Helping your child requires judgment, not just theories.
Welcome back to the Educational Parenting blog, where parents can find advice, answers, and awesome resources on becoming their child’s first and most influential teacher. In our first post, we mentioned the importance of exercising your best judgment as an Educational Parent. Developing a good sense of judgment is obviously something that comes naturally with time and experience, but you may be worried that you do not yet have enough experience, especially if you are new to Educational Parenting. Luckily, your ability to make good judgments is something you can quickly improve with a few easy practices.
Here are three simple steps to develop good educational parenting judgment quicker:
- Read books and articles from authoritative sources on parenting and reading education to understand the science behind the techniques we use at The English Cosmos (and the research behind educational parenting more generally). To get information about synthetic phonics, and why research shows that it is the best way to teach children to read, the following resources are a good place to start:
- “How I Taught my Kid to Read” by John McWhorter. John McWhorter teaches linguistics at Columbia University. In this short article, published in The Atlantic, McWhorter delivers an eloquent and digestible explanation of phonics-based reading instruction, showing why it is the most equitable and the most scientifically sound method for teaching young children to read.
- “At a Loss for Words: How a flawed idea is teaching millions of kids to be poor readers” from Emily Hanford at APM Reports. For a more in-depth look at the issues presented in the brief article by John McWhorter above, read this comprehensive and evidence-packed report on the state of early childhood literacy education in the United States—or listen to it! This report is also beautifully produced in audio documentary form for the podcast Educate.
- Blogs such as The Educational Parent Blog from The English Cosmos. For easy-to-understand breakdowns of the science behind Educational Parenting, continue visiting the blog you’re reading right now! Future posts will break down technical concepts in phonics and pedagogy in ways that are easy to grasp.
- Observe your child attentively to understand their level of comfort and understanding. Knowing your child’s specific capabilities and comfort level when it comes to reading skills (and all aspects of their education) is critically important both for knowing when to slow down and for knowing when to set expectations higher. You do not want to extinguish your child’s love of reading by pushing them too fast and making them feel like they are not good at it, but you also want to know when a child has mastered a skill so that you can move on to a more difficult one. Your high expectations for them will help them to think of themselves as highly capable, and they will be proud of their achievements.
- Reflect on your own practice and consider what can be done better. Constantly self-assessing is an important aspect of a good teaching practice. Nobody knows your skills, strengths, and weaknesses better than you. Don’t be afraid to change up an aspect of your teaching if you feel like it isn’t going well or having the desired effect. Make sure that the techniques you use when teaching your child are having the desired effect of enhancing your child’s knowledge and love of learning. The overall goal is always to improve your child’s skills and understanding, but also to encourage your child to love learning. If anything in your teaching practice does not seem to be working toward these outcomes, make sure to adjust!
Developing good judgment as an educational parent will come naturally with time and experience, but you can enhance your judgment quickly through reading high-quality resources, remaining attentive to your child’s level of comfort and understanding, and always reflecting on and adjusting your own teaching practice.
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