Parenting and education are two aspects of a student’s school life that cannot be separated. Going by the fact that school children come from family backyards, the role of the parent in the entire child’s school life is clearly cut out. Moreover, research findings point out that the role of the parents in the children’s academic lives is so crucial that if not played fully and effectively, the results and children’s success (academically) are likely to be negative. Parents look for schools for their children, prepares and take them to schools, meets all the children education costs, provides other parental care to the children, makes follow-ups to ensure that the children are comfortable in the learning institutions, ensures the children safety (both in school and at home), follows up the progress of their children in learning among others.
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Ideally, it can be concluded that the role of the parents in the children’s education is unmatched. While some parents believe that the academic life of the child should be solely entrusted to the teachers, others believe they have a central role to play in the success of their children. This paper, therefore, looks at the way parents are involved in education and gives a lengthy argument on the contribution of the latter to the overall educational success.
The respondent (parent) identified as a 33-year-old female in Taiwan who lived with her husband and who had a straight sexual orientation. In addition, the respondent’s race was typically Chinese. She also spoke Chinese, which she claimed was her native language. Asked about the number of children she had, the parent hinted that she had two male children, both of whom were of school-going age and attended an elementary school in the neighborhood. On her value of her children’s education, the parent indicated that there was nothing that mattered in her life than to see through her two boys to the highest level of education possible, revealing that she and her husband (both of whom had post-graduate qualifications), had presented a good role model, a thing that continued to inspire the boys to achieve even higher levels of education. In addition, the respondent hinted at their commitment to the course through close parental mentoring and support to the boys throughout their school life. The respondent believed that the success of the boys in education greatly depended on this support, a factor that she admitted that they were willing to provide.
Apart from payment of school fees, the respondent hinted that they had organized for private transport for the boys to and from school irrespective of the latter being within the vicinity of their dwelling unit. She also pointed out that it was the role of parents to ensure that their children got the best schooling environment if at all they were to attain the best results. Commenting on the importance of parental involvement in education matters, the respondent said that children’s education responsibility could not only be bestowed on the teachers and the students. Instead, she felt that the parents had a more central and crucial role to play in an effort to see through their children’s education success dream. She also indicated that the results of education could be more favorable in a circumstance where the school’s management, teachers, and the parents could unite through healthy partnership encouraged by a quest to achieve a common objective (children’s educational success).
She however suggested the need for more parental involvement in the school’s decision making and planning, which she noted was in the initial stages of development not only in the school the boys schooled but also in many other schools in the region. This, she said was an achievement in enhancing children’s education excellence in the region a move that she expressed optimism of holding more potential. As a chairperson of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) in the school which the boys attended, the respondent said that it was irresponsible for the parents to entrust their children fully to the school administration and teachers. Instead, she suggested that there was a dire need for increased parental involvement in the children’s schooling life. Going by the take of the respondent, parents have a role in ensuring that all was well for their children both socially and academically. She suggested that the parents could also enhance children’s academic excellence through post-school hour’s tuition, assistance in homework completion as well as close monitoring of the child’s performance both in the academic and social circles. These views of the respondent concur to a large extent with the views of the author (Annette) in her book, Home Advantage.
Ideally, she felt that the parents were central to the success of the children’s education saying that they were closer to and spent more time with the children than the teachers. As a result, she pointed out that parents ought to be in a better position to aid children in the achievement of their goals. Asked about the challenges that children’s education posed to the parents, the respondent hinted that seeing children through academic success and giving them the attention that they deserved was one of the most challenging bits of parenting. However, she said that children’s education was one of the most important parental obligations, so important to warrant relentless effort from the parent just to make sure that the children succeeded academically. In fact, she admitted that the success of education at whatever level largely depended on the parents’ realization that they have a central role to play thus actively involving themselves in all aspects that support children’s success in school.
According to Annette (2000: 8), the involvement and role of parents in their children’s education is much more than their participation in the parent’s teacher’s organizations. Parents are fully in charge of the child’s school life and success. In fact, the author argues that in a normal school day, a child spends only a third of the day in school and a whole two-third with the parents. However, a responsible parent will still be concerned and ensure that his child is fine whether in his vicinity or not (in school or at home). If parents are ineffective in their role and participation in the education system, failure in children’s education becomes imminent (Annette, 2000:11).
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For example, from the results of the interview, it is evident that the respondent, as a parent of two, clearly understands the importance of active involvement of parents in their children’s education matters. According to her, parents must understand that they have an important role to play in their children’s academic success. Both the interviewee and her husband believe that the responsibility of ensuring children succeeds in school belonged to the parents: a fact that supports the argument of Annette (2000: 16).
