One of the most common complaints I hear in schools is that the parents aren’t involved. For the most part, it’s true – the parents tend to focus more on farming and their animals more than their children’s education. That’s why in our projects we implement student portfolios.
Each month our teachers compile digital portfolios for our students in order to more objectively measure students’ progress in creativity, critical thinking, academics, harmonious values, communication, etc. The portfolios contain evidence of progress as opposed to grades. Parents can watch videos, see pictures, and review work samples of their children in order to have a complete view of their child’s progress – something a grade letter or number can’t do – especially for illiterate parents.
In addition, we also include suggestions and strategies for the parents to implement in the house, adapted to their child’s needs: flash cards, memory games, fine motor skill exercises, and other simple strategies that someone will little or no formal education can easily master and recreate.
What we’ve seen is that parents avoid getting involved in their children’s education not for a lack of interest, but because formal education is an unknown territory for most of our parents and they feel more comfortable leaving it to the teachers. When we provide them with strategies and then show them the progress being made thanks to their work, parents become empowered to be actors in their children’s education and continue to work with them without being asked.
The change in student performance is drastic, the portfolios reflect that, and the parents are then further empowered.
This past month included the closing weeks of our projects. This is when we review the final portfolios in front of all of the parents, and thanks to the work we’ve put in with them during the year, they have been some of our best and most dynamic meetings to date.
This photo is of a mother viewing her son’s portfolio in Huadhua. She was extremely proud of her son’s work.