A recent TED talk about the limitations of experts led me to pose the above question. In the education of our children – who are the experts? For some it is the teacher’s job to teach reading , writing and good behaviour and it is felt they cannot be questioned because they are the experts. For some teachers it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their children to behave properly and encourage enthusiasm for learning, so when this doesn’t happen it is the parents’ fault.
As parents we are all experts on our own children, we know them best, their likes , dislikes, strengths and weaknesses and what makes them tick. The expert teacher may say, ‘he doesn’t join in at music time, I don’t think he likes singing. ‘ The expert parent may reply – ‘he sings the songs all the time at home, he just isn’t comfortable in a large group.’ In contrast, the parent may question their child’s inability to write his name and the teacher is able to explain all the things that their child is doing in their play that will build the underpinning skills that are necessary before this will occur.
This highlights to me that we are all experts and as experts together, we need to question and challenge each other to provide the best possible education for our children. If we believe that we are the only expert with a valid opinion and don’t listen to those who question us, we limit the possibilities for our children.
Of course this creates challenges for schools, nurseries and parents. In a busy school day it is difficult to find time for parent/teacher discussion so we need to challenge ourselves to find new ways to share expertise.