Fiji Time: 3:22 PM on Wednesday 2 December

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / News

Hands off homework

Dawn Gibson
Saturday, August 02, 2014

AS IT turns out, it may actually help - as parents and guardians - not to constantly assist children with their homework, or get too involved with school activities.

That's the view of the Ministry of Education, which backed a study carried out by two academics from the University of Texas and Duke University that examined the importance of parents not overly being involved in the academic lives of their children.

Education permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal said parents must step back and allow their children to grow.

The research - which tracked 63 different measures of parental participation in the academic lives of their children, from helping them with homework, to talking with them about college plans, to volunteering at their schools - was published in The Atlantic and supported by educationists.

It found that measurable forms of parental involvement ended up in "few academic dividends for kids, or even to backfire - regardless of a parent's race, class, or level of education".

"Other essentially useless parenting interventions (are) observing a kid's class, helping a teenager choose high-school courses and, especially, disciplinary measures such as punishing kids for getting bad grades or instituting strict rules about when and how homework gets done."

Additional results - and ones which were on a more positive note - suggested that it was important to read out loud to children, as well as get them excited about college studies.

"They did find a handful of habits that make a difference, such as reading aloud to young kids and talking with teenagers about college plans."

Consultant psychologist Selina Kuruleca said reading was an essential part of a child's learning.

"Reading at home daily by parents, grandparents and primary caregivers is essential for child development, creativity and thirst for exploration and creativity. Getting excited for college, yes, though the reality on the ground is that many households are worrying about the here and now and don't have set plans or strategies for after high school."

Dr Lal yesterday told this newspaper that parents must act as guides.

"Some degree of assistance and guidance is necessary from parents, but not actually doing the real work, but to guide them is important," Dr Lal said.

"Reading aloud is a good thing ... and it's always nice to tell children that we would want them to grow up and go to university, so they are told in their young days."

Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.63450.6155
JPY 58.816055.8160
GBP 0.31390.3059
EUR 0.44570.4337
NZD 0.71560.6826
AUD 0.64960.6246
USD 0.47640.4594



Exchange Rate updated on 2nd December 2015

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. SOS call
  2. Police hunt for rape suspect
  3. Ratu Epeli takes up top UN role
  4. TUWAI My daughters are an inspiration
  5. LTA seizes vehicles
  6. $1.2m payout
  7. Nagusa ready
  8. Third dive confirms no oil leakages, passage safe
  9. Prince Charles urges world leaders to lead
  10. Brig-Gen Qiliho visits North

Top Stories this Week

  1. Bomb threat Monday (30 Nov)
  2. Torture suspects known to police Thursday (26 Nov)
  3. Sex assault claim Thursday (26 Nov)
  4. Horrific crime Tuesday (01 Dec)
  5. Terror attack survey ranks Fiji 11th out of 21 Monday (30 Nov)
  6. Students drown, three dead over the weekend Monday (30 Nov)
  7. Police chief refutes report Monday (30 Nov)
  8. Man in the dark on police complaint Tuesday (01 Dec)
  9. Former manager, businessman front court Tuesday (01 Dec)
  10. Police look into allege gun use Friday (27 Nov)