In our last article, we looked at what students want from parental engagement. It perhaps wasn’t what parents or teachers might have expected. Now it’s time to look at the final corner of the stakeholder triangle – parents. How might they benefit from being engaged with their children’s education?
If the “foundation for parental engagement was the building of trusting and supportive relationships” (Axford et al, 2019), then parents stand to benefit too.
This is especially true at secondary school level. In comparison to primary schools, parents often feel intimidated and confused by the complexity of secondary schools. There are also far fewer informal opportunities for parents to develop ‘trusting and supportive’ relationships once their children are at secondary school.
Parents may have the wrong idea about the type and level of support their children want in education. If we look back to the previous article on parental engagement and students, we know that children want encouragement and interest in their homework, not help.
This will be good news to parents, who often feel out of their depth with what their children are learning.
In the previous article, we also saw that students want support at home. For busy parents, many of whom are dealing with pressures of work and caring responsibilities, this is more achievable than attending events during school hours.
As the research shows, “Parent practices that establish a positive learning environment at home” make the greatest difference to learning and achievement (Epstein, 1992, cited in Harris et al, 2009).
Importantly for parents, the research shows that children want them to be engaged in their learning. Engaged parents:
provide moral support
help keep children on the right tracks
support children to meet their aspirations
Whilst much of what’s been covered here overlaps with the benefits of parental engagement for teachers and students, it’s important to consider these benefits from the parents’ perspective.
The transition from primary to secondary school is a difficult one for parents to navigate as well as children. Trusting and supportive relationships need to be built in a different way. Working on methods to engage parents in schoolwork and activities can be a great starting point for that.
In our next article, we’ll draw together the uniting factors of successful parental engagement for those in the stakeholder triangle – teachers, students and parents.
Axford, N., Berry, V., Lloyd, J., Moore, D., Rogers, M., Hurst, A., Blockley, K., Durkin, H. and Minton, J. (2019) How Can Schools Support Parents’ Engagement in their Children’s Learning? Evidence from Research and Practice.
Harris, A., Andrew-Power, K. and Goodall, J. (2009) Do Parents Know They Matter? Raising Achievement through Parental Engagement.
Get in touch if you want to know more about Swotly, how it works and how it can help you to increase parental engagement.