Tag Archives: Families

The Family

20 Jun

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A key note speaker at Catholic Convention and his quote from the Holy Father has got me thinking.

 “families are not a problem, they are first and foremost an opportunity”. The opportunity for the Church is to “care for, protect and support them”. “Once you begin to see the family as a problem, you get bogged down, because you are caught up in yourself.”

The importance of good schooling and parenting is well recognised, but the importance of how schools and families relate is much less understood. The impact of the relationship between schools and families reaches far and wide; affecting wellbeing, behaviour and attainment to name a few. If we are to harness the potential of this relationship, much more must be done to overcome the barriers that exist between teachers and parents today.

Studies have convincingly shown that parental engagement in a child’s learning, rather than simple involvement in school activities, is the most effective way for parents to improve their child’s attainment, behaviour and attendance. Sadly poor parental engagement is having an adverse effect; also taking its toll on pupil, parent and teacher wellbeing.

Many parents say that they have felt patronised, sidelined or ignored by their child’s school, and an equally worrying number of teachers said they had been verbally or physically abused by a pupil’s parent.

Parents and teachers must work as a team to enable parents to connect where it is most important – beyond the school gate, as active agents in the learning of their children in the home. Taking an interest in their child’s education, helping with homework, backing school disciplinary practice in the home and being a source of moral, motivational support are all ways in which parents can effectively engage in education, but such engagement is much easier said than done.

The benefits include:

  • Improved attainment
  • Increased attendance
  • Better behaviour

What are the barriers to effective parental engagement?

Parental experience

The differences between a parent’s level of engagement with their child’s education can be partly attributed to their own experience while at school.

If learning was confined to the school environment, with little engagement from home, they are likely to replicate this pattern with their own children.

In addition to this, some parents may have had a poor school experience themselves, with lower levels of educational attainment. This may mean they lack the skills and confidence needed to positively engage with their child’s schooling.

A chaotic or disordered home environment

When children display behavioural problems in school, disrupting the class and making it difficult for the teacher to teach, there is often an underlying problem in the child’s family life.

If there is nowhere at home for them to study, and no one to help them with that, it will be difficult for children to show that discipline at school.

Parenting support programmes have been shown to be very helpful in engaging the family and boosting achievement, behaviour and attendance.

Family structures

Families in Britain are becoming more diverse, with marriage rates falling and blended families and kinship carers becoming more visible. Schools are challenged to take this into account, ensuring that they are not inadvertently preventing family engagement in education.

Some parents may face barriers to engaging in their child’s education, including disabled parents, fathers, grandparents or other carers, non- resident parents and parents for whom English is a second language.

Family breakdown can have an enormous impact on a child’s well-being. Their attendance, behaviour, and ability to concentrate in class may all be affected by disruption at home. In particularly acrimonious family break-ups, where custody is an issue, schools may be faced with difficulties in engaging both parents. Keeping non-resident parents engaged and active in their child’s life can improve the outcomes for that child.

What are your barriers and how can you solve them?

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Iwi Partnerships

5 Oct

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This term we celebrate our Maori and Pasifika students with their own special Year 13 graduation. It is something I am most proud of at our school. For all this success though I do wonder how many iwi has been asked whether they want to be partners in education? Or if we doing it right? I just presumed they want to, or should do, and therefore created a “partnership” thrust through school, by which teachers must adhere?   Ko te kai a te rangatira he kōrero?

The New Zealand Curriculum openly encourages schools to engage with families, whānau and communities. Parents are engaged at our place and we are consistently asking “Is there a better way?” We are encouraged to engage between te kura, te whānau, te hapū, te iwi me te hapori of the student. Where’s the bit that emphasises what iwi want? Are they happy by saying nothing? What do iwi stand to gain by working alongside schools? Is there a partnership? Koha mai, koha atu?

I must note an annual goal for next year again. Why do schools find it difficult to engage with iwi? Some institutes don’t know where to start looking. I know that I feel this way often. I have increased my understanding, interviewed and surveyed but still I feel we could enhance our engagement.

There’s presently a big focus on lifting achievement for priority learners in all sectors. And a strong suggestion that schools should “engage” with iwi and communities of Māori learners. After my NAPP study in 2013 I still am asking but how do we do this? What is the big secret? The answer I believe is that there is none. Like with any of our learners. All we can do is maintain relationships.

Something to reflect on with staff this week:

 

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