The role of the parent (according to the respondent) ranges from basic children care to assist them in actual classwork. The respondent is the head of an association that enhances the close relationship between the tutors and the parents (PTA). Consequently, she recognizes the key role played by the parent in children’s education hence takes a front row in popularizing the association to enhance increased parental involvement in children’s education. Although the respondent admits that it is sometimes challenging on the part of the parent to actively involve herself in the education matter (perhaps due to the life commitment such as work), she points out that children’s educational success should always be accorded first priority. Indeed, she concurs with Annette (2000: 23) that child academic success is so important that it is worth sacrificing for. In fact, the respondent hailed the famous three hours in nine months approach. However, she said that this was so little time that parents should involve themselves more in children’s academic matters.
While admitting that parental involvement in children’s education was limited especially among the working class (who believed that there was a clear demarcation between the schools and homes about the education of their children), she pointed out that the trend was rapidly changing as parents continued to realize the importance of their active involvement in education. However, she credited this achievement to the important role of PTA, especially via aggressive sensitization campaigns to educate parents as to why they should concern themselves so much with their children’s education life. However, the critics of increased parental involvement in education argue that this could lead to role conflicts among the parties involved, especially if the parents were to be actively involved in actual school management and planning.
According to the evidence presented by Annette (2000: 24), parents are depicted as individuals who closely follow their children’s performance in class, closely monitor the work of their teachers and act fast to counter any threat that may compromise the children’s schooling. All these are thus indicated as characteristics of a good parent. It indicates that it is the responsibility of good parenting to take appropriate and haste action in a situation where the child’s school life and performance are at stake. According to Annette (2000: 12) majority of the working class, however, feel that the responsibility of the child’s academic well-being solely falls on the hands of the teachers; the latter of whom submits to the teachers’ professional authority.
According to Annette (2000:13), among this category of parents, the homes and schools are two distinct places with the individual in each sector having well cut out roles and responsibilities to play. As a result, such parents would have limited involvement in school affairs. Recent researches on families and schools as presented in Annette (2000) showed that parental involvement in school matters was on the increase mainly among middle-class parents. Although parental involvement in academics has been directed to social work (with the middle class being hailed for fostering learning opportunities for their children and the working class parents being hailed for resisting rules of oppressive schools management), involvement of parents in schools has been greatly advocated for.
Through PTA however, the parents get directly involved in children’s education during the child’s schooling hours and offer a channel through which parents are directly involved in making decisions in the schools which have a direct impact on the well-being of the children. In addition programs such as the three hours in nine months (under which the parents are only required to avail themselves in school for just three hours within a period of nine months) is easy and irresistible getting parents to voluntarily participate in schools’ decision making and programs designing.
The education stakeholder have discovered the importance of
partnerships among the various parties that are involved in the education process in making the dream of the students and the system, to produce successful students, a reality. These partnerships have more so been encouraged, particularly between the teachers and the parents since the two are the parties with the greatest students’ contacts. Fostering relationships among these individuals has been proven a strategy whose results in enhancing greater parental participation in school activities have been vehemently positive. In this case, the parents are greatly credited for effectively playing the role of tutors’ advisers’ that can only thrive in circumstances where healthy and close relationships exist between the teachers and the parents (Annette, 2000:7).
Good parenting calls for concern from the parents about the education well being of the children, diagnose problems that the children might have, and devise appropriate solutions to solve the problem. For example, consider a family of Emily a fifth-grader student with a chronic reading problem that caused the parents sleepless nights since they had to discuss it all night for one year while trying to come up with a strategy that could help Emily come out of the problem. The moral support provided by such a move, coupled with encouragement accorded to her might initiate a turnaround for the poor student (Annette, 2000:7).
In conclusion, all facts indicate that the parents play a very central role in the success of children’s academics. The nature of education today requires that all the stakeholders in the education system work together for the children’s academic success. As a result, active involvement and commitment of parents, teachers, school management, the government, and the students at large are necessitated. Although parents’ involvement and role in education have been previously downplayed, all indication points out that it is imperative for children academics. Parents are the closest to the children, spend most of the time with them, and play a major role in mentoring and bringing them up in a socially acceptable manner. The manner in which these roles are played could mean the success or failure of the child in education. In the wake of the realization of this fact, evidence shows increased involvement of parents in educational matters. For instance, parents are increasingly getting involved in schools planning and decision making, providing financial support through fundraising & paying school fees for their children.
Annette, L., (2000). Home Advantage: Social Class and Parental Intervention in Elementary Education. Lowman and Littlefield Publisher, United States Of America.