The Best of Both Worlds: Engagement Leads to Better