Being a parent and being a teacher

In a recent blog post, Freddie Deborah, one of the most eloquent, broad, and insightful commentators on contemporary American culture and society, entitled “Self-Activation Is Not the Soul’s Purpose of Human Existence,” is a recent. Going red To stop critical verification-selection.

The movie, if you haven’t seen it, depicts the protagonist’s struggle to free himself from the weight of his mother’s limited guardianship practice. Mei, a funny Chinese-Canadian, wants to get rid of her mother’s crushing and irresistible expectations and define her own unique identity.

Deborah considers the animated feature to be an exaggerated and exaggerated expression of the hyper-individualist notion that self-proof and self-realization should transcend all other values ​​or duties. He is certainly not alone in his fear that the overabundance of expressive individualism is causing a crisis of intimacy and attachment, an epidemic of chronic loneliness and isolation, and the erosion of traditions and dense social networks, a valuable source of support and money.

What he doesn’t say, but I think we should add, is that the film is not only a self-conscious attack on the Amy Chua Tiger Mom policy, but also on the values ​​widely prevalent among many immigrant families. The past.

Chuar, a professor at Yale Law, is a 2011 bestseller The tiger mother’s war hymn Represents a full-throated defense of extreme parenting, flexibility, iron-will, firmness and firmness. Some have praised its emphasis on high expectations, but others have denounced this method of child rearing as insensitive, over-regulated, without warmth and completely undemocratic. Maternal love, far from unconditional, was completely dependent on the success of the child.

Much of the parenting literature relies on a typology of childcare style. Family therapists typically distinguish between foster parents, permitted parents, authoritarian parents, anxious parents, neglected parents, estranged parents, controlling parents, and supportive parents.

Some parents are wandering around. Some save. Some are harsh. Some are relaxed.

But much of that literature appreciates a certain style of parenting: authoritative parents who are warm, responsive, and understanding, but who closely observe their children, communicate frequently, and set clear boundaries.

Authentic parents can be seen as the family embodiment of Aristotle’s golden mean.

Yet, from an ethnographic, cultural, and historical point of view, this ideology is clearly culturally bound and class-bound. It is an ideology that holds a strange kind of cultural dominance.

A few years ago, American historian Aileen Creditor illustrated the concept of cultural domination with an interesting metaphor: a fish bowl. To a fish, the glass of the fishball may seem invisible and the bowl itself may seem limitless. As soon as a fish touches the glass, it realizes that it lives in a circle.

Often, I am afraid that even those of us who study social institutions, roles and behaviors forget that we are often embedded in a particular cultural paradigm.

The study of Asian American and other immigrant parenting practices provides a strong reminder of the dangers of cultural and intellectual uncertainty.

I am well aware of the dangers of overcrowding and the risk of blaming any general traits for the family that are clearly different in terms of class, date of arrival, national background, religion and countless other variables. Nevertheless, there are some gross generalizations that contain important kernels of truth and reveal important insights.

Among many immigrant families, we see:

1. A greater emphasis on familial interdependence is found in stereotypical white, non-Hispanic upper middle class nuclear families.

2. A higher pressure on mutual family obligations.

3. Greater respect for the elderly.

4. Invest in children and adolescents with more family responsibilities, including caring for siblings and family members, cleaning the house and cooking meals.

5. A high value is associated with family harmony.

6. The tendency to frown at the public emotional expression of annoyance.

7. A deep belief that intimacy and intimacy should not be expressed through hugs and kisses.

8. Deep concern about personal and family shame and the importance of maintaining availability

9. Parental resistance to praise or cheerleading children.

10. Very high expectations for kids achievement.

11. A belief that parents should train their children and lead them in introducing them to things like music.

You will notice that these tendencies differ sharply from those we often associate with upper-middle-class non-Hispanic white parents of local descent, who often exist in a culture that exerts a great deal of pressure on parents, especially mothers:

  • Increase their child’s self-esteem.
  • Communicate frequently with their child.
  • Entertain their kids and make sure they are happy and never bored.
  • Express love frequently, physically and verbally and unconditionally.
  • Endlessly praise their child

In this particular cultural regime, mothers are often expected to work as servants, drivers, tutors and entertainers, arrange play dates, throw out fancy birthday parties, ask children what they want to eat and help their children with their homework. The goal of parenting is to make a (failed) effort to protect children from the risk of their physical or mental well-being, to intervene and support them, to invest in enrichment activities, to forgive any mistakes and to solve any problems or errors.

