School bells are about to ring again, and a new school year is soon to get under way. School days can be an exciting adventure. And education can be an opener to exciting opportunities for the present, as well as for many years to come.
Friedrich August von Hayek set a tone for today's schools. Hayek, a well-known economist of the 1900s, said so brilliantly, "The mind cannot foresee its own advance." What a powerful statement. Our mind-set toward schooling can set a tone for our attitudes and actions. One of the goals of a good education is to develop within the student a positive attitude toward productive self-fulfillment. Developing an attitude for success develops a continuing search for self-fulfilling achievement. And with fulfillment in achievement comes a sense of motivation for accomplishment for the now, and for the future.
A new school year is about to begin. For many - students, parents and school personnel - excitement, anticipation, and new learning possibilities are on the cutting edge! This article is for all interested parties - students, the home and the school - a powerful triangulation in the educational process. This piece proposes several suggestions for all who are a part of this triangular process.
To the students we say: Be prepared, be positive, be motivated and be there. Going back to school, or going to school for the first time, may be for most individuals, a sense of anticipation and excitement or uncertainty and anxiety or a little of both. But, when you look for the best, the best will surely find you right where you are.
And a word to the school, the home and the student, a note that "dropping out" of school is no prize and has consequences. It is extremely unfortunate when a 16-year-old student sees no other option but to drop out of school. And it is extremely sad when even a primary aged child "emotionally" drops out of a desire for learning. Dropping out of school - physically or emotionally - is tragic! It does not have to be that way! It is incumbent on the part of the home and the school, and the student, too, to make sure this does not happen. And so we say, "look for success, and success will surely find you."
Most all of us - students, the home, teachers and others - recognize that the school plays a most vital role in the life of every learner; and it will for the next 180-plus school days. Make no mistake about it, every student (age related of course) is responsible for his or her own actions and has a responsibility to help to make productive things happen. The student has a right to learn and an obligation to be responsible. Mastering the basic skills and developing positive work habits are essential. Acquiring a sense of achievement is cardinal to a solid education. And so we say, "strive toward achieving the goal and the goal of achievement will be yours."
To the parents or home-care givers, we say parental support plays a vital role toward the academic success and the emergence of a positive learning experience. In fact, the foundation of a child's personality is so importantly home-centered. To be sure, parents and care givers are, or should be, the child's best cheerleading supporters and tone-setters. The parental role is an awesome privilege and a vital responsibility!
Good home organization, sensible routines and a respect for a work ethic are essential foundational starters. A productive day at school begins before a student's head hits the pillow the night before. One can help a child become a better student with desirable management skills. For example, assist your young child - and older students too, to have some self-responsibility - to organize their time efficiently. For starters, limit television, interactive computer games, idle chatter on the telephone and endless loud background music. Eliminate distractions. Getting enough physical exercise is essential for providing a person with a healthy lifestyle. There are four watch words that hold a vital key: sufficient sleep, good food, respect for work and an opportunity for healthy play. And so we say, when you see happy, caring students, you will see thoughtful caring parents."
To the teacher, we say education is a science and teaching is an art. Effective communication between school and home is essential. The communication channel must go both ways. The school and the home - each have a piece of the picture of a student's development and each can be most effective when essential, pertinent information is shared. Clear communication between school and home helps ensure that teachers and parents are responsive to the unique needs of each student. There are few things more hurtful to a student than an uncaring attitude of a parent or an unfair attitude of favoritism on the part of a teacher.
Working together as full partners - the home, teachers, and administrators - can create a caring and sensitive school climate which respects and responds to students' differences as well as their similarities. The centrality of this partnership is the student. The focus of the partnership is to maximize the potential within each learner so he or she may achieve all of which she or he is capable. This, we believe, is the essential underpinning of a quality educational experience. And so we say, "When you see desirable communication between school and home, you will see a child who knows then, that there are those who really care."
To be sure, school bells will soon ring again. And education for the learner can be an opener to exciting opportunities for the present, and for many years to come. And so, to this powerful triangulation in the educational process ... the Student, the Parent and the Teacher ... we say: "Strive for the best and success will surely find you." For you see, the fact of the matter is, successful achievement is a durable treasure that comes from a noble effort!
Dr. Robert L. Heichberger is professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Fredonia and distinguished professor at Capella University in Minneapolis, MN. All of the past columns can be viewed on www.fromourperspective.net/ Send comments to: Rheich@aol.com