Guardians must be involved in students’ education

Parents and guardians usually complain about the lack of strong student support initiatives provided to children by the education system.

Parents and guardians usually complain about the lack of strong student support initiatives provided to children by the education system.

However, the significance of parental support in assisting students to achieve academic excellence should not be underestimated, write MANCOSA academics, Merilyn Du Plessis and Enerst Makumucha.

Students develop in various ways through parental support in their education. This involves developing confidence, commitment, diligence, resilience, and so on. Parental involvement motivates a culture of self-belief, knowing that parents are there to guide and facilitate the teaching and learning process.

Students spend most of their time at school in the presence of their school community/teachers. Therefore, in most cases teachers will learn more regarding the child’s barriers or challenges that they are facing. Parents might not be aware of various challenges that their children are experiencing every day. They are often called in by the principal or teacher regarding a specific situation that occurred at the school. These challenging situations can range from physical, psychological, emotional to mental stresses, depending on the severity of the situation. These challenges demonstrate that interactive relationships between parents and teachers are imperative in student educational growth.

Parents should attend parent-teacher meetings to stay on par with their child’s academic development. Know your child’s teacher and communicate often regarding strategies to improve overall performance. Take a greater interest in school activities and volunteer time if possible. This will result in your child’s awareness that you support and are committed to them and that they are special.

Many parents are bound to believe that their children’s education is solely dependent on the teacher. Although children spend 80% of their time in the classroom, the parent should be the first teacher long before contact within an educational system. This relationship should be maintained throughout the student’s educational development.

Students are able to progress effectively on different developmental levels when parents are supportive. Therefore, parental involvement can encourage children’s and adolescents’ achievement in many ways. One way that parents can contribute positively to their children’s education is to assist them with their academic work at home and collaborate with teachers to make the student journey of their child exciting and less challenging.

Parents can be innovative in supporting their children’s academic growth. Simple gestures that are most often taken for granted, like showing interest by wishing them well in the morning when they leave for school, can make a significant difference in motivating our children and setting the tone of their day.

Ask how their day went and the challenges which they encountered during the day. Be aware of when the examination starts and inquire regarding their study timetable. Creating a study timetable with your child promotes planning from a young age, so that as they grow older, they will be confident in planning their own study timetable. Furthermore, teaching children to adhere to this schedule facilitates the development of organisation skills and discipline as well as the decrease in levels of stress during examination periods. In all these efforts, parents will experience the fulfilment of contributing to their child’s future.

Research indicates that parent involvement in their children’s learning results in the latter improving tremendously. Students show greater interest in attending classes, grades are higher and social interaction is generally enhanced. Similarly, parents’ interest in the academic life of the student enhances the holistic development of the child. This includes positive behaviour and attitude toward school. It motivates positive participation and excellent academic achievement.

Reading is crucial to student development. Parental encouragement for students to engage in reading and progressing into research skills alleviates the stresses later in their academic life when these skills become essential. Reading develops cognitive skills, language, vocabulary and listening skills, starting while the baby is still developing in the womb. Students expand their knowledge, develop critical thinking skills and become innovators through active reading. Taking time to read with our children, will also enhance their interest in reading and build their confidence.

Moreover, during these unprecedented times, parental support is of paramount importance. Students have been experiencing extreme changes since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from being at home – away from what may have been perceived as their only safe haven, to online learning and absence from interacting with friends and peers. These drastic and vast changes could be detrimental to student academic development or performance. Therefore, parental engagement with educational processes and procedures are crucial.

As parents, our greatest interest should be to guide our children to become the best that they can be. Supporting them in their educational journey and experiencing their success with them is a feeling that only a parent can foster.