Using the Golden Triangle to make Early Learning Effective
The Golden triangle consisting of parent-student-teacher plays a vital role in education. It is an equilateral triangle where the role of each is the same and interconnected with each other. For the healthy development of the child a conducive environment, where the child is exposed to the perfect blend of these components is of utmost necessity.
Parents are the first teachers of the child and they provide the first life lessons. As the child grows under the love and nurturing of her/his parents, then comes a time, when the child is ready to go to school. The school introduces her/him to the second role model in life-the teacher. But the role of parents does not stop once children start schooling. In fact, now the teacher and the parents together work toward the common goal, the all-around or holistic development of the child.
Let us go back to the ancient education system, to understand the dynamics of this triangle in those times. The children after being raised by parents up to a certain age were sent to the GURUKUL. The parents of those times believed that once their children are entrusted to the care of the Guru, they will be getting the best education and learning so that they grow up to become not only an asset to the family but also to society. The faith of parents in the Guru was unquestionable and children were completely in the safe keep of the GURU’s family, where parents sometimes didn’t meet them for months and years. And it was probably because of this implicit faith bestowed upon the Guru that made it a moral responsibility for him to give his very best to his pupils in terms of the best learning experiences, which not only included academics but also varied skills including life skills. By the time the pupils left the Gurukul, they were equipped with the best education and life lessons that they were ready to apply in their real lives. Doesn’t this somewhat resonate with the present boarding school education?
But it has to be noted that in today’s world this relationship between the Teacher, Parent and Student have undergone a lot of changes and it is seen that sometimes establishing this golden triangle has become a challenge of sorts.
In order to foster this harmonic trinity, it is vital that all three parties are recognized as important players, and that power does not slide into the hands of just one of the components, who may then use the student/child as a pawn in the power struggle. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for the parents and the teachers to understand that in the triangle the child or student is the main focus and that both of them are working towards one concerted goal and that is the development of the child.
Also, it is important to understand that, while the parent pays for the education of the child, we may say, that the teacher translates money into knowledge. Therefore, teachers cannot be looked upon as a commodity. Rather, they are the ones who make the little one step into the world of formal learning.
Sometimes, parents take up the role of the teacher, but that is not possible at all times. The pandemic has made this very clear when education delivery very quickly shifted from the offline to the online mode. It was seen that children started schooling from home and parents had to give major support to them to set up the entire process of remote learning. However, teachers faced a bigger challenge. They had to plan lessons and modules in a completely different way and not only that, they had to equip themselves with the technological know-how that was related to online education delivery. Even after months and months of lockdown, students actually did not miss much and that is because of the collaboration of the teachers/ school and the parents, towards their common goal and is the betterment of the child.
Therefore, it is important for parents to acknowledge the role of a teacher in a child’s life and give them the respect they deserve. Also, parents must keep in mind that children learn only from people they love. If a parent is not respectful towards the teacher or speaks ill of them at home, the child also develops a sense of dislike and disrespect and will never be able to learn from her.
Aristotle the ancient Greek philosopher very rightly said “Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those, the art of living well.”
However, it goes without saying that the teacher too, needs to understand the feelings of a parent who is thinking only in the best interest of the child. They must be collaborative and encourage the parents to be involved in the school as well. We sometimes see teachers that do not communicate with the parents and stay aloof. They kind of pretend that they are above all and never even bother to answer the queries raised by the parents. This kind of behavior from a teacher is unacceptable, as the parent who has entrusted their complete trust upon the school needs to know the facts. The teacher must confide in the parent and discuss important issues related to the child be it behaviour issues or any other concerns related to academics, extracurriculars, etc. Teachers need to be empathetic towards the expectations of the parent from them, as well.
In day-to-day life, it is often seen that the parent and the teacher switch roles. The parent becomes the teacher, at home when they assist the child in academic and other extracurricular activities, while the teacher sometimes becomes a parent and a friend to the child, upon whom the child can confide. Let me give a real-life example of how a teacher and student developed a bond of friendship. We had a student who was in kindergarten and was very active and motivated. He was generally very enthusiastic to learn and play, but with the passage of time, the child had become increasingly irritable, started to stay indoors and stopped mixing up with his peers. Upon asking he confided to his teacher that he witnessed his parents fighting every day and that was very upsetting for him. We decided to invite the parents to school for a one-on-one discussion and advised them to refrain from display of such behavior in front of the child, that was affecting his mental health. The parents were extremely cooperative and without getting their EGOs into the matter, actually took action. And in a few days’ time, things got back to normal for the child. This is a very telling example of how the teacher and parent collaborated for the best interest of the child.
