Chapter 2: Literature Overview
This chapter provides literature on the effects of parental involvement on student academic performance and its implications for acquiring a meaningful education by parenting both at home and school be it a formal or informal setting. The general objective of literature reviews are to be informative and guide researchers with a background by which to interpret data (Schlapp 1998). This chapter will highlight literature regarding parental involvement and its effects in teaching and learning experiences both at home and school. The review of relevant literature was organized under the following sub headings; Parental involvement and academic success, Parental styles and student support, Parental motivation in improving students’ social skills and parental involvement and teacher student relationship.
Parental Involvement and academic success
As the educational system advances into a more revolutionary era it begins to indicate some of the short falls that trends into our school. As educators begin to develop expertise in their study many more responsibilities begin to be passed on to them from the lack of other institutional stake holders such as parents. The active involvement of parents into school has become an urgent plaque to address. A traditional definition of parental involvement includes participating in activities at school and at home, such as volunteering at school; communicating with teachers; assisting with homework; and attending open houses and parent-teacher conferences (Hill ; Taylor, 2004).Parental involvement can also be defined as “supporting student academic achievement or participating in school-initiated functions” (Lopez and Scribner 2001). Parental involvement corresponds to constructs of school such as engagement, which includes attending parent-teacher conferences, contributing to extracurricular activities, monitoring student grades, imparting parental values, helping with homework, and providing intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The parental involvement is more than parents volunteering at the school and should be redefined to include recognizing that parents are a child’s first teacher, and that a school’s role is to help families create home environments that support learning (Burns, 1993).Similarly academic performance can be defined as a self-regulated learning, including excellence in sports, arts, culture, behavior, confidence, and communication skills, and it shows how learners control their emotion, feelings, and actions in order to academically achieve (Zimmerman 2001). A great deal of literature indicates that in general, a statistically significant relationships exists between parental involvement and academic success (e.g. Fan ; Chen, 2001; Jeynes, 2005, 2007; Hill ;Tyson, 2012).The effect as such for parental involvement and schools demonstrates that parents are, in fact, a strong independent variable in motivating their children to learn (Gonzalez-DeHass, 2005; Williams, ; Holbein, 2005). Prior research has established that parental involvement at the elementary, middle, and high schools had an impact on student academic success (Hilgendorf, 2012; Hong, Yoo, You, ; Wu, 2010; Mackinnon, 2012). The educational process from primary to tertiary reinforces the fact that students’ self-regulation of schoolwork starts in the elementary years when parental involvement is usually at its highest (Smith & Hoy, 2007). If self-regulation is not learned in the formative years, it is difficult to achieve in the middle school or high school years. Self-regulation effects students’ success by teaching students to start and complete tasks such as homework. This self-regulation is fostered by a parent’s beliefs and involvement with the student’s education. Parental involvement as such can positively influence student academic achievement, which may be expressed by improved test scores, better grades, and positive conduct (Curtis ; Simons, 2008; Taliaferro et al., 2009).
Parental involvement according to Paulson (1995) is broken down into three components being values, interest in schoolwork, and involvement in school functions. Paulson (1995) supported the notion that parental involvement has a positive effect on achievement. Ho and Williams (2005) used factor analysis to identify four dimensions of parental involvement. These four dimensions are home discussion, school communication, home supervision, and school participation. Home discussion involvement encompasses discussion about the child’s social and academic life. Home expectation involvement deals with the supervision of things such as when to be home. Home-school communication involvement includes communication with the school on students’ schoolwork. The final dimension volunteer work for school involves participation in school activities. The concept of parental involvement can further be broken down into six types (Epstein 1992).These six types are firstly parenting which is helping all families to establish supportive environments for their children, Secondly communicating which establishes two-way exchanges about school programs and children’s progress and Volunteering which is by recruiting and organizing parent help at school, home, or other locations. The fourth type is Learning at Home which is by providing information and ideas to families about how to help students with homework and other curriculum related materials, fifth being decision making by having parents from all backgrounds serve as representatives and leaders on school committees and lastly collaborating with the Community by Identifying and integrating resources and services from the community to strengthen school programs. The unwritten knowledge being conveyed by parents to their children, is specific and to a certain degree, specialized. Parental Support and Academic Achievement Fan (2001) demonstrated that parents’ educational aspiration for their children proved to be strongly related to students’ academic growth. There is general consensus that parents play a crucial role and are irreplaceable in the Socialization process. Begner (1979) points out that society has yet to find another institution or agent to replace mother or father in socialization process. Begner (1979) and Wandabwa (1996) contend that parents may assume a variety of roles two of which are Spectators or teacher to their children. They point out that the role of spectator is common whereby parents merely observe what the school does in the life of their children in the educational process on the other hand, parents who are teachers of their own children teach their children aspect of language and problem solving skills which reflects in their performance and discipline.
