Elementary preservice teachers’ opinions about parental involvement in elementary children's education

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<ul><li><p>Teaching and Teacher Education 24</p><p>ertar</p><p>lu</p><p>ility</p><p>m 6 N</p><p>ildre</p><p>teacher education programs. This study explores and examines the opinions of elementary preservice teachers about</p><p>Kayzar (2002) stated that through the last three</p><p>educational reform legislation. Most recently, par-</p><p>NCLB includes requirements about parental invol-</p><p>programmes. NCLB applies differently to Title 1schools than to schools that do not receive Title 1</p><p>ARTICLE IN PRESSgrants. However, one way or another, this lawcovers all public schools in all states.</p><p>0742-051X/$ - see front matter r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.</p><p>doi:10.1016/j.tate.2006.11.009</p><p>Tel.: +1 727 729 9840.E-mail address: aslihanuludag@gmail.com.decades there has been an emerging consensus thatthe quality of relations between schools and familiesplays an integral role in student success. Parentalinvolvement in childrens education has beenemphasized as a particularly important aspect ofthe schoolfamily relationship, with signicantimplications for childrens education. Mattingly etal. (2002) pointed out that at the national level, thegoal of improving parent participation has enjoyedbipartisan support and has been part of all major</p><p>vement in addition to requirements such as highlyqualied teachers, scientically based reading in-struction, tutoring and supplemental educationalservices, research-based teaching methods, andschool and school district report cards. Heath(2006) states that NCLB covers all states, schooldistricts, and schools that accept Title 1 federalgrants. Title 1 grants provide funding for remedialeducation programmes for poor and disadvantagedchildren in public schools, and in some privateuniversity in the southeast of United States participated in the quantitative part, twelve preservice teachers within the same</p><p>sample who were at the end of their student teaching participated in the qualitative part of the study. Study results</p><p>suggested that teacher education programmes where parental involvement instruction and activities are integrated into the</p><p>courses help preservice teachers become better prepared and carry positive opinions toward parental involvement.</p><p>r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.</p><p>Keywords: Parental involvement; Preservice teachers; Elementary education programme</p><p>1. Introduction</p><p>Mattingly, Prislin, McKenzie, Rodriguez, and</p><p>ent involvement is one of the six targeted areas inthe No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 (p.549). How Will NCLB Affect You (2006) states thatparental involvement in elementary childrens education. While a total of 223 preservice teachers from a large researchElementary preservice teachinvolvement in elemen</p><p>Asli U</p><p>Childhood Education, Reading and Disab</p><p>Received 8 April 2006; received in revised for</p><p>Abstract</p><p>Although parentteacher interaction is a key factor for ch(2008) 807817</p><p>s opinions about parentaly childrens education</p><p>dag</p><p>Services, Florida State University, USA</p><p>ovember 2006; accepted 15 November 2006</p><p>ns education, little attention has been paid to this issue in</p><p>www.elsevier.com/locate/tate</p></li><li><p>ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Uludag / Teaching and Teacher Education 24 (2008) 807817808According to a study in United Kingdom,parental involvement in the education of childrenhas been identied nationally as a major contribu-tory factor in overall levels of attainment in school.Consequently, many new deal for communities(NDC) partnerships have included parental involve-ment schemes among their education projects. Lall,Campbell, and Gillborn (2002) stated that parentalinvolvement has become a focus for governmentpolicy and educational initiatives more generally.Scottish Schools Parental Involvement Bill (2006)</p><p>states that Commission for Racial Equality reportedthat the Scottish Schools Parental Involvement Billwill provide a new framework to promote andsupport parental representation and involvement inschools. School Boards will be replaced by parentcouncils representing a larger parent forum. Mem-bership and functions of parent councils will bedecided locally by parent forums within the frame-work of legislation and guidance. The Bill will alsoplace a duty on Education Authorities and Minis-ters to promote involvement of parents in schooleducation.Cotton and Wikelund (2001) revealed that parent</p><p>involvement in childrens learning is positivelyrelated to achievement. Also the more intensivelyparents are involved in their childrens learning, themore benecial are the achievement effects. Thisholds true for all dimensions of parental involve-ment in childrens learning and for all types andages of students. According to Gorard, Rees, andFevre (1999) families are universally acknowledgedas a key determinant of educational performance inprimary and secondary schooling and, by extension,in higher education too (p. 517). Riggins-Newby(2003) reports