PARENTS TO PLAY BIGGER ROLES
If we examine the roles of parent in advanced countries around the world, we will find that parents play a big role in the learning ecosystem. The Parent Teacher Programme (PTM) in USA for example has regular meetings with parents. It is a space where parents look forward to joining. How can Singapore revamp the PTM and how can parents play a bigger role in schools?
Need basis to want basis
In the USA, the National Parent Teacher association comprises about 325,000 parents. In Singapore most parents usually only see the teachers on a need-to basis: when a child gets in trouble.
MOE should engage the parents more, like in the US. Let parents be better informed with first-hand information by talking to the teachers. The child is progressing, but how exactly? In what areas? In what other areas are there room for improvement? It’s best to meet face to face and meet regularly.
PTAs should also have more feedback from parents on what their child is like at home. If a child’s bad behaviour or results stems from family problems, maybe the teacher can help resolve it to a certain extent.
MOE can allow and encourage parents to come along with the students when there are school excursions and field trips. This way parents can get to know their child’s teachers more and can also be with their child in the learning journey. Parents will also know who their children’s close friends are and this is a good start in building trust and friendship with their children.
In a nutshell, schools should be more inclusive of parents in planning the student’s development; parents and teachers should have more meaningful interaction.