From the Head of Crowther Centre – Dr Ray Swann

Over the past two weeks, we have run workshops on the Effective Learner model and building a learner-friendly home environment. Last week, hopefully you were also able to read through a simple process for planning (or co-planning) with you son (available here).

One of the questions that came up during the workshop sessions was about how much to help. Tom Harkin, master facilitator from Tomorrow Man, teaches us that (particularly for boys in the latter years), while we do not wish to ‘smother’ our boys, we still need to find ways to build routines and practices that establish the right kinds of work outcomes. You can see more of Tom here.

Recently, The Age reported on the Varkey Foundation’s Global Parents’ Survey and I thought it would be worth providing you with some of the context and learnings from the survey. The Varkey Foundation is a not-for-profit based in the United Kingdom. The survey is based on results from 1000 interviews with parents in 31 countries (so, nearly 31,000 interviews).  Globally, parents are confident in the quality of teaching (78% rating it good or very good), and that the quality of teaching ranks as one of the main factors influencing why parents choose a school.

In terms of Australia:

  1. Parents are mixed as to the state of education, with roughly 1/3 saying education has improved (and another 1/3 saying it has not improved) over the last 10 years.
  2. On average, Australian parents spend 4.4 hours per week assisting their children with homework (the global figure is 6.7). As Australians, we mostly think this is about the right amount.
  3. Overall, the peak period for assistance with homework relevant to a child’s age was between the ages of 8 and 11 years. The global figure for average time spent helping was 7 hours per week.
  4. Most parents would say that the main barrier to helping their children with homework is a perceived lack of time, with the next major factor not knowing from the school how they can help.
  5. 68% of Australian parents say that schools are preparing their children well for the future.
  6. Happiness remains a primary concern for parents and their children at school.

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