Parents’ involvement in child's education
Parents, who have been considered as one of the stakeholders of the school community, play tremendous roles in the child's educational and environmental transformation; thus, the intensity or extent of participation that parents have in their child's education and school, more often, have to be realized. Regrettably, there are also some, if not many, parents who are quite passive in their child's education. Some of them are not directly involved and some parents have obvious manifestations of their "I-don't-care" attitude. Neither is visible in the school premises and get involved in the desired goals of the school where their children study.
Why parents are to be involved?
Parents' involvement in their children's learning not only improves a child's morale, attitude, and academic achievement across all subject areas, but it also promotes better behaviour and social adjustment. It further says that family involvement in education helps children to grow up to be productive, responsible members of the society. This means that if we involve the parents in educating their children, it is tantamount to saying that the school is proactive in implementing changes or development among the students. It is proven that, when parents come to school regularly, it reinforces the view in the child's mind that school and home are connected and that school is an integral part of the whole family's life.
It has also been proven that parents who invest time and place value on their children's education will have children who are more successful in school. There are always exceptions, but teaching a child to value education brings a positive impact on their education. The schools with more parental involvement are almost always the higher performing schools both in academic and non-academic undertakings. Consequently, the administration and the teachers have become more motivated, more committed, and more active to support the initiatives of the parents.
The research states that the best tip for school success is to make sure that parent and teachers are working together as allies. Sometimes, though, it can seem that there's a chalk line drawn down the middle of your child's life. At home, a parent knows best his own child from head to toe - his academic potentials, social skills, innate attitude - to mention a few, while a teacher may know only a tip of an iceberg about who the child really is.
Academically, perhaps, a child's potential may surface, as well as her social development with peers. Home and school environment combined may create a fuller understanding of a student; thus, a teacher can identify where to tap to benchmark a child's performance level.
Advantages of parents involvement:
The studies show that parent involvement in activities that are effectively planned and well implemented result in substantial benefits to children, parents, teachers, and the school.
Advantages for the children:
* Academic achievement increases when parents are involved in their children's education.
* Parental involvement not only enhances academic performance, but it also has a positive influence on student attitude and behaviour, classroom conduct, self-esteem, absenteeism, and motivation.
* Children generally achieve better grades, test scores, and attendance.
* Children consistently complete their homework.
* Children from diverse cultural backgrounds tend to do better when parents and professionals work together to bridge the gap between the culture at home and the culture in school.
* The children, whose parents remain involved in schooling, usually make better transitions and are less likely to drop out of school.
Advantages for parents:
Parents involvement in their child's education also carries advantages for the patents as mentioned below:
* Parents increase their interaction and discussion with their children and are more responsive and sensitive to their children's social, emotional, and intellectual developmental needs.
* Parents are more confident in their parenting and decision-making skills.
* As parents gain more knowledge of child development, there is more use of affection and positive reinforcement and less punishment on their children.
* Parents have a better understanding of the teacher's job and school curriculum.
* When parents are aware of what their children are learning, they are more likely to help when they are requested by teachers to become more involved in their children's learning activities at home.
* When parents' perceptions of the school are improved, thereare stronger ties and commitment to the school.
* Parents are moreaware of, and becomemore active regarding policies that affect their children's education when parents are requested by the school to be part of the decision-making team.
Advantages for the teachers:
Parents' involvement not only benefits the children and the parents it also bestows advantages for the teachers as pointed out below:
* When schools have a high percentage of involved parents in and out of schools, teachers and principals are more likely to experience higher morale.
* Teachers and principals often earn greater respect for their profession from the parents.
* Consistent parent involvement leads to improved communication and relations between parents, teachers, and administrators.
* Teachers and principals acquire a better understanding of families' cultures and diversity, and they form deeper respect for parents' abilities and time.
* Teachers and principals report an increase in job satisfaction.
Advantages for the School:
Parents involvement also gives advantages for the school as mentioned below:
* Schools that actively involve parents and the community tend to establish better reputations in the community.
* Schools also experience better community support.
* School programs that encourage and involve parents usually do better and have higher quality programs than programs that do not involve parents.
Obstacles in parents' involvement:
It is important to identify the obstacles that create impact on parent's involvement and the children's proper education. Important obstacles that constrain parents' ability to become actively involved in their children's education include the teachers' attitudes and the parents' family resources, among others. Based on my experience as Principal and Administrator for a long time, the most common obstacle to parental involvement is the parents' pessimistic attitude towards supporting school where their children are enrolled in. Many administrators believe that the "we-don't-care-attitude" among parents may be due to their inability to understand their role in the success of their children and the incapability to support the school academic undertakings. Some school administrators and teachers confirm the belief and supported the contention that added to the malady is the parents' lack of skills and resources to support their children and the school. Hence, the negative attitudes of the parents, lack of leadership skills of parents, misbehaviour of the staff to the parents, noncooperation of the school authority in engaging parents and disinterest of taking positive initiatives are the major obstacles of involving parents in their children's education.
How to involve parents?
There are some ways to involve parents in schools as briefly explained below.
* Parenting - parenting skills are to be promoted and supported.
* Communication - communication between home and school should be regular, two-way, and meaningful.
* Volunteering - parents have to be always welcomed in the school, and their support and assistance are sought.
* Learning at Home - help parents understand the educational process and their role in supporting student achievement. Parents play an integral role in assisting student learning.
* School Decision-Making and Advocacy - parents are full partners in the decisions that affect children and families. The intent is to give parents' voice in decisions that affect their children's education.
* Collaboration with the Community - community resources are used to strengthen schools, families, and student learning.
* Invitation to different events: The parents should be invited in different events so that they can engage themselves in the development of the school.
On the above discussion, we may summarize that parents' involvement refers to the amount of participation a parent has when it comes to schooling and her child's life. Some schools foster healthy parental involvement through events and volunteer opportunities, but sometimes it's up to the parents to involve themselves with their children's education.
Without parents' involvement in their children's education, no education in schools can be perfectly confirmed. In conclusion, therefore, there should be a commitment that, parents commit to prioritizing their child's educational goals, and teachers commit to listening and providing a space for collaboration with parents.
The writer is an Education researcher and Principal, Daffodil International School (DIS), Dhaka