PARENTS have not only survived but have thrived because of their kid’s Virtual Classes: Like all other fields and areas of life, the equilibrium of parent, institution and student triangle was shaken intensely when teaching and learning shifted from traditional classes to computer screens overnight. We as educationists, students, and parents have saved our relationship with teaching and learning from a major dent.
No doubt everyone was not only facing the pressure and the demands of this sudden change but they also went through the process where learning was evident. A lot has been said and appreciated about the role of institutions and teachers, as no doubt they have saved the next generation from major embracement of lacking behind by facing the challenge confidently and positively.
However, the role of parents was not only crucial but was much needed to keep this cycle going successfully. We have to admit that we as parents have forgotten our responsibilities and have made the institution responsible for everything just because we are paying to these institutions. However, this pandemic has revived the role of parents and made us realize it by force. Every component in this triangle has a unique role and cannot be replaced with one another. Those who acted as responsible parents during this tough time and embraced new normal with open-minds are the proud contributor to this new age of education.
Parents now have more say in the policymaking of any institution: As they are a partner in this process of change right from the start and, have observed every constituent of the process very keenly from the other side of the table. Instead of blaming the institutions in the past, they appreciated the role of institutions and the efforts of teachers to keep teaching and learning going forward, they have observed and felt the real change and are now clearer about the demands of this change and also the impact of it on their children. Now they can contribute more positively through their valid feedback towards policy-making to further enhance standard of education in future.
Parents enjoy a healthy relationship with their children now than before: When parents and children work together in online activities, bonding between parents and children intensifies as they can spend much more time together. Such occasions allow parents to become a source of comfort in easing pain and worry and engage in conversations with their children to help them in easing their anxiety caused by a sudden shift in the mode of teaching and learning. Parents set new standards by providing an exclusive environment at home for online classes. They have made changes to their routine just to support their children. Many have invested in gadgets and witness opportunity cost. All this have enriched their relationship with their children and are now sharing more trustworthy and gratifying relationship with them.
Parents also learned and now are more technology-friendly: While helping their child with Zoom and MS team’s tools, many parents have researched and learned about these tools themselves to help their child excel in online classes too. They also struggled initially but this thought that their children may lack behind has forced them to learn more. They are now more confident and knowledgeable than before. They have learned how to monitor their kids while being with them when they have access to the internet. They can schedule the day of their kids with the demand of the new school time table.
They do not only learn about the online classes but also have understood their child’s psychology while assessing their interaction and dealing with peers and teachers during online classes. They have a more fair idea of their social and academic standing by observing other’s behaviour, engagement, and responses during online classes. Those parents who still fear and are reluctant to be part of this learning process must step forward and support the institutions not only for their kids but for their benefits too. Also, those who have done it successfully must join hands and support others to strengthen the community overall.
—The writer is an educationist based in Islamabad.