Just like in traditional learning environments, a parent’s role and impact on student success is both critical and apparent. Parents serve as a coach for their students, at any age, and support them through their learning process.
The same way parents can mentor and encourage students that travel nearby for school, a parent also plays a vital role in a student’s online learning.
The Roles Parents Play in Online Learning
Online learning is continuously complimented for its ability to mirror individual needs and reflect a conducive environment at a per-person level. This style creates high achievers, but the appropriate environment, especially for younger students, can set a stronger scenario for success.
With added engagement required from parents in online learning, how can they discover the best role to play?
Students should see their parents as their greatest cheerleaders and coaches, knowing a coach won’t be misleading or overly positive, but constructive and goal-oriented. They need to reinforce the bigger picture and how the responsibilities of today point to the larger intention.
Students who see their parent’s role as a secondary educator will often become confused or challenged with weighted opinions. A parent who is authoritative in their approach to task-oriented actions can also rid a student of his or her independent learning style. Matching the objectives of a parent and a teacher can build hostility or demotivate. Finding the balance of grooming a performer for long-term success as opposed to seeing education as a chore is critical.
In opposition, a parent who is overly supportive can strip a student of their opportunity to learn and succeed on their own. Students can become reliant on their parent’s support and especially in online learning, where the instructor is a screen away, can a parent more easily disrupt the learning rhythm.
Finding the appropriate parent coaching behavior can vary at different age groups and parents are required to adapt to the changing needs of their growing child in the way they learn and how they respond to learning.
Parents Set the Standard
Parents control the environment. They support setting the pace, building a physical space intended for learning, and continue to encourage in the absence of a daily face-to-face interaction.
The role of a parent and teacher are different. While a teacher or instructor serves as a guiding force in subject matter, a parent knows when to lean in and lean out of their student’s experience. They are not meant to serve as the homeschooler in conjunction with online course leaders. Instead, they offer support to the learning structure, and reinforce the goals that can be accomplished in and out of school with education.
Accessibility is important. Online learning affords students their own pace and exploration, and heightened accessibility to their instructors. However, often, a student, especially those at younger ages, can’t diagnosis issues they are having in the online learning environment. Setting a monitoring schedule or allowing check-ins can keep a parent up to date and knowledgeable of when their input might be necessary. By designating an area of the home for learning, parents can also keep an eye on progress and learning styles. Noting behaviors, opportunities and barriers, allow parents to adapt or adjust the standard as necessary to create the ideal path for their child or children.
Parents Live by Example
As parents are well aware, children are quick to point out the discrepancy in their behavior with their parents. This is no different in education.
Positioning education as the incredible accomplishment it is, parents can reinforce the importance of doing well in school, regardless of their own backgrounds. Setting an increased value for education and learning can come through in how a parent dictates online learning time, prioritizes needs and the personal attention they can provide.
Educating in an open environment like the home, children can watch behaviors in their parents. If parents push online learners to remain committed and work hard, parents must reflect this in their own behavior. Children are apt to adopt behavior they feel beneficial. Setting a similar pace and expectation in whatever a parent’s emphasis, to a child’s learning pattern can build work styles and expectations for a student to follow.
The Power of Parents
Parents have a direct impact on the education their students receive, especially in an online learning setting. Being a coach at any age and reinforcing the value through hardships can empower students and ensure that impact is positive.
Finding the balance as a parent, between instructor and fellow student, can be difficult. But, those who can master the technique will see great success from their rising stars.