How Positive Role Models Help Kids Learn

Child Development & Role Models: Parents vs. Teachers

In some circles there has been a groundswell of complaints that today’s teachers are failing to properly educate their students. Educators have countered saying that today’s kids often do not arrive at school ready to learn. Teachers note that they are not babysitters and that parents need to take seriously their importance as role models of proper behavior. There is no simple resolution to this evolving conflict. But there is one thing that all parties agree on: Only by working together as good role models can educators and parents help children grow up to become confident, successful, responsible adults.


Pressures on today’s parents

Learning is critical to healthy child development so all parents should be asking themselves how they can best help their children learn. Today’s economic pressures have created a stressful environment for homes with two time-pressed working parents. And families with one parent staying at home, or a single parent, are often financially strapped, which creates other limitations. As a result, many parents are just too stressed or preoccupied to guide children towards clear goals or be positive role models.


Why role models are important

Children who have had positive role models in their lives express more positive goals overall and a healthier outlook on life.  Children that haven’t received guidance or leadership reflect the negative attitude of those surrounding them. Often, they mirror the negativity they have learned through a parent’s indifference to taking action.  Children who’ve received negative affirmation can experience a negative attitude.  Thus, indifference may have the same effect on children without positive role models as it has on the children who experience a lack of leadership and guidance.


Is it time to redefine a parent’s role in a child’s education? 

Educators have long questioned whether parents are active enough in their children’s lives.  Are parents solely to blame?  While some parents have been great role models, other parents have failed.   It may be easy to point a finger at parents for children’s learning failures, but teachers also have failed to equip students and should shoulder some of this blame.


Why a teacher’s role is important

Research has proven children learn best when teaching addresses their particular learning styles. Some kids favor visual learning. Others would rather read about the topic. And some kids do best in group situations. Experts say educators have a responsibility to understand the individual strengths and weaknesses of their students and to tailor their teaching to each child’s needs.

Teachers mustn’t forget how impressionable children are or doubt their own ability as educators to shape a child’s self-esteem.  Since children learn best from multiple sources, teachers need to be a conduit for better learning and not waver from this commitment.  They must remain supportive and offer whatever tools are at their disposal to help children reach their potential. Educators can also provide positive reinforcement to children who’ve had little feedback at home. Only by working together can educators and parents create the best environment for children to grow up confident and equipped with the skills to become successful, responsible adults.


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