As a results of active parental involvement students’ attendance is higher, homework is completed, higher academic success is realized, attitudes about school are positive, higher goals are set, high school graduation is achieved, and higher levels of education are attained (Hill and Tyson 2009). The active involvement of parents in students schooling and academic success denotes that Involved parents’ behavior serves as a model, aiding student learning of language constructs and social skills that better prepare children for school both academically and socially (Bempechat 2011).The students in return achieve autonomy and higher competency levels by imitating and duplicating parental actions (Bempechat et al., 2011). Cripps and Zyromski (2009) proposed that students with involved parents usually have success in higher educational attainment than students whose parents are not engaged in their education. Huang and Mason (2008) found that parental engagement in education validated students’ confidence and self-worth (Banerjee et al., 2011; Coombes, Allen, ; McCall, 2012). Most students whose parents were involved in the educational process achieved more than those students without parental participation (Huang ; Mason, 2007; Coombes et al., 2012; Hilgendorf, 2012; Wilson, 2009). Stylianidies and Stylainides (2011) contended that parents are children’s first teachers, and should continue to be involved in their children’s education whether it is at home or at school. Parents who deem schoolwork and homework as important have students who tend to do better in the classroom, thus increasing student achievement (Epstein, 2011; Epstein et al., 2009; Hill ; Tyson, 2009).Some researchers (Ayers, 2010; Berthelsen ; Walker, 2008; Dessoff, 2009) have determined that the level of education attained by the parents, which is usually higher with more affluent parents, directs the degree of influence parents have on students’ attitudes and academics. Parents at the high school level usually are not involved in academics because they may feel intimidated by the curriculum and may not feel confident in their abilities to help their children with schoolwork. They may also feel their children should handle any difficulties at school on their own because students will soon be adults (Coates & Mayfield, 2009).
Parental involvement may be deterred by factors such as such as language, culture, distrust of educational professionals, and lack of knowledge and time (Michael et al., 2012). Another barrier that has an impact on parental involvement is the disparity between the cultures of the parents and teachers (Burns, 1993). Cultural Capital denotes the accumulation of knowledge, experience, and skills one has had through the course of their life that enables him a better chance to succeed versus someone from a less experienced background. Studies conducted by Mannan and Blackwell (1992) determined that when the school environment wasn’t sensitive to the home language and culture, two-way communication was often very difficult, and many parents were discouraged from initiating any type of dialogue with the teacher. Those parents who believed that only teachers could help their children succeed academically tended to stay away from any type of school involvement (Griffith 1996). In light of the decrease of parental involvement and academic success schools were prompted to educate parents on the benefits of parental involvement, students’ academic achievement and behavior (Bailey & Bradbury-Bailey, 2010). The schools also took initiatives such as hiring translators to overcome language issues, facilitating cultural awareness, being friendly, personal calls to advise parents of school functions, and managing time concerns (Bailey & Bradbury-Bailey, 2010). The parents’ choice of involvement activities and the motivation for their involvement were affected by their personal school experiences and relationships with their parents. Many parents wished to be involved in their children’s education, and these parents asked schools for direction. However, most parents did not follow through with their desire to be actively engaged in their children’s education (Radu, 2011). Lai and Vadeboncoeur (2012) noted the duty of a school to promote parental involvement has become a passive act, rather than a genuine effort. Building a strong school and family partnership is an essential component to involving the parents in meaningful programs beyond PTA meetings and bake sales (Henderson, Mapp, Johnson, ; Davies, 2007). In an effort to increase student achievement through parental involvement, schools have to develop more effective ways to communicate and reach out to parents who are unable, unwilling or even reluctant due to cultural and social capital barriers. Creating a partnership between the school and families refers to a mutual effort toward a shared goal, and results in a shared responsibility of families and educators in supporting students’ academic achievements (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001). Hall and Lindsay (1985) and Rainey and Rainey (1986) maintain that factors enhancing academic performance in the children includes encouragement of self-reliance, autonomy and achievement motivation.Gonzalez- Pienda, et al.,(2002) indicated that “without the children’s parental support, it is hard for teachers to devise academic experiences to help students learn meaningful content”.Epstein states that schools and families are more likely to get in touch when the student is having problems at school (as cited in Deslandes, Royer, Turcotte, & Bertrand, 1997 ).
