To some parents, being involved means dropping off or picking up their child from school, asking how their day went in school or asking if they’ve completed their homework. This doesn’t mean that these things are bad or not helpful. In a clearer way, parental involvement is perfectly described when “[Parents] and school staff working together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of children and adolescents.”
In the area of children’s education, parental involvement is a bigger term that can take many forms both outside and inside the classroom. This means that parental involvement doesn’t end in the four walls of a classroom. So, what role do parents play in education?
Examples of getting involved at home include:
- Helping with homework
- Modeling desired behavior
- Providing ongoing encouragement
- Monitoring homework completion
- Creating a time and space for study
Parents can be more involved in their child’s school by:
- Communicating with teachers
- Volunteering for school activities
- Attending parent-teacher meetings
- Helping with the decision-making of the school
Benefits of Parental Involvement in Education
As written by educator Armendia Dixon in the year 1992, “Parental involvement, in almost any form, produces measurable gains in student achievement.” This is still relevant to date. Also, the National Center for Family & Community Connections with School discovered that students involved parents witnessed academic success irrespective of their background or income.
This signifies that parents should be especially intentional about getting involved in their child’s education. The research is clear: parent and family involvement creates better outcomes for students. Here are four major ways parent engagement helps students.
1. Leads to Reduced Absenteeism
Why is a high rate of absenteeism bad?
Absenteeism causes a decrease in academic performance. There are studies that have been carried out in past years – and they all proved that as students miss classes, their academic performance drops. There are parents who do not fully understand the consequences of their children missing school and tend to underestimate the number of school days their child has missed.
Consistent absenteeism can lead to the student dropping out. In the long run, being a dropout has long-term consequences like unemployment, low income, and higher incidences of crime involvement. Since absenteeism can hurt children’s immediate and future academic performance, it’s important for parents to be engaged and aware of how much school their children miss.
2. Increased Student Achievement
The level of involvement is crucial in producing a high impact on the student’s performance. The higher the degree of parental involvement, the higher the impact on the child’s academic achievement. When parents are involved in education — at home and at school — their children tend to earn higher grades and pass from one grade to the next.
3. Promotes Better Behavior
Most parents assume that it is the sole duty of the teachers to teach good habits to the children. While you are responsible for them at home, the responsibility does not end there, you extend it to their schools as well. Parental support causes:
- A boost in the student’s self-esteem
- An improvement in their attitude towards school.
- Less disobedience
- The ability of the child to build and maintain healthy relationships with peers and teachers
- Reduced inappropriate classroom behavior, such as bullying and fighting
It is an established fact that uninvolved parents or those who disagree with the teachers are negatively influencing the child’s behavior. The child could in turn also develop a negative attitude towards the teachers.
4. Parent Involvement Fosters Parent and Teacher Relationship
Apart from promoting student success, parental involvement in a child’s education is beneficial to the teachers and the parents. It builds a positive relationship based on mutual respect. Parents and teachers are able to work together in promoting student learning and performance.
The teacher is able to benefit from this partnership in which:
- The interaction between the teacher and the parent helps the teacher know the student more. It enables them to teach in a personalized way.
- There is better communication between parents, teachers, and school administrators.
- Parents develop an appreciation for the challenges teachers face. It makes them feel valued. This gives the teacher morale and boosts their performance, creating higher job satisfaction.
The parents involved in their children’s learning process also benefit in that:
- The improved communication gives parents the confidence to raise any concerns they may have about the school’s practices.
- The parents become more committed to the school. They could become more active in policy-making and other important processes in the school.
- They gain confidence in their parenting capabilities.
- They understand their child’s emotional and intellectual needs better.
As it has been explained before, parent involvement in education can take various forms. Sometimes it takes place with teachers in the classroom and sometimes it takes place out of school and in the home. It is established that getting involved in your child’s education can help them – however not all schools have an existing environment where high-quality, high-impact parent involvement thrives – sometimes it is up to the parents to initiate it.