EDUCATION

The three pillars for a successful school career for students

Parents, teachers and students themselves need to play their parts

In Summary

• Parent should be hands-on, teachers treat each child as special, students respectful

Students from St Thomas Amagoro Girls inside the library
Students from St Thomas Amagoro Girls inside the library
Image: EMOJONG OSERE

Over the course of a child’s school career, there will be many challenges, ups and downs, setbacks and successes. But while it is always uncertain what the future may bring, the chance of increasing the success of a student’s educational journey improves dramatically if the three pillars which are the main role players in the journey play their respective parts consistently, say education experts.

“In every educational journey, there are three role players: parents, students and teachers,” says Jenny Coetzee, Managing Director at Crawford International School Kenya, a brand of Africa’s leading private education provider ADvTECH.

Coetzee says each of these roleplayers has certain duties during the course of the journey which, if exercised to the best of their ability, will make a huge difference to the ongoing and ultimate success of a student, and their commitment to lifelong learning and continuous personal development.

“It is important for all three of these parties to do their part, as leaving one out of the equation will undoubtedly have an impact. So let’s look at all three these roles, and what is required of them.”

Coetzee says parents are the first pillar in the equation, as they are involved right from the start of their child’s life.

“The parent’s responsibility is to take an interest in their children’s well-being. They will be selecting the school best suited to their child’s interests, and are tasked with ensuring they do thorough due diligence before signing up with an institution. Then, once at school, they need to stay involved. For instance, if there are issues at home, share that with the school so that they can better serve the child’s unique needs.”

Jenny Coetzee
Jenny Coetzee
Image: HANDOUT

It is also worth teaching children the value of perseverance. If there are difficulties, don’t simply move the child to another school, but rather work with the school to address concerns, building character and resilience.

“Moving from school to school is a dead-end road, detrimental to the child. Rather continually engage with the school to help your child grow, particularly where disciplinary issues are concerned. Children take their cue from their parents, so if parents speak derogatorily about a school or a teacher, that child’s ability to thrive is immediately limited due to a lack of trust.

“Get involved in school and extra-mural activities, and seek to become part of the community of growth in which you enrolled your child. Your school ultimately also becomes part of your personal network and life foundation if you give it your all.”

Teachers, says Coetzee, are the second pillar towards educational success, and their role extends well beyond conveying information.

Any teacher should be able to answer the question, “Would I want my own child to be taught by myself?” affirmatively.

“If you would not want a teacher such as yourself to teach your own child, you need to consider how you can correct this,” Coetzee says, adding that this test is the excellence standard for teachers.

She says teachers should seek to cultivate positive engagement with parents, and inculcate the understanding that children are not just ‘seat-fillers’.

“Every child is precious, and you have the biggest influence on a child’s personal development when they are away from their parents. A child that misbehaves often has a reason for it, so get to know the children you teach and their families.

“Lessons must be properly prepared without exception, so that if a child does not understand, you are able to adjust your mode of teaching until they feel comfortable with the subject matter at hand. Being prepared and empowered in the classroom also allows teachers to take charge when conflict or challenges arise within the three pillar relationship,” says Coetzee.

Finally, children must be encouraged to respect the rules, engage in lessons and ask questions.

“Parents must encourage open and honest communication between themselves and their children, and teachers and children. Help your child set goals and work towards attaining them. Help them cultivate discipline by doing their homework and taking accountability for their performance. Doing so will for the most part eliminate the need for tutors as crutches, and will build resilience and a willingness and ability to move on from failure,” Coetzee says.

Angelica Ouya, Education Director at the Makini Group of Schools, sister Schools of Crawford says that parents must take time to investigate various schools and ensure they are able to help their children prepare to step into careers of the future.

“Choosing a school is an important first step in ensuring future success, as school offerings vary and one school may be more suited to your child’s ambitions and temperament than another. Very importantly, once a child starts attending their chosen school, a commitment must be made to enable a child to thrive in that environment in a collaborative fashion based on the three-pillar strategy,” Ouya says.

“Essentially, when parents support schools and educators, this provides their child with the confidence to commit and succeed. When teachers engage openly and honestly, without fear or favour with parents concentrating on the child’s needs at all times, and when children understand the boundaries and expectations within the system, you have the perfect environment in which to build success for life.”