Thursday, September 2, 2010

A new twist to Parent Engagement

One of the strengths of the Manaiakalani cluster is the collegiality and diversity within our schools, and it is always a priviledge to be invited along to participate in their Home School Partnership nights. Having learnt from some of the other schools, St Pius X used a group of Year 7 and 8 students as the 'coaches' for the parents tonight.  Sure the teachers were present in the room, but the students were the trainers.  And they worked with other adults, not their own parents. See the video below for more.

Another positive aspect of our diversity is the perspective a Catholic school brings to our cluster.  This prayer that Paul Coakley, principal of St Pius X, opened the evening with is masterly, whatever your faith....

Lord, as we attend this meeting tonight,

Give us the patience to accept the true believers and carefully listen to the thoughtful critics. Help us understand and welcome technology as a tool, not as a Saviour sent from on high or a devil destined to destroy us. Let us not worry nor let fear stand in our way as we thoughtfully integrate information technology with the basic skills necessary for our students as they become educated citizens in a world filled with information. 

Encourage us as we embrace the humbling feeling of techno-ignorance. Help us use this process to better meet the challenge and stress that many of our students feel as they continue their studies at our school. Keep us open to new learning from anyone, especially open our spirits to the possibility that the students may need to be our guide, at times, as we step into this new world.

In all we do with technology, let us ask the burning question: "How does this practice improve student learning?" Moreover, let us use technology to answer even more questions about our students’ learning journeys. And let these answers make us sure that our technology use makes a difference. In short, grant us the ability to move beyond the intoxicating interest in the novel and the new, to a deeper concern for the learner and the learning.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord,


  1. I truthfully have two different feelings for this post. I'm not sure I would want the students as trainers. Personally it's very humbling, as if not knowing how to operate this technology is bad enough, now a child has to teach me. I know it sounds like pride, but I think parents would learn better and more openly without students as teachers.
    However, I believe this is great practice for the students to become more fluent with technology. Parents need to know what the students know, if not more. This can go either way, I hope the parents are open learners and the prayer that was said really opens the eyes of parents to see the bigger picture.

  2. I thought that the students teaching with different technologies to the parents was a great idea because after all we are focused on the student's learning overall and not the parents. It is merely a strategy to help sharpen student's skills with technology. A lot of times, as students, we hear teachers say that they learn a lot from us and I think that all teachers learn from their students in different ways. The prayer really touched me. I am not a catholis, but I am a deep southern baptist and I thought the prayers said everything that needed to be said for a learning environment.

  3. I think it is great that you are getting the students to teach the older generation what they know about technology (which is no doubt a great deal). To reference an earlier comment, I can see how parents and guardians might be apprehensive about having a 7th or 8th grader teaching them or (*gasp* even worse) correcting them. All I can say about adults who are apprehensive (or downright uncomfortable) with this is that maybe they should try overcoming their egos. If, as an adult working in today's world, one has not had a boss who was younger than them, then they will soon. The fact is: this generation's children grow up with more technology at their fingertips than most of their parents ever did at the same age -- which is why most children are pros at technology by the time they are in the 7th and 8th grades and are likely very good teachers on the subject. Also, I really liked some of the points brought up in the prayer -- especially "How does this practice improve student learning?" It's a lot to think about.

  4. I think that it is great that the students are teaching the adults about technology. There is no doubt that students know way more about technology than most adults. I think that the prayer was a great thing to say to the adults because a lot of people in the older generations are very apprehensive about even attempting to use technology and this prayer would seem to help ease them into the learning process.

  5. I think that it is great that the students were teaching the parents about technology!! In the video, it seemed that most of the parents were willing to listen to the students and the students and parents interacted well together. There is no question today that students know so much more about technology than their parents and other adults did at the same age. We all have to be willing to lay aside pride issues and continue to learn!


    Dr. Strange's EDM 310 Class
    University of South Alabama

  6. My name is Cassandra Steele, and I am in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class this semester. I left a link to my blog at the end of this post which will have a summary of my visits to this page no later than October 10. I also left a link to our class blog.

    This a very useful way of teaching and learning about technology. It is great that students are able to teach parents how to use technology. I know there is always times where my brother and I have to show both my mom and my dad how to do different tasks on the computer. Adults now weren't brought up around technology like kids are today. This is a very effective way to teach students how to interact with others. Age shouldn't matter when someone is being taught something. Times are changing, and students and kids know more about computers and technology than most adults.

    The prayer was very nice. Thanks for the post! It was very interesting to read.

    Cassandra Steele's EDM310 Class Blog
    EDM 310 Class Blog

  7. I am currently taking EDM 310 with Dr. Strange's class. Thank you for writing this post. I think this is a great idea and that students will love to have the opportunity to teach their peers what they know. I think that it is a good idea that these students teach other adults other than their parents. Thank you again and I really enjoyed reading about this.

  8. I am also a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class. First, I just wanted to mention that I am a St. Pius X Mobile, Alabama. Small world!

    I thought having the students teach the parents was a great idea. It gives the students a chance to show the parents what they've learned and it builds their confidence. It's also a great way for the parents to show how committed they are to their kids education. Thanks for the great idea!