Teachers Must Be More Than Educators To Children

Teachers Must Be More Than Educators To Children

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Media Type
TODAY (Pg 19)

[By Asst Prof Noel Chia Kok Hwee from NIE's Early CHildhood and Special Education Academic Group]

I read the report "Teachers feel more heat from parents" (June 8) with interest. Whether such parental behaviour is in the minority or majority, parents today are certainly different from those in the past. Families, schools and society are changing, too.

Parents strive to provide a safe, conducive environment for their children so that the latter can learn to function well in school and in the community. Parents today have to play multiple roles.

They continue to protect and nurture their children as society becomes more technologically advanced and complicated. 

However, this increasing societal complexity means that parents find it more difficult to be totally responsible for all their children's needs.

Today, teachers, doctors, tutors, counsellors and institutions such as schools, tuition centres, clinics, libraries, places of worship and others are playing greater roles in our children's upbringing.

Although schools continue to assume more educational responsibilities, parents are first and foremost important educators of their children.

It is through parents that children learn how to live and relate to others.

Teachers now have some responsibilities that have historically been within parents' domain. They take on the responsibility of educating because it requires knowledge beyond that which can be reasonably expected of most parents.

Even if parents possess the skill required to manage these responsibilities, they may not have time to provide formal lessons for their children.

Work commitments, career development and the need to provide for the family are sapping their energies and demanding their full attention. Hence, teachers' skills and knowledge overlap those of the parents.

If teachers' professional duties are to complement those of parents, they need a better understanding of families and how they function.

Firstly, since the efforts of teachers today correspond with those of the parents, they need to know their pupils' family backgrounds in order to be more effective.

Secondly, if teachers want to work with parents to help their children benefit from what they learn in school, and to stay safe from bad influences, they need to understand those responsible for children at home.

Lastly, with such understanding, we can be assured that our children are in the good hands of teachers.

[Noel Chia is Assistant Professor from the Early Childhood and Special Education Academic Group, NIE]

Source: TODAY (Pg 19), mediacorp