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February 21, 2018 Wednesday 03:30:31 PM IST
THE FORCE MULTIPLIERS

Mischievous students of the then senior school / college bringing ‘rented parents’ to stand in for the originals in front of the Head Master or the Principal, when gated out of school for some mischief, were some of the hilarious scenes we watched with utmost relish in many movies in my youth. The comedy apart, in fact, it highlighted the non-involvement of the parents of that era with the schools/colleges where their children studied. The status has since changed for the better. However, is parental involvement in the education of their children anywhere close to the desired level is a moot question.

 

Though in an informal sense the process of learning is a lifelong one, formal education is structured into various levels for periods of specific duration.

 

Who are the key stakeholders in schooling and education? They are namely, the students, the teachers, and the parents. I would like to add the management of these educational institutions and governments also into this list. The active process of education is a dialogic one between the teachers and the students. What comes to the fore, however, is that parents are not part of this process.

 

ROLE OF PARENTS

 

Young children can be compared to the un-formatted hard disc of a computer. Both, however, can be formatted. The impressionable age is said to be up to 8-10 years by which age children have already formed keyhabits that they carry

into their adult lives. But by then elementary education is far from over. Therefore, the major part of the responsibility of forming some of the most basic human habits in children vests with the parents and the family.

 

In a nuclear family, this arduous responsibility falls solely and squarely on the father and the mother. Teachers get to handle children as part of their professional responsibility for a shorter period of time. Their professional competence and attitude will determine whether their contribution is going to be positive or otherwise in the development of their students.

 

Each child is unique. Even siblings growing up in the same atmosphere develop into distinct personalities. Each one has his/her own strengths and weaknesses, aptitudes and inclinations. Parents need to be aware of this law of nature and refrain from moulding their children into vessels of their aspirations or ambitions.

 

In fact, parents can be the ‘Force Multipliers’ in the process of education. Contrary to being ‘catalysts’, which can speed up activity with no change in the output, force multipliers will not only increase the output exponentially but also alter its quality significantly.

 

Let us see how parents can act as force multipliers. Any output depends on the quality of the input. Here is where the parents can contribute meaningfully in the process of education. They can ensure their wards are healthy,  emotionally stable, realistic, enthusiastic, and kind individuals. However, children cannot be nurtured in cocoons. Therefore, parents need to make their children aware of the hard realities of the world around them where nothing comes easy.

 

Some may hold the view that parent’s involvement in the process of education can at best be an ‘Aim Plus’. I am more than

convinced that when imaginatively utilised, parents can act as a true Force Multiplier in the process of education especially in our current social milieu.THE FORCE MULTIPLIERS

Tag: Cover story

Author: Brig N V Nair

 

Mischievous students of the then senior school / college bringing ‘rented parents’ to stand in for the originals in front of the Head Master or the Principal, when gated out of school for some mischief, were some of the hilarious scenes we watched with utmost relish in many movies in my youth. The comedy apart, in fact, it highlighted the non-involvement of the parents of that era with the schools/colleges where their children studied. The status has since changed for the better. However, is parental involvement in the education of their children anywhere close to the desired level is a moot question.

 

Though in an informal sense the process of learning is a lifelong one, formal education is structured into various levels for periods of specific duration.

 

Who are the key stakeholders in schooling and education? They are namely, the students, the teachers, and the parents. I would like to add the management of these educational institutions and governments also into this list. The active process of education is a dialogic one between the teachers and the students. What comes to the fore, however, is that parents are not part of this process.

 

ROLE OF PARENTS

 

Young children can be compared to the un-formatted hard disc of a computer. Both, however, can be formatted. The impressionable age is said to be up to 8-10 years by which age children have already formed keyhabits that they carry

into their adult lives. But by then elementary education is far from over. Therefore, the major part of the responsibility of forming some of the most basic human habits in children vests with the parents and the family.

 

In a nuclear family, this arduous responsibility falls solely and squarely on the father and the mother. Teachers get to handle children as part of their professional responsibility for a shorter period of time. Their professional competence and attitude will determine whether their contribution is going to be positive or otherwise in the development of their students.

 

Each child is unique. Even siblings growing up in the same atmosphere develop into distinct personalities. Each one has his/her own strengths and weaknesses, aptitudes and inclinations. Parents need to be aware of this law of nature and refrain from moulding their children into vessels of their aspirations or ambitions.

 

In fact, parents can be the ‘Force Multipliers’ in the process of education. Contrary to being ‘catalysts’, which can speed up activity with no change in the output, force multipliers will not only increase the output exponentially but also alter its quality significantly.

 

Let us see how parents can act as force multipliers. Any output depends on the quality of the input. Here is where the parents can contribute meaningfully in the process of education. They can ensure their wards are healthy,  emotionally stable, realistic, enthusiastic, and kind individuals. However, children cannot be nurtured in cocoons. Therefore, parents need to make their children aware of the hard realities of the world around them where nothing comes easy.

 

Some may hold the view that parent’s involvement in the process of education can at best be an ‘Aim Plus’. I am more than

convinced that when imaginatively utilised, parents can act as a true Force Multiplier in the process of education especially in our current social milieu.


Brig. N. V. Nair

Retired from the Indian army, he is also a trainer
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