Teach English in Gezhuping Zhen - Huaihua Shi

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Parents role in education There are no words to fully describe the importance of parents in the education of children. They are the foremost educators in all aspects of their children’s development. Whatever a child studies - be it a subject in a classroom or in private lessons for music, language, etc... they will greatly benefit from the impact of having this reinforced in their home environment through their parents’ efforts. Multiple studies have shown the increase and improvement in educational attainment when parents closely follow and are involved in encouraging the educational development of their children. Related studies also show how the more parents are involved in school initiatives and partnerships (i.e. parent-school associations) - this has a great impact on learning and achievement. Of course, there are different types of studies in a child’s life – there are those subjects that are learned at primary, middle or high school or via extra-curricular study. But there are also the important and life-shaping principles that parents impart to their children, those daily habits and patterns of behavior – shaped by the values and qualities that are encouraged and applied in the family setting. As an example, if a child observes that his or her parents value learning and excellence – that they spend time reading and speaking about current news and events, and take an interest in local issues and/or neighborhood community involvement and school life, then this child will also grow up with similar interests and feel curious about the world and the society around them. This begs the question - are parents conscious enough about their crucial role? Do they stimulate their children? Do they ask them helpful questions that develop curiosity and ownership? Do they help them reflect on questions from an early age? In terms of language development, while the motivation and love demonstrated by a teacher is obviously important, when you think about the number of hours that students are exposed to their language teacher (perhaps 1-2h weekly) vs. the time they have with their parents, this is very minimal. A parent sees and interacts with their child daily. Therefore, the influence exerted by parents in the realm of language development through their parents is inestimable – whether this be the mother tongue or a second language. Personally, living as an English-speaking parent of young children in France, I have experienced firsthand and also witnessed on numerous occasions the impact of language development by parents on children. I have seen mixed-language couples where one parent speaks French with their child and the other English, and the child naturally absorbs both languages through being exposed to phonetics and accents, and learns to apply correct forms of speech and expression from an early age. I have also seen French couples where one French parent who has a strong grasp of the English language and have consciously decided to speak in English with their child even though it's not their mother-tongue. They have done this consistently and they have been able to give their child a strong foundation of English, while the other parent speaks in their mother tongue. I've also seen this applied to other different languages such as African dialects, Farsi, Arabic etc… so it's not only specific to the English language. Once again it demonstrates how valuable the parents’ role is in education, and in this context specifically that of language education. As was highlighted earlier, the values and principles that parents demonstrate and manifest are key. If you think about it, the words that we learn shape our thoughts – and even though we don't express all our thoughts out loud, we are constantly thinking. This is a reality of human beings. Our thoughts are intimately informed by the words that we learn. How important is it therefore that these words be profound and generate reflection! In turn, our thoughts will shape our actions - any actions that we undertake will be closely affected by the thoughts and so in a way you can resume that words directly shape our actions. So if we go back to the premise that parents spend a considerable amount of time with their children and inevitably nurture a learning environment (consciously or not!), if parents take the time to develop a rich vocabulary full of meaning and are conscious about their behaviour, principles and values – then the child grows up internalising and adopting this correlation between words and actions. This is the one of the main reasons that I say that parents play an inestimable role in education. To resume, parents’ education is essential, holistic and multi-faceted – covering not only one aspect of development but all elements. Everything that a child learns in his or her childhood is connected and linked to their parents. If there is a strong coherence between behavior, actions and words, then that child will have a very strong foundation educationally for a healthy life – intellectually, emotionally, and morally. In my humble opinion, no parent could wish for more than this: to see their child grow and strive for excellence both individually and collectively, by being a source of good for their society.