teaching professional people english
Until very recently I confess I had not encountered this term, but regular visitors to this blog may remember a video from the post about salary negotiations (visit here). If you watch the third video item you will have a far better idea of what the term means than words can ever convey.
For the rest of us, a helicopter parent is one who feels a pathological need to micro-manage their child’s affairs. The new and perhaps worrying aspect of the phenomenon being that increasingly, many are finding it impossible to bow out – even as their children become adults.
We all have opinions about this kind of thing, but most articles I’ve seen tend to be rants for or against something, and in the case of subjects as delicate as our relationship with our children, some caution ought perhaps to be exercised before inviting students to sound off. The article I’m suggesting today is from Psychology today magazine, and you can access it by clicking here.
The ideas in the article are, I have found, accessible to almost anyone. Some of the vocabulary is a little recherché, but idiomatic expressions like ‘step up to the plate’ are there to be guessed at. This is a good opportunity to practice. I know that many colleagues have a hard time allowing native parlance into the classroom, but I do think that it’s a good idea from time to time to talk about idiomatic language – it can’t be translated really, but what would a french/german/spanish journalist write there? The exercise of thinking about that will help students to remember the English expression, and will also assist them in appropriating the concepts being discussed.
I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a subject begging to be discussed. Beyond the author’s parting question, I think that there are several possibilities to be explored in the area of grammar.
Broadening the conversation
I recently read another article on this subject, and have lost it in the wilds of cyberspace. Sorry, but you’ll have to make do with my potted version. Basically, this article was looking at the issue of helicopter parenting from the point of view of employers (I kid thee not). It would seem that some parents feel they have a right to be involved in their childrens’ careers, and some employers stateside are accomodating them. There are evening receptions where parents can visit their newly-graduated offspring’s workplace and discuss their prospects with their boss. Some companies are including functions in their bespoke apps and software so that parents can be kept informed of arrivals and departures during business trips.
Tolerant though most of my students have been towards the general run of helicopter parenting in primary school, this tends to produce predictable cries of horror – and the most reticent wallflowers usually manage to express an opinion. Always nice.
If anyone can tell me where to find the article to which I refer, I would be very grateful.