What Parents Need to Know About Their Child’s Education
Every parent wants the best education for their child, and will go to great lengths to get it: moving house, hiring tutors, or even resorting to home education. But how good is the educational system in reality? It is difficult for many parents to know for sure, relying on their child’s reports and parent-teacher meetings to figure out if their son or daughter is receiving the best education possible. And as the English education system undergoes reforms by the government, debate is rife regarding the academic curriculum.
An economist at Stanford University, Eric Hanushek, reports that a bad teacher will lose their pupils half a year of education, and a good teacher will gain their pupils half a year. In effect, some pupils could gain a year’s advantage over others and excel in education. However, Hanushek reports that determining good teachers from bad is extremely difficult, and often academic success depends on the students themselves. One of the most significant factors regarding intellectual abilities is vocabulary. An article in the City Journal explained that a child’s vocabulary was a strong indicator of their future academic success. It has been suggested that a content-rich curriculum would help improve vocabulary. Also known as ‘domain immersion’, in this system a child will learn different words in known context. This approach repeats words and contexts gradually so that they are learned over time. An alternative to this system is ‘how-to-ism’, which avoids simple factual knowledge, preferring to give the children the intellectual tools and abilities to approach new knowledge by themselves. Some of the country’s most elite professors of education favoured ‘how-to-ism’ over a content-rich curriculum, but many parents disagree.
What is most important is the need for students to fully grasp vocabulary skills, in order to approach other aspects of the curriculum with success. A combination of different approaches could be the ideal route, but parents need not rely solely on the educational system. Encouraging your child to be able to read, write, and pronounce a variety of words in a variety of contexts will be a valuable and positive experience to them.