In the early childhood years, this trinity needs to be even more in place as the child or the student who is barely 2 or 3 years or max 5/6 years, entrusts their complete love and trust upon their teacher who is second to the parent. As they are new to the outside world they have a sense of fear in them and once they warm up to the teacher, they consider the teacher to be their role model. The teacher in turn tries to give the child a wonder-filled environment that is most congenial to the child’s development. The parent needs to support the effort of the teacher and act as a partner in this process. Early years are the most crucial in a child’s life and any wrong decision or power struggle may lead to a lifelong negative impact upon the child. While it is expected of the parents to cooperate with the teacher, it is also expected that the teacher makes an effort to include the parent in this first step towards formal education of a child’s life.
Let me sum it up with a few quick tips on how the Golden Triangle may be used to make early years learning more effective…
The Best Way Teachers can Help Parents
Communicate – A teacher should communicate with the parent regularly. One should not wait for the specific parent-teacher day to interact with the parent. If a teacher notices any behavioral problems or academic problems, he or she should immediately inform the parent about it. Keeping healthy communication with the parents right from the start enables a good bonding with the child as well.
Choose Proper Communication Tools – Every parent has their own way of communicating with the teacher. Those who are working parents don’t visit the school regularly. They may be reached through e-mail, what’s an app and those who regularly come to the school to pick up and drop, face-to-face communication works.
Build a relationship of trust – Trust is an integral component of this trinity and mutual trust would help in taking the right decision for the child. So, parents must not be hasty in forming an opinion about the teacher and vice versa. Never blame or gossip about the teacher in front of the child. Also, if there are any issues, raise them in front of the school administration for clarification. Similarly, teachers should refrain from typifying parents and making assumptions based on their appearance etc. Respect must be mutual and everlasting.
Best Ways Teachers can Help Children
Communicate – Communicate with the students in a way that will help them be comfortable. The teacher should be their mentor, guide and role model and not just a teacher. In the early years, children learn much more than just academics. If they find the right teacher to guide them, to answer their questions, love, support and motivate them, then they would surely grow up to become happy and successful individuals.
Encourage children to work independently, take decisions, and solve problems-
This is integral, as this is the time most of the skills and the personality of a child is formed. Therefore, the teacher must be enthusiastic, motivating, and encouraging. Children must be allowed to be creative and their independence must be encouraged.
Help them develop positive self-esteem and socio-emotional skills which would help in later life.
We are social animals and we live in a society. Children need to learn social skills, should be taught to handle emotions, develop resilience and coping skills in these early years by involving them in different activities and role-plays, etc.
Best Ways Parents can Help Children
Interact with your child – Parents should ask the child about what they did and how their day was at school. They should develop bonding and friendship and support them to integrate into the schooling system. Parents should about how they felt and help them share feelings. As these children are little, they feel better if they see their parents displaying a love for their school and that helps in building up their faith.
Avoid Comparison and competition – Every child is unique. So parents should avoid comparing their child with other children and peers. Concentrate on their weakness to improve upon them, but focus on their strengths as well. We tend to appreciate the child only when he or she succeeds, but it is more important to appreciate the efforts even if he or she hasn’t succeeded. Parents must avoid competing their child with other children as this is not the right age to compete. They should be allowed to stay stress-free and happy so that they don’t develop any fears.
Establish regular contact with your child’s teacher – Keeping oneself in the loop is important. Try not to miss out on the child’s day-to-day progress by staying disconnected. Parents must attend PTM and school events and get-togethers so that the child feels happy.
Volunteer in school programs – Parents can always find out time to volunteer in their child’s school. There are several ways in which you can contribute like helping the teacher prepare for annual function or sports day or events or volunteering to help in school picnics.
If a child gets the right blend of nurturing from both the parent and teacher, they would definitely grow up to become happy learners and successful individuals in life.
This is a very beautiful POEM, which so beautifully portrays the golden triangle
Whose Child Is This?
“Whose child is this?” I asked one day
Seeing a little one out at play.
“Mine,” said the parent with a tender smile
“Mine to keep a little while.
To bathe his/her hands and comb his/her hair,
To tell him/her what he/she is to wear,
To prepare him/her that he/she may always be good,
And each day does the things he/she should”.
“Whose child is this?” I asked again,
As the door opened and someone came in.
“Mine,” said the teacher with the same tender smile.
“Mine, to keep just for a little while.
To teach him/her how to be gentle and kind,
To train and direct his/her dear little mind,
To help him/her live by every rule,
And get the best he/she can from school”.
“Whose child is this?” I asked once more,
Just as the little one entered the door.
“Ours,” said the parent and the teacher as they smiled.
And each took the hand of the little child.
“Ours to love and train together.
Ours this blessed task forever.”
~Dr. Vasavvi Acharjya, Founder Chairperson Early Child Development Forum
References from: The Internet