Parent involvement in the formal education of their wards continues to challenge teachers and all other people involved in school reforms even though it is a required component of many schools. Therefore many educational outfits have stipulated initiatives that are meant to get the parents involved in this exercise. The benefits of parent involvement in education are clear. Research shows that constant involvement of parents in their schooling, improves the performance, attendance and behavior of the student. Yet, many schools struggle to get parents to get involved.
A lot of parents are making the mistake of believing that it is enough for them to pay fees. They also fault in believing that it is the teacher’s sole responsibility to educate the child. A thought like that is akin to irresponsibility. Some parents also believe that successful parent involvement is finding home tutors to teach the child in addition to what they are taught in school.
Even though parts of these assumptions are true, it does not account for much on the scale of 1- 10. Rather, as defined on readingrockets.org, “Successful parent involvement can be defined as the active, ongoing participation of a parent or primary caregiver in the education of his or her child. Parents can demonstrate involvement at home-by reading with their children, helping with homework, and discussing school events-or at school, by attending functions or volunteering in classrooms. Schools with involved parents engage those parents, communicate with them regularly, and incorporate them into the learning process”.
Having understood what Successful Parent Involvement is, do you as a school body, create enough opportunities for parents to be involved in the education of their wards? As per the definition given, the children need to be given homework, be invited to school events, given the opportunity to volunteer in classrooms and be communicated with regularly- a school management system helps with this-. So, if these opportunities are non – existent or rare in a school, it can woefully affect student in the long run.
It is however not too late to inculcate exciting and beneficial activities that accords parents the change to get involved. As a school, endeavor to do more than counting and the number of parents who attend P.T.A or Open days or inviting parents who do not sign home works of their wards. You could add the following to what you are already doing as a school:
Effective communication is expected to be a two-way flow of information. In most schools, there are efficient structures to disseminate information but none to receive information. Structures need to be put in place to receive feedback on information they give parents.
This will work better if communication technology is used. You can check out management systems that provide this service or read this to be abreast of school management and communication systems work.
HAVE A TEACH- THE- PARENTS- AND- STUDENTS DAY:
As a means of breaking barriers that exist between parents and teachers, a day can be set aside where parents sit by their children in class and listen to the teacher and ask questions and actually get involved in what goes on daily. Some parents will pick some tips on how teachers get the students to concentrate in class and apply them when doing homework. Teachers will also pick some tricks used by parents to be discipline their wards. Again, it will give parents a fair idea of what goes on in each subject that day and appreciate the effort of teachers and the school in general.
SET UP BLOGS ON SCHOOL WEBSITES OR RECOMMEND BLOGS FOR PARENTS TO READ:
There are a lot of things that are done consciously and unconsciously in homes that affect students in varied ways. Encourage your teachers to share some of dos and don’t s with parents via blogs. Let them share some tricks parents have shared with them with other parents. Let them know which sites are harmful and how to prevent students from visiting these sites. In essence, be a teacher to the parents of your students too. Because some parents admit that it is difficult to have a hangover parenting. Assist them to produce well trained students. In doing so, you are making your work as a school leader, easier.