We recently sat down with our school partner, and the very dynamic Mrs. Mala Annadurai, Parent Coordinator at Sharada Public School. We discussed among other things, the challenges that schools face in partnering with parents.
Find below the excerpts of the interview.
What is your biggest challenge as a parent coordinator?
Partnering with parents! The age group of 30-45 is the busiest times of their life for most people. They are juggling multiple responsibilities – aging parents, growing kids and a demanding career. There is a ton of household chores to do, long hours of travel to work, and never-ending office work. There is little time to sit down and chat with the kids about homework and how they’re doing in each one of their many classes.
As a school coordinator, the biggest challenge for me is that the stress and the pressure that the parents are going through starts getting reflected in the performance of the child at school. Learning gets amplified when the child’s teachers and parents collaborate. But in today’s age, educators are struggling to partner with parents.
How has School Mobile App come to the Rescue?
In my career spanning 23 years, I have always felt that technology did not have much of a role to play in education. I have always felt that a chalk and a blackboard are more effective any day compared to a PowerPoint presentation. I also have an opinion that smartboard is a medium for entertaining children, rather than imparting knowledge. For a technophobe like me, it was difficult to first see the value of a mobile app for parent communication. But, somehow the idea of using an app for school communication has stuck with me.
Why a mobile app, all of a sudden?
When I think about this – What has changed now? There is actually an enormous revolution in communication that is happening around us. We are more connected with friends, family, colleagues, and even celebrities. I read somewhere that parents are spending upto 9 hours a week on WhatsApp and Facebook. So, why not use a school mobile app to capture their time and attention on their child’s growth. Why not reach parents where they are the easiest to reach?
How is the school mobile app helping?
A dedicated school mobile app for the school can help parents keep in touch with what is happening in the classroom and how their child is going in relation to class work. If parents are more aware, they can communicate more openly with their children about upcoming tasks and support them with their learning at home. This at-home support gives students the impetus to complete tasks to a level that reflects their capacity.
Our parents love UOLO school mobile app! Getting my coordinators use UOLO was bit of a challenge initially. But when they saw that it was as simple as using WhatsApp, they got hooked to UOLO. My goal for next school year is to make more teachers use UOLO, work on processes to enable more useful communication, and of course partner with parents more.
At the end of the day, I don’t see UOLO replacing face-face communication with parents. On the contrary, it will make the 10-15 mins meeting that I get with the parents more meaningful!