This, of course, is completely different from the idea of ​​a previous parent (when it was called childcare): instead of focusing on achievement, focus on behavior correction and character building, manners, and creating a responsible, self-controlled adult.

What, you might well ask, has anything to do with college?

I think as teachers we have a lot to learn from the literature on parenting. Psychologist Douglas A. As Bernstein observes, certain parenting styles show a tendency toward certain types of behavior, while some “teaching styles can influence behavioral and educational outcomes.”

Bernstein maintains (in my opinion, without sufficient evidence) that:

“Permission-pleasure, permissive-neglect, and authoritarian parenting are associated with a variety of problematic personal, social, and emotional traits that can play into the academic setting in the form of anxiety and low achievement, but also irresponsibility, emotionality, dependence. , Lack of perseverance, unreasonable expectations and demands and dishonesty. “

My response: A Scottish judgment: “Not proven.”

But I believe trainers have a lot to learn from parents and vice versa.

I have a take-away here.

1. Beware of the dangers of nationalism.
There was a lot of literature about parenting, much longer, culture bound and class specific.

It is very easy to see a subject through a lens that reflects the value of one’s own culture or historical moment. Much of the value of anthropology and history lies in the fact that these disciplines “externalize” current customs, practices, or values ​​that are often considered natural. Anthropologists and historians express a variety of differences that we should not overlook, including a variety of values, attitudes, customs, behaviors, and expectations.

2. Remember: Effective trainers are culturally responsive but culturally resistant.
Get to know your students. Tap into their cultural capital. Be interculturally conscious and culturally sensitive. Acknowledge and respect your students and their point of view. Reflect deeply on your own beliefs.

But many parents must be guardians against culture, teaching, especially without a clear financial return on investment in the field, often provides education against culture. For this, an instructor will have to respond to the assumption that a specific subject is worthless or irrelevant or trivial or that a reading or writing assignment is worthless.

3. Remember that deep learning is effortless learning.
As every parent has finally learned, children grow up overcoming challenges. Similarly in the classroom. If learning is easy, it will not bring meaningful results.

Sustainable learning requires a productive struggle – the application of existing knowledge and skills to solve problems or challenges in the field of proximal development, which a student can solve through appropriate scaffolding and support.

4. Acknowledge that as a parent as an effective trainer, a teacher must combine the characteristics of an authentic parent and a tiger parent.
The warmth of the project. Be empathetic and truly caring. Communicate clear and high expectations. Be helpful. But, also, claim excellence. Be careful. Planning, design, organizing, and initiative learning activities that push students.

Do not serve as the frontal lobe of your pupils.

I don’t know if it’s true that “education will make you a good parent and being a parent will make you a good teacher.” I just wish that what guardianship and education has done for me is what Caitlin Tucker, a teacher, guardian and blogger, claims to have done for her.

From teaching, he wrote, he learned:

  • Be calm in a crisis.
  • Not to wander, but to encourage her children to be independent and explore.

From motherhood, in turn, she learned:

  • The value of patience, flexibility and empathy.
  • Considered as “babies”, those who are in the process of developing and maturing, those who are trying to find their way on earth.

And from both teaching and parenting, she has learned that her goal is not just to impart skills and knowledge, but to nurture curiosity, creativity, kindness, and confidence.

Sounds right to me.

Steven Mintz is a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin.

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