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Parental involvement promotes the social growth of a child. Children whose parents are involved in their education have many advantages. They have better grades, test scores, long-term academic achievement, attitudes and behavior than those with disinterested mothers and fathers (Gestwicki, 2001). Parents becoming involved in their child's schooling creates extra sources of social constraint to influence the child's behavior (McNeal, 2001). For example, parents talking to their children and becoming involved in the school conveys a message to the child of education being important. Parents should be talking with your children's teacher and letting her know about your family. The more she knows about your child, the better she will be able to connect with your child.
Telling your child's hobbies, pets, as well as learning difficulties and strengths will provide for a more intimate school year (Spencer, 2001). One of the ways in which parents play a critical role in their children?s social development is by encouraging their interactions with other youth (Updegraff, 2001). If children are able to work in group settings, this will not only help the child get along with other students, but it will also lessen the amount of disruptions in class thereby making it easier for the teacher to teach (Barbour, 1997). Parents need to stress the importance of little things your child can do to smooth the teacher?s day and help himself learn, such as listening when classmates answer questions, writing his name on assignments, and keeping his desk and work area tidy (Spencer, 2001). Parents can help your children avoid interrupting. Teachers love enthusiasm but yelling out too often will cause unneeded disruptions. Explain the good times to speak, such as when the teacher is inviting questions and the not so good times, such as when the teacher is talking to another student or giving directions (Spencer, 2001). Practicing these classroom manners will help with less disruptions and a better teaching and learning environment. Parental involvement promotes emotional growth of a child. The attachment between a child and parent is a long-lasting, emotional, learned response. It is the attachment in a parent and child relationship that forms the basis for a child to trust or not to trust their environment (Gestwicki, 2000). This proper attachment is essential for a child to trust other adults, such as their teachers and also to trust other students and make friends.
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School can provide work shops and offer suggestions for home conditions that support learning. This gives the teacher an understanding of the families background, respect for the parents efforts and an understanding of student diversity (National, 2001).
When parents show interest in education, children also gain higher self-esteem and feeling of self-worth. Children?s sense of who they are, is closely connected with the sense of who their parents are (Gestwicki, 2000). The teacher?s who make the effort to make sure a child and their parents are welcome, are the ones with a better chance of connecting with the child. Parental involvement promotes academic growth of a child as well. When parents are involved in their child?s education, this sets a good example of education being important. Studies have shown that parental involvement in a child?s education has more influence on academic success than the family?s socio-economic status, race and education background (Electronic Education, 2001). There are many advantages when parents play and active role in a child?s education process. Parents who set high expectations for their children, encourage them to reach their full potential (NPIN, 1997). Children spend much more time at home than at school, this offers opportunities for parents to have private lessons in a familiar setting (Gestwicki, 2000). With this one on one atmosphere, parents are able to help their child with homework. A lot of the time children need guidance in using their time productively, so in return they will be prepared for class the next day. Children also benefit from seeing a consistency between the values and lessons taught at school are also practiced at home (Ed Week, 2001). Parents need to keep in touch with teachers to understand what is expected of the children and then parents can reinforce at home.
When you relate classroom lessons to home life, you demonstrate to the teacher that both you and your child are paying attention. This provides and extra dose of positive reinforcement for the teacher (Spencer, 2001). Another factor which parents have enormous control is the variety and amount of reading being done by their child. The single most important activity for building knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children (Hopkings, 2001). Fifteen minutes each day is all the needed to read with your child. Families can help their children develop good study habits, supervise their homework, monitor TV viewing and after school activities, and supervise regular bedtimes and school attendance. Families also model good learning practices through their own education activities (Ferguson, 2001). A 1992 study done by Barton and Corey shows that controllable factors, such as absenteeism, amount of TV watched and the kinds of learning activities offered at home, make a huge difference in the average students achievement (Hopkings, 1997). Instead of watching TV a parent and child can play a game, read aloud, or talk about their day. This proves much more beneficial for the child?s whole educational experience.
Teachers and schools also have a responsibility to get parents involved in their children?s education. Communicating with parents may be hard, but it is necessary. Schools are where most families can establish contact with their children?s teacher.
Newsletters can be made to pass information about school activities but also can be used to offer tips on what parents can be doing with their children to better their education and schools (Berger, 1986). Families can support schools and children?s learning in important ways. Parents provide a needed service, and are being used more often (Berger, 1986). There are simple ways to get a parent involved in education. Parents do not need to be highly educated or have lots of free time in order to help there children learn (NPIN, 1997). School web sites and e-mails are two ways to give busy, working parents a better chance to look in on their child?s progress, stay in contact with teachers and keep up to speed with school events (Electronic Education, 2001). This also gives teachers a way to get in touch from their homes with parents who don?t have time to meet in person. Using such technology will allow parents, students and teachers to get reliable, secure, confidential access to one another (Keel, 2000). Parents can make a teachers life much easier by making sure your child has enough supplies, checking to see if his homework is complete and sending permission slips in on time (Spencer, 2001).
