April 2012

Where are the parents?

Someone asked me about the impact of parental involvement
and I thought it would be a good idea to post a blog entry on this interesting
and important issue.

By and large, there is a lot of research and information to
be found on the positive impact of parental involvement in education. A study
conducted by the American Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (2004)
found that, regardless of family income or background, students with involved
parents are more likely to:

-receive higher grades/test scores and enrol in higher-level

-pass their classes

-attend school regularly;

-have better social skills, show improved behaviour and adapt
well to school; and

-matriculate and go on to tertiary education

Singh, Mbokodi and Msila (2004) in their article in the South African Journal of Education, have
shown that parents who played little or no role in their children’s homework
and study programmes contributed to the poor performance of their children.

So if parents play an important role in impacting on their
children’s progress in school, research has also shown that schools have significant
part to play in determining levels of parent involvement. Vuzi Mncube, a
lecturer at Stellenbosch University and researcher, explored South African
parents perceptions of their role in the democratic governance of school and found
that parents are not fully on board and that there is not enough parental
participation in school activities (2009)

So more effort must be made by schools, government and corporate
institutions to include parents in decision-making at schools and to encourage
parental involvement with their children.

I happened upon an article that appeared in New Therapist (31, 2004) on how parental
involvement also boosts health. People with ample parental support during childhood
are likely to have relatively good health (including physical and
psychological) throughout adulthood, whereas people with inadequate parental
support while growing up are more likely to have poorer health as adults,
including depressive symptoms, hypertension, arthritis, and urinary problems.

With such results, the importance of parental of involvement
is clear. Linked to this, educators, psychologists, school governors and even the
corporate world can play a supportive role in pushing for more parental
involvement, but at the end of the day, the onus is lies with the parents. Will
they come on board?


Journals/websites used for this entry:

New Therapist

South African Journal of Education



Filed under Psychology

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