Students on a Sunday morning. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf news archives

What you need to know:

  • Three readers write to us on issues related to schooling and learning.
Students on a Sunday morning. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf news archives

Do you think it is better to homeschool children?

By Qashish Dhiraj Mehta

Someone once told me that it’s never too early to start planning your child’s future. And one of the keys to a rock solid future is education. Of course, there is no said path that life takes us on but we can at least try and prepare our children for different journeys.

After the birth of my son, my first thought was about his education.

I’m a full-time mother of an eight-month-old boy. Over a few conversations hovering around education with my friends who are also mothers, we happened to talk about homeschooling. Before I get any further into details, we must understand what exactly it is?

Homeschooling is where the parent takes charge of the child’s education. The parent creates an ideal learning environment for the child - and this is not confined to the home. In fact, the options are endless. Children can learn outdoors, while travelling, etc. The world becomes your classroom.

I had a chat with a friend of mine, who is a working mother of two. She is critical of the home schooling system. According to my friend, the child will lose out on peer activity, the joy of being in a classroom, going for school trips and this would become the responsibility of the parent. She thinks that it would be a lifestyle change as one parent would have to dedicate their time to researching the curriculum for homeschooling.

For me, having an open mind and open discussions are the ideal way to take decisions in life. I spoke to an education consultant who had a few insights to share with me. She told me she had three children, two of which were being homeschooled. According to her, they are having a lot of fun and are “enjoying the benefits of homeschooling”.

She added that for her, a big benefit of the home schooling process was the ability to develop a closer relationship with her children.

Why did she opt for this? She was inspired by friends and family who had opted for the same. She told me: “I have seen the fruits of their labour, where their children have excelled not just academically, but also developed very well socially.”

Children who get their energy off of other kids may not thrive, which is why it’s important for us as parents to keep a close eye on our children to see what allows them to be themselves and what makes them jittery. Anything that makes them smile and flourish can be good for them and if that’s homeschooling then so be it. After all, learning is infinite.

- The reader is a writer based in Dubai.

Paediatric Care_school term
The key to staying fit during the school year is to take precautions against diseases and to get into a healthy routine. Image Credit: Shutterstock

How can school be made less stressful after summer

By Nandita Sarma

No more lazy mornings, end of late-night screen time, beginning of reluctant and desperate attempt to finish holiday home work. That is the scene in all the homes having school-going children. To all the students and their parents, this time provides an opportunity to write a new future and to redefine yourself, set some new goals and re-evaluate the old ones.

Rather than waiting for the last day, one should begin early. While schools in the UAE have opened, a way to make the days before school starts easier, is to check on the essentials like incomplete notes, holiday projects, uniform, stationery, printouts and more. Start working on a schedule because planning a schedule is not enough. Setting a time to wake up and go to sleep, while limiting time for activities like television and internet is a must.

Parents with children with hyperactivity and attention deficit issues can facilitate in making their children’s transition from holidays to school smoother. They must ensure that they set some ground rules like no phone while studying, and no sugary sweets during weekdays. Setting ground rules such as these, ahead of school re-opening ensures you and your child will be more likely to stick to them.

Every parent should ask their child to list their goals before school reopens. Setting goals which are specific like reading one novel every week, leaning 10 new words every day, and more, is extremely helpful and equally feasible. It is equally important to teach children to monitoring their own progress.

Following the above suggestions will help keep students and their parents rested and beat the “back to school” stress. While being nervous is inevitable, parents must ensure that their children schedule some stress relieving activities after school.

If students feel stressed because they are new to a particular school, then it is always advisable to take the student for an orientation or a tour before school reopens so that they are more familiar with it. You can drop them off early or try and get the bus attendant to find them a seat with someone of the same age.

All this will go a long way in helping the students cope better with the back to school demands. Brace yourself, fasten your seatbelts.

- The reader is a former teacher based in Sharjah.

Teachers in UAE
Illustrative purposes Image Credit: Gulf News

Good teachers can change the way students learn

By Nakshatra R. P

Education is an important tool that can shape an individual and allow creativity, opportunity and growth. Educators are important role models for students and have a big impact on supporting and establishing a student’s strengths, goals and knowledge.

Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the effective qualities, skills and characteristics that one brings into a learning environment and how a teacher’s influence plays a role. Student learning can be positively impacted and encouraged by teachers. A teacher’s ideas and expectations of his or her students’ capabilities have an effect on the academic performance of the children being taught.

If teachers believe in their students, their students begin to believe in themselves. Teachers have a very significant, lifelong impact on all of their students. This impact involves not only the teaching of a particular academic skill, but more importantly, fostering self-esteem. Reinforcing self-esteem in the classroom is associated with increased motivation and learning. Teachers seek to inspire students in all aspects of their lives, and for many teachers, their greatest goal is to be a role model.

Educators can inspire an uninterested student to become engrossed in learning. They can motivate them to participate and focus, and even bring introverted students out of their shells. Developing positive relationships between a teacher and student is a fundamental aspect of quality teaching and student learning. Teachers are able to assist students with motivation and goal setting, and students can turn to them for advice and guidance. Students who are inspired by their teachers can accomplish amazing things. They will be motivated to learn and this drive stays with them. That’s because inspiration is one of the most important gifts a teacher can provide to his or her students. These are the things I’ve learnt through my experiences about how teachers can influence students.

- The reader is student at a Dubai school.