Parent's Notebook: Bringing Parent Involvement Home

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In keeping with the power attributed to test scores, schools convened prep classes for the upcoming state tests during the recent spring break – evidence of the importance being placed on standardized tests. The recent Fulton County (Atlanta) grand jury indictment of 35 educators from the district, including principals, teachers and testing coordinators for their role in an alleged plot to falsify students’ standardized tests results is further evidence. For details on the Atlanta scandal and to keep abreast of news on the education front, news you may never hear on mainstream media, subscribe to S.E. Anderson’s reports at www.blackeducator.org and www.blackeducator.blogspot.com.

The emphasis placed on standardized test results and the fact that teachers’ commitment to educate – identify, bring forth and plan lessons/activities to stimulate the innate creativity of students – may be hindered must be considered for our children’s sake. We must extend parent involvement beyond PTA attendance. We must make home the training camp for creating a future generation with a confident sense of self and an appreciation of others, with the ability to create relationships that function for the benefit of all. In short, we must recognize that we’ve bought into the value system of “either you or me” – having forgotten our African value “you and me”. With our children filling jails and morgues, time is overdue for us to take a stand – not against anyone or anything but for our children and children to come. So let’s return to home base and take responsibility for accepting the unacknowledged power that comes with the role of parent. Let’s review.

Because the school system’s focus is on verbal/linguistic and logical/mathematical intelligences, gifted and talented classes are likely to exclude students who may be geniuses in one or more of the remaining seven. This is an important void for parents to discover and fill. Your ability to connect your child with activities that stimulate interest and enthusiasm will create a student excited about learning period rather than surviving in a system being bored and labeled.

In 1983, Howard Gardner published the book Frames of Mind in which he introduced his theory of multiple intelligences identifying and describing: Logical-mathematical (logic, abstractions, reasoning and numbers and critical thinking), Spatial(ability to visualize with the mind’s eye), (Musical( sensitive to sounds, rhythms, tones and music)Verbal-linguistic (reading, writing, telling stories , memorizing words), Bodily-kinesthetic(Control of bodily motions and capacity to handle objects skillfully), Interpersonal(sensitive to moods, feelings, motivation of others, ability to cooperate in order to work as part of group), Intrapersonal(introspective and self-reflective), Naturalistic(relating information to one’s natural surroundings).

In addition to discovering if and how your school incorporates the Multiple Intelligence theory, it is useful to address how lessons are delivered. Some years ago the National Training Laboratories in Bethel, Maine released the results of a training “Learning Pyramid” which showed the retention rate (RR) resulting from the teaching strategy (TS). Starting at the top of the pyramid: TS –Lecture = 5%, RR: TS-Reading= 10%RR, TS Audiovisual=20% continuing down the pyramid percentage of retention increasing as strategies changed to include demonstration, discussion group, practice by doing, reaching TS teach others/immediate use equaling 90% retention rate.

While debates continue around accuracy, one thing parents need to remember. While our children are mere statistics to some, they are ours and we will experience their successes or failures in life. It’s time to take responsibility for their growth – for discovering their innate genius and connecting them with activities designed to move them to fulfilling their purpose in life.

To identify your child’s intelligences and receive suggested activities that nourish each, or information about “The 45-Day Challenge” where parents transform a problem to a project and solve it in 21 days e-mail parentsnotebook@yahoo.com.

PN Alerts!
***April 25th 4-7 PM – Mix & Mingle – an intergenerational event sponsored by Bailey’s Café and the Grace Agard Harewood Senior Center featuring a Talent Showcase and dinner connecting generations to strengthen the next generation, making a better world. Event includes an opportunity for the generations to meet and share stories, finding a common bond despite age differences and dinner. If interested in performing contact ssiegel@baileyscafe.org or 718-670-7063.

***Summer Youth Employment Application available at www.nyc.gov/dycd. NYC residents between the ages of 14-24 must apply by May 10th . For more information call 311 or 1-800-246-4646. Selection is by lottery and not everyone who applies will be selected. For other summer internships go to www.nyc.gov/html/dycd

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