Even though current educational laws and practices reflect the general support for parental engagement, the meaning of this support is not always evident. Parental engagement may refer to various actions, but it most often describes how parents and other family members support and contribute to their children’s education. These investments may be made within or outside the classroom to enhance kids’ learning. Parental participation at home may include activities like school-related conversations, homework assistance, and reading aloud to kids. Involvement at school may involve parents working in the classroom, attending seminars, or visiting school plays and athletic activities.
According to studies that have examined this phenomenon, there is a clear and positive correlation between parents’ participation in their children’s education and better academic performance. Reduced student attrition and truancy rates have been linked to parental participation in schools. No longer is there an issue as to whether or not parental participation may boost student results.
The effects of parental participation on students, the motivations for parental involvement, and the role that schools and instructors may play in encouraging parental involvement are all topics that have recently attracted the attention of researchers. Most research on parental engagement has been built around three frameworks for examining the causes and outcomes of parental involvement. Each strategy sheds light on a unique facet of the complex interplay between the classroom, the family, and the neighbourhood.
Evidence suggests that parental participation is influenced by factors related to the student and their family. Families from the working class, including those in whom the mother works outside the home, are characterised by less parental involvement in their children’s schooling. Parental participation is greater in elementary school than in secondary or tertiary education. However, other characteristics have been demonstrated to be stronger predictors of parental participation than either family income or structure.
Parents and other family members may benefit greatly from the involvement of their children’s schools. Assigning homework with the express purpose of increasing student-parent connections, hosting seminars for families, and maintaining open lines of communication with parents regarding their children’s education are all practises that have been found to predict parental participation.
It has also been demonstrated that parental attitudes and expectations influence parental engagement. A parent’s degree of participation may be predicted by their educational goals and level of trust in the school’s administration and teachers. The extent to which parents are involved in their children’s education at home and in school can be predicted by the extent to which they accept their role as a parent, the extent to which they feel they can influence their children’s education and the extent to which they believe their children are interested in specific subjects.
Methodology to Boost Parental Involvement
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests the following structure for schools to adopt to get parents more involved in their children’s health education:
- Establish rapport with parents and share the school’s mission of partnering with them as the primary educators of their children to promote their children’s health and academic success.
- Parental involvement can be fostered through several means, including but not limited to providing parenting support, increasing communication with parents, creating volunteer opportunities, encouraging parents to be active in their children’s schools, enlisting parents in their children’s education, supporting learning at home, encouraging parents to be active in school decision-making, and fostering community partnerships.
- Maintain parent involvement by fixing the problems preventing it, such as busy schedules, lack of transportation, school spirit, and a lack of resources to help instructors connect with families.
Limitations on Parental Participation
Many issues, such as teachers’ attitudes and budgetary limitations, make it difficult for parents to become involved in their children’s schools. However, schools and properly trained educators can help students and teachers overcome these challenges. Each of these topics is further covered in the sections that follow.
- An unfavourable stance held by teachers might discourage parental engagement. If a teacher thinks it will make a difference if they get parents involved in their child’s education, they are more likely to take action to do just that. According to research by Epstein and Dauber from 1991, elementary school instructors are more likely to value parental engagement in their kids’ education and provide parents more opportunity and support for doing so than middle school teachers. Some schools may have low parental participation because teachers and administrators have negative stereotypes of parents or fail to recognise the significance of parental involvement for their pupils.
- While every household hopes their kid does well in school, not every household has the same means or access to be engaged. There are considerable impediments to engagement in their children’s education for families in which all caregivers work full time, where there are several children, or where English is not spoken or read fluently. Schools should recognize the challenges students’ families face and make efforts to alleviate such issues.
Improving the time spent in teacher preparation on family participation is one strategy for overcoming these barriers. Very little time is spent in teacher preparation programmes preparing future educators to recognise the importance of parental involvement in their kids’ education and effectively encourage such involvement. Teachers may not value or know how to encourage parental engagement in their student’s education if they have not received this instruction. Therefore, interacting with parents may become one of the most difficult tasks for first-year educators.
The value of having family and friends behind a student’s academic endeavours is well-established. Parental support has been linked favourably to academic success in several studies. Studies have also shown that student success rises when schools and instructors actively engage parents. The impact of parental involvement on some students has been called into question, and some worry that schools aren’t doing enough to reach out to families from all backgrounds or that they aren’t sensitive to how families from different cultures view schools and the people who work there. However, it seems that children are more likely to succeed in school when schools reach out, recognise the needs of all families, and foster parental participation.
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