE EXPECTATION:

One of the biggest challenges teachers face believe it or not is working with the parents. Parents should be the best source of support for teachers however, that is not always the case.  The conflict usually arises when parents are either over-involved, under-involved or out right exasperate.

The Under-Involved Parent:

It’s the expectation of many parents that the teacher has the sole responsibility to make sure the student is successful. This group of parents is often uninvolved, unresponsive, and even blaming the teacher for the student’s deficiency.  

The Over-Involved Parents:

There are also parents who believe that the teacher is subordinate to them. The expectation of this group requires the teacher should answer on demand consuming and overwhelming the teacher.

The Exasperant Parent:

Lastly, we will address the parents who are blaming and antagonistic. It is easier for parents to blame the teacher for the students’ nonperformance instead of taking on any accountability for the problem.

THE REALITY:

If there is a constant tug of war or no accountability at all on the parent’s end, the success rate of the student can be very low. There is a popular quote that says “Teamwork makes the Dream Work”. Since the parent and teacher have the same objective, which is to support the student in order for great success, everyone should be working together to achieve it.

Of course, there is no one size fit all answer for every case scenario.  However, parents are the first line of defense. Their responsibility is more than just sending their children off to school. They have to provide an environment of learning and expectation of performing at your best.

THE UNSPOKEN TRUTH:

Learning Disabilities (LD):

Most students do not get professionally evaluated to determine if they even have learning disabilities. Who is responsible for finding out. Who is looking for signs?   Signs include (but are not limited to!) difficulty in reading or writing, problems grasping math concepts, not being able to memorize information, and trouble following directions.   Students with LD often have average or even above average intelligence, but they may need to be taught using slightly different methods or need more time on traditional tests. Students with learning disabilities have a neurologically-based processing problem that interferes with the ability to master specific learning skills.

Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often linked with having a learning disability.  These are two separate and very different problems. Students with ADHD might show hyperactive/fidgety behaviors, inattention/distractibility problems, and/or impulsivity. These behaviors can be seen at school, at home, and with peers. Between 30 and 50 percent of children with LD will also have ADHD. The reverse is also true, between 30 and 50 percent of children with ADHD will also have LD.

Teachers Compatibility With Students:

Even though it is very rare, incompatibilities between teachers and students do exist. There has to be a means of addressing the real causes of conflict, or the students’ performance will suffer as a result. Approaching conflicts as opportunities can significantly improve students overall success rate. It could result in a more productive learning environment and greater student satisfaction.

Can Parents Really Help With School Work?

A survey has revealed that five out of six parents struggle to help their children with their schoolwork. Around 83% of parents with nine to 13-year-olds admitted to pollsters that they had been unable to assist their children with their home assignments. The disparity between parents vary greatly, however, the polls found that fathers struggle even greater than mothers. The survey of 2,000 parents for Becta, the government agency for technology in education, found. The parents were equally split across all socio-economic groups. More than a third – 35% – of fathers told pollsters they frequently struggled to help their children with homework, compared with12% of mothers. Almost a fifth of parents – 19% – said being unable to help with their children’s homework made them embarrassed.

RESOURCES:

There are many new resources available to assist parents and teachers on their journey towards academic success for their students.  With the dawn of affordable cutting edge technology and adaptive teaching and assessment platforms, students can now be engaged and entertained while learning.

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