From the Head of Lindfield Campus
EFFECTIVE PARENT INVOLVEMENT
In a thought-provoking Teachers College Record article, William Jeynes argues that, while traditional forms of parent involvement are important (attending school events, checking homework and rules about how children spend their downtime), more indirect, “warm” kinds of at-home involvement – parental expectations, parent-child communication, and parental style – are more important to foster student achievement. What do these forms of involvement look like?
- Subtle types of parental involvement – parent attendance at school functions and establishing rules for household study has some impact on student achievement but parental expectations for effort, improvement and accomplishments are much more important at the primary level and secondary level. What do these parent expectations look like?
It is not the idea that a mother or father pushes expectations upon her or his children, such as, ‘You must live up to these standards,” says Jeynes. The types of expectations that have the greatest impact are those that are subtle but understood by the child, such as parental sacrifice to save for the child’s school fees/education, low-stress communication, and a general agreement between the child and the parents on the value of education with a focus on further study at a university/tertiary level.
“These expectations are consistently there day after day, week after week, month after month,” he says, communicating “a supportive atmosphere which values school effort and achievement on which other aspects of parental involvement can be erected”.
The two other subtle forms of parental involvement are less powerful than high expectations, but still have more impact than traditional forms of involvement. Parental style that is supportive and encouraging and loving communication between parents and children.
Jeynes stresses that the underlying factor here is time spent with children, clearly communicating love and support – playing board games, watching movies, kicking the soccer ball, playing music, sharing interests. “These activities may not be directly related to scholarly pursuits,” he says, “but they are nevertheless crucial facets of parent involvement.”
Our parents at Lindfield make large sacrifices to send their children to Newington. It is important that we try to find ‘downtime’ to spend with our children and that we communicate the importance of putting maximum effort into learning. With parental support, and a shared understanding of the value of education, every boy can achieve great things.
“The Salience of the Subtle Aspects of Parental Involvement and Encouraging That Involvement: Implications for School-Based Programs” by William Jeynes in Teachers College Record, March 2010