What do you think it means to have a family-centered approach where teachers “use the strengths of parents to help educate their children”?

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A family-centered approach where teachers work closely with parents means that parents and teachers are equal partners in educating the child. It assumes that the parents know more about the child's mental aptitudes than the teacher does, and know what works for their learning style. Each student receives lessons tailored to their learning style and past experiences. However, since this is often individualistic, the socialization that comes from learning with other students must be found outside of school.

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Based on the way that the question is worded, it can be assumed that it is inquiring after your opinion. This notwithstanding, the description seems relatively straightforward. A family-centered approach implies a less standardized approach to education. Particular interest is taken to the student in question's family life. This approach operates heavily under the assumption that, in most situations, a family knows what is best for their child. As such, allowing parents to take point position in that child's education will make for an ideal learning situation. In these approaches, the teacher of an institution is often equal with or even secondary to parents in giving instruction to a student.

There are some advantages and disadvantages to this approach. An advantage is a more comprehensive education, particularly with attention to skills that have already been observed to be a young person's strong suit. Parents have indeed observed their children for longer periods of time, and will have a better idea of their natural strengths. One of the disadvantages is that that early education is often a means for children to step outside of their respective "bubbles" and become more socialized to the world at large. In the case of a family-centered education, this priority of social adjustment can often go by the wayside.

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A family-centered approach to teaching can, at times, be found in early education. It is found in settings like nurseries and primary schools. As opposed to conventional teaching, where the teacher is the main educator for the children, the family-centered approach moves away from this main role of the teacher. Instead, the parents and the teachers work together to provide the best possible education for the children.

In order for this to be successful, the teachers need to be aware of the strengths of the parents. This is important to education taking place at home. By making the most of the parents’s ability, a teacher can share the planning and teaching with the parents. The parents can effectively support the teacher’s work from home. For example, a parent who is good at mathematics may help teach their children more at home without having to overly rely on the teacher.

However, if parents find themselves unable to work with their children with regard to certain topics, as it is not one of their strengths, then this is not a problem either. Teachers should provide parents with sufficient materials in order to be able to help and support from home. By working as a team rather than two completely separate entities, both teachers and parents will be able to support and help each other and the children. Drawing on parental strengths will make this approach to teaching even more effective.

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The traditional lecture-based style of teaching is centered on the teacher, who delivers instruction to all the students at the same pace and in the same way. Early in the twentieth century, theorists such as Dewey and Vygotsky, and later Piaget, advocated a more student-centered approach. In this alternate method teachers took into account the strengths and weaknesses of the individual student and adapted the instruction accordingly.

The family-centered approach to education is an extension of this idea, taking into account the personality of the individual student and his or her family background as well. The teacher first needs to understand the families from which students originate. They should be familiar with their economic, social, linguistic and cultural backgrounds in order to best understand how to help the student learn. The teacher then needs to work in partnership with the student's parents. They perhaps should also recognize the goals and priorities of the extended family and wider community. Many parties can add to the education of their children, and help determine where they might require help.

Rather than being an authority figure who tells the parents what is best for their children, the teacher using a family-centered approach is a partner with the student and the family, recognizing that parents know their children better than anyone and have unique strengths and knowledge to contribute to their education.

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The family-centered approach to education involves the active involvement of parents in the child’s educational process and learning. In fact, parents and teachers are considered equal partners in the process. The educator’s input is respected, but the educator relies on family involvement to gain an understanding of the child’s family relationships and routines. Then, the educator can use approaches to learning that are specifically suited to the child, based on his or her family dynamics and previous learning experiences.

Proponents of the family-centered approach to learning consider parents the experts in their children’s lives. Thus, they believe that parents are in the best position to make decisions about their children’s learning. Understandably, the amount of participation a family chooses to give or is able to give varies considerably. Thus, family-centered education is highly flexible. When carried out effectively, it provides an individualized and more integrated learning experience for the child, as it capitalizes on a family’s strengths and promotes continuity between family and school life.

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What do you think it means to have a family-centered approach where teachers “use the strengths of parents to help educate their children”? What role does a teacher play in creating a family-centered approach?

What it means to have a family-centered approach where teachers “use the strengths of parents to help educate their children” is open for interpretation, but it seems to point to the critical role parents or caretakers can play when it comes to a child’s education and suggests that a teacher should try and use this role to the child’s advantage.

A teacher might excel at their job when it comes to educating children within the classroom, but if a child’s home life minimizes or doesn’t pay that much attention to education, that child’s education will likely suffer, since a key aspect of their life—their home life—is not propelling their education. Thus, a family-centered approach makes the family a part of the child’s education and tries to create a holistic environment in which the child is encouraged to learn inside and outside the classroom. The teacher gets to know the child and their parents, and they use their knowledge of the parents to bring out their strengths and apply those qualities to the child’s education.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the switch to remote learning arguably showcased the importance of a family-centered approach. In an article for ProPublica and the New Yorker, Alec MacGillis profiles a twelve-year-old student, Shemar, and explains how his family life adversely impacted his education. With a struggling mother and an aging grandmother, “No one made sure that Shemar logged on to his daily class or completed the assignments that were piling up in his Google Classroom account.” Shemar’s difficult situation demonstrates why a family-centric approach is valuable because it reveals how a family can shape a child’s education.

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