Publication Details

Lysaght, P. (2015). What should be taught by teachers, and what by parents?. The Conversation, 27 January 1-3.

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Who taught you to tell the time, to tie your shoelaces or to write your name? I have memories of my parents and teachers taking a hand in helping me to learn these skills as a small child. But what about more challenging tasks - who taught you to analyse a poem or to solve equations? Mr Williamson, my favourite teacher, taught the principles of algebra to our class and patiently went over the information until it started to make some sense to me. I also remember my parents encouraging me to practise what I was learning in class and to try different approaches when the first solution didn't work. So, who was doing the teaching in this instance - Mr Williamson or my parents? I would say both. Mr Williamson had the knowledge and expertise that allowed him to present complex information in ways that matched my capacity for learning. My parents, on the other hand, knew that I would benefit from learning to persist in the face of difficult problems.