Parental responses to children’s educational needs Angela Bell [email protected] Worldwide research shows Higher achievement is associated with parents who O Read aloud to their children O Discuss current affairs with them O Keep in contact with teachers O Talk to children about school matters O Make sure their children attend school regularly Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Based on data from 65 countries 2012 Parental involvement encouraged 2000-2010 O “Parenting has its influence indirectly through shaping the child’s self-concept as a learner and through setting high aspirations” O “Good enthusiastic parenting can be found amongst mothers of all social classes and ethnic backgrounds and where it is not found it can probably be taught” Desforges, 2003 Leave it to the professionals 2010 - 2015 O “If neither the parent nor the child knows how to improve a skill like reading comprehension, then mere aspiration or motivation is not going to help” Gorard, 2012 Concluded that parental involvement was most likely factor to have influenced achievement, but as none of the research proved what worked and how, thought that it was more cost effective to spend money on what went on in the classroom rather than the home. Aspirations and expectations Aspirations = no effect on achievement X Expectations + Action = effect on achievement ✔ Gorard, 2012 Action by parents O Parents invest time and money O (needs extra activities, books, tutors) O Children gain confidence because of their parents’ belief in them O (needs opportunities for praise for achievements) O Parents help their children deal with problems and setbacks O (needs knowledge of e.g. school system) Research in UK found … Ethnic minority parents as a whole O Felt very involved in their children’s education and wanted to be even more involved O Helped directly in school and with fundraising O Were less likely to attend parents’ evenings O Felt that education was the responsibility of parents, rather than the school. O Helped their children with homework Asian parents said they found that language differences made it difficult to do as much as they would like. Research in USA found … Parents of successful African American students O Discussed school O Volunteered at school O Attended parents evenings O Had clear family rules O Had high expectations Research in USA found … Parents of successful Asian American students O Had clear family rules O Had high expectations O Encouraged effort But only became involved in school in response to lower achievement or problems Some questions for research O Do parents from different migrant groups support their children in different ways? O Do they relate to mainstream schools in different ways? O How far are they influenced by their own upbringing? Or by the expectations of English mainstream schools? Case studies O Sudanese O Iranian O Chinese heritage O Structured discussions with parents O Separate structured discussions with lower secondary age students Sudanese O Focus on academic success for their children O Extra classes in English, Maths, Science and private tutors O Active engagement with mainstream schools, volunteering in and out of the classroom O Several had been school governors O “The school’s not doing enough” … “They need more” Co-educators with schools Iranian O Focus on “being the best” O Encouragement and challenge O Informal teaching at home – making everything a learning opportunity O Education seen as a route out of disadvantage O “(I try) to encourage and all the time to be the best, it doesn't matter what, but be the best whatever you want to be” Demanding only the best Chinese heritage O Focus on “doing your best” O Provide supportive conditions for learning O Lots of outside school learning activities, keen on libraries and museums O Detached from schools O “If …you feel you could have done better, can you please write it down in your diary or a journal, or stick on a big post-it pad right in front of your face and just check it as experience” Independence and all round education When they were children, these parents … O Were not often read aloud to O Were expected to get on with their work independently O Had parents or other community members who encouraged them strongly O Were brought up in highly competitive exam orientated education systems As parents they all … O Read aloud to their children O Use libraries O Support, but don’t help with homework O Keep in touch with schools O Send their children to after school activities O Are dissatisfied with the information they get from mainstream schools Worldwide research shows Higher achievement is associated with parents who O Read aloud to their children O Discuss current affairs with them O Keep in contact with teachers O Talk to children about school matters Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Based on data from 65 countries 2012 Research suggests that helping with homework does not improve achievement OECD 2012 + 2014 research paper Dissatisfaction with information from schools O Can parents easily discuss school matters with their children? Do they know enough? O Do they have the same expectations as the teachers? O When they ask for extra work, do the teachers understand why? What the parents said … O “I wish to know about the curriculum to help my children to know about the studies the levels” O ”I like to have extra homework or extra books that she can use so unless I don't go and asks them um what can I do to improve him? they don't give me that information” O “And the effort is good and the level is low and you never get the truth” What the parents said O “When you see the performance you see good, good, why is she not excellent then? what should she be doing to be excellent? I keep asking the teacher if there is anything specific that she needs” O “And always they are looking for the average level, that is it they are not encouraging the children” O “They say she is good compared to what? to average? compared to other children? compared to the school level? compared to one school to another school?” A parent on a Family Learning course said … O “I decided to do the course with my daughter X because I had no clue how to guide and support her in her learning… This course has allowed me to practise patience and acceptance in going with the flow of my child. As the weeks go on, I can see that X and I are both learning how to work and play with each other and for this I am truly grateful” How might supplementary schools help? O Support children by enabling them to show their achievements in out of school contexts O Support parents in helping their children by running Family Learning courses alongside supplementary classes for children O Give information about other education systems to mainstream schools O Give information about the UK education system to parents ………??? More suggestions?