Epstein argues that when schools frequently engage parents they have more successful outcomes because the students benefit from the consistent message generated by their home and the school about the importance of education. Another major component that supports the correlation between parental involvement and students support is social capital (Bennett, 2001). Increasing the parents’ skills and knowledge base will better equip them to assist their children at home. By providing the opportunity for parents to collaborate with one another, it makes room for them to share insight with one another on school policies, practices, community resources, as well as approaches to parenting practices. When students see that parents, teachers and the community members working together in a collaborative effort on their behalf, it will give the child a sense of being cared for from many vantage points. The students, as a result, see the value that the parents, school and community place on education.
Parental Styles and students support
The modernization of society has effected an immediate change in societal demands from schools whereby schools now carry multiple purposes and responsibilities but ultimately parental involvement in students’ education is key. Parental involvement is described as “the dedication of resources by the parent to the child” (Grolnick and Slowiaczek 1994) or to more specific ones being that parental involvement are activities at home and at school that are related to children’s learning in school (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1997).According to Johnston (1998), “There is one irrefutable truth in education. The support from parents may be an instrumental factor in determining their academic success, the support can be provided by attendance at school events, participation on a school council or advisory committee, regular volunteer activities, employment at school, and PTA meetings. However, they indicated that they would provide support and be involved with their children by doing activities that are not solely for educational purposes. Parents prefer activities that are interesting, engaging, practical, fun, and that they can do at home (Wiersma ; Fifer, 2008). The Effects of Parent Involvement indicates that students whose parents supported school tended to express higher aspirations for their educations and careers (Johnston 1998). This is a clear indicator that parental support is essential to schools and children educational growth. These students were more likely to set career goals in scientific, technical, and professional areas. They had a stronger commitment to life-long education than students whose parents were not involved. The benefits of these initiatives for schools were: improved teacher morale, higher ratings of teachers by parents, more support from families, higher student achievement, and better reputations in the community (Johnson, 1998). It is important to realize that not every style of parenting will bring about the same results of student achievement. According to Constantino (2003), creating a school culture that incudes parental support makes it more welcoming which, research shows has a positive effect on student academic achievements. Constantino suggests that schools and families should engage and build a positive partnership by making schools the center of the community and not only involving the teachers, administrators and parents, but also including businesses and community members to support the school (Constantino, 2003). Epstein (1991), Constantino (2003), and Callison (2004) suggest that communication and collaboration are the key factors for improving support from parents to schools. Researchers have reported that some dimensions of parental support may have more visible effects on students’ academic achievement than others. Gonzalez-Pienda et al. (2002) stated that parental support criteria were developed according to six dimensions that are strongly associated to students’ behavior at school and the attitude towards learning. “The six dimensions are (a) parents’ expectations about their children’s achievement, (b) parents’ expectations about their children’s capacity to achieve important goals, (c) parents’ behaviors that reveal interest in their children’s school work, (d) parents’ degree of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their children’s level of school achievement, (e) parents’ level and type of help provided when their children do homework, and (f) parents’ reinforcement behaviors of their children’s achievements. Research studies have pointed out that some dimensions of parental involvement may have more noticeable effects. A key form for parental support is “parents’ level and type of help provided when their children do the homework”. Homework can be defined as “tasks that are assigned to students by teachers and are meant to be performed during non-school hours” (Cooper, 1989a as cited in Eilam, 2001, p. 692). A student is supposed to complete his/her homework at home, parents or other family members may be involved in the process of helping or guiding the child. They either help the child in doing the home task assigned by the teacher or facilitate him/her in relation to difficulties in syllabus. The lack of parental support creates major problem for school and the child also. The parental support will develop academic performance, this relates to the positive identity structures, which encompass self-esteem, self-efficacy, and motivation (Bandura, 1997). The support provided to children highly depends on the parenting styles exhibited by the parents to children and the school. Baumrind (1971) gave the concept of