By: Gladys R. Biscocho, Principal II
Pantay Integrated High School
SDO Tanauan City
Old normal, new normal – looking back to those days and now, there is one unchangeable fact that we as educators know, which is the role of the parents/ guardians of our students is crucial to the students’ holistic learning.
It may seem already given as we have been advocating for this — since time immemorial — that there is a strong need for partnership between schools and families to educate our students; however, times have been changing. During the pandemic, the role of the parents/ guardians for remote learning were emphasized as they are the ones who guided their child at home in dealing with different subjects – specifically those who were in modular distance learning. They also set up their child’s home learning spaces for them to concentrate better on studying.
Parents/guardians have long been partners of teachers in education. Our first teachers are our parents. During remote learning, their role became more essential as they worked as para-teachers who facilitate and guide their children in answering their lessons in modules. They were the ones who set routines and establish communications with the teachers, as well as encouraging physical activity every in between lessons. According to Marphatia et.al, (2010) their research showed that children’s literacy improves when their parents are involved in schools regardless of the parent’s level of educational achievement.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted more the importance of our parents/guardians’ support. Transitioning from remote to face-to-face learning, their involvement is still pivotal for the success of our educational goals. Now that we are back inside the classroom and are already in the post-pandemic times, their role has become more important for authentic and meaningful learning to happen.
Being a leader – school head — of an educational institution, we must further strengthen home-school partnerships now more than ever. From learning reinforcement to imbuing values in their children – we must be able to create opportunities for each family to input or train on how to help their child become better in school and life. By showing to them the plans and ways forward of this new normal, they will be more engaged with their children’s learning, which in turn could lead to better performance of their students in school.
A contributing factor to this is that our students become more motivated to learn and improve themselves when people who are of significance – parents, guardians, community members, and teachers — give them encouragement and support in all their endeavors. During the more than two-year hiatus in education, their parents were the ones who had helped them to cope with distance learning. As the old African proverb goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This should be our guiding principle in how we are to take an approach to deliver quality education to our students. Schools alone cannot finish the job as there are a lot of other developmental needs of our students that can only be attained by involving their parents/guardians and community in the teaching-learning process.
Post-pandemic, constant communication with parents through teacher-parent conferences should be done for our educators to keep each other informed of the child’s progress and status in school and at home. As our students are back inside our classroom and they spend now more time in school than at home, parents must still be informed and give insights on what is the best for their child’s learning progress.
It is noted that one of the main purposes of parents’ involvement is scaffolding their children’s learning. There is a need to emphasize that it is about enhancing and helping students to master a specific skill/ idea – aiding them on their schoolwork — and not just rescuing them from it. This could cause problems in the teaching-learning process and would not help our children in the long run.
Pre- or post-pandemic, this kind of partnership can only be measured and considered effective if there is a working and healthy relationship between teachers, family, and students that will lead to positive academic and social outcomes. The school and the parents/guardian of the learners must always have a firm commitment to achieve the goals of learning and take equal responsibility for it.
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. We must remember that our students’ family involvement is important to be able to find the important missing pieces to make holistic learning happen. Learning does not only happen in school. It constantly happens every day, regardless of the place they are in. The essential thing here is the support of everyone for the students to attain their best in life. Our job as educators is to make sure that this is to happen by fostering strong connections between home and school – even stronger than what we had done before. Then or now; Old or new normal, parent involvement has always mattered.