The unfeasibly glamorous Educational Psychologist, Tanya Byron, has published the above report, “Oh, Nothing Much”, to delve into that Black Box that we know as school. In what may be a bid to turn us all into Helicopter Parents, she is suggesting that they way to find out what is occuring at your child school is to engage in a more open dialogue. As Professor Byron concludes:
In summary – a successful learner is a happy learner; a happy learner is one that feels capable and also supported and understood when necessary. For children this is best affected by calm, empowering and supportive communications between all those involved in their education and care, and a relaxed, warm and positive family setting where all the successes and disappointments of the day can be shared enthusiastically.
Well, fine. But this cuts across one significant aspect of what Home-School communications ought to embody and that’s trust in teachers. It is very important to engage in “supportive communication” with your child & their teacher/school. But as a parent we have a responsibility to support the process of learning that is set in motion through the school environment.
I am not certain that all parents could share disappointments “enthusiastically”. Rather, I’d be inclined to feel that a child’s disappointments may be taken to heart and be turned into ammunition with which to criticise a well-meaning teacher who merely happens to be utilising sound classroom management techniques. Alternatively, parents may fail to realise that disappointment and dealing with the fall-out is an element of learning to be a properly funtioning member of society.
I’m all for opening dialogue with parents; lifting the lid on the Black Box. But please do not let the tail wag the dog. Someone is the educational expert here, put some trust in them. Let parents be parents and love their children and if that means taking “nothing” to mean “I did OK today, but nothing of significance happened today that I could either be blamed or praised for so I don’t really need to share it beacuse I’ve been busy for the last 7 hours, actually”, then accept it.