I listened to two boys walking down the stairs after their lesson yesterday. One was rolling his bag down the stairs and the other was trying to hit the bag with his bag. Naturally there was noise and laughter. They glanced up at me at one stage but continued with their game.
One of the mothers was standing at the bottom of the stairs and asked: “What did you think of your lesson today?” Now 99% of mothers will ask a one or more of the following statements:
“Are you all right?
Did you work hard?
Did you learn anything?”
So hear a child being asked for an analysis of the lesson was a surprise.
We sometimes remind some of the children attending our lessons to thank their parents for sending them to tuition. A lesson is so easily taken for granted. So it was a real pleasure to hear a mother ask her child what he had thought about what he had learned.
So if you were the head teacher of a prestigious grammar school would you rather have a child that reached 130 on test or a child from a stimulating home who is expected to reflect feeling and ideas?
Perhaps we need to set up yet another think tank to research how to help children to respond innocent questions about feelings on education, teachers and parents. We associate the term `think tank’ with broad areas like `war’, `politics’, `economic depression’ and `poor housing’. So to develop a think tank involved in `feelings’, `adjusting’, `empathy’ and `conciliation’ seems to be a waste of the term. The thinking side of `think tank’ is easy to reconcile. It is the `tank’ part that we need to be wary of.
It is difficult to envisage a group of academics debating in their swimming costumes in a large water tank. It is must easier to visualise them draped over a large war machine deciding war policy.
So do we need to teach children to listen to what their parents are saying? If a child is asked about what he thinks about a lesson and has to be taught the answer then perhaps we need to try to build better communication skills between parents and children. If a child can answer honestly and is able to offer a considered reponse then we can be sure that there are a number of children who have been exposed to good parenting skills.