image by Enrique Burgos Garcia
[tweetmeme]I am in the middle of conducting comparative research in the UAE about teacher use of and attitudes toward technology in the classroom – looking at teachers across a variety of curriculum systems (British, UAE, Indian, etc.).
Recently, while conducting focus groups with both teachers and principals, I learned that one of the things schools across all systems struggle with is parent engagement. How do you get parents to understand the importance of participating in their children’s education, especially in cases where parents don’t have many formal schooling experiences to draw from? Second, when many parents are offline, but on SMS, how can SMS be used in creative ways help parents learn about and engage with the schools’ curriculum at home in the case where parents simply won’t come to school?
While there are no magic answers to the questions above (although feel free to share recommendations and anecdotes in the comments section of this blog), the Open University has put together a very useful free online course for teachers called, “Parents as Partners” aimed at helping teachers 1) understand why parents do and don’t participate in school initiatives/activities, 2) develop a framework for working with all types of parents, and 3) prepare for the challenges and successes that arise when working in partnership with parents.
If you don’t have time to do the whole course, I recommend thinking about the activity Why work with parents? as a way to help you articulate to parents the variety of reason why they should be involved.
For more research on the topic of parental engagement, check out A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement (Southwest Education Development Laboratory 2002). And, for those educators working with parents that are engaged and online, feel free to share Digital Tools for Homework Help with classroom moms and dads. Make sure to check out the curriculum tab to see a wealth of homework help resources including:
- Age Appropriate Educational Sites for Kids
- Internet Search Tips for Finding Homework Help Resources in a Snap
- Open Education Resources of Note – Free Educational Content that Can be Shared, Mixed and Modified.