What parents do, and how they nurture and support their child when it comes to education does not matter just a little bit. The research proves that it is hugely significant! The culture within the family home will have a far greater impact on a child than factors such as whether a child has siblings or is an only child, is first born or have parents who have separated.
Graeme Naftel, Head of Junior School, at the Australian International School Malaysia, gives an insight into how influential home life can be with his overview from Professor Hattie’s evidence-based study.
The study involving over 300 million students from around the world and which brings together more than 80,000 smaller studies reveals 200+ factors that can have positive and negative affects on a how a child performs at school. It indicates that how the home is run ultimately has a great impact on school achievement.
It’s proven that you can help your child by helping them set achievable, measurable goals. For example: By the end of the month, I will accurately recite my 6 times tables in under 30 seconds. You can then work with them to help reach this goal. But try to make sure that the competition is against themselves and not the rest of the class. If the home environment is one that is ultra competitive or where there are unrealistic expectations, Hattie’s research proves that this can be as damaging as having very low expectations.
Even with the best will in the world, things don’t always go to plan, so work with teachers, particularly if there are problems. Assigning blame when things go wrong will not help.
Also try and learn the language the school uses; consistency is key in learning. Consider that the language or methods you used when you were at school may not be relevant now. The world has changed, and so has the way the children learn. And if your child says that they can’t do something, tell them they just can’t do it yet!
As well as academic support, children will need emotional support and advice. There may be others at school with whom they don’t get along, but through overcoming and dealing with these situations they will learn the coping mechanisms needed in adulthood. Supporting them while they work out how to deal with problems themselves will teach them resilience. Ultimately children who are resilient will be successful!
The study also revealed that corporal punishment has a significant negative impact on a child’s academic achievements, especially if corporal punishment is used to punish a child for not performing well at school. Children will inevitably make mistakes, but there are more effective ways to help a child learn from them.
Over-indulging your offspring can also be damaging. Whilst no one will judge you harshly for offering the odd ice cream bribe, lavish and unnecessarily expensive rewards won’t help your child in the long run.
Spending time watching TV is not really the problem. The issue is more the time spent passively in front of a screen, is time spent away from doing other more meaningful activities like reading a book, playing with friends, completing chores or learning a new skill.
The study reveals that between the ages 0 to 7 a maximum of two hours daily watching TV has virtually no effect on children’s learning. However, the recommended daily dose drops to half that, at just one hour for 7 to 16 year olds. Any time at all 17 year olds spend staring passively at a screen will have a negative impact on their academic achievement. That isn’t to say that they should have their heads exclusively stuck in books studying, it just means that when they’re taking a break they should invest their time more wisely.
A child is not the finished product. They don’t have the experience and hindsight of adults. So it’s important they are supported to become resilient when faced with challenges. Parents who fight their children’s battles and clear the way so that success comes easily for their children, are doing them more harm than good.
Teachers at the Australian International School Malaysia want all their students to be resilient learners with a growth mindset. They want them to know where they are going, how they are going, and where they are heading next in their learning.
They know that by working as a team with their colleagues and parents, they can help children achieve their true potential.