Schools urged to teach kids social skills

Belinda Tasker
(Australian Associated Press)

Parents want schools to start adding lessons about basic social and life skills to their curriculums to ensure children receive a holistic education.

A survey of more than 1800 parents, grandparents and guardians found more than two thirds believe schools should do more to teach children social skills, with half saying teachers should be giving lessons on how to behave in public.

The strongest demand came from among Indian and Asian parents, the third annual ASG Parents Report Card survey found.

ASG chief executive John Velegrinis said while historically social and life skills have been taught by parents, they are now becoming an increasingly important part of a child’s all-round education.

“I think parents are now challenged with children being perhaps slightly more introspective and spending more alone time on screens and so the poor socialisation aspect might be more prominent in their thinking,” he told AAP on Tuesday.

“They are actually not saying its the school’s responsibility. They are clear about the fact that it’s a parental responsibility.

“What they’d like to do is have that supported in the schools.”

The report also provided insights into what parents thought about a host of other issues including cyber security, sex education and homework.

Only about one third of parents believed school was the best place for their child to learn about sexuality.

However when cultural differences were taken into account, parents from Indian and Asian backgrounds were much more in favour of their children learning about sex at school compared to Australian parents.

“For some parents, sexual education may be a culturally sensitive topic which is not openly discussed, therefore Indian and other Asian parents may also rely on schools for help and support in communicating this topic successfully with children,” the ASG report card said.

Cyber safety was also another big issue with more than half the parents surveyed would like teachers to do more to protect their children from cyber predators, particularly for students in early learning and primary school.

And on the subject of homework, it seems parents are divided about whether it’s a good idea or not.

Some parents thought their child had too much homework and was becoming exhausted as a result, while others believed schools weren’t giving out enough homework.

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