parenting styles and de?ned the parenting styles in terms of authoritative parenting style, authoritarian parenting style and permissive parenting style. Baumrind (1971) classi?ed parenting styles as behaviors, values and standards that are transmitted toward children, and these behaviors, values and standards are expected to be adopted by children. Parenting styles are beneficial in understanding complex behaviors and attitudes associated with child outcomes (Rodriguez, Donovick, and Crowley, 2009). Parenting is parental behaviors which encompass pleasures, privileges, and profits as well as frustrations, fears, and failures. Thus, parents can find an interest and derive considerable and continuing pleasure in their relationships and activities with their children (Dawkins, 2006).In recent research there is the position that parenting styles are often adapted by previous generations (Brown & Iyengar, 2008) and are passed down by culture. Parenting style is one of the variables that have been studied extensively in human development (Baldwin, Mclntyre, & Hardaway, 2007). It is considered an important determinant of several aspects of children’s outcome (Gadeyne, Ghesquiere, ; Onghena, 2004). The notion has been related to children and adolescent academic achievement, optimism, confidence, motivation, externalizing problem behavior and attention problems (Gadeyne, Ghesquiere, ; Onghena, 2004). Moreover, parenting style depends on the behavior and attitude of parents. Two major variables identified by Baumrind (1991) centered on parenting styles and child outcomes. One of them was the responsiveness of parents to their child’s needs in a reasonable, nurturing and supportive way. It is generally agreed that parenting style influences self-efficacy, self-esteem, and identity development, which are associated with academic achievement (Brown & Iyengar, 2008). In addition, the progress in children’s achievement is influenced by the decision that is made by both parents and their children to cooperate or confront each other .Furthermore, children’s academic motivation and behavior are directly influenced by family activities and parents’ behavior, which are seen as the external factor. For instance, there is a positive outcome for both parents and children when parents interact in a fun and loving way during children’s homework time (Morawska, 2007).Conversely, when parents are neglectful, academic disengagement and problem behavior are generated (Brown & Iyengar, 2008).Therefore, parents are influenced by their children’s academic achievement, and children’s achievement is, in turn, influenced by their parents (Phillipson, 2007). The foundation for parenting style and academic achievement is formed by the belief systems and attitudes in parents and their children (Brown & Iyengar, 2008). For example, Pastorelli et al. (2001) found that children with authoritarian parents perceived themselves as less efficacious for self-directed learning. In general, children whom are supported and enhanced by authoritative parents show higher academic competence, social development, self-perception, and mental health compared to children with authoritarian and permissive parents (Baumrind, 2012). Authoritarian Parenting style requires that children follow strict rules established by the parents. These parents have high demands, but are not responsive to their children. In addition, these parents are usually obedience and status oriented, and they always expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation (Karavalis, 2003). Parents in this type attempt to sharpen, control, and evaluate the behavior and attitude of their children which is usually formulated by a higher secular authority (Baumrind, 1999).The second parenting style is Authoritative whereby parents are supportive in nature and demonstrate involvement and warmth. These parents have clear set of objectives, rules and standards for their children to follow, and such parents are attentive to the children’s behavior (Baumrrind 1991). Authoritative parents are active in participating into the life of children, show patience and love toward their children and appreciate their efforts in order to boost their psychological growth (Aunola et al. 2000; Pulkkinen 1982; Ginsburg and Bronstein 1993). These parents are social in nature and appreciate their participation in discussing and planning in the family decisions (Buri 1991). On the other hand, authoritarian parents anticipate obedience from their children. An authoritative parenting style usually establish rules and guidelines that children are expected to follow. However, this parenting style is much more democratic and the parents are more responsive to their children and willing to listen to questions. The literature highlights that authoritative parenting style is more supportive and helps children getting leading edge in their studies (Crossland 2004). When children fail to meet the expectations, these parents demonstrate are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing. Baumrind (1991) suggests that these parents usually monitor and impart clear standards for their children’s conduct; they are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are always supportive, rather than punitive since they want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible, and self-regulated as well as cooperative. Interestingly, adolescents with authoritative parents reported higher grades in school performance than adolescents with neglectful parents, and demonstrated stronger school orientation, school engagement, and bonding with teachers than adolescents with neglectful parents (Steinberg, Eisengart, & Cauffman, 2006).
