The dual role of parenting in the COVID-19 era and how schools can help
March 2020 felt like a game board was suddenly tipped over and all the pieces went flying around. As we began picking them up, stunned and scared, we realized that one of the biggest challenges families with school-aged children were facing was the rapid shift to online learning, and the role parents had to assume in this new format. Even as things begin to improve and the hope for a return to normal is in America, the pandemic continues to ravage Latin American countries and many around the world, and the challenges of serving multiple roles for children at home have not dissipated.
Shifting to distance learning has been a major adjustment for children and teachers, and even harder for parents. Teachers had to use everything in their toolbox and go into overdrive curating content and sharpening their technology skills.
The new world of distance learning has been difficult for us as educators because, no matter how tech savvy we are, learning sometimes requires a different approach that isn’t easily adaptable to an online setting. Now imagine how hard it can be for parents.
Parents were expected to step in as learning support and facilitators. Every day families would have to tackle Google Classroom pages, assignments to be completed, new online platforms, emails, and Zoom meetings. This challenge also represented an added responsibility for parents since they had to juggle a whole new world themselves, managing their personal work from home, the health risks of the pandemic, and growing household chores. Not only is it an added responsibility but a significantly harder one for them as well, one that does not come with a handbook or past experiences to inform their plans.
The learning curve was steep and had to be climbed as quickly as possible. For the most part, all stakeholders have risen to the challenge and, although the road has been bumpy and we are more aware than ever of the importance of the classroom experience for children and the whole education community, it has allowed us all to expand our horizons towards the value of life-long learning out of the classroom walls. Being in the classroom physically has been proven important, but it is also true that a new frontier has been crossed and distance learning is here to stay.
For this to really work in the long run, we need committed parental support wherever it’s available.
One of the biggest concerns in schools all over the world right now is how to prepare parents for this new role and the challenges it brings. This means that educators have to support parents and teach them how to deliver their support effectively.
And parents will first need to understand the fine line between coaching their children, supporting them, and interfering with their education.
|Research and our experience suggest schools consider the following tips to share with parents and guide them through the next phase of distance learning:
We don’t know for sure how far the pandemic will take us but, for now, it is important for all of us to come together and pull through as a team.
As teachers and parents, we have a shared responsibility to communicate a message of resilience, growth, hope, confidence, and commitment which will allow us to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.
© Cognia Inc.
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