This one is all about involving the parents (or caregivers) in a child’s education. So without further ado, let’s get this show on the road (Put your hand up if you love clichés.).
Oh, and to make it a little easier for you, I have made this blog post a simple Q & A format. Enjoy!
1. Why should we involve the parents? Well, involving the parents not only makes our life easier (Really? Sign me up!), but also helps ensure our students achieve better outcomes. Two birds, one stone (Put your hand up if you love idioms and clichés.).
Time and time again research has produced evidence showing that higher levels of positive (and I do stress POSITIVE) parental involvement in a child’s education is directly related to higher levels of academic success. Yes, that’s right; if you get the parents involved (in a positive way) their children will attain better learning outcomes.
2. What does positive parental involvement entail? Now this sounds like a simple question, but it is actually a complicated and dynamic issue. In short, positive parental involvement requires parents and teachers to work as a team in the pursuit of positive social, emotional, and educational outcomes for the student/child.
Although covering separate domains, parents and teachers are required to respect boundaries and personal beliefs, aim to have open and honest communication with each other, and, within reason, place the needs of the child/student first.
For teachers, achieving positive parental involvement requires you to provide the parents with well-thought-out advice and timely feedback on their child’s progress. It also means listening to the parents’ ideas, concerns, and/or feedback and showing the parents you are there for them and their child.
For parents, it means treating the teacher with respect and listening to their honest feedback and advice.
3. How can we get the parents involved? This is a good question. It is more than having parents attend parent-teacher meetings or sending memos or e-mails to parents (although these both help).
To truly get parents involved, I believe that the first step teachers need to take is to empower and encourage the parents to do so. After all, we are the professionals, and a little bit of advice and support from us can positively impact the parents’ beliefs about the role they have to play in their children’s education.
4. What if parents don’t want to get involved – or are reluctant? Well, this is not an easy question to answer. Of course we can’t make parents get involved (although reports suggest that the majority of parents want to get involved in their children’s education), but what we can do is offer them ample opportunity to do so.
For example, teachers can offer seminars on how parents can help their children (just make sure you are up-to-date with current best practices), have open door policies (during certain hours), e-mail parents activities to do with their children, and invite parents to open classes (and even get them to participate). In fact, there are a myriad of ways we can actively encourage parents to get involved in their children’s education – we just need to offer them the chance.
Yes – it might be viewed as extra work, but, in the end, it does make our job easier and it really does help our students.
5. How does getting the parents involved help our students? According to the research, children with parents who are actively involved in their education in a positive way (see my post on What Parents Can Do To Have A Positive Impact On Their Child’s Education) are more likely to:
- Earn higher grades and do better on their exams at school
- Attend school regularly
- Enjoy school
- Develop positive social skills
- Display patterns of good behavior
- Go on to post-secondary education
- Have better job prospects in the future
With all of that said and done, I hope you take the time to foster productive, enjoyable, and honest relationships with the parents and caregivers of the children you teach.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.
Keeping English Real!