Involving Parents as Partners in Education

Instructor: Ravinder Sandhu
Parents play a vital role at all stages of a child's education, and a supportive role in education can improve achievement. In this lesson, we will discuss how school and family partnership impact the students' education outcome.

Teachers as Communicators

Communication is the most important element in creating a positive relationship between parents and educators. Communication is defined as two-way information exchange. For example, if there was a lock down, it is the responsibility of the school to communicate with the parents.

If the situation at a student's home has changed, that might affect the student's concentration at school, and it is the responsibility of the parent to communicate this to the educator. It is important for teachers to keep the parents involved through communication. For elementary and middle schools, a weekly email or newsletter should be sent out a week in advance. The letter should let parents know what the child will be doing in each class and list information about any test and quiz dates, along with ways for parents to volunteer that week. Oral communication should be both negative and positive based on the situation and done on an as-needed basis. For example, when making a phone call about inappropriate behavior or academic failure (negative), be sure to call again when the situation improves (positive). The best-planned partnerships can fail if the participants cannot communicate effectively.

Benefits of Parents' Involvement

To help support educators meet the challenges of raising attainment for all, and to provide every child the same opportunity, it is essential to get parents involved. Parental involvement is the key element in a child's success and students who have parents that participate in a child's education do better in school. There are numerous studies that back up this statement such as 'Hopkins, 2004', and 'Parental Involvement Is as Easy as PIE!' It is the responsibility of the teachers and administrators to encourage parents to become involved. The promotion of involvement should not stop once students reach middle school, as is often the case, but should continue through high school.

Research shows that parents who are regularly involved in child's schooling have the following benefits:

• Child's self-esteem is enhanced

• Improvement in child's academic achievement

• Child attends school more regularly

• Child enrolls in higher level programs

• Parent-child relationship is improved

• Parent and child develop positive attitude toward the school

• Parent have better understanding of the schooling process

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