In all cultures parents are, of course, a major influence on a child’s success in life. While the quality of schools and the nature of the child’s peer group matter significantly, it is from the home and the community that young people derive lasting impacts on their character, mindset and attainment.
We should not be surprised that parents have such an influential role in the education of their children. They are, after all, a child’s first teacher well before the formal world of education is encountered and some 75% and 85% of a child’s waking hours are spent outside the school classroom. It is worth remembering that the idea that teachers in schools are solely responsible for the education of children and teenagers is a relatively recent one. In the last two centuries, as schooling has gradually become compulsory for most people, the roles of teacher and parent have tended to grow apart as education has been professionalized.
Little more than a generation ago parents were still being left firmly outside the school gate. And even today they can sometimes find themselves metaphorically (and sometimes literally) being talked down to by well-meaning teachers who have not sufficient understanding or skill in facilitating the necessary home-school partnership.
So it is odd that today so much of the world’s current interest in improving the educational outcomes of students focuses on what goes on within schools rather than emphasizing the connections between schools and the families and communities of those they are teaching.
The strength of the research evidence
It is not as if we lack impact data for the impact of engaging parents on outcomes for young people. We know, for example, that parents’engagement in the educational development of their children is one of a small number of specific ways of improving student attainment. We have an increasingly sophisticated idea of what it is that schools can do to engage with parents to help children flourish both academically. We know, too, some of the ways in which parents can help their child, for example, by having regular and meaningful conversation with them, by setting high aspirations and by demonstrating their own interest more…
Prof. Bill Lucas
A Powerful Impact: The Importance of Engaging Parents, Families and Communities in improving Student Success
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