Generally speaking, it is the wish of every parent that their kids study well and complete at least up to a college or university certificate level. However, parents are so busy with work, home and private matters, education of their children is often left in the hands of teachers. Either at a public or the private schools to which the kids go to.. The schools normally have a set of curricula, course units or modules to complete. Yes, the teachers, lecturers and instructors teach the children on subject matters specified by the school. What the teachers don’t teach is how to study. Both what to study which is the subject matter and how to study are equally important.
The trend in the both the lower, secondary and higher education sector in Papua New Guinea is that more focus and emphasis is given on the subject matter side of the equation and how to study side is tossed between teachers and parents. Teachers often say it is not their responsibility to teach the students how to study. The parents often blame the teachers for not teaching their children in school. Sometimes blame the school administration. In between the student is struggling to pass through the education system. The bright ones survive and learn progress while those who need help are left behind as failures or drop outs.
Boarding Verses Day Students and Learning.
In the past, most of the schools in Papua New Guinea where operated by Christian organizations. As a result, the kids where send to live and study in the schools. In this way their leaning was controlled, supervised and teachers were mainly dedicated missionary workers who made sure that the students learn as much as they can. With the absence of internet and mobile devices, teachers were the library, the internet and source of what is regarded as knowledge. So, boarding schools produced some of Papua New Guinea’s best leaders and bureaucrats. Some of them have passed on while others are still alive today.
Today there are more day schools than compared to the past. This means that students spending their time learning subject matters and send return home. What happens that home affects their education. Particularly, if they are not introduced to how to study side of learning, most students will not develop study habits that are relevant to take them through the various stages of education. Here some guides for parents of a student of any age.
Set up a homework area.
In PNG, we are communal society and relatives usually live together in houses. Particularly in villages and towns. Parents have to strike a balance between supporting relatives and providing space for their children. Have a space for learning where the children will be free of distraction, has some form of light and necessary supplies like books, pencils and other basic necessary supplies handy.
Set a homework routine
Set of time period when the kids should be doing their work home. Depending the age of the kid and the school level, specify a time slot and make it routine. Students who develop regular and routine are better organized and more successful. Let the children know that parents take these study hours seriously. Example, turning off TVs to reduce noise, advising other siblings about the study times and not talking loudly.
Don’t just tell the kids to follow a routine set of times and allow them to study. They need to know why they are studying. Their young minds are still developing so they might not really know the essence of education for their future life. Study is a priority matter. It must be done before watching TV or involve in other activities.
Make Reading a Habit
Let the children know that they must make reading a habit. Reading must not be limited to their school work related handouts, reading books and etc but anything they can read. Newspapers, books, magazines. By some second books and have them handy for kids. Parents must also read to show by example.
Turn Off the TV
This is very hard to enforce in urban settings particularly with teenage children but as a parent, let the kids do know that you are the authority in the family. Explain to them why TV has to be turned off. TV is passive and precious time can be wasted by kids on TV.
Know the Children’s School Subjects and Topics
Ask the children about the subjects they are learning and topics their teachers have discussed in their class. Check their school books, is there any topic they are struggling with. This will indicate to the children that parents care about their education. If have a change to talk to teachers, talk to them about the child’s learning and behavior at school.
Encourage Them and Motivate
Don’t police them to do their homework. If parents don’t insist, children will start to loose interest. Parents must insist and encourage the children to study.
Supervise their work.
When children ask for help, be quick to respond and listen carefully as they explain. Don’t fall into the trap of doing their work. Allow them to complete the work and you guide them. One common phrase that works is “Let me mark your work before the teacher marks them”.
Praise when Work Is Done.
Whenever the children have done something, give a genuine praise. Don’t over praise them for mediocre work.
Get them a computer
Let’s face it . This is 21st century and computers are part of life and society. So if parents can afford it get the kids a computer. They need computer skills to survive life after school. Load it with some software and let them interact with it. He more they interact the more they will use it.
Get Connected to Internet.
Yes the internet is full of ugly and bad. But it is impossible for a high school, college or university student to without the ability to surf online. Home is the right place to start learning about the use of internet and dangers and bad side of things. When used appropriately, internet can be a great learning tool for kids. One Author titled a book “Why do I need a teacher when I have GOOGLE?”. This is the Net Generation kids. They will not live without internet.
He above just for guide purpose. Every home and family is different. However, the bottom line is children must learn the skills of how to study. What to study ( the content part) schools and institutions will fill in. Students how don’t know how to study often struggle academically. So it’s better to start early in their life at home.