Educators today, recognize positive influence of parental involvement fosters higher student academic achievement levels (Danielson, 2006; Jacobs & Kritsonis, 2007). One crucial element of parental involvement is effective communication between parents and teachers. Research show parents prefer to establish informal relationships with frequent open and non-judgmental exchanges with their children's teachers (Eberly, Joshi, & Konzal, 2005). Accordingly, this article is to explore key research-based recommendations for school administrators and teacher leaders to identify and overcome communication barriers with parents.
Parental Involvement Fosters Student Success
Parental involvement as defined by Greene and Tichenor (2003) is participation “in the educational process by enhancing their parenting skills, developing positive communication skills between home and school, volunteering, providing learning opportunities at home, contribute to decisions that affect schooling, and collaborating with the community in support of the school” (p. 242).
Research findings by Henderson (1981; 1987) and Henderson and Berla (1994) identify the following benefits from parental involvement: 1) higher student achievement; 2) increase in student graduation rates; 4) improvement in student behavior and motivation; 5) better school image among parents and students; and 6) increase in parent satisfaction with teachers (as cited in Greene & Tichenor, 2003).
Although, participation can vary from parent to parent, Greene and Tichenor (2003), and researchers alike found it to be always beneficial to the student and teacher. In fact, Davern’s 2004 study argues “positive connections with families are fundamental to providing
high-quality education to children” (as cited in Jacobs & Kritsonis, 2007, p. 4). Thereby establishing lines of communication, school leaders can gain positive, influential levels of support from parents. Therefore, the goal of every school leader should be improved parental communication and involvement at their campuses.
Effects of Culture on Parental Involvement
Often parents from diverse backgrounds are faced with the challenge of adequately communicating or establishing relationships with teachers. In fact, under most circumstances developing a trustful relationship is difficult; however, it is even more problematic when parents and teachers are from different cultures, spoken languages, and socio-economic statuses.
Given that the population of the United States is becoming more and more diverse. School administrators and teacher leaders must develop new ways to communicate with increasingly diverse parents and stakeholders. The increasing diversity in student population has not only intensified the need for establishing culturally responsive pedagogy and effective communication between teachers and parents (Eberly, et al, 2005; Richard, Brown, & Forde, 2006). Likewise, as the nation’s demographics drastically...