|Parents and Learning (IAE - IBE, 2000, 36 p.)|
Parental involvement includes parents involvement with their own children, involvement with parents of other children, and involvement with their childrens school.
Parental involvement is an all-encompassing and imprecise term that includes everything from the parents child-rearing practices at home to the parents participation in events held at school. Included in the child-rearing practices may be those aspects of parenting that have particular application to the childs performance in school (the curriculum of the home), as well as more general practices of feeding, nurturing and caring for children. Included in the category of events held at the school would be everything from attendance at athletic competitions to participation in parent/teacher conferences and completion of extensive parent education courses.
A commonly accepted typology of parental involvement includes the following categories:
· parenting (caring for and nurturing the child);
· communicating (maintaining a flow of information between parent and school);
· volunteering (helping at the school);
· learning at home (supporting and supplementing the instruction of the school);
· decision-making (part of the schools decision-making structure); and
· collaboration with the community at large (representing the school in partnerships with other organizations).
Researchers point to impediments to parental involvement:
· Defining too narrowly the scope of parental involvement to include only attendance at formal meetings and other activities held at the school, assigning too little importance to the parents relationship with the child at home.
· Low expectation on the part of school personnel, for example assuming that single parents or low-income parents are not able to provide the support and guidance their children require.
· Lack of preparation for teachers to enable them to involve parents in ways that facilitate school learning.
· Occupational obstacles that make it difficult for parents to be available at times convenient to school personnel.
· Parental attitudes about or experiences with schools that make them resistant to contact with school personnel.
Because a school may expect only limited access to and influence over most parents, it should carefully select the ways it expects parents to be involved. In general, parents involvement in curriculum-of-the-home activities with their children is more beneficial to the childrens school learning than involvement with activities at the school. A parents relationship with other parents in the childs school, and the parents communication with the childs classroom teacher are, however, important to the childs success in school. And the quality of the school may depend upon the willingness of some parents to be at the table when institutional decisions are made. The typology shown here can provide the school a good framework for developing a range of parent-involvement pro-grammes and activities.
References: Carr & Wilson (1997); Epstein (1995); Yap & Enoki (1995).