Factors Affecting Parental Involvement in Their Child's Education
Parental involvement in their child’s education is not a constant that is seen across families. Instead, parental involvement has been known to vary greatly in different families. Factors such as student independence, school outreach programs and parental beliefs regarding education have all been found to influence parental involvement. These factors can greatly affect the social and academic success of children and therefore are of the utmost importance when focusing on ensuring student success in the classroom.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Nicholas A. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Parents Influence Corresponding Students’ Age
Varying levels of student independence often associated with student age are important when discussing parental involvement. Lower parental involvement as a student gets older is a common trend seen in education around the world. Parents deem it acceptable to lessen their watch over their child’s education as they get older, more mature and more independent. Parents, however, are not always the decision-makers in these relationships. It is a common occurrence for children to feel that they need their parent’s assistance less as they age, and for students to push away their parents in favor of a more independent academic career. This push towards a more independent lifestyle is a natural development and can be directed through effective communication between parents, students, and academic establishments.
Parent’s views and relationships with teachers and school staff are a great predictor of parental involvement in their children’s academics. School outreach programs are an excellent way to form and improve these relationships between parents and schools. School outreach can vary greatly from location to location. School outreach essentially involves the school providing an opportunity for parents to interweave themselves into their child’s academic environment. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, including parent-teacher nights, homework designed to elicit parental involvement, holding workshops for families who may need assistance and, possibly the most crucial aspect of school outreach, effective communication with parents or guardians of children. According to “Parent Involvement and Children’s Academic and Social Development in Elementary School” by Nermeen El Nokali, Heather J Bachman and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, one of the most vital reasons why communication is so important is because the most effective way to enhance social functioning and address problem behaviors in class and at home is by having parents and teachers address the issues during both school and home hours, with a unified approach. (2010).
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The benefits of parental involvement have been recognized by most schools and have led to the creation of countless programs that encourage parents to get more involved through volunteering in their children’s classrooms and attending PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) meetings. These programs that work to create and improve relationships have been shown to increase the likelihood that parents will take an interest in their child’s schooling and become more involved not only in the home but at the actual school as well.
Lack of Parents’ Knowledge of a Subject
Factors such as the perceived value of education and parental competency with academics can also influence involvement. The value that a parent or guardian places on education can greatly affect how they approach their child’s education. This is liable to vary even more when a subject like English is introduced in a non-English-speaking nation. If a parent has never learned nor needed to learn any English, they may place a very low value on their child’s English education, which would all but ensure that their child is encouraged less to do their best with those lessons. Situations wherein a parent sees the value of lessons regarding English but feels incompetent in the subject, and therefore ignores that aspect of their child’s education can also arise.
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Parental involvement in children’s academic endeavors can mean the difference between a student’s success and failure in the classroom. With so many factors affecting parent’s involvement, it is easy to see why some parents may not take an active role in their child’s schooling. When parents are not involved in their child’s education the responsibility falls to the teachers and the schools to alleviate the issues to the best of their ability. As discussed previously, greater student independence as they grow older is perfectly natural and healthy so long as there is an open line of communication between schools, parents, and students. School outreach is crucial in creating these relationships and fostering an environment in which these relationships can thrive. These relationships will ultimately lead to greater success for students and may give parents the confidence they need to get involved in their child’s education without feeling incompetent or underqualified.
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