Today, perusing innovative engagement with different groups of parents is getting more and more important. Such tendency may be explained by a number of factors including coping with complicated economic conditions that destructs parents from the real needs of their children including education. In the following paper, I aim to discuss a few strategies which can help engage parents into educational matters. In addition, the importance of cultural competency will be discussed from my own prospective and judging on the information provided in the offered readings.
From my personal experience and the studied publications, I learnt that there exist three different groups of parents. Working with every group requires different innovative engagement strategies. In the first group, the parents acknowledge the importance of their participation in the educational process. On this reason, there is no need to implement parent engaging strategies in this case.
In the second group, “the inconsistent parents”, parents acknowledge how important it is to support their children in studies, but they do not know how to do it (Hjalmarson, 2011). Under the influence of life hardships, such parents may loose a balance between caring for educational and physical needs of their children. Working with such parents, a teacher may choose to offer them practical guidance on how to help their child. The group which requires more efforts is group 3 or “straggling parents” (Hjalmarson, 2011). Here, parents are destructed by some other problems in their lives rather that educational problems of their children. They may be worried about their bills, unemployment, lack of financial stability, etc. On this reason, children in group 3 have poor attendance and scarce academic success. Parents rarely check their school papers, or home task completion. Even phone numbers are often provided incorrectly by such parents. Of course, working with such families is a great challenge, but this does not mean that aggressive measures should be undertaken. Such families are not to be judged. A better way to work with them is innovative engagement by means of the use of different fostering methods.
To work with parents from group 2 and 3, the following strategies can be implemented:
- Increasing parent involvement through Parent Education classes
- Building Relationships with parents by means of home visits
- Communicating with parents by means of modern-day technologies
- Using out reach programs to help struggling parents
- Organizing Family Fun Nights, Carnivals and Movie nights
A teacher needs a number of important technological, personal and leadership skills in reaching out those parents whose students are the most in need. For example, a teacher should know modern technologies of communicating with busy parents. A teacher should be skilled in negotiating, stimulating, and inspiring the others.
Finally, working with parents from different backgrounds, a teacher may face cultural barrier. On this reason, cultural competency is a very important issue. Teachers should be prepared to effectively work with parents having different ways of thinking, traditions and mentality (Moore-Thomas & Day-Vines, 2010). It may well happen that certain actions by a teacher may be understood as disrespect to parents’ cultural peculiarities. Therefore, teachers should make research concerning basic cultural conceptions of dealing with certain groups of people; respectful discussions may also help.
In conclusion, innovative engagement appears to be an effective option for engaging parents from different communities into school matters. A teacher may develop and implement a number of creative measures to for parents’ involvement. However, creativity is not enough in his case because a teacher also needs excellent technological, personal, and leadership skills.
Hjalmarson, F. (2011). Differentiated Parent Support: Engaging Parents in Unique Ways to Increase Their Involvement in School. San Diego, CA: TurnAround Schools Publishing.
Moore-Thomas, C., & Day-Vines, N. L. (2010). Culturally Competent Collaboration: School Counselor Collaboration with African American Families and Communities. Professional School Counseling, 14(1), 53-63.