Archive for April, 2015

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Helpful Helping!

If you are like me, there are many times you are conflicted in how much help to give your children in their school work.  Obviously, there are numerous factors that have a bearing on how you approach this question.  In the next few paragraphs I would like to consider two areas:  projects and assignments.

One of the most difficult areas of marking that a teacher faces is in areas of creativity.  How does one judge creativity?  We develop rubrics to assist us in developing a fair and accurate grade; but unfortunately, there are so many things we do not see.  I don’t see how much effort a child puts into the project.  I personally have not been blessed with an abundance of naturally acquired artistic skills; so when it comes to things of this nature, I have sympathy for the artistically challenged student. So as teachers, we always have to decide, is this authentic student work, or am I actually grading mom or dad! When assigning a project to a class, especially with younger students, I try to address the question of how much help they can get from their parents.  I usually say something like –“I’m marking your work not your parents.”  Speaking as a parent, it’s tough at times to know when to stand back and when to assist and offer suggestions.  I see nothing wrong in a supper-table dialogue on how to do a project.  I think it crosses the line, though, when I am doing work for my child that they should be doing.  As parents, we want our children to do well.  No doubt we feel that the work that they bring to school-especially in something “big” like a project- is somehow a reflection on us.  Finding the balance between calling your children to excel and yet accepting their best has always been a challenge.  My personal feeling has been that if the work that they are presenting is more of my doing than their own, then I have overstepped the line.

No doubt if your home is like our home, children are called on to answer questions that you might know the answer to.  Having taught science for many years, it is not uncommon for one of my children to ask me what a certain term is or means.  I don’t always catch myself, but I feel I am doing my children a disservice if they find their mom or dad is a vending machine of definition and answers.  As “Google” continues to evolve into our source for all information, I believe all we can do to keep our children physically searching for answers in books or the like will only help them learn to work independently.  Certainly we can assist in helping our children in knowing where to look.  I believe it is an excellent sign when a student pulls out a dictionary on their own accord for a definition!

In conclusion, we as parents should ask ourselves- am I helping (with good long term habit formation), or am I hindering (applying a patch for the temporary appearance of success)? The endurance of time usually indicates the value of the learning.

-Thanks goes to Howard Lichty from Countryside Christian School (Ontario) for these helpful words.

Posted by Kristen on Apr 2nd 2015 | Filed in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Helpful Helping!