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How Can Parents Participate in Students’ ESL Learning?

How Can Parents Participate in Students’ ESL Learning? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Teaching does not begin or end in the classroom. Because of that, teachers admittedly need help in developing a child’s level of knowledge. The biggest ally or obstacle to an instructor is a child’s parents. While a supportive parent can help reinforce the work that a teacher is doing, negative influence by a parent, and hinder a child’s learning just as much.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Derek G. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Lead by Example

According to PBS (2012), there are several ways that parents can contribute to their child’s learning experience. One possibility is to lead by example. A parent can play a helpful role in a child’s life and lead by example. A parent does not have to learn a new language or enroll in a formal class. However, one possibility is for a parent to try to learn something new for themselves.

By learning something new alongside their child, a parent can play an indirect role by showing proper study habits, dedication, and working through challenges that will inevitably arise. Additionally, as cited by PBS (2012), another choice for a parent in helping their child learn is to take an interest in what your child is studying. By learning something on his or her own, a parent can show sympathy and connection to what it is like to be a student. Therefore, creating an educational and parent bond.

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The Parent and Teacher Relationship

Another role that parents play in their child’s education is the relationship that they develop with their child’s teacher and school. As Kelly (2019) discussed in her article entitled, “Parent Role in Education is Critical for Academic Success” featured on, technology now allows parents to have an interactive relationship with their kids’ institution of learning.

In North America, many schools now offer parents an unprecedented level of transparency in their kid’s grades. Many schools offer parents internet access to their children’s current grade point average (GPA) and attendance. Based on this information, a parent now can contact the school or a teacher about his or her child’s performance.

The hope is that the parent will then create a relationship with the school to collectively determine the most productive way to help the child learn. For generations, parents might receive a letter from the school, a phone call, or, would have to wait until there was a parent/teacher meeting scheduled.

Now, a parent has the information they need to watch their child’s output and work with the teacher and school sooner rather than later. The earlier notification can help a child from falling too far behind in class. Additionally, the information can also serve as a talking point that the parent can use to understand a child’s strengths and challenges.

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Development Beyond Education

If there was any doubt that parents play a significant role in a child’s success within a classroom, research shows that parents who are engaged in their children’s studies can help them develop outside of the classroom as well.

Waterford (2018) cited several areas of benefit that children claimed outside of good grades when a child’s parents played an active role in their school life. For example, Waterford cited a reduction in self-esteem issues as well as lowered levels of behavioral problems as two examples encouraging outcomes of families where parents contribute to their children’s school life. What this research shows is that in addition to ensuring that a child will pass a class, parental involvement can not only lead to better grades but can reap general health benefits as well.

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In summary, in a child’s educational experience, a parent plays a vital role. We have discussed only a couple of ways that parents can have a positive impact on their child’s learning experience. Based on the family dynamic, cultural opinions, and available resources, a parent can have a myriad of options available. Regardless of the route that the parent(s) choose, one fact is certain, parents play an important and significant role in their child’s development both in and outside of the classroom.

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