Published November 21, 2021 & February 21, 2023
As we leave the house together, masks on, hand in hand, it’s all of a three-minute walk for us as I take my son to school! We realize how lucky we are to live so nearby and not have to endure the stress of a traffic-filled ‘school run’ every morning and afternoon. Every morning in our quartier in Bordeaux where we live (just as across France and elsewhere) parents gather on the street around a (now socially distanced) school doorway, where you hand over your child. Teachers and administrators take over the care and control of your child’s learning until you get them back 8 hours later. Rarely are parents allowed to even cross the threshold, let alone engage in a specific discussion over the direction of their child’s learning.
In my weekly Future Learning Design podcast, I speak with amazing individuals asking big questions about the future of education and schooling. In this episode, I spoke with Matt Barnes, from The Education Game about the role that parents do, could, and should play in the education process.
Matt Barnes: I would say that it’s really quite odd to me that parents aren’t factored more centrally. I mean, I think part of it is my own background. I used to manage pediatric medical practices. And so in that environment, the parent is always in charge. We have to ask the parent, can we touch your child? Can we talk to your child alone? Can we give them this medicine? Can we poke them with this needle? We ask for everything, but in education, it’s the exact opposite. They’d never asked the parent; they never inquire about what the parents are seeing and their concerns.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite where the school oftentimes actively discourages the parent from being involved… I think that actually is a fundamental problem with why we are where we are.
Tim Logan: I liked the question that you posed: How can parents improve their child’s educational journey regardless of the functioning of their school? So I guess, the question is what are the responsibilities or the limits of that role in your view — the way that parents can be involved regardless of the school, but hopefully in collaboration with the school in an…