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Supporting Parents with Low/No Literacy

This chapteris for schools, teachers, and volunteers to provide support to low-literacy parents. Besides the points provided below, they may use all of the activities and resources provided in the above chaptersto support low literacy parents.

While children are undergoing a transition in learning from 'school mode to Home mode' parents too are in transition mode from being parents to coaches. Parents, irrespective of their educational background can be excellent coaches for their children, by being involved in their childrens' activities, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, nurturing values and virtues, and helping to remove any barriers to effective learning. It is not necessary that parents solve all their children's problems, parents having a positive approach and arriving at solutions constructively helps their children greatly. Sometimes just being there is enough for children to feel safe and motivated

Need for an anchor: Parents with low/no literacy need more support as they may feel under equipped in being able to provide academic support to their children. An anchor in the form of a champion parent, teacher or volunteer, preferably someone they can relate to, really helps them in getting on demand support.

Role of Parents: The role parents can play varies based on how old the student is. Parents can play a larger role in student learning in early grades but as kids grow older parental over sight and checkin from time to time.

For early-grade students

  1.  Schools/teachers should discuss and share with parents and grandparents how can they engage in meaningful conversations with their children on their home, family, and community setting and environment; for e.g., what they see around them; get them to talk about animals, plants - related to EVS; leverage stories, folklore and mythology for language skills and similarly games/play for basic Math
  2. Urging parents/grandparents to ensure the child is spending time with textbook and other TLM the idea is to give the parents/grandparents and sense of what they need to do over a period of time - say a week or fort night; for e.g. watch the kids read aloud for an hour or two; recite poems; listen to stories- and give them a sense of new words, etc.; get them to write for some time

For older grade students

  1. Here, the role can only beminimal asthey are unlikelyto discuss the subjects or anything related to them with the children; however, the parents/grandparents can ensure 'time on task' - ensure that the learners are spending time or doing the desired set of things at home and then interacting with school/teachers
  2. Hence, the teachers/schools need to give a clear set of instructions - what should the parents ensure or ask them about - how many hours they should study at home - what subjects; how many topics covered; number of practice questions attempted; did they talk to friends/teachers;

Strategies to Increase Capacities for Parental Involvements

Support on Parenting

Along with activities for knowledge, activities, and content around parenting and managing children's emotional needsreally helps parents understand what will help their child learn.

Mostr esources are centred around how to give instructions to children on the activities and fewer resources on parenting or parent motivation.

Picture book reading leading to conversationsrelating to their own
lives

Audio stories may be shared on radios

Pre-recorded messages(IVRS) can be sentto patients with questions they can ask children to improve their oral expression skills.

Parent Interactions

Illiterate parents may be overly sensitive about not being able to read and write. In addition, such parents are more frequently members of the lower socio economic level and may have language and/or other differences including differences in cultural background. In order notto single outilliterate parents,the teacher needs to schedule parent meetings which focus onways not onlyto nurture literacy, but also to promote its value. Presentations should be positive and enjoyable sessions so that the parents are willing to make concerted efforts to return again and again.

Home Visits

Home visitation is an especially important component of a literacy promotion program with these parents. Such parents often avoid the classroom and parent meetings so the teacher must reach out to them via home visitation. During a home visit, the teacher should attempt to model behaviors that the parent can easily imitate and perform with a child. For example,the teacher may demonstrate a story reading from a picture book. The book can be left with the family to be returned later. Volunteers can visit homes daily and facilitate in using the devices(opening of TV during learning slots, using an app, online assessments, etc.)

Peer Support

Parents usually build their confidence through peer support and consistent appreciation. Whatsapp peer groups where they can share videos of activities orsome loops with teacher phone calls in the evening can help parents build belief that they can do this. Also, champions/teachers sharing student progress also helps them build belief that their child is learning.

Call Centres

for parents and students of class 5-12 grades to provide academic, socio-emotional support as per needs. These call centres can serve as an anchor for parents struggling with literacy.

Content Considerations

Content considerations: Simple, concise content using materials easily available at home and sharing it in the form of activity vs telling them today we will learn addition really helps in making the content relatable, easy to execute, and boost their confidence

Wordless picture books: Another parent session could focus upon the uses of wordless picture books, by having the parent tell the child the story and later having the child retell the story to the parent. Too often, early childhood and primary grade teachers emphasize narrative books and overlook content area books. There are several good picture books that depict simple scientific and social studies concepts that require little or no reading. Chose books that present concepts on an uncomplicated level. The illustrations provide stimulation for parents and children to discuss the actions taking place

Storytelling: Parents mayfeel intimidated by books, but they should be encouraged to share stories with their children. While they may have a limited repertoire of fairy and folktales, they are familiar with stories oftheir own family. Thus the family history can be shared by telling stories during family time or while driving to the grocery store. Children can gain new insights into their own relatives by hearing stories about a grandparent's first job and how grandma and grandpa met. Family traditions can also be shared through such storytelling.

Homework: For homework teachers should assign enriching tasks – not activities that ask students to finish incomplete classwork, use materials that are not available. Instead, school-related homework should foster a life of learning and build a bridge between the classroom and life at home. Teachers can encourage children to read nursery rhymes or songbooks already made familiar at school. Suggest family projects like making finger hand puppets, count fruits/vegetables at home.

Learning videos. Sharing videos through WhatsApp. Parents should be encouraged to scan QR codes in the Textbooks to explore a wide repository of video content that children can watch at home. Alternatively, other sources like videos on Key Education Foundation that has been crafted for the use of parents can be contextualised and shared

Source : Ministry of Education



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