Parental Involvement in Improving Learning Outcomes: Twin Cases from the Philippines
This paper examines two cases of successful attempts to improve learning outcomes in rural primary schools in the Philippines, via parental involvement in their children’s academic activities. Parental involvement has been acknowledged as an important factor in improving learning outcomes (Brown, 1990; Comer and Haynes, 1991; Epstein, 1995; Cheng, 1998; Simon, 2001; Leithwood and Riehl, 2003). In this paper, the schools implemented a parental involvement model called ‘Type 4 – learning at home’ (Epstein, 1995; Sanders, 2001); ‘participation in educating individual students’ (Cheng, 1998); helping the learner practice skills (Baker et al., 1999; Ng, 1999); or the ‘parenting practices’ conceptual dimension (Harvard Family Research Project, 2003). Both principals initiated the project to address the common problem of underachievement among the learners in their respective schools.
Evidence from the case studies showed that both schools obtained higher reading scores for the pupils – one school scored highest among the 49 primary schools in the Division while the other school showed significant gains in the pupils’ reading proficiency as measured by a teacher-design evaluation tool.
The paper presents findings relative to the following specific research questions: (a) What factors facilitate parental involvement in the academic life of their children?; (b) What challenges are faced in fostering teacher-parent partnerships?; and (c) What school leadership and management strategies encourage parents to be involved in the academic life of their children?
Two case studies are presented in this paper. Results of national achievement test and teacher-made tests were used to determine impact of the intervention on the learning outcomes. Interviews were made with the teachers and the parents and project implementation noted from the principals were the sources of data.
Prior to the implementation of the initiatives, parents were trained on the giving of academic assistance to their children. Teachers likewise prepared indigenous instructional materials to implement the interventions for school improvement.
Interviews with parents and teachers revealed that their dedication and commitment to ensure that the children would learn were identified as the factors essential in the success of the initiatives. It was likewise revealed that the establishment by the principals of open channels of communication including extensive efforts to make the goals of the initiatives very clear to the parents and teachers enabled the school communities to overcome challenges relative to time constraints and the parents’ sense of inadequate expertise in assisting their children to learn better. Furthermore, results indicate that school communities are willing to invest extra time and effort towards meaningful goals when the school head shows and leads the way. The paper considers relevant literature in explaining the foregoing key findings.
The paper reinforces existing literature on the salutary effects of making parents more involved in the academic life of the learners. One limitation to be considered in interpreting the results reported in this paper is the fact that only two rural schools in the Philippines were included.
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