There is so much that has been written about the topic of parents getting involved with their child’s schooling. I have chosen to focus on two points.
- Set high expectations and match this with encouragement
- Get involved in schooling together with your child and the College
- High expectations:
John Hattie (2012) is a leading educational researcher who completed a meta-analysis of key influences on student achievement. The number two ranked influence on student achievement is student expectations and self-reported grades.
The Hattie list of key influences on student achievement includes: Collective teacher efficacy (number one in importance), Mnemonics (number 21), study skills (number 95) and over 250 other key influences on student achievement. Hattie explains high expectations and encouragement from peers, teachers and parents is very important.
When speaking about setting expectations for students, Hattie explains
“Our role is to find out what students can do, and make them exceed their potential and needs. Our role is to create new horizons of success and then to help the students to attain them. We can set our aspirations low or, at best, make them about where we think we can reach now; the aim of schooling is to dependably identify talents and then create opportunities to assist in realizing these talents. Many of these talents are not necessarily within the current expectations of students.” (Hattie, 2012, p. 83)
As parents, we have a responsibility to set expectations with our children in a range of areas and to have clear conversations about these. We can influence the expectations our children set for themselves. What are the expectations for effort? The expectations for homework? Expectations for passion projects? Expectations for behaviour? The list could go on. The trust relationship between children and parents is essential in setting expectations related to schooling. These are good conversations to be having.
Equally important is matching these expectations with encouragement and a positive environment. Setting expectations is important. Encouragement helps to match the expectation with action. Positive conversations, goal setting and learning outcomes, celebratory family dinners, genuine feedback and scaffolded support are all ways we can provide encouragement to our kids.
- Getting involved:
There is no great surprise when I say that getting involved in your child’s life and schooling is an important part of parenting. It strengthens our relationships with our kids and it helps strengthen the partnership between children, parents and College.
“The evidence suggests that parental engagement strategies have the greatest impact when they are focused on linking behaviours of families, teachers and students to learning outcomes, when there is a clear understanding of the roles of parents and teachers in learning, when family behaviours are conducive to learning, and when there are consistent, positive relations between the school and parents.” (Emerson, Fear, Fox & Sanders, 2012, p. 32).
So what does that look like at Mandurah Baptist College? Culturally, the College wants an environment where parents feel warmly welcome here. We invite you to be involved and engaged. We want relevant College-based activities happening in the classroom to continue at home and vice versa.
Practically, how do parents get involved at the College? The following list is far from complete but it might give you some ideas:
- Sports carnival involvement
- Primary school reading programs
- Conversations at home about school
- Parents and friends association involvement. E.g. Cuppa and chat nights
- Accessing Secondary information on SEQTA
- Accessing school information on SkoolBag
- Sending a quick email to a teacher
- Parent and teacher interviews
- Involvement and support with homework
- Assembly and event attendance
- Volunteering with your child in a project
- Primary school class help
- Creating a learning support plan with the school if your child has a specific learning need
- Conversations at home about expectations and learning outcomes
- Support and encouragement at home for what is happening at school
- Parent guest speaking at a relevant event
- Attending a community or College run parent workshop on a relevant topic
- Contacting the school to discuss pastoral care and student support. This is particularly relevant when difficult circumstances arise over the journey.
- Reading a book or watching a documentary to improve our parenting knowledge
- Discussions with other parents in the College community
- Coaching or assisting with a sporting team inside or outside the College
We live busy lives and our decisions come back to our priorities. Your children spend a big portion of their lives at Mandurah Baptist College and being involved in their schooling is vitally important. I encourage parents to set positive, high expectations with your children, encourage them in their schooling and to be involved.
Deputy Principal – Pastoral Care