Karen S., California
I have been approached about teaching students in an afterschool program. Does anyone else teach in such a program? I am concerned that the parents would not be there during the lesson. I am looking for any suggestions.
Mark M., New York
I did it in the fall and was disappointed with the results for that very reason, lack of parental involvement. The kids mostly seemed to have a good time, and the parents seemed generally pleased also. But very few of the kids really practiced anything, and so very few really learned much of anything, at least according to my / Simply Music’s standards. The program would be happy to have me do it again, but I’m very reluctant.
The kids did, however, take to improv incredibly well, including the kids who otherwise weren’t practicing. They did pretty much just as well as everyone else. It has me considering (and talking to SM about) doing an improv-only workshop in that no-parents setting. We’ll see…
Amy Y., New Mexico
I was wondering if there had been any types of rewards for the kids, prizes and sorts. When kids don’t have parental support they often need some other thing as incentive (from Sunday School experience). It may not work with all the kids but some might respond to it. Here are just a few thoughts to try for after school program:
- have little prizes for completed playlist and being able to play a song of your choosing (spot checking)
- instead of prizes for everyone who has their playlist checked off, how about pick a name or a few names and do #1 with them, if they pass they get a prize.
- Have their parents sign their assignment for the week if you can get that much support. Also if you can have this much support, a few additional words occasionally in the booklet might help.
- Have a buddy system where they check up on each other and they both get prizes if one of them can pass the spot checking. If there’s a piano in the after school program where they can access maybe the buddy system can work in terms of practicing where they check off the playlist for each other.
- Amber Bies had mentioned an Olympic game, maybe something similar to that might help.
- Is there a performance at the end? Sometimes with that as an incentive, the parents would actually care more how their kid would appear on stage.
- have a poster with their progress (horse race or, balloon race or whatever race) where each time they filled out their playlist they move ahead, each time they can play a song that you request they get to move ahead, etc.
- have prizes for milestones, can play all of the songs learned in the semester in one setting, etc. How you go about checking this… I’m not sure.
I know this condition is not ideal, but exposure to the program is good and these ideas might help some when there’s minimal parental involvement for after school program.
Kerry V., Australia
At present I have not had the misfortune of having to teach without parents however I often think about what i would do. That is, I would have to ring the parents and be so much more pro-active in talking to them, on the phone, to see how they feel the child is going with lessons/practice, are they aware of their responsibilities etc. This will be the only way for a non-parent environment to continue with strength as I see it.