Are you raising a self sufficient student?

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Are you raising a self sufficient student

During the 70s and 80s children were still allowed a great amount of freedom which meant they spent a lot of time playing in the street, were allowed to roam free and most important of all parents rarely sat down with them to help them do their homework.

TodayÕs society tends to overprotect its children, parents consider the outer world unsafe and unfit for their children to spend unsupervised time and unfortunately tend to be quite content when they see they get absorbed by video games or the Internet, unfortunately this has also spread to the educational sense of childÕs upbringing, teachers today find themselves with classrooms full of students who are unable to think and work by themselves and need to be lead through every step of the way.

It is not uncommon to find parents organising language trips or even work trips for their 25 or even 28 year-old sons or daughters who should obviously be self sufficient at that stage of life, some people might find this an exaggeration but the latest statistics show that up to 60% of university students in Spain depend on their parents to complete inscription form for them or to sort out any paperwork that needs to be done as they are completely incapable of doing so by themselves.

A more reasonable and rewarding concept is to create self-sufficient students, this creates a more secure student and a much more competitive future member of the working society, following this concept it is up to the individual student to ensure they spend an adequate amount of time on their homework and studying, it is up to them to be in class in time and to keep their rooms tidy. This concept of discipline is invaluable when it comes to the real world.

Does this mean I have to leave my son/daughter completely loose?

Obviously the answer to this question is no, we simply have to give them some space to learn and mature, a child who never makes mistakes never improves, students must learn from their mistakes, parentsÕ constant supervision becomes addictive and children find they are incapable of producing any work at all unless they are completely tutored by their parents.

These students grow up and become insecure adults who are unable to fend for themselves in the extremely scarce work system that we are currently withstanding due to the worldwide economical crisis and therefore find themselves in unsatisfying jobs working at something they donÕt enjoy but are also incapable of trying to find something better.

So which is the correct approach?

It has been proven that the best approach regarding parentsÕ involvement in their childÕs education should be a reference situation where the child knows he/she can ask for help if this is required but doesnÕt depend completely on their assistance to be able to perform his/her scholar duties. Students need to feel secure but that security doesnÕt have to turn them into complete dependents of their piers for even the easiest of tasks.

Parents who are educating self- sufficient students should also avoid giving them all of the answers when they are asked for help or advice, if they ask you for something instead of giving them the answer you should ask them how they can find the answer if possible they should then look for the answer themselves, if they are unable to find the answer then instead of giving it to them dedicate some time to showing them how to find their answers.

The best focus is to get into the habit of answering a question with a question “What exactly didnÕt you understand?, show me usually when they read it again to try and explain it to you they find the answer, if not you can help them work it out. Students tend to find the easy way through life and the easy was is to get someone to give them the answers, it is a lot easier for them if someone explains something to them than if they work it out by themselves.

Teachers should also take a leaf out of this book as many times they prefer explaining the questions or activities rather than having to face a number of questions from the students; this is completely the wrong focus as if you get students into a more independent routine they will depend less on the teacherÕs assistance leaving the teacher more time to dedicate to those students who really need his/her guidance to complete the task. It is better for students to be able to read and understand a task rather than have to rely on someone to tell them what to do.

Keith Appleby (Director)

CET Services