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How Parental Involvement Impacts Your Classroom

parent and teacher talk in the classroom

There is a social tension between parents and schools. Parents often say everything is school's responsibility. Teachers often say that the problem is a lack of parenting or other issues at home. It periodically turns into an argument between the two groups seeking to nurture the child, though blaming the parents can make it a nature versus nurture argument, too. Let’s learn how parental involvement impacts your classroom.


Parental Involvement in the Child’s Life Has a Massive Impact In and Out of Class

A lack of dads in the households hurts kids. The children of single mothers are several times more likely to be held back a grade, get an F in any given class and drop out of high school. This is because they have half as many adults supervising them as everyone else. Yet parents may be present but not involved. They may be working so many hours they can’t assist with homework or don’t think it is necessary. Then the child is unsupported. And their odds of negative educational outcomes are significantly higher. Fortunately, you can take steps like giving kids assignments that encourage dialogue between generations without specifically referring to a parent who may be absent.

Understand Their Situation Before You Make Demands

Be aware of how the child’s family situation can affect their education. For example, parents may not have the money for expensive field trips or the time to go to extra credit activities on the weekend. This is especially true of single parents, though it can affect any family. Don’t push parents to put kids in school clubs that cost money if they don’t have money, unless you can refer them to scholarships to pay for it.

Furthermore, it could be something as simple as children being embarrassed to say what their parents do for a living or reluctant to write the classic “what did you do over the summer?” essay because they stayed home while classmates talk about trips to Disneyland. Poverty isn’t neglect, but it can affect how the parents are able to interact with the school, especially extracurricular activities. For example, you’ll turn off parents if you try to encourage them to sign the child up for a sport when they can’t pay the fees or fear they can’t pay for any associated injuries.

Take Steps Improve Trust and Engagement

Too many parent-teacher conferences turn into a blame game. The teacher may blame the parent, and the parents may be defensive because they feel like they’re being blamed. Good classroom management techniques can reduce the opportunity for conflict. Regular communication such as telling parents about declining grades, increasing withdrawal or conflict with classmates before it hits a breaking point prevents parents from feeling blindsided. Make homework interactive, so that parents have to be engaged and know what you’re teaching. Send out newsletters to parents via texts, emails and printed newsletters so that parents know what is going on in your classroom and in the school. Don’t require them to install apps, since they may not have a phone or may not want to rely on an app to learn about what their kids will be learning.

Provide the Resources They Need to Connect

A number of children have parents who speak little to no English. It can be difficult for them to play the role of interpreter, and they may not want to accurately translate your report on their bad behavior. Know how to bring in a translator, so the child isn’t burdened and doesn’t have to be there. Provide assistance when parents need to sign forms or make formal requests, because they may not understand school bureaucracy or the legal wording of the forms. If you don’t provide these resources, the parents are less likely to sign the permission slip for a child to go on a field trip or a college tour. And they may not come to the parent-teacher conferences, if they don’t think they can have an honest dialogue with you.