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Strengthening the Foundation: The Impact of Teacher-Parent Relationships on Pupils' Success

The Early Career Framework states teachers should learn that... Building effective relationships with parents, carers and families can improve pupils’ motivation, behaviour and academic success. Professional Behaviours (Standard 8 – Fulfil wider professional responsibilities)


Education is a collaborative journey, and teachers play a vital role in building bridges between the school and the home. Beyond the classroom, effective relationships with parents, carers, and families contribute significantly to the holistic development of students. This blog post delves into the idea that teachers should recognize the profound impact of fostering strong connections with parents on pupils' motivation, behaviour, and academic success. Drawing on academic research, we explore the multifaceted ways in which teacher-parent relationships shape the educational landscape.


The Power of Teacher-Parent Relationships

The importance of positive teacher-parent relationships goes beyond mere communication; it extends to creating an environment where students feel supported, understood, and motivated to excel academically. Research consistently demonstrates the correlation between strong teacher-parent partnerships and positive student outcomes (Epstein, 2001; Hill & Taylor, 2004).

1. Motivation and Engagement

Students whose parents are actively engaged in their education tend to exhibit higher levels of motivation and engagement (Hill & Tyson, 2009). When teachers establish open lines of communication with parents, sharing insights into classroom activities, goals, and individual progress, it creates a collaborative atmosphere that reinforces the value of education in the home environment.

The concept of "academic socialization" suggests that parental involvement shapes a student's attitude towards learning and academic success (Jeynes, 2005). Teachers, by actively involving parents in the educational process, contribute to the development of positive attitudes and a strong work ethic in students.

2. Behavioural Improvement

Collaboration between teachers and parents is a powerful tool for addressing behavioural challenges. When teachers and parents work together to understand and respond to a student's behavioural issues, it fosters a consistent and supportive approach (Christenson & Reschly, 2010). Consistency between home and school expectations creates a stable foundation for students, reinforcing behavioural norms and expectations.

Furthermore, research by Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler (1997) highlights that students are more likely to exhibit positive behaviour when their parents are actively involved in school activities. By keeping parents informed about behavioural expectations and collaborating on strategies for reinforcement, teachers contribute to a unified support system for students.

3. Academic Success

The impact of teacher-parent relationships on academic success is profound. Epstein's (1995) framework of overlapping spheres of influence – teachers, parents, and students – emphasizes the significance of collaboration in fostering a conducive learning environment. When teachers and parents share a common understanding of educational goals and work together to support students, the result is often enhanced academic achievement (Fan & Chen, 2001).

Research by Hill and Taylor (2004) suggests that parental involvement in children's education is a predictor of academic success, with a positive correlation between parental engagement and students' grades and test scores. Teachers who actively involve parents in supporting homework, monitoring progress, and participating in school events contribute to the overall academic achievement of their students.


Practical Strategies for Building Effective Teacher-Parent Relationships

1. Regular Communication Channels

Establishing regular and open communication channels is fundamental to building effective teacher-parent relationships. This could involve regular newsletters, emails, or apps that provide updates on classroom activities, curriculum overviews, and individual student progress. Consistent communication ensures that parents are informed and engaged in their child's educational journey (Epstein, 2001).

2. Parent-Teacher Conferences

Conducting regular parent-teacher conferences offers an invaluable opportunity for face-to-face communication. These meetings provide a platform for discussing academic progress, addressing concerns, and collaboratively setting goals for the student's development (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001). Creating a positive and welcoming atmosphere during conferences encourages parents to actively participate in their child's education.

3. Parental Involvement in School Activities

Encouraging parents to participate in school events, extracurricular activities, and volunteer opportunities fosters a sense of community and shared responsibility (Henderson & Mapp, 2002). When parents feel connected to the school community, they are more likely to be invested in supporting their child's education. This involvement extends beyond traditional parent-teacher interactions, enriching the overall educational experience.

4. Homework Collaboration

Incorporating parents into the homework process is a practical way to strengthen teacher-parent relationships. Providing clear guidelines for homework expectations, offering support materials, and creating opportunities for parents to engage in educational activities at home contribute to a collaborative approach to learning (Cooper, Lindsay, & Nye, 2000).


The symbiotic relationship between teachers and parents is a cornerstone of educational success. Recognizing the impact of positive teacher-parent relationships on pupils' motivation, behaviour, and academic success is a crucial step in fostering a holistic educational environment. As teachers actively engage with parents, sharing information, addressing concerns, and collaborating on strategies for student development, they contribute to a foundation that supports not only individual students but also the entire school community.


References:

Christenson, S. L., & Reschly, A. L. (2010). Handbook of school-family partnerships. Routledge.

Christenson, S. L., & Sheridan, S. M. (2001). Schools and families: Creating essential connections for learning. Guilford Press.

Cooper, H., Lindsay, J. J., & Nye, B. (2000). Homework in the home: How student, family, and parenting-style differences relate to the homework process. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(4), 464-487.

Epstein, J. L. (1995). School/family/community partnerships: Caring for the children we share. Phi Delta Kappan, 76(9), 701-712.

Epstein, J. L. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships: Preparing educators and improving schools. Westview Press.

Fan, X., & Chen, M. (2001). Parental involvement and students' academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 13(1), 1-22.

Henderson, A. T., & Mapp, K. L. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement. National Center for Family & Community Connections with Schools.

Hill, N. E., & Taylor, L. C. (2004). Parental school involvement and children's academic achievement: Pragmatics and issues. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13(4), 161-164.

Hill, N. E., & Tyson, D. F. (2009). Parental involvement in middle school: A meta-analytic assessment of the strategies that promote achievement. Developmental Psychology, 45(3), 740-763.

Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., & Sandler, H. M. (1997). Why do parents become involved in their children's education? Review of Educational Research, 67(1), 3-42.

Jeynes, W. H. (2005). A meta-analysis of the relation of parental involvement to urban elementary school student academic achievement. Urban Education, 40(3), 237-269.

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