Whose Education Is It?

I remember my 14 year old son coming home from school and saying to me’ Mum why don’t you tell me to revise, like the other parents, their parents are all shouting at them and you’re not, don’t you care?’ I was taken aback at first and then I sat down and explained to him why I did things differently.

‘The only person accountable for your learning Richard is you; both your teachers and I are responsible but not accountable’. Then I explained the difference, ‘Accountability means the buck stops with you, but responsibility means we have a vested interest in seeing you succeed. Your Teachers are responsible for providing you with sufficient opportunities and appropriate content to enable you to pass exams but they can’t sit them exams for you. As a parent I can make sure you go to school and provide a food and shelter for you but I can‘t make you learn, only you can do that. Take accountability for your learning now and you’ll always own it and it will reflect in everything you do in life whether that is in exams or career.’ ‘So should I tell you to revise, no because you are accountable for the learning and the more relaxed you are about it the more you learn. If you are under pressure or stressed then the learning will decrease’. He asked me how he could ensure he revised, so I suggested he do what I do in project management, write a plan of what he wanted to achieve. Later on he was worried and nervous about the exam, so I sat down with him and I took him visually through the exam as if he was sitting it there and then, he sat the SATs exam three times until he was happy with the result in his mind. When he undertook the exams he was confident and relaxed and did the best to his ability. These simple techniques and a few others are easy to teach kids and they can use them for the rest of their lives in many different situations. We run workshops for schools, colleges and universities to address the emotional challenges of ordinary kids not the gifted and behaviorally challenged children but the ones in the middle who don’t appear on the statistics who still need support. We coach on a one to one basis or in groups.