Parental motivation in improving students’ social skills
The engagement of students and parents in the educational process requires an extensive development of learners and parents motivation and social skills for academic success. Social skill is defined as a person’s ability to work cooperatively, be responsible and respected, have self-control, and possess empathy which should be taught and practiced in schools (Denham et al., 2006; Johnson et al., 2005). The development of social skills lays a critical foundation for later academic achievement as well as work-related skills (Lynch & Simpson, 2010). Further definition of social skill is refereed as a collection of learned behaviors giving the individual the ability to have an influential relationship with others and to abstain from socially unreasonable reactions (Gresham, 2016; Yoder, 2015).The social skills represent the individuals’ social and behavioral health success (Rawles, 2016). Academic motivation and achievement have been the most frequently examined outcomes of parental motivational practices and parent involvement. The strong association between motivation and educational behaviors and outcomes has been widely recognized (Deci et al., 2001; Dev, 1997). In the education process there exists two forms of motivation that associates with learners social and academic skills, these are intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation leads people to engage in activities for the pleasure and satisfaction of doing so, without the necessity of being rewarded or constrained externally. On the other hand, external motivation is formed by external stimulus and leads to instrumental behaviors (Deci et al., 1991). In education, intrinsically motivated learners engage in learning because they enjoy doing so and are satisfied by the process of learning, while extrinsically motivated learners engage in learning to avoid punishment, to gain immediate rewards, or to achieve personal goals.Among students, intrinsic motivation has been shown to directly predict student effort, persistence, and academic performance, and to influence students’ perceived competence, which in turn influences academic achievement (Davis et al., 2006; Ferrer-Caja & Weiss, 2000; Goldberg & Cornell, 1998). Research evidence has supported this notion, showing that both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are positively related to educational goals (Davis et al., 2006). The Identified motivation is the motivation that affect the parents and learners’ behavior because the activity has perceived value or has importance to reach a goal (Grolnick, 2015). Additionally, identified motivation in parents and learners was associated with increased one-on-one parent-child involvement and an increase in child’s feelings of self-worth (Grolnick, 2015).The social aspect of individuals is best expressed by Bandura (1997) whom points out that the social environment can affect an adolescent’s behavior and sense of self-efficacy through vicarious learning experiences and supportive communication. Bandura(1997) postulates that environmental influences shape individuals’ achievement motivation, it’s evident whereby adolescents exist within social systems and are continuously interacting with their caretakers, parents not only influence the development of self-efficacy but also provide observational models that guide adolescents’ and adjustment of their self-efficacy. As adolescents are encouraged and affirmed of their capability, they are more likely to experience less self-doubt, exercise greater effort and persist when facing difficulties. In the cognitive evaluation theory, the importance of social environments is also recognized, as they can either enhance or hinder intrinsic motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000b) based upon the interpersonal context in which rewards are delivered (Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 2001). When the environment conveys meaningful feedback in the context of self-determination, it is perceived as informational and enhances intrinsic motivation. The engagement present then denotes active involvement and motivational increase. Engagement has been categorized into three types: behavioral, emotional and cognitive engagement (for (Paris, 2004). The most focused engagement is that of behavioral engagement whereby factors such as effort, persistence, concentration and attention are emphasized (Fredricks, 2004). Generally speaking, research has indicated a positive link between parental involvement and students’ achievement motivation and attitudes (Gonzalez-DeHass et al., 2005). According to cognitive evaluation theory, parental involvement can be informational or controlling. The informative aspect enhances students’ intrinsic motivation, while the controlling aspect undermines students’ intrinsic motivation (Plant ; Ryan, 1985). The alignment to goal orientation emphasizes the purpose for which an individual participates in an activity or engages in a task. According to Ames (1992) goal orientations are generally regarded as integrated patterns of motivational beliefs that represent different ways of approaching, engaging in, and responding to achievement-related activities. Dweck ; Leggett (1988) found that adolescents respond to difficult and challenging