Parents essential to smooth academic transition for students, says Semaj
For students to make a seamless transition to secondary institutions and avoid the many academic pitfalls present in a new learning environment, parents must have a strong, committed interest in their schooling, according to noted psychologist Leahcim Semaj.
"The single most powerful predictor of a child's academic performance is the parent's attitude towards education," Semaj told The Gleaner, while alluding to various bits of research that support his claims.
More than 38,000 students sat the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) in March and are expected to turn out at secondary schools across the island in less than one week.
Semaj argued that while many students may have excelled on sheer ability in primary school, a high-school environment usually demands proper support systems, along with rigorous studying.
"I've seen, on numerous occasions, where students have been given scholarships or big awards because of their performance at the lower level, and within three years, they're failing. We must remind our children that for every hour they spent in class, an additional two hours must be spent outside of class to master the material. As parents, we must ensure that they adhere to these basic practices and reinforce it before the start of the new school year," he stressed.
BLOSSOM WHERE PLANTED
The psychologist said that parents should also continuously reassure children that they are able to "blossom where planted", in reference to the different mindset of students attending traditional versus non-traditional institutions.
While noting that parental delinquency can occur at all socio-economic levels, Semaj urged the consistent support for organisations such as the parent-teacher associations, stating that interaction among the parents, teachers and school administrators is critical for the child's learning.
"There are many parents from the lower socio-economic class who are totally committed to their children because they're aware that an education may be the only chance the child has. Also, there are many parents from the upper level of society who are so busy that very little happens in terms of their role. So, you'll find good and bad parents at all levels," declared Semaj.
On the part of educators and administrators, he underscored that children transitioning to high school should enter into a protected, safe environment, as they would have gone from being the "seniors" of their previous institution, to now the "juniors" of their current one.