Dads2Dads: An apple for the parent
Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013 8:00 pm
Frank C. Laubach created the “Laubach Way to Reading” in the 1930s in the Philippines.
Throughout its 80-plus year history, Laubach’s method has been utilized to teach adults to read in more than 300 languages. It is a technique that is both simple and brilliant. Some organizations in Tennessee use Laubach’s approach to open up a whole new world of freedom and discovery to adult citizens who can’t read and have covered up that inability because of embarrassment or lack of confidence.
What struck us about Laubach are the precepts he included in his teaching guidelines, principles that are still relevant and stressed today. Several could well be tips for dads and moms as they nurture their adolescents and teenagers. You’ve no doubt heard these before in this column and elsewhere. But they are worth repeating and deserve a place on your refrigerator alongside the Papa John’s coupon. What is parenting if not teaching? It seems to us that these words of wisdom can and should apply to any teacher and student or parent and child.
Step back —
let learning happen
• Help your student help himself. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? But dads especially have an inherent tendency to just do it, fix it or give the answer and move on. Helping your child make a discovery on his or her own takes time and patience. But when that kind of learning happens, it sticks.
• Let the student do the work. This is a cousin to the one above. A good teacher will offer an idea or instruction then allow silence to do some tutoring. Sometimes when we parents try to teach, we instead preach. We drill the point home until our child’s face shows real pain. Silence provides sorting-out and sinking-in time.
Allow for differences
• Let each student progress at his or her pace. Most parents want their offspring to be scholastic superstars. After all, it’s a reflection on those geniuses who brought them into the world, right? But we all know — especially if we have more than one child — that kids from a common gene pool can be as different as the sun and the moon. How can my daughter always bring home the spelling-bee trophy and my son a first round rejection? Every child has special strengths and learns at different speeds.
• Give praise and encouragement. That’s a no-brainer. Those things feed all of us.
Keep it clear,
keep it calm
• Speak clearly — don’t scold or shout. Certainly if you’re teaching reading to adults, it would be counter-productive to scold them. It can easily shut down effective communication.
• Be friendly and sympathetic. Don’t talk down to your student or show off your knowledge. The translation for parent-child interaction might be something like … respect your children as you teach them. Celebrate what they learn rather than what you know.
When you think about it, all parents are teachers.
Editor’s note: Tom Tozer of Nashville and Bill Black of Murfreesboro may be contacted at Dads2Dads@comcast.net. For more information, visit www.dads2dads.wordpress.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.23.13