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Parent-teacher meetings, a need in colleges

The transition from high school to college represents a pivotal phase in a young adult’s life, marked by newfound independence, intellectual exploration, and personal growth. As students embark on this journey, the dynamic between parents, educators, and students evolves, often prompting questions about the relevance of parent-teacher meetings in the college context. While traditionally associated with primary and secondary education, parent-teacher meetings can be valuable in supporting college students’ academic and personal development.

Facilitating communication: One of the most significant advantages of parent-teacher meetings in college would be the enhancement of communication between parents, professors, and students. These meetings would let parents gain insights into their child’s academic progress, including grades, attendance, and overall engagement. This transparency would facilitate a shared understanding of the student’s performance, allowing parents to provide meaningful support and encouragement.

Nurturing academic excellence: Parent-teacher meetings offer a unique opportunity for parents to collaborate with professors in promoting academic excellence. Parents and educators can collectively develop strategies to enhance learning outcomes by discussing a student’s strengths and areas for improvement. Professors can offer tailored advice on study techniques, time management, and course selection, equipping students with the tools they need to succeed academically.

Addressing challenges holistically: College life can present various challenges, from academic struggles to personal hardships. Parent-teacher meetings can enable parents and educators to identify and address these challenges holistically. Whether a student struggles with coursework, adjusting to campus life, or facing personal challenges, these meetings can be a platform for discussing appropriate remedies and support mechanisms.

Cultivating goal-oriented approaches: Setting and achieving goals is pivotal to a college student’s journey. Parent-teacher meetings can serve as forums for discussing a student’s long-term academic and career aspirations. Professors, equipped with their subject matter expertise, can offer insights into the courses, research opportunities, and extracurricular activities that align with the student’s goals. Parental involvement can further reinforce the importance of these goals, motivating students to stay focused.

Establishing a robust support network: College can be both exciting and overwhelming. Parent-teacher meetings can create a strong support network comprising parents, educators, and peers. Knowing that their parents are engaged in their educational journey can give students a sense of security and emotional support. This becomes especially crucial during adversity, helping students navigate challenges more effectively.

Encouraging accountability and responsibility: While college students enjoy increased autonomy, parent-teacher meetings can promote accountability and responsibility. Knowing that their parents are invested in their progress can motivate students to strive for excellence. The discussions during these meetings will remind students of their commitment to their education and personal growth.

Balancing independence and collaboration: It is important to balance a student’s growing independence and the benefits of parental involvement. College students are adults who can decide about their education and life choices. Parent-teacher meetings in college could emphasize collaboration and guidance instead of dictation, empowering students to take ownership of their academic journey while benefiting from the wisdom of their elders.

Parent-teacher meetings, often associated with early education, hold significant potential in the college landscape. By fostering open communication, addressing challenges, and cultivating a supportive environment, these meetings may contribute to students’ holistic growth and success.

The evolving role of parents, from authoritative figures to collaborative partners, aligns with the increasing autonomy of college students. In this context, parent-teacher meetings can empower students to excel academically, thrive personally, and make the most of their higher education experience.

(The author is a professor at CHRIST deemed-to-be university in Bengaluru)

(Published 13 November 2023, 22:12 IST)

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