Parents’ assistance required in doing children’s homework – stakeholders

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Some parents and teachers in the South-South have justified parents’ assistance to children in doing their take home assignments, saying it is not transfer of responsibilities from teachers to parents.

The parents who made the justification during a survey carried out by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in the region, said the practice helped parents monitor whether or not the teachers did their work well

They also said it helped in boosting the bond between parents and children as well as enable them to monitor the performance of thier children.

A Calabar-based teacher, Mrs Margaret Ada, said that parents assisting their children and wards do take home assignments helped to create bond between the students/pupils and their parents.

“Teachers are not transferring their responsibilities to the parents by giving them take home assignments as some people think.

“The practice ensures that parents get really involved in their children’s education. Some schools have realised that some parents have no knowledge of the activities of their children in school.

“Education is a collaborative effort between teachers, parents and children. Parents just have to be involved and that is why assignments are given,” she said.

She however noted that some parents felt the assignment were sometimes far above the understanding of the child.

According to her, in such situations parents can call the attention of the teachers and this helps to boost the bond among the parties.

A parent, Mr David Akpan, said that take home assignments, no matter how difficult, was part of the teaching techniques to help students/pupils understand better.

“It is necessary for the parents to assist the children in their take home assignments. It is only a lazy and irresponsible parent that sees it as a burden,” he noted.

In Yenagoa, a parent and teacher, Mr Jonathan Epegu, said ideally such assignments were designed to ensure that children recalled what they were taught in school and make them do the assignments on their own.

“Parents are supposed to supervise their children and not do the assignments. The education of children should involve parents as well as teachers,” Epegu said.

She however said that at times, students were given take home assignments beyond their range of knowledge.

“I agree it happens. My children bring such assignments that are beyond their scheme of work,” she said.

According to Mr Maduabuchi Eziukwu, some teachers ‘overload’ children with assignments on a daily basis and over burden parents who are increasingly finding it more difficult to eke out a living.

“I only assist when children have difficulties because when you do the assignments, the children do not learn anything.

Eziukwu however said that parenting required a lot of commitment and advised that parents should create time and have interest in the educational development of their children.

Some teachers in Benin told NAN that take home assignments were meant for students and pupils to master the topics taught in class.

Mrs Blessing Emmanuel, a teacher at a private school in the Edo capital, said no teacher would give students assignment on topics not treated in class.

“I understand the fact that some parents see the assignment given to their wards as bulky whereas it is not, she said.

For Mrs Treasure Emokpahe, a teacher, assignments are given to students to ensure they comprehend the topic very well.

She said that giving assignments to pupils and students was never a ploy to shift responsibility.

In Asaba, the proprietor, African Elite International School, Mr Ikenna Okafor, said that development of children was meant for both teachers and parents.

Okafor said giving children alignments to do at home did not amount to transferring responsibilities to parents.

“It helps the child to play less and study at home. It also helps parents to find out if the teachers are teaching their children job well.

“It helps parents find out whether their children are serious with their studies and makes the children to open up to their parents about their teachers’ bad behaviours.

“When both teachers and parents join hands together to help the child, you will find out that the child is always the best,” he said.

Also Mrs Chibuzo James, a parent said: “Every responsible parents should be able to show love to his or her children by assisting them to do assignments.

“By so doing he or she will even know how much teachers is doing in the life of his or her children.

“That a parent assists the child does not mean the teachers are transferring their duties to them,” she added.

Also, Dr. Bassey Bassey, a parent in Uyo, said that parents should be involved in the academic development of their children in order to monitor what their children and wards do in school.

“If everything the children do starts and ends with teachers, then parents will not know much about the education of their children and wards. It means they don’t keep tap on what their children do,” he said.

Bassey said if assignments were not given to children, because of their short attention span, their mind would be moved away from academics.

He said that giving of assignments did not mean transfer of responsibilities to parents, but a way to keep children busy at home.

“It is not true that some teachers have made it a habit to give students or pupils take home assignments and expect parents to solve them,” Bassey said.

Contributing, Mr Patrick Titus said children did not really need to learn from the four walls of classroom alone but also from home.

He said that parents helping their children do assignments was not out of place, adding that both teachers and parents should join hands in academic development of their children.

He noted that take home assignments helped boost the bond between children and parents.

Also speaking, Miss Iquo Uwa, a teacher at Royal Academy School, Eket, advised that assignments should be done in exercise books in which notes on the affected topics were copied.

She said that by so doing pupils could do such assignments on their own without parents assisting them.

Uwa however, said that there was nothing wrong in parents helping children to do assignments.

“It is not dodging responsibilities by teachers but parents being involved and knowing what their children are taught in school,” Uwa said.

Meanwhile, a lecturer in the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Dr Williams Wodi, says absence of monitoring and evaluation of teachers is partly the reason many teachers now outsource their scholarly responsibilities to parents.

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According to him, the current trend of teachers presenting students with homework to be assisted by their parents is wrong.

He said: “In those days, zonal supervisors visited schools at least once in a month to know whether teachers are properly trained and to find out what students are taught.

“But in the absence of monitoring and evaluation, what we have masquerading as teachers nowadays are mostly auxiliary teachers who do not know classroom management procedures.

“They (teachers) simply load pupils with all manner of homework, sometimes flog them for not doing their homework and chastising the parents for not assisting the children.

“So, what teachers do now is to transfer their responsibilities to parents because they don’t understand what is expected of them.

“This is so because some teachers are not properly equipped and trained, and as such, they shift their responsibilities to parents,” he said.

He also blamed poor remuneration of teachers in the country for such “transfer of responsibilities.”

“Teaching profession in Nigeria is among the least paid whereas in a country like Finland teachers earn more than politicians, including the country’s prime minister.

“Until there is proper monitoring and evaluation, proper procedure for teaching teachers classroom management and how to evaluate students, we will continue to have what we have now,” he noted.