[Economics expert Andreas] Schleicher explained to [Thomas L. Friedman] that “just asking your child how was their school day and showing genuine interest in the learning that they are doing can have the same impact as hours of private tutoring."
Oooh, ooh, I have this down. I am so glad to know that conversations like the following will lead to ratcheted-up test scores, according to the New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman. His piece yesterday called for "better parents" and better parental involvement in children's education.
Picture this: a suburban mom picking up her 12 year old from school. Son settles into front seat of car.
Mom (brightly): How was your day?
Son (with indifference): Good.
Mom waits for more information. Mom hears none. Mom tries to think of engaging topic.
Mom: What did you have for lunch?
Son: [Long sigh.] I forgot. Maybe a sandwich?
Mom, so devoted to her own lunch that she cannot believe anyone could forget what he ate, ponders a new subject.
Mom: So, I guess you played soccer at P.E.?
Perhaps the kind-of-a-statement/kind-of-a-question format will work.
Son [Shorter sigh, more like a huff]: We ALWAYS play soccer. It's soccer season. I'm gonna turn on the radio, okay?
I have more tips for great test-score-raising talks like this. Just ask!