The Superpowers You Have as Educational Parents That Teachers Don’t

Edward Wong The Educational Parenting Blog Leave a Comment

Quality time, familiarity, flexibility, and customizing implicit teaching

As an Educational Parent, you have certain advantages teachers wish they had. In an earlier post, I wrote that you have certain “superpowers” as an Educational Parent. Here’s what they are.

One-on-one quality time

Classroom teachers need to split their attention with as many as twenty students, but you can spend more one-on-one time with your child than a teacher with a classroom full of kids ever could. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Education found that one-on-one education had a larger effect size than one-to-group education (Inns et. al, 2019).

You might think that you are at a disadvantage due to lack of educational training, but the researchers also observed that a child’s learning outcome was not affected by the level of training of the educator for one-on-one settings (Inns et. al, 2019).

Familiarity with your child

You know your child better than all their teachers. You saw them take their first steps, say their first words, and ask their first question. You know their personality; you know their diaper-change face, their stressed face, and what they do when they are tired.

For example, if you are teaching a lesson and can see that your child is very tired, you might tell yourself to review the lesson next time, whereas a classroom teacher may not have noticed your child’s fatigue.

Flexibility over scheduling

Teachers can only teach during school hours, but you can teach at any time. Children, like adults, aren’t going to be equally ready for learning 24 hours a day. Times that they feel tired, sad, hungry, or upset aren’t usually very conducive to learning.

As an Educational Parent, if you notice that your child tends to be too tired or cranky at a certain time of day, you can schedule lessons at a better time—perhaps after a snack or a nap—that would be more productive.

Pivoting between implicit and explicit teaching

As we discussed before, educators teach skills in two ways. Whenever someone is trying to teach, they can attempt to teach implicitly or explicitly.

In implicit teaching, the teacher sets up the lesson aiming to have the student to discover knowledge or skills on their own.

In explicit teaching, the teacher directly gives knowledge or instructs how to perform a skill.

Implicit teaching is celebrated for creating more lasting effects, but it is riskier because the learner may not “figure it out.” For reading in particular, where pre-requisite skills are essential before moving on to more advanced skills, it is essential that no skills are missed.

As a parent, you can have the best of both worlds by implicitly teaching as a default approach and switching to explicit teaching for skills that were not mastered through implicit teaching.

For example, you can teach reading implicitly by reading to your child, giving them books to try to read, and demonstrating good habits for them by tracking the text with your finger. However, if you notice they did not pick up the habit of tracking text with their finger by imitation, you can explicitly teach them to do so.

Conclusion

Time and again studies show that parents are the biggest influence on their child’s education, and the above superpowers Education Parents help to explain why.

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About the Author

Edward Wong

Edward Wong is a primary tutor and the Senior Designer at English Cosmos. He teaches children how to read, coaches parents on education in the home, and has been passionate about reading education since 2019. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Juris Doctor degree and qualified as a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).

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