that family involvement leads tohigher grades, better attendance, and increasedmotivation in students regardless of their ethnicbackground, socioeconomic status, or their parentslevel of education. According to US Department ofEducation (1997), schools cannot work successfullyin isolation from students families and commu-nities. Policymakers who formulated the nationaleducational goals in 1990 recognized this inescap-able fact and made family involvement in childrenslearning a priority area for program development.Moran, Ghate, and Merwe (2004) stated that in thelast 20 years, the literature in parental involvementeld has grown from a trickle to a ood. In early2003, the Family Research Policy Unit of the HomeOfce commissioned the independent Policy Re-</p><p>search Bureau to carry out a review of theevaluation literature and evidence on effectivepractice what works in interventions to supportparenting.Students at all grade levels perform better in</p><p>school, have more positive opinions toward school,and behave better when their parents are involvedin, know about, and support the school (Becker &amp;Epstein, 1993; Coleman, 1991; Greenwood &amp; Hick-man, 1991; Henderson &amp; Mapp, 2002). Getting toKnow F and ST Canada (2006) states thatFamilies and Schools Together Canada is builton the belief that every parent loves their childrenand wants a better life for them. The goals of theprogramme are to improve family relationships andbuild stronger family bonds; promote childrenssuccess in school; prevent substance abuse bychildren and their families; reduce the stress thatparents and children experience in daily life; andincrease parent involvement in their childrensschool and in their community. Families andSchools Together Canada gives parents and theirchildren opportunity to spend quality time together,enjoy and support one another and participate morefully and comfortably in their school and in theircommunity.Family Service (2006) founded in 1982, stated</p><p>that Canada is a not-for-prot, national voluntaryorganization representing the concerns of familiesand family-serving agencies across Canada. Mem-bership includes family service agencies, corpora-tions, government agencies and interestedindividuals.Australian Government Department of Educa-</p><p>tion, Science and Training (2004) found thatparental involvement in parent/teacher interviews,attendance at information evenings and otheractivities connected with monitoring their childsprogress have a positive effect on students atti-tudes, behavior and learning. Strategies to encou-rage this participation are signicant in the schoolbeing effective. Although it has been found thatparental involvement in academic matters is higherin primary schools than in secondary schools,effective schools manage to encourage parentparticipation in other areas too. A positive partner-ship between schoolparentchild can communicatethe importance of education to the child.Even though teachers, principals, and teacher</p><p>educators agree on the importance of parentalinvolvement, teacher education programmes donot generally address this issue (Chavkin &amp; Wil-</p><p>liams, 1988). Furthermore, according to Chavkin</p></li><li><p>ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Uludag / Teaching and Teacher Education 24 (2008) 807817 809and Williams, all teachers must be provided with theknowledge, time, resources, and recognition neces-sary to involve parents in education. The failure toaddress parental involvement in both university andprofessional development contexts sends the mes-sage that it is unimportant. In addition, the gap inteacher education has left teachers in need ofknowledge and support to carry out parent involve-ment initiatives (Lazar, Broderick, Mastrilli, &amp;Slostad, 1999). A brief review of the teachereducation literature reveals that very little attentionis given to preparing preservice teachers to workwith parents. Hancock (1998) reports on an evalua-tion of a homeschool liaison initiative and theextent to which various forms of parental involve-ment entered school practice in a lasting way. Hestresses the need for more initial training and in-service training for teachers if teachers are to takeon an increased role in terms of parental involve-ment in childrens school learning.Epstein (1995) reports that most educators enter</p><p>school without an understanding of family back-ground, concepts of caring, or the framework ofpartnerships y most teachers are not prepared tounderstand, design, implement, and evaluate prac-tices of partnerships with the families of theirstudents (p. 706). Opportunities to acquire par-ental involvement skills are often limited onceteachers enter the school setting. Thus, teachersare in need of preservice training (Epstein et al.,2002).Preservice teachers who feel more condent with</p><p>parents are more likely to involve parents (Katz &amp;Bauch, 1999; McBride, 1991).Teachers havingreceived training in their preservice teacher pre-paration report feeling well prepared with the abilityto engage in an assorted number of parentingpractices (Hiatt, 2001). Preservice teachers thoughtthey had little preparation for implementing par-ental involvement strategies. Once they