situations with one of three different goal orientations: (a) mastery orientation, (b) helpless orientation, or (c) performance orientation. Adolescents possessing a mastery orientation focus on the task rather than their ability, have a positive effect as they engage in the activity. Adolescents possessing a helpless orientation focus on their personal inadequacies. Adolescents possessing a performance orientation focus on their ability rather than the task, are overly anxious about proving their ability or outperforming others, and concerned about outcomes rather than improving their ability through the learning process (Dweck ; Leggett, 1988).Traditionally, the parenting, motivation and goal theory literature has indicated that authoritative parenting is associated with mastery goal orientation and intrinsic motivation, whereas authoritative and permissive parenting styles are associated with performance goal orientation and extrinsic motivation. Self-efficacy can be regarded as the belief that one can master a situation and produce favorable outcomes (Bandura, 1997). Bandura believed that self-efficacy contributes to the academic achievement of students. Self-efficacy has been found to relate to goal orientation and motivation in explaining achievement outcomes. In regard to motivation, path analysis of causality conducted by Zimmerman, Bandura and Martinez-Pons (1992) revealed that perceived self-efficacy influences students’ learning through cognitive as well as motivational mechanisms. Parents tend to play a decisive role in the motivational development of children and adolescents and shape children’s early achievement-related orientations and perceptions (Price 2005; Wild 2009) as well as children’s development of competence beliefs and values across domains (e.g., Eccles 1993, Eccles et al. 1998; Fredricks and Eccles 2002). Students who believe that they are capable and that they can and will do well on a task are much more likely to be motivated than students who do not believe in their abilities and expect to fail on a certain task (Bandura 1997; Eccles et al. 1998; Pintrich and Schunk 2002). A number of researchers have shown that students social functioning influenced their academic achievement (Ray & Elliott, 2006). Manning (2007), suggested that some students failed to have successful and positive academic success because of low self-concept. Self-concept referred to the student’s perception of competence or adequacy in academic and non-academic domains and is best represented by a profile of self-perception across domains. Research concerning parents has shown that positive parental beliefs in children’s skills and success have a positive impact on children’s subject specific self-concept of ability (Lau and Pun 1999; MacGrath and Repetti 2000), and this impact might even be stronger than the effect of children’s previous success in academic situations leading to increased motivation and academic sucess. Thus, parental beliefs have been reported to be positively related to children´s self-concept (Eccles et al. 1982; Jacobs 1991). According to Frome and Eccles, (1998) parents´ perceptions of their children´s success influence children’s interpretations of how their grades represent their abilities. These results as previous research has shown that feedback given by teachers, such as grades, is a good predictor of students’ self-concept of ability (Wigfield and Eccles 2000). Eccles (1993) pointed out that parents rely heavily on objective feedback (e.g., school grades) when forming their impressions of their children´s abilities. It might be that during the early school years, parents are forming their impressions of their children’s skill levels on the basis of feedback gathered from teachers and school grades. Thus, the early school years may provide an important period for the development of not only children’s self-concepts of ability but also parents’ belief systems concerning their children
Parental involvement and teacher student relation
The active involvement of every member in the school has extensive influence and outcomes on the learners’ educational success. The parents play possibly the largest role in helping young people become competent and achieve the ability to perform at a high level in school. (Tokac, 2012) Parents have a profound effect on their student’s ability to value school. Parents aren’t always going to be the birth parents of the children. Parents are often considered to be primary caregivers for the student. (Kim, 2012) Parents are the ones who give their children their views on school. Tokac and Kocayörük (2012), attest that when a parent has a positive attitude about school, it has been found that their children perform well based on that attitude. The way their parents act about school usually translates through to student performance as well as their relationship with their teacher. A positive parent attitude leads to a higher cognitive competence, a better student-teacher relationship, higher test scores on standardized tests, and an overall increase in student performance. Tokac (2012) identifies the need for good communication and collaboration between school and families. Schools might also encourage parents, teachers, and students to meet at the beginning of the school year to agree on goals