Parent volunteers are a great way for parents to see first hand the classroom environment. A parent and teacher relationship can give parents the feeling of being not quite alone in their responsibilities (Gestwicki, 2000). With bringing in volunteer?s parents gain more respect for the job the teacher does. Volunteers could help with individual children, or with small groups. They could also be used for preparing material and setting up activities. For the experience to be successful, both teachers and volunteers need to recognize that the teacher is the major decision-maker and authority figure (Barbour, 1997). When parents are interacting with the children in the classroom this also is a time for parents to see how well their child is functioning with peers and other adults. Parents can volunteer as tutors and classroom aides, as well as assist with field trips and in the lunchroom and front office. Volunteering as tutors will not only give parents a feeling of satisfaction and a child self-worth because they know their parents care about their education, but it is also a major help to the teacher. Having volunteers can allow the teacher to worry less about small things and more about bigger matters. Effective forms of school to home and home to school communications about school programs such as conferences, newsletters, and progress reports allows the parents to keep on top of their children?s education. But, this also benefits the teacher by gaining an awareness of their own ability to communicate clearly and if they need improving or different techniques (National, 2001). Parents should be a part of school decisions. When there are parents on school boards, they are a key component of school reform (Wanat, 1999). They can help develop family involvement and school improvement plans. They may also have a voice in curriculum development and in the kinds of training offered to teachers and which to be hired (NCPIE, 2001). Parents have the right to demand the best education for their children, and that includes the kinds of teachers being hired to teach their children. Parents can also organize school events, attend student performances and other school related activities. An even simpler way to get parents in the classroom is to allow the celebration of birthdays and holidays. Parents can provide refreshments and small games, showing children that school can be fun. This is also a time when teachers can take a break and have parent volunteers introducing activities. This type of parental involvement can benefit the school in other ways, as well. The morale boost that teachers receive from supportive parents help them to feel more positive about their jobs and their schools (NPIN, 1997).
Another way to get parents involved is for teachers to provide information and ideas to families about how to help students at home with homework and other activities. Teachers can provide calendars with activities, a schedule of homework assignments and academic goals that can be set within a family. This will benefit teachers by respecting parental involvement and support, a better design of homework assignments and a better chance of having all the students complete work assigned (National, 2001). This may help a child view a parent more similar to a teacher, and home more similar to school. A parent involvement pledge is to recruit and organize parent volunteers. Benefits of pledges for teachers were readiness to involve families, awareness of parent talents and interests in school and children and greater individual attention to students with help from volunteers (National, 2001). Findings from the U.S. Department of Education?s prospects study in 1993 revealed that students in schools with parent involvement pledges perform better in school because of a greater reinforcement of learning at home (National, 2001). This type of encouragement will benefit a teacher?s ability to teach a child and a child to learn from a teacher.
With all great things, come some bad things. Some possible problems that may be as a result of parental involvement may be harmful to a child?s education and a teacher?s authority. Even though parent volunteers are brought in to help the teacher, it may also demand extra time on the teacher. It?s great to have help with activities, but it may be difficult for the teacher to figure where and how to involve parents. Many teachers work hard to develop and maintain programs in which kids come first, but they?re at a loss when it comes to figuring out where to begin when it comes to getting parents involved (Hopkings, 1997). There may be a lack of administrative support, communication skills between parents and teachers, or lack of classroom space (Gestwicki, 2000). Some parents may even be inappropriate and become too dominant or disagree with the teacher?s methods, causing the teacher to feel intimidated and have lack of confidence. There are few parents who don?t want to be more involved in there children?s education. It is also a problem for parents, especially working parents, to find the time and energy to become more involved (Hopkings, 1997). With teachers, school, and parents working together there are endless possibilities to what they can do to improve children?s education.
Success of a child in education depends on the involvement of their parents. Parents simply need to show their child that education is an important part of life. Checking homework, reading aloud with a child, or volunteering to help in the classroom is a great way to show one values education. Communicating both ways between home and school is important for parents to keep up to date on school activities and their children?s progress and is also important for the teachers to be involved in children?s lives to better connect in and out of school. Not only does a parent?s involvement influence the academic growth of children but also the social and emotional growth as well. Parental involvement in and outside of school promotes a teacher?s ability to teach, and children?s ability to learn.
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