were in theeld working with children and their parents, theirawareness of the importance of parental involve-ment became even greater (McBride, 1991).Using overlapping inuence as a framework, the</p><p>purpose of this study was to examine the opinionsof preservice teachers toward various types ofparental involvement dimensions. It also examinespreservice teacher opinions about their preparationin parental involvement strategies and what kinds ofexperiences regarding parental involvement theythink teacher education programmes should pro-</p><p>vide. Epsteins parental involvement model is usedfor these purposes. Her model is based on a socialorganization perspective of overlapping inuence,emphasizing that children are best supported whenfamilies and schools have shared goals and workcollaboratively. This model includes the communityas an important arena of child and adolescentlearning. It views school, family, and communityrelations as dynamic, in that their overlappingspheres can be pushed together or pulled apart byimportant forces: background and practices offamilies, schools and communities; developmentalcharacteristics of students; historical and policycontexts; and time (Epstein &amp; Sanders, 2000; Simon,2000). Families, schools, and communities arejointly responsible for and inuential in childrensdevelopment.For this study, the term parental involvement is</p><p>dened using Epsteins (1988) parental involvementdimension. Epsteins dimension establishes vecategories of parental involvement and parentalinvolvement in general.</p><p>Type 1 Dimension: basic obligation of parents. Therst level includes the basic parenting and childrearing approaches that prepare children for school.</p><p>Type 2 Dimension: basic obligation of schools. Thesecond level of involvement includes the basicobligations on the part of the schools to commu-nicate with families, providing information aboutthe school programmes and childrens progress.</p><p>Type 3 Dimension: parent involvement in theschools. In the third level, parents volunteer at theschool level assisting the teachers in classrooms. Itmay also include parental support for their childrenin extra-curricular activities such as sports, andother events.</p><p>Type 4 Dimension: parent involvement in learningactivities at home. The fourth level of involvementcomprises learning at home and includes requestsand guidance from teachers for parents to assisttheir own children at home on learning activitiesthat are coordinated with the childrens class work.</p><p>Type 5 Dimension: parent involvement in decisionmaking roles. The fth level of involvement is thedecision-making level that includes families indecision-making, governance, and advocacy. Par-ents help make decisions in the school throughparent groups, building leadership teams and otherlocal school organizations.Parent Involvement in general involves parent</p><p>and teacher collaboration on childrens learning.For example, parents could learn ways to assist their</p><p>children on schoolwork at home, if shown how, and</p></li><li><p>teac</p><p>Eadd</p><p>sammen</p><p>parimp</p><p>T</p><p>study. A cross-sectional design is a time efcient</p><p>ARTICLE IN PRESSA. Uludag / Teaching and Teacher Education 24 (2008) 807817810design. When utilizing cross-sectional survey meth-odology, survey data are collected at one point intime from a predetermined population or popula-tions (Fraenkel &amp; Wallen, 2003). In this study,quantitative data were collected from differentgroups of preservice teachers at various points inthe elementary education programme consistentwith a cross-sectional design.The sampling in the study was purposive in</p><p>nature. Purposive sampling is elected when certaingroups are likely to provide rich information(Krathwohl, 1998). Therefore, groups of preserviceteachers in the elementary education programme atone Research I university were asked to participatein this study.</p><p>2.1. Research questions</p><p>The research deals with the following questions:</p><p>(1) What are the opinions of preservice teachersabout parental involvement in elementaryschools?</p><p>(2) Is there a signicant difference in preserviceteachers opinions of parental involvement atvarious points in their elementary educationprogramme?</p><p>(3) Do preservice teachers think their preparationto utilize parental involvement strategies isadequate?</p><p>(4) What courses and activities in the elementaryeducation programme address parental involve-ment?</p><p>(5) What kinds of experiences regarding parentalinvolvement do preservice teachers think wouldsect</p><p>o accomplish the goals of the study, a cross-ional survey methodology was employed in the2. Rental involvement as well as the expected results oflementing them for students, parents, and teachers.</p><p>esearch designchalple practices or activities to describe the involve-t more fully. Her work also describes thelenges inherent in fostering each dimension ofhompsteins ve dimensions of parental involvementress any kind of parental involvement both ate and at school. Epsteins framework denesfor</p><p>hers should receive recognition or compensationtime spent on parental involvement activities.be useful during teacher education progr...</p></li></ul>