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Teach English in Baima Zhen - Nanjing Shi
Firstly, it is important to establish if parents should have a role in their children's education. The most obvious answer to this question is yes. Without any involvement from the parents there can be no education for the children. Someone has to enroll the child, pay for the education and get them to where they need to be. If there is homework that needs to be accomplished outside of the hours spent in instruction, children will most often need to be instructed to do it. However, there are less obvious ways for the parent or caregiver to be involved in their child's education. Should they help with homework? If so how much? In what way should they help? To what extent will they be able to help? Perhaps a useful question to ask is, “How can the English teacher encourage parental engagement in an inspiring and appropriate manor?” To answer this question, it is first important to gain an understanding of the culture in which you are teaching. In some cultures parental involvement is more prominent, such as many Asian cultures. In other cultures it is important to understand the differences between men and women as far as authority is concerned. Middle Eastern cultures tend to be much more traditional than Western cultures in this regard. Perhaps, in these instances, it is better to show cultural sensitivity rather than make a point of encouraging the beliefs of the teacher and the culture from which he or she is from. It is helpful from the outset, if possible, to establish some rapport with the parents. This can go a long way to enlisting their help and gaining their trust. It is of utmost importance to understand that parents are entrusting their children to your care. As a parent myself I know first hand what it is like to have concerns about the safety and well being of my children. With this in mind, ESL teachers should go out of their way to convey to the parents a kind and encouraging spirit. When speaking of the children, it is always important to find positive characteristics and ways to encourage them. This can be a great way of introducing to the parents ways they can help the children outside of class to learn the necessary English skills being taught. Even if the teacher has some critical observations of the child's learning experience, coupling it with a strength can be a positive way to address the issue. Also, there are many characteristics of children, that are neither good nor bad, but can be guided towards a positive learning experience with the right encouragement. For example, a particular child, may be very energetic and outspoken. In the wrong hands it can be a disruption to the learning experience, but in the right hands it can be guided towards a very positive, interactive way of learning. In every circumstance there is a positive way to communicate this with parents. Obviously, much of the parents involvement will have to do with their own understanding of the English language. If they have a greater knowledge than the child, perhaps it is worth exploring that to see how much help they can be outside the hours of instruction. It might even be worth while to come up with a lesson plan that incorporates their knowledge. If all goes well, it can turn into a learning experience for both parent and child. However, if the parent has little to no knowledge of the English language it is still important, and possible to establish rapport. In these instances careful attention to one's overall demeanour is important. Things to avoid, for example, are having a condescending attitude, appearing to be overly strict or showing frustration with difficulty in communicating. In general, when people are in new situations, they will do their best to absorb as much information as possible. Therefore, it is always best to find the most positive and encouraging way to involve parents.