In many cultures, parents tend to leave education nearly completely up to the teacher. Teachers, however, know that parental involvement is crucial for children’s success. To get parents to participate more in their children’s education, it may take some time and a significant amount of effort on the teacher’s part. Without it, though, students’ education may suffer significantly.
Barrier: Parents’ Education
Many times, parents don’t want to become involved with their children at school because they are afraid that their own lack of education or not understanding current teaching methods of a skill they learned differently twenty years before prevents them from being a positive influence in their children’s education.
However, teachers can play up what parents do know by inviting them in the classroom to share something about their life experience that relates to something students are studying. For example, if students are learning about their cultural past in social sciences, a parent could come in and tell a story that their grandparents told to them.
Teachers can also encourage parents to understand that they are crucial to their children’s finishing their homework, studying for tests, eating good food to help them learn, getting enough rest, etc. Parental guidance and involvement does not mean that they have to help them finish their homework every night. Instead, they can support their children in getting a good education by providing them with a space and materials to study, nutritious meals to eat, checking that homework got done, and in making them go to bed at a decent time.
Solicit Parental Feedback
Teachers can make home visits. They can also set a meeting time and place for parents to meet that works with most parents’ work and home life schedules. Finding out what parents are concerned about, soliciting their feedback and ideas for classroom improvement, and asking them how they might like to be involved in their children’s education can go a long way. Perhaps parents will want to form a committee to hand down used uniforms from older students to younger in the school to reduce financial burdens on families, or they may want to help orchestrate a school program to raise money for the school or celebrate a holiday.
Teachers can also help parents learn. Through home visits after school hours or through parent meetings, willing parents can learn the lessons their students are learning or gain a basic foundation of knowledge to help them help their students. It might take the form of teachers in the school rotating teaching duties to parents, an adult school to teach basic skills, or specific workshops to teach parents how children are learning to multiply double digit numbers in today’s schools, for instance.
The going may not be easy to get parents more involved in students’ education. They may resist or ignore the teacher’s efforts. Through persistence, adjustment to expectations and tactics, though, teachers will likely see an increase in parental involvement in their classrooms.