and develop a common understanding. A beneficial student teacher relationship is one where there is an open line of communication and a true sense of caring instead of an over dependency of the student on the teacher. A positive parent attitude has been found to increase the student-teacher relationship which is a very important part of a student’s ability to be successful in school (Topor, 2010). Parental involvement doesn’t only benefit students, it also is greatly appreciated by teachers. When students show higher achievement, graduate high school, and move on to college, teachers are found to have higher morale and job satisfaction (Tokac et.al, 2012). In today’s educational field, it is important for parents and teachers work together to better Toady’s educational experience as it is much different. Teachers often find themselves responsible for much more than academics. Today the job of the teacher is not simply to facilitate learning, but often includes being a nurse, social worker, parent, referee, advocate, and much, much, more (Milne and Plourde 2006).Teachers can help raise a parent?s sense of efficacy by being specific about how the parent can help his or her child (Hoover–Dempsey & Sandler, 2005). Teacher invitations of parental involvement encourage more time spent on homework and improved student performance. The invitations make parents feel welcome, provide information about how their child is learning, and reassure parents that their efforts of involvement are making a difference(Hoover-Dempsey, et al, 2005). An invitation from a teacher has proven to be a motivator for parents to become involved (Green, et al. 2007). “Invitations generated by positive school climate are significant because they suggest strongly that parents are welcome at school and that their involvement is important, expected, and supported” (Hoover-Dempsey, 2005).Teacher invitations can be separated into two categories: ongoing (help with homework, at school) and time-limited (attending a specific event) (Anderson & Minke, 2007). “Invitations from teachers are important because they underscore the value of parents? engagement in the child’s learning and the power of parental action to affect student learning” (Hoover-Dempsey, 2005). Teachers who provide parents with the opportunity to make important contributions with their time increased the likelihood that their requests would be met with approval from parents. Teachers should be mindful that parents are a valuable resource which can be utilized to help garner student achievement gains (Lazar, 1999).Teachers may also pay more attention to children whose parents are involved in the school (Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994). Additionally, teachers? attitudes about teaching changes when parents are involved in the school (Epstein & Van Voorhis, 2001).
In every experience both parents and teachers face challenges when they do not share the same culture. Cultural differences can create barriers to parent-teacher relationships (Witmer, 2007). “Parent/teacher relationships are formed with relative ease when groups share a common culture, language and background. Relationships that must bridge cultures and languages, however, require more effort to create and sustain” (Colombo, 2006, p. 315). To gain full parental support, schools need to respect the culture of all families (Hoover-Dempsey, 2005). Often, teachers who are different culturally from their students are less likely to know the students and parents than are teachers who come from similar cultural backgrounds culturally different teachers are also more likely to believe that students and parents are disinterested or uninvolved in schooling” (Columbo?s 2006).The benefits to positive relationships between parents and teachers are many (Epstein, 1986, Hill ; Taylor, 2004, McWayne, et al., 2004, Hughes ; Kwok, 2007). Parents who have had positive relationships with their Children?s School and teachers are more likely to initiate contact with the school. Conversely, parents who have had negative interactions with the school and teacher are likely to have ill feelings towards the school and are less likely to contact the school or be involved in school activities (Gutman ; McLoyd, 2000). Another significant benefit of a positive parent-teacher relationship is increased student achievement. “A high quality parent-teacher relationship may strengthen the positive impact of a parent’s home involvement on achievement”. Teachers who effectively involve parents in the educational process were rated higher in both their teaching ability and interpersonal skills by both their parents and their principals (Epstein, 1986; Epstein ; Dauber, 1991). “Teacher practices of parent involvement maximize cooperation and minimize antagonism between teachers and parents and enhance the teachers? professional standing from the parents? perspective” (Epstein, p. 290). In fact, parent opinions related to their relationship with their child?s teacher are not limited to their beliefs about just the teacher. “Parents often form their opinions about the quality of a whole school based on their relationship with their child?s teacher” (Witmer, 2007). Many schools focus on increasing parent involvement, rather than increasing the quality of the parent-teacher relationship.
