While most people might think that socioeconomic status or the level of high class nature of a school is an accurate indicator of the academic achievement of a child, it might shock you to know that the best predictor of the success of a child in their academic pursuit is the extent of the parents’ involvement in the child’s educational progress.
When parents involve themselves in the their children’s academic lives, students not only have the support base at home to attend to and finish their homework, but also develop a lifelong passion to learning.
Also, teachers who actively focus on parents’ involvement often witness a profound and immediate change in their classroom. The more parents are in touch with their children’s academic activities, the more the children become better motivated, and it reflects in their behaviour and grades.
There are so many benefit accruing to parents directly getting involved in their children’s academic progress, and it is one of the best ways to create a conducive learning environment for learning to thrive. For school administrators and teachers, in order to create a community where parent-teacher engagement is entrenched, it might help to first of all understand what parent engagement is all about, as well the potential benefits, plus the roles of the stakeholders in making this a possibility.
What Is Parent Involvement?
Drawing from experts, parents’ involvement and engagement could be defined as when teachers and parents share a common responsibility to assist their children meet their educational goals. This includes a situation where teachers include parents in school meetings or events. It also involves parents volunteering their support both while at home and in school. Through all these, they offer their commitment, prioritizing their children’s educational welfare. The goal is to create a collaborative platform where both teachers and parents work together for the common good of the children.
Parents’ involvement is different from parent engagement, although both are essential. Parent involvement refers to when parents actively participate in school activities and events, while teachers provide learning resources or other bits of information about their students’ grades. Unlike in parents’ engagement, teachers are saddled with the primary responsibility of setting educational goals to be attained. They then relate to parents, not as partners, but as advisors who guide them and offer academic support for their children.
Thus, one can look at parent involvement as a first step towards parent involvement. They relationship between teachers and parents would be symbiotic, with teachers being in a position to advise parents on some things, while parent also have vital information about the children which teachers might not know.
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Why Parental Involvement in Learning Is Important
More than ever, parent involvement in their children’s educational goals is very important. It creates a situation where there is a sense of continuum between what happens in the classroom and at home. When parents actively get themselves involves in their children’s activities in school, it translates to better scores.
Also, their attendance, self-esteem, and graduation rate rise. Thus, parent-teacher engagement is not an optional part of the learning process; it’s a prerequisite if effective learning is to take place.
Below are some of the benefits of parental engagement in students learning:
- It leads to higher grade and test scores
- There is a high likelihood of better attendance and more homework done
- There is lesser need for placements in special education programs
- There is the tendency for more positive attitude and behaviour
- There is a higher percentage of graduation rates
- There is a higher enrolment rate in post-secondary education
Also, parents tend to benefit a lot from getting involved in their children’s educational goals. The following are some of the benefits accruable to parents when they get involved in their children’s learning:
- They get more confidence in the school
- There is a higher expectation from teachers of their children
- Teachers have a higher opinion of them a parents
- Parents are more likely to have more self-confidence in themselves and their ability as parents
- Parents are more likely to continue their education
Apart from teachers, parents and students benefiting from parents involvement in learners educational goals, the school is also a beneficiary, and it is seen in the following ways:
- There is an increased improvement in teachers’ morale
- The school receives higher rating from parents
- There is an increase in moral support from parents towards the school
- Students achieve more in an environment where all stakeholders’ hands are on deck
- The school receives has a better reputation within the community.
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How to Increase Parental Involvement
Now that it has been established that parent involvement in students’ classroom activity is a prerequisite for effective learning to take place, let’s now devote this section to ways in which teachers can encourage parents to actually increase their involvement in their children’s academic progress:
- Share your contact information with parents early on in the school year, and build rapport with them right from the beginning. That way, they can easily reach out whenever they have questions concerning their children’s academics.
- Create opportunities for interaction and engagement between parents and the school. Volunteer shifts, class activities and parent-teacher meetings are all engagement opportunities.
- Share your classroom goals and objective with parents, and allow them to do same.
- Create opportunities where you connect with parents in person; through emails, texts, or other messaging apps to keep parents informed of upcoming class events
- Take steps to address common obstacles to effective parent engagement such as scheduling conflicts and atmospheres that are intimidating. By de-escalating these situations, you make them more relaxed to engage with you as their children’s teacher.
No learning would be complete and all-round without the active participation and involvement of parents in their children’s academic goals. Parents are encouraged to actively get involved in their children’s academics in order to facilitate and create a great learning platform. All stakeholders (parents, teachers, and schools) have a role to play if this is to be achieved.
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