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I'm not particularly opposed up front, but I think this bears discussing:

This question is not really about parenting, it's more about (school) teaching. You could say it's a request for tool recommendations.

If there were a teachers.stackexchange.com site, questions like this would obviously be migrated there. Since that site doesn't exist, what should we do?

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I think the overall goal should be to make this site useful, friendly, and specific to parents and parenting.

With that in mind, and considering the ability to edit other users' contributions, I propose that we take the following steps with any teaching-specific questions:

  • Can the question be reworded to something of specific interest and value to parents?
  • If yes, then the question should be edited to reflect wording specific to parenting (or at least remove any references to institutional teaching).
  • If no, then the question should be closed as off-topic.

Using the example question that sparked this, I think

I'm Doing Volunteering at a primary school.

One of the things that we're keen on is teaching mathematics via games.

I'm looking for games that people have found are good for this (either designed to teach, or as a side effect).

is off topic, but rewording it to:

What games have people found to be good for teaching a child basic math skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc.)?

makes it a potentially useful Community Wiki question.

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  • I think your bullet points are good, but the reworded example still doesn't seem specific to parenting. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jul 28 '11 at 6:50
  • @TorbenGundtofte-Bruun - would, "What have other parents out there looked for in games with the intention to build basic math skills with their children during family game night?" Still be on topic? – balanced mama Dec 17 '12 at 19:42
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Teaching questions should be on-topic, but only until a teaching site arrives.

As there is no other StackExchange site to ask teaching-related questions, it would not be fair to close them as off-topic here. So they should be on-topic for now.

However, there is a proposal about school-based teaching. When that (or a similarly useful candidate) goes into public beta, such questions should be off-topic here because we want to avoid overlap. At that time, we should no longer accept new teaching-related questions here. The existing questions might be kept here, or migrated to the new site if they are a good fit - they might even be desired as a way to seed the other site.

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    The area 51 proposal was closed after sitting for more than 2 years. It looks like teaching questions are going to be on-topic here for quite some time, unless we reach a consensus otherwise. – user420 Dec 17 '12 at 17:49
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Definitely close as off-topic.

Questions about school-based teaching is not parenting. We shouldn't allow them just because there's no teachers.SE site (yet, anyway).

However, if a teacher asks a question that is reasonably parenting-related, or one that can be salvaged by editing it into being reasonably parenting-related, then that would be on-topic.

There could be some grey area between the two cases; this should be decided individually. My gut feeling is that school learning (math, history, etc.) is off-topic because it's a teacher's job while life learning (social conduct, riding a bike, etc.) is on-topic because it's the parents' job.

There's a proposal for teacher topics here: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/23685/pedagogy

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  • I actually disagree that it is the teacher's job - YES, it should be the teacher's job, mostly, but ultimately it is the parent's job to be sure their children are getting the skills and exposure they will eventually need, and parents do wind up helping with homework a lot - even if they don't homeschool - at least in the states. Also, our schools are pretty hit or miss in terms of how much of anything is taught in Elementary school, unless you are talking about math and reading only. Common Core is an attempt being made in the right direction, but still. – balanced mama Dec 17 '12 at 19:45
  • I can't even respond to this answer without getting mad. – Meg Coates Dec 20 '12 at 13:54
  • @MegCoates: This answer was meant as one alternative among others to choose from and vote on. Please note that I created the question as well as two of the answers. A poll-style question like this one is bound to have answers you disagree with. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 2 '13 at 16:01
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I think this one is a bit tricky because obviously questions about how to deal with a whole classroom full of kids, or how to approach X curriculum with Y grade level are obviously off-topic. The question linked as an example in the OP falls into this category as it is currently written in my opinion. Even though she is not officially in a role as "teacher" it is more like a club leader, teacher or mentor role she/he is playing to a group of kids.

However, at least in the states, parents really do wind up doing a lot of the teaching, even if they don't home school as a lot of homework gets sent home (The Public school Alice would be at actually requires 30 minutes homework each evening be assigned by its Kindergarten teachers (Kindergarten is mainly for 5-6 year olds)).

It seems both the Home school proposal and the teaching proposal aren't really moving forward. As far as SE communities this is it in terms of what is available as a resource on SE, but I don't believe this is the right community for all possible questions related to either of these groups. There are a lot of good questions that could be asked that seem they would be too far off-topic for a "parenting" question and answer forum.

For Example

  • How do I go about presenting X topic using a classical study approach?
  • I have an OD student. How do I motivate him to participate in class activities?
  • What should I look for when deciding on a unit study to use with my child/students in regard to Y topic?

I think the idea of editing questions to do our best to keep them focused on the parenting aspects of education seems like a good answer that doesn't automatically exclude topics (even math), but still tries to maintain the standards and focus of parenting and other related community standards.

An example of what seems like a perfectly acceptable and on-topic question to me would be. . .

  • My Child is struggling in X subject area and I'm having a hard time motivating her to get her classwork done in a reasonable amount of time. Suggestions?

In fact, you can find questions like this on the site such as:

It is questions like:

that are a little more "gray in terms of how on topic they are - however the questions do seem to be aimed at a parent's specific need (in fact the second question was one I posed). However, I do believe both questions may have been written by parents that are homeschooling (I know mine was).

Point is that these last two questions are examples of the type of question that really seem to walk that line between on and off-topic and don't seem to get great responses at this time anyway. Clearly, it would be helpful to me personally if such questions were included since I do have a high potential of having similar questions continue to arise in the future, but that doesn't mean the questions are really right and helpful to the community as a whole. I'm not sure how I truly feel about these type of questions and am really sitting on the fence about it.

On the one hand, opening the door to more quality questions that still relate to parenting (however loosely) will welcome a broader community base (such as home schoolers and teachers) and hopefully allow for more activity and growth on the site.

However, allowing such questions also will welcome a broader community base (such as home schoolers and teachers) and may cause a situation where the site loses a bit of its focus. I do not believe such a loss of focus is likely, simply because these kinds of questions are currently in the minority (I would be shocked if that changed) and if we are careful as a community about trying to aim the focus of such questions to elicit answers as they apply to parents, we may find some quality material arises from such questions that would be very helpful to many parents.

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    Agree 100%. Educating is not only a teacher's responsibility, but should be a cooperation between parents and teachers. This is, inevitably, going to lead to teaching questions from parents. It is not easy as an involved parent to attempt to navigate schools and curriculum which are not always as transparent as we would like them to be. How can this site be about helping parents be better parents if we intentionally disallow questions about one of the primary aspects of parenting? Just my two cents. – Meg Coates Dec 20 '12 at 14:04

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