The quality of parent-teacher relationships may be more significant than the quantity of involvement (Hughes ; Kwok, 2007). As parents participate in their children’s education, both at home and at school, and experience relationships with teachers characterized by mutuality, warmth, and respect, students achieve more, demonstrate increased achievement motivation, and exhibit higher levels of emotional, social, and behavioral adjustment. Schools with teachers showing strong efficacy related to their ability to connect with parents had more support from parents (Epstein & Dauber, 1991). Teachers who feel they share beliefs with parents about parental involvement take the initiative to make contact with all parents, including those other teachers find difficult to reach. These teachers also involve families in more activities and their relationships with parents are not as impacted by family demographics. As teachers it is important to build common understanding about shared goals and common support among parents, and principals so that teachers? feelings of isolation or separateness from others will decrease and so that school and family partnerships will increase. “Teacher attitudes and practices have been shown to be highly influential in determining parents? level of involvement” (Kohl, 2000). Teachers? encouragement of parents to become involved predicts greater parental involvement, even in those families typically considered hard to reach. Teachers also have the opportunity to focus on and create positive interactions with parents by letting parents know their involvement in their child?s education is appreciated (Gutman & McLoyd, 2000). “Teachers who communicate with parents tend to increase their expectations and appreciation of all parents and continue to add activities for family involvement” (Epstein & Van Voorhis, 2001) Teachers must work to establish trust among their parents. Parents? trust in teachers influences their responses to involvement invitations, and parental perceptions that schools are safe, empowering, and trustworthy have been consistently associated with greater parental involvement. Teachers may have to make extra efforts to establish a trusting relationship with parents from other cultures. Effectively communicating with parents is an important skill for teachers (Faires, 2000). This communication can be through face-to-face conversations, phone calls, e-mail, newsletters, weekly folders, written notes, and many other avenues. One communication strategy is for teachers to make a positive contact with each parent at the beginning of the school year. This positive comment creates an environment in which parents are more receptive to talking about potential concerns later in the school year (Witmer, 2007). Beyond fostering improved relations with parents, effective communication can also help improve student achievement.
In order for parents to know what to do with their children, teachers must try to keep open lines of communication with parents, especially about classroom strategies their children are using to learn to read and write. Teachers who remain in the classroom discover that, in addition to classroom management skills, they must develop parent management skills as well” (Tingley, 2006). Inviting parents to visit school has proven to be an effective parent involvement technique (Faires, et al., 2000; Hoover-Dempsey, et al., 2005; Witmer, 2007). Parents can be invited to a variety of different activities, including open houses, evening events, celebrations, awards ceremonies, academic competitions, or just to observe in classrooms. Invitations to these events help generate trust between parents and teachers. Parents who participate in visits to schools reported they enjoyed talking with the teacher, were comfortable in asking questions, and believed the teacher cared about their child and were interested in the parents? suggestions and ideas (Hoover-Dempsey, et al.). “Teacher invitations are especially powerful because they are responsive to many parents? expressed wishes to know more about how to support children’s learning” (p. 111). Schools can help parents feel more comfortable at school by creating a welcoming atmosphere. This may include a parent lounge or work area (Witmer, 2007).