Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 27, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 221-234.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The current study examines how two teachers in an inner-city elementary school have interacted successfully with African American parents to encourage their involvement in the academic efforts of their children.
The study was conducted at elementary school in a major city in the Northeastern United States.
Two teachers were selected as the participants: Grade 1 teacher Ms. Hall and Grade 4 teacher Mr. Jake. Both teachers were recommended by teachers and parents as conscientious and successful in their parental involvement practices. Ms. Hall has 24 years of teaching experiences, and Mr. Jake has 4 years of teaching experiences.
Data were collected through multiple methods, including interviews with the teachers and the school principal, observations of the teachers’ and school’s practices, and an analysis of existing documents.
The article identifies five effective parental involvement practices emerged in each teacher’s story: reaching out to the parents, developing positive teacher–child–parent relationships, creating a positive classroom climate, teaching to involve the parents, and establishing community–school connections.
These practices were intertwined throughout the teachers’ teaching and interactions with children and parents.
The study found that these two teachers developed positive relationships with parents by respecting the parents’ knowledge and skills in helping their children’s learning, providing teaching demonstrations to show parents how to teach their children, , and assisting parents beyond their duties by offering tutorial help after school and helping to finance educational outings.
Teachers’ use of various strategies can empower their parental involvement efforts.
In this way, teachers will gain a more positive attitude toward parental involvement, more frequent parent–teacher conferences and weekly meetings with parents, and more parents who are satisfied with the teachers’ practices.
Therefore, teachers’ strategies to involve parents at home and at school may be related to the parents’ active involvement in their children’s education and in the improvement of their academic performance.