Young people are well known for their ability for keeping their parents in the dark. The young mind is easily attracted by the thought of increasing those areas of their life that they can keep secret from their parents. Many of us as parents or teachers have found it convenient to go along with the idea that this ‘independence’ should extend to secondary or high school education. Knowing what we now know about Parental Engagement, we are not doing our children any favours if we leave them in total control of their education.
We also have to face the fact that large numbers of children leave our schools each year without achieving anywhere near their potential. This means that many schools are at a loss when it comes to knowing how to get the best out of our children. Given the increasing importance of exams, we owe it to our children to support them as much as is necessary to give them the best possible chance in life.
If we stop, stand back, and look at this idea in detail, it doesn’t take long to realise that allowing children to have total responsibility for their education is not a good idea at all. When did it become a good idea to give total control of something so important to someone lacking the maturity needed to deliver the best results?
The education of our children is a shared responsibility. It is shared between the child, the teacher/school, and the parent. Each has a different role to play in the process and a different set of responsibilities and in order for them to be effective, we need to understand the roles that we all play.
The aim should be that over the course of their school-life, children take more and more responsibility for their education. However, it should never be left to them to decide when this happens. It should come as part of a natural process and within a dialogue where the school also has a role to play. Parents should always encourage and support. It is easier to step in and support if your child knows that you are their to help without blame.