Home visits offer students personal touch

By Guo Ying and Zhao Wanwei | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-15 07:12

Home visits offer students personal touch

Zhao Lin (second from right), of Yimei Primary School, visits her student Zhang Luokai's home to meet his family. [Photo/Xinhua]

One-on-one guidance still most effective approach for many tutors

A class tutor at Beijing's Yimei Primary School, Zhao Lin has visited all 36 students' homes at weekends and summer holidays since 2014 to discuss their studies with their parents. Zhao offers practical advice on how to improve their motivation and self-management.

The aim is to get parents more involved in educating their children, says school principal Jin Hui.

Although social networks and other new media have helped enhance communication between teachers and parents, Jin believes traditional home visits are still necessary.

"Parents tend to be bewildered about their children's education. Home visits mean teachers can give one-on-one guidance in a targeted way. That helps create a concerted effort for educating children," Jin says.

In September, the Chinese government issued a guideline on education reform, which called for improvements to "family education and strengthening family education guidance services to help parents establish a rational educational philosophy".

China has an ancient tradition of family-led education. Some family rules and traditions have been passed down from generation to generation. However, this cultural legacy is now being tested.

Some working parents have precious little spare time to spend with their children; some don't know how to discuss matters with their children effectively, especially if the youngsters are strong-willed or rebellious. Indulging children in online gaming has to some extent revealed weaknesses in family education.

As a result, the demand by parents for more scientific methods to raise their children is growing. Books on child-rearing and education philosophy often appear on best-sellers lists. Some parents even consult professionals.

Chinese authorities have pledged greater support and guidance.

According to the Five-Year Outline on the Promotion of Family Education (2016-2020) released in November 2016, "parent schools" will be established in 90 percent of kindergartens, primary and middle schools in cities, and in 80 percent of rural schools by 2020.

Public institutions such as museums and cultural centers will be required to hold at least two family education guidance sessions and two practical activities each year.

More cities are integrating family education guidance into the public service system and increasing financial support.

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