Calling All Parents!

This week, in the fifth chapter, Christensen starts to unpack a tangible vision for student-centric learning in the classroom. Christensen outlines the battle lines of the traditional model for guiding student learning. On one side is the textbook manufactures with entrenched educators and committees that approve the content all focused on the most important learning style (l. 2313-2325). On the other side, a way forward that Christensen presents, is educators, parents, and others who work directly with students starting to use modular online tools to guide the individual learning process (l. 2480-2486). Christensen likens this to each student having their own personal tutor, without the exuberant cost (l. 2362-2363). “Head-on attacks almost never work,” Christensen predicts (l. 2480). Therefore, the move to disrupt the education system will be a new path forward. It will utilize learner-centric web-based tools that are prescribed by learner, teacher, and parent. This way forward creates a virtual and adaptable tutor, if you will.

When I read the word “parent” my eyes focus and my brain pays more attention to what the author is saying. Throughout this chapter Christensen references the role of parents in guiding the selection process of tutorials and creating a student-centric learning plan. In church ministry, the congregation often concludes that it is the role of the church staff, paid or unpaid, to educate their children and youth about the faith. Often there is a mentality for parents to drop off their kids and let the church “professionals” do the work, while the parents go about their life or participate in “adult” ministries. I was excited to see language in this chapter about calling the parents into the education process of their children.

I never really thought about the idea of leaving education up to the teachers before, but now I can see that happening, probably more naturally than it does in the church. Phrases, such as, “I don’t know how to help you with algebra, that is what your teacher is for,” could be transformed into “Lets look together at the online tutorials and find on that can help you. Then we can coordinate with your teacher at school tomorrow, maybe I will learn new information too!” Maybe this vision is too ideal, but more parent involvement in the education, development, and faith development in schools and churches is important and shouldn’t be overlooked. Yes, professionals are needed, but a team approach can build relationships and provide better and more holistic results.

I continued reading on the iPad with the Kindle app. One feature I enjoyed available on the recent generation of the iPad is Siri dictation. I am able to press the microphone and then say my note. Siri transcribes my voice, with decent accuracy, and inputs it in the text box. I push “Save” and move on. This is a great time saver and my hand can old my ice tea on the summer day instead of typing!

  3 comments for “Calling All Parents!

  1. August 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Ryan,
    I loved your focus on the parents’ role in this new model of teaching. It’s not something that I picked up on to the same degree. While there’s a part of me that has some worries about the students who do not have the parents available to help out, a larger part sees this as something that could help strengthen the team needed in order for children to be successful. It seems that in the last twenty or so years, there’s been a change in educational culture that creates a divisiveness between teacher and parent. Rather than the parents being involved, there’s often blame unfairly placed on teachers. I’m hopeful that with online resources that are accessible to all, we’ll see an increase in parent participation in their child’s education.

  2. August 7, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Ryan, that’s a great comment regarding a parent deflecting work onto a teacher; “I don’t know how to do algebra, that’s what your teacher is for.” No doubt the algebra teacher is going to know a bit more than me (or a lot more), but there’s a fine line between not understanding the teacher’s area of expertise and being completely left out of the loop. When that happens, parents can’t even so much as advocate for their child’s particular learning style, as they would have no idea what kind of learning style WOULD be effective.

    This made me think of something I do in my private lessons; I always try to give the parents a quick run down of what we’re up to, and the parents usually aren’t musical. But I’m not going to see their kid for a week, and it’s my hope the kid gets better in that time. It only makes sense to involve the parent, both to help the student and to make my life easier.

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