Parent partnership: Urgent need of schools
When parents engage with their children, they can reap countless benefits. They can gain the confidence to help their children at home with their learning. Sitting together can be quality time, for it forges a good relationship. The closer parents are with their children, the more open their children will be. This allows parents to know what difficulties their children are facing
Christopher Daddis, an expert in child-parent relationship and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State University, Columbus, US, believes children almost always get better grades when parents participate in their education.
Parents are the first teachers of their children and possess good vibes to influence their learning and development throughout their lives.
Schools also play a pivotal role as a second home and teachers as second parents in nurturing and educating them. Schools are striving to provide educational foundations for the children’s future. But a question arises. ‘How much can schools alone do?’ As the fact stands, schools and parents have one thing in common—the desire for the child to succeed.
So both schools and parents must work together in a partnership, share responsibilities and be accountable for any untoward situation.
Varied studies have shown that there is direct relationship between improved student learning and their parents’ involvement in education. So, each school should take the initiative to develop a school-parent partnership framework where teachers, parents, administrative staff and stakeholders can be included and a sustainable and effective partnership established.
Just a few months ago, tension between parents and schools heightened on account of the teachers’ salaries and school fees.
There is, thus, an urgent need for a school-parent partnership framework in each school. During the pandemic period, schools can prepare a draft of their framework to rejuvenate their teams by making them savvier than before about handling different online teaching tools and digital information.
Parents can be positive, confused or negative towards a school. If parents are positive, they feel proud to work as a teacher of their children at home. When they start to teach their children, they’ll learn about child-appropriate teaching methods. They’ll learn to be sensitive to their child’s learning. Negative parents make excuses of not being able to deal with technology even when they are.
They expect schools to do everything because they’re spending huge sums of money on their children’s education. Some parents will be in a confused state of mind. They just wait and watch like a bystander.
They’d rather remain neutral in such cases.
When parents engage with their children, they can reap countless benefits.
They can gain the confidence to help their children at home with their learning. It creates a close bond between parents and their children. Sitting together can be quality time, for it forges a good relationship.
When they sit together, they can exchange their experiences and thoughts.
Some children may be introverts.
The closer parents are with their children, the more open their children will be. This allows parents to know what difficulties their children are facing.
Unless a child shares his or her problem, it cannot be resolved and the desired result cannot be expected.
Since handling children is a sensitive issue, it’s imperative to communicate with schools cautiously because students mistake parent-teacher meetings (PTMs) for an occasion to make complaints. As a result, children dread their teachers. They’ll be under stress and get distracted from their studies.
Any school-parent partnership framework must design activities based on the following seven dimensions.
First, both school leaders and parents must be provided with training to prepare them to communicate with each other professionally. Second, schools and parents must value and use the skills and knowledge children bring from the home to the school and vice-versa.
Third, schools should include aspects of the social, emotional, moral and spiritual development of children. Fourth, parents should be aware that they can encourage their children’s learning in and out of schools and are also in a position to support school goals, directions and ethos.
Fifth, an inclusive approach to school decision-making and parental involvement creates a sense of shared responsibility among parents, community members, teachers and school leaders. The impact of ‘a group-think’ is more powerful than individual thinking. Sixth, schools can increasingly collaborate with partners such as local businesses, higher education, foundations, local clubs and other community-based agencies.
Finally, parents can devote their time, energy and expertise to students’ learning and school programmes that are non-academic.
Their contribution to the school is always commendable.
Schools can establish close rapport with the parents by acknowledging their small contributions; thanking them; inviting them as chief guests at programmes; sharing the school’s future plans and vision with them; asking them for their inputs in school improvement programmes; including them in decision-making processes like recruiting teachers; asking for their constructive feedback; addressing their problems immediately; and striking a friendship with as many parents as possible for rapport building. As schools comprise a team of educators and intellectuals, schools should come up with a strong vision, feasible plans and effective strategies and build trust.
On top of these, both schools and parents must do their jobs sincerely, respect each other and make concerted efforts for their common goal — help children succeed. Besides these, schools and parents should make a strong commitment to account for any failure. The moment this happens, school-parent partnership will gain momentum. But if these two parties keep reminding each other of their responsibilities and playing the blame game, school-parent partnership will never happen.
Sherma, a Fulbright TEA Fellow 2018, heads the English Department at Euro School
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