There are people who believe that they are only responsible for educating their children until they start some organized form of education: preschool, kindergarten, primary, and so on. Like most of you probably, I don’t agree with that. The human brain learns continuously, throughout our entire lives, from the moment a baby becomes aware of its surroundings.
Education is a continuous process that should start within the family and be continued and improved with the help of teachers, instructors, trainers, and everyone else around us for that matter. Parents should be involved at all times in their kids’ learning and keep a close relationship with school and teachers. And this practice should not only be encouraged, but backed up by schools and faculty.
Technology didn’t just open new horizons for children to learn more and better. It also brought new ways for parents/tutors/educators to be more informed about school activity and student’s progress, and be more present in the whole learning experience. Schools should not only allow parents to be involved in the education process, they should encourage it. And the use of a school LMS can do just that.
How a school LMS encourages parent involvement
Many schools have already adopted some form of class management, such as an LMS. So between cookie-baking sessions, PEP rallies and PTA meetings, parents actually get the chance to see grades, check the courses, talk to teachers online and most importantly, on time.
Here are some important facts to keep in mind, for teachers as well as for parents:
Teachers are the ones that open the door for parents
If you are a teacher, be sure that at the next PTA meeting to gather email addresses from parents to create accounts for them. Give them a brief presentation or a leaflet with the features accessible to them and how to use the system to their advantage. From now and then check back with the parents just to see how they are enjoying this new technology.
Set the expectations for the school year
Post within the platform, or email if you prefer, the school year’s road-map, explaining to both parents and students what are the learning outcomes expected for the current year, and highlight the areas where parents can contribute or help out. Parents are more willing to offer help when they know ahead what’s expected of them.
Communication is the key to any relationship
As a parent you should know that LMSs nowadays are really great collaboration tools. You can have groups for parents whose kids take the same class for example. You don’t have to wait for the next PTA meeting to express concern on a certain matter. You can discuss it on the spot and in due time. Ask your school to set you up with a parent account. You will be able to see the classes your child is taking, the grades, which assignments are overdue. This will make it easier for you to help you kid with homework, or leave a note for the teacher (maybe you have a suggestion, a question, or maybe there is some cultural issue that the teacher should take into consideration when debating a certain subject).
School LMSs are accessible 24/7
Any good LMS allows you to login anytime, anywhere. So no more I’m a busy working parent excuses. You can review the grade during lunch time on your phone. I’m not saying you should not see the teacher eye to eye the whole academic year. By all means don’t do such a thing, for nothing can replace human contact. Be an active and proactive parent. If you see your child is struggling and you feel you can help him don’t wait until the final scores come in, do something! Teachers can send you resources via the platform to work together at home, or ask you more about the student’s learning habits so that they can adjust their teaching for better results.
Progress tracking is not just for teachers anymore
A parent account usually gives you access to information about your child’s progress through the course, learning outcomes for every subject, the assignments due, etc. This way you know when it’s time to step in and when to back out, raise awareness or give important feedback to teachers.
Parent involvement in education is not just a trend, it’s a practice that has positive impact at all levels. Teachers of students with highly involved parents tend to give greater attention to those students, and they are more likely to identify at earlier stages problems that might inhibit student learning. At the same time, positive parent-teacher interactions have been found to positively affect teachers’ self-perception and job satisfaction.
One last advice for parents!
Just remember that moderation is key. Get involved in your child’s education through the school LMS, but do not overwhelm neither the child nor the teacher. Nagging is a virtue all parents possess and excel at. Instead, try to be more of an active observer, that offers valuable feedback, unequaled support and precious insight without imposing your opinions.