In Finland, parents work together with schools as they believe in a common goal: efforts must be pooled together for public education. Parents know that they are expected to be proactive towards a child’s learning. Since their state subscribes to the egalitarian belief, it helps that they do not need to worry about finances much and fully concerntrate on enjoying family activties with the child. In Finland, it is also in their culture that less is more – from choices of how they live daily and their food. Women also wear much lesser make-up. With this culture, they also do not believe in piling lots of homework on to their child. Thus, they do not behave as “Tiger Mums or Dads”. In fact, most parents report just being happy with a “good, decent school”.
They value childhood independence and this is seen in seven-year-olds walking several kilometres to school or being unsupervised by adults for long times. While there are some parents who believe that too much freedom may forsake values, they do not test waters or try to toe the line. This value of being independent rationally , in fact, is transferred directly to their studies.
Due to this independence, Finnish children take it upon themselves to master the subjects and be responsible for their studies. An educator recalled that when there was no formal assessment given by the teacher, he asked how did the child know they have learned. The child simply replied that they would best know it themselves and if they don’t manage to learn it, it is that they do not put in much effort. In short, they don’t display “Learned Helplessness”.
In Singapore, perhaps due to competitive culture, many proactive parents take a step further and become helipcopter parents. One possible reason is due to the “Asian Face”. In Asia, it is very common for parents to compare their children in terms of grades, schools and many more. Thus, many eventualy become “Tiger Parents” without meaning to.
Quite often, these parents tend to take care of almost every single need of the child until the child becomes very dependent on the parent to handle daily simple tasks such as homework assignments and such. Some parents take to the extreme and call on teachers for ‘mistakes’ for simple tasks. Some parents insist that more homework must be given while there are cases where parents insist on things that are not appropriate. For example, a parent came down to complain about the form teacher for asking the girl to pin up her fringe.
When such behaviours are displayed, children learn to compare and even grow up with the sense of entitlement. Indeed, I have heard of children who actually compared with their classmates whose parents the teachers were more likely to be afraid of based on the occupations of their parents. Needless to say, “lawyers” won that round.
As such, teachers usually pray that they have principals who are willing to stand by their teachers are able to deal with these parents. However, there are principals who allow parents to berate the teachers publicly. This results in detoriation of morale for teachers.
As such, children are not taught that they are responsible for their own learning and are quick to display “Learned Helplessness”. They are generally quick to pinpoint the teachers when they think that the teachers have not taught them the topic – only to find out later that they did. Many of them do not adopt appropriate study strategies but rather, are quick to raise their hands for help before trying.
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