Tag Archives: parents

10 Things Parents Should Unlearn – from George

7 Aug

10 Things Parents Should UnlearnEdna Sackson has always been one of my favourite bloggers, and in this post, she discusses the importance of parents learning about how school has changed:

But many parents base their opinions on the only model of education with which they are familiar… their own schooling. Even if they are young parents, I’d like to hope schooling has changed since they went to school.

Edna goes on to list some things that parents should “unlearn” from what they may have been taught either at school or in their adult life (below are her first five):

1.  Learning is best measured by a letter or a number.

2. Product is more important than process and progress.

3. Children need to be protected from any kind of failure.

4. The internet  is dangerous for children.

5. Parents and teachers should discuss students without the learner present.

This is definitely an article that will promote some great discussion with your school and parent community.


A One Way Street?

21 Feb

I wonder if your perception equates to reality. 

Do you have an authentic partnership with parents and the community or do you lean towards the technological dogmatic dribble that seems to be seeping into some schools (led by such passionate personas as myself)? 

 Many schools are beginning to use social media to send out information to parents. Examples include twitter feeds and facebook pages. These initial forays into social media are a first step. They provide parents and the community with greater access to information regarding the school and the learning happening within its walls.

 A key facet of school leadership is developing relationships, both within staff and also with families and the community. This relationship building must include seeking feedback and listening. Most of this work is done face to face, through school events or outreach programs and even through informal conversations in the hallways or at drop off or pick up time.

We live in a time when top-down leadership and closed door meetings are no longer seen as the way to get things done. Stakeholders want to be involved in decision-making. They want to know what their school leader is thinking and what he or she values. They want, above all, to trust that their child is in the very best hands at school.

 How can we use those same social media tools to engage in conversation, rather than simply pushing out information?

 Please consider the following discussion points (that I have put forward to my staff and my community). 

  • Leadership is Listening and Learning
  • What is twitter and how do I get started?
  • How can parents and schools use social media to engage in meaningful conversations?
  • What challenges do we face when we use social media and how can we overcome them?
  • What are the burning questions/issues/concerns?
  • Are there any success stories or otherwise we can learn from?

Mixed Perceptions

1 Feb

Kids Using Digital Media

The subject of kids and media — how much they consume, what’s “good” for them, what parents’ role should be — is a broad and complicated topic. New studies are continually released with a wide range of advice and information.

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center is a great resource of illuminating research, and recently completed a comprehensive report calledFamily Matters: Designing Media for a Digital Age. The report is packed full of interesting (and sometimes counter-intuitive) information, including the following:

  • More than a third of parents have learned something technical from their child.
  • Most believe that video games help children foster skills that are important to their academic achievement.
  • 57% recognize that digital media presents ways for children to converse and connect with friends and family.

Those are just some of the positive perspectives from the report. But it’s a lot more nuanced than that. Here’s more about the study.

By Eleanor Yang Su, California Watch

A majority of American parents say they are concerned that digital media is interfering with childhood development. Yet most do not think their own children spend too much time with electronic devices.

That’s according to a recent report [PDF] by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. The nonprofit research lab analyzed surveys of 810 parents with children ages 3 through 10 and reported some seemingly paradoxical findings:

  • About 59 percent of parents say their children’s digital media use prevents them from getting physical exercise.
  • More than half (53 percent) say the media use can pose a threat for online safety and privacy.
  • About 40 percent of parents say digital media infringes on time their children would otherwise spend in face-to-face interactions.
  • Only 18 percent of parents believe their own children spend too much time with digital media.

“If kids start using computers before they get to school, they’ll be at an academic advantage because they’ll be more comfortable with the tool.”

Why the apparent contradiction? Researchers say it’s likely because the nature of digital devices today is more private and portable. Parents may not be aware of just how much time their little ones are spending in their rooms, using social networks or playing video games.

Some childhood experts said the findings are not surprising, considering earlier reports on media use. Children ages 8 to 18 are spending an average of 7½ hours a day with digital media, includingTV, computers and video games, according to a study released last year by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Parents need to consider what sort of activities their children are missing out on when they spend so much time with electronics, said Peter Mangione, co-director of the Center for Child & Family Studies at WestEd. The San Francisco-based nonprofit provides research, development and services to improve learning outcomes.

“I would not want a child spending half their free time on digital media,” Mangione said. “When they’re in the middle of the childhood period – age 7 through 10 – they’re meant to be engaged: talking with people face to face, working in groups, collaborating, learning how to regulate behavior. Those are the things that have an impact on how well the child will function later on.”

While many groups have blamed digital media for hindering family relationships and infringing on children’s physical activities, the Cooney Center researchers are cautiously optimistic about its potential to educate.

“It’s a digital world, so at some point, kids are going to use digital media, whether by choice or not,” said Lori Takeuchi, author of the Cooney Center report. “If kids start using computers before they get to school, they’ll be at an academic advantage because they’ll be more comfortable with the tool.”

Takeuchi added that social media can help expose children to other cultures and viewpoints.

“It gives kids this idea that they can communicate with the world outside their home,” she said. “So you can raise them to care about the planet and world issues.”

But, she said, that potential will be realized only once television producers, video game makers and other media producers create better-quality educational programs.

Unlike movies and TV shows with broader appeal, many video games tend to target just children or adults. There is an optimal period, around the time when children are 6 or 7, when they want to engage in games with their parents and could stand to learn something, Takeuchi said.

In the report, she made recommendations to those in the industry to innovate and create new programs and applications that would give children a chance to use their digital media to socialize, exercise and play with others.

As for her advice for parents, Takeuchi suggests that they make screen time into family time by watching TV or playing video games with their kids. That would help inform parents about how much digital media their kids are consuming and make it a more enriching experience.

“Research has found that kids learn a lot more when a parent is watching TV with their child and is there to explain what’s going on,” Takeuchi said. “Parents can be open-minded and seek out information about the potential of using digital media for learning.”

Eleanor Yang Su is a contributor for California Watch, the state’s largest investigative reporting team and part of the Center for Investigative Reporting. Learn more at www.californiawatch.org