Parenting as Facilitation & Education as Mechanism
Parenting & Education have common goals. Intellectual Development (Information) and Personal Development (Becoming) are common to both. Both inform, spur reflectiveness, and require sharing. Parenting is facilitation of the information and becoming. Education is the mechanism of the information and becoming. When we discuss parenting genius we are at once discussing the quality of facilitation and the efficacy of mechanisms applied to the child development task at hand.
The challenge we face is to require that our institutions respect both our wishes (character and wisdom). Education is one of the largest institutions impacting the institution of family. Parenting is your specific interaction with the institution that is family. We cannot sit idly by while schools reduce a child’s potential for character and wisdom down to conformity and knowledge-only. Rather than adults with a moral center and a thirst for greater competence in practice, we are left with adults who do what they are told and know enough to comply.
Facilitation Starts at Home
Facilitation of learning begins at home with your approach to parenting. As indicated earlier, you set the stage for the child’s problem solving and emotional authenticity. Parenting is about facilitation of these two such that the child is ready to assume responsibility for their role as learner. Many parents do not recognize the inter-relatedness of parenting and education in practice. Admittedly, it can be difficult in its complexity. We at once want our children to be open, conversant, and motivated toward education. We also want them to develop at their own pace with positive reinforcement and boosts to their self-esteem. Every parent wants their child to become a person of impeccable, unblemished, authentic character. Parents also want their children to excel in every area of human interaction. That is, to be wise benefiting from the information and example of parents.
In these quests, we run up against the tendency of the school to standardize education as a mass delivery enterprise. This approach was most likely the way that we were educated. The disconnect between the freedom we desire and the pressure to conform we experienced may support the dismissal of the education-parenting relationship. In our quest to keep them safe, it is important that we do not remain disconnected even while aligning our behavior within the institution of family with a pattern of conformity and knowledge-only.
For example, let us explore a common situation and differentiate a character & wisdom example from a conformity & knowledge-only example. What is your expectation when you ask your child at age 7 to perform a task?
|Example||Character & Wisdom||Conformity & Knowledge-Only|
|Parenting||Child questions seeking to understand the directive. Child develops the ability to self-regulate and perform the task next time without being asked.||Child is expected to immediately comply without questions. The information to perform the task without context is all that is needed.|
Education Reforms as Mechanism Reforms
Education is about facilitation of learning most would say. I disagree. Education is the mechanism for the information delivery and the practice of becoming for the learner. Character, vocation, and vision may extend from the educational experience or be stifled by it. Education as facilitation assumes that the content is without bias. When targets are not met, the content of education is not called into question. This creates a dissonance between the corrective interventions and the conception of the problem. We attempt to address content as the problem. This necessarily lands us on a path to provide more and more content if the students are not grasping the concepts.
Education as a mechanism supports consonance between our problem conception and our corrective interventions. We can investigate the mechanisms to determine which inputs are having the desired effect and which are having unintended results. We can maintain the content delivery schedule and realize gains in achievement through delivery innovation, collaboration, flipped-classroom, and other mechanism changes.
|Education Example||Education as Facilitation||Education as Mechanism|
|Problem||Problem is that students are not gaining the content and therefore are unable to perform when called upon to demonstrate comprehension.||Problem is that the mechanism does not support competence delivered in a way that enables students to integrate prior knowledge and new knowledge.|
|Solution||Increase the rehearsal opportunity for the student. Present concepts earlier in the educational process and enlist parent help during homework times.||Introduce inputs that address the individually assessed characteristics of each student. Provide tools for content exploration, verification, and rehearsal. Utilize inputs to foster integration of new knowledge to prior knowledge.|
The additional challenge of the education-parenting connection is that both institutions and our children want an easier, less-resistant, non-confrontational process. As parents, we want to take our rightful responsibility, but we do not always feel qualified to provide an education to our children. The educational institution wants to prove its value by educating your child, but they recognize your value in the process. We are tempted to give in to the status quo, hoping for the best teachers and best experiences each school year, because there doesn’t seem to be another way. But, giving in means diminished outcomes for our children and our society long-term.
- Do you agree that parenting is facilitation and education is mechanism? Why or why not?
- In your interactions with the institution of education, are you able to articulate a connection between your parenting activities and the activities you observe within your child’s school?
- List some of the ways that you support character and wisdom beyond conformity and knowledge-only in your parenting.