Parental responses to children's educational needs

Parental responses to
children’s educational
Angela Bell
[email protected]
Worldwide research shows
Higher achievement is associated with parents
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
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
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
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
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
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
O Separate structured discussions
with lower secondary age students
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
Co-educators with schools
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
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
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
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?