When discussing online learning, most mental health professionals (rightly) point to the way that online learning engages students in so many ways that make them feel safe, efficient, and rewarded. However, the approach can also be an isolating one.
How Does Online Learning Incorporate Clark And Mayer Multimedia Principle
You always know you’re about to see something on the internet that is bound to make you cringe. And of course, one piece of the internet can trigger an avalanche of horrible articles about dumbed-down parenting, public schools, or the evils of weed. All of which makes you wonder what I blog for: to make you laugh or to get you all hot under the collar.
The answer is likely a little bit of both. And I think that for most parents, education is crucial to feeling like the adults who are entrusted with the kids. I used to think that parenting, as a core component of life, was practically embedded in biology and chemistry — you’re trying to create life, after all — but after digging deeper, I don’t think that’s quite the case. We’re parents because of the failure to meet expectations; because of challenges that challenge our authority; and because we have to be compassionate, effective, and empathetic (and not a mama cow in the corner).
This is why education is so crucial to creating a new generation of adults who feel completely at home in their own skin and can relate to everyone they meet. Although we’re wired to adapt, it feels good to know that we’ve succeeded in the journey. It’s what’s called “social trust,” and a good teacher knows how to inspire it in a new generation. The students will naturally gravitate to a teacher who inspires social trust because they realize that such a teacher has control over their lives and has a say over what they do and how they learn. So I know it’s going to be hard for those parents who blog about parenting (and cry all the time), and write parenting advice pieces as if their kids could be handed keys to the kingdom. (We wouldn’t trust monsters — the way we don’t trust a caffeine-crazed editor — but they do own the crown.) But they’re wrong.
Related: Don’t Let Panic Get In The Way Of Understanding Your Kid.
In education, whether we’re teachers, parents, or others, the more that we understand each other, the better. This means we want everyone to have access to good information, so teachers have to be generous, and they have to have the ability to explain complicated stuff to their students in clear and straightforward ways. (This is especially true when talking about things like LGBTQ+ rights, sensitive topics, or non-traditional relationships.)
But it goes beyond access. This new generation of student must feel that they have full autonomy over their own education (that they don’t have to feel compelled to hang onto their professors’ ideas); they must understand that some information that is wrong, but some information, just like anything, is worth knowing. They must be in control of their bodies. I say this especially because all students should be empowered with birth control (and hopefully some insurance that will cover it), so that when they are old enough, they’re mature enough, and ready to make decisions for themselves and make mature choices. It’s important to them, and it’s important to me.
Maybe the best example of someone encouraging social trust is Head Start education. It allows kids to decide when and if they want to participate in activities; it allows them to be in control of their education. But it also takes the place of rules and co-education (which provides you with friends who are diverse, not just typical kind friends). It prevents children from being exposed to gender inequality. It teaches children about health and well-being. Basically, what a school can accomplish that is so well intentioned, yet sits in the opposite corner of the brain from all the parental opinions I write about.
Anyway, that got me thinking about why there is so much anxiety, in recent years, around the potential for violence in schools. Are parents clamoring to prevent accidents because they are so clueless as to how to approach the problem? Because a school staff member dies? Because, you know, it can happen. Really, could we do a better job not keeping children in their comfortable shells? That’s a good start.
It might also be important to ask ourselves, once we’ve moved on from parenting with a heavy heart, if we can return to some form of hospitality? Can we teach to each other’s strengths, which are our innate capacities, and build relationships, as they are part of our natural abilities to communicate, to listen, to give, to heal, to be our very best selves? And are we prepared to let children grow? That will take a lot of effort, but it’s worth the effort.
Like any writing, I realize that there are moments that I’ll be less than the best, perhaps because my reflexes aren’t as sharp, my cat is a bit afraid of me, or maybe because I have an irrational urge to strangle my own child (I’ve reread