Three Challenges for the New School Year

Association of Educators
September 26, 2013 — 825 views  

The profession of teaching is fraught with new year challenges each time the school reopens. However, these challenges can be best confronted not by the teaching fraternity alone. Parent involvement, other than the involvement of policy makers, educators, and the community will be needed to successfully meet such challenges.

More Kids

The current government policy in some of the states has drastically curtailed the efficiency in education by lifting the limit on the class size. Consequently, every time a school reopens in a new academic year, the increased class size presents itself as one of the several new year challenges.

However, this is a challenge that can be successfully overcome by teachers alone, without the need for parent involvement. For instance, procedures and routines set in advance and defined clearly makes it easy to manage a big class. The class can be broken down into small learning groups. The students can be trained to work on specific tasks independently so that teachers are in a position to judiciously divide their attention.

An excellent way to handle a big class efficiently is through a strategy known as “one minute papers”. The students who need help are asked to note down questions for the teacher on whatever they don’t understand. This way, the teacher knows who will need help.

Technology and Cyber Bullying

Today’s students are technology driven. They are fascinated by social networks, iPhones, smart phones and videogames. While technology is a solution to many of the students’ woes, it also poses challenges for both teachers and students. One of the more common challenges in context of technology is cyber bullying faced by kids. Both teacher and parent involvement can go a long way in preventing cyber bullying, by equipping the victimized child with skills and resources to handle such bullying.     

In addition, the teachers should make an attempt to optimize the use of technology in teaching school children. The smart phones can be used to promote education. For instance there is a site called ‘Wiffiti’ that has students questions received through text message. It also allows teachers to send tweets to students reminding them of the key points taught in the class.

Parent Involvement

School administration and teachers often find that parent involvement in the school activities or in the education of their kids is not as forthcoming as it is expected to be. On the contrary, some parents become overinvolved in the child's education. The ideal level of parent involvement is the kind that supports learning.

The question is, what strategies should teachers follow to ensure optimum parent involvement in the learning process? The teachers must move ahead with the presumption that parents want to support learning. In addition, parents can be involved to a greater extent if they are offered invitations to parent conferences, which would be hard for the parent to refuse as they would not want to disappoint their kids.

There are other strategies that can promote greater parent involvement. For instance, assignments that do not require advanced skills may get them more involved. An example of this kind of an assignment is to ask parents to supervise their kid’s half an hour of self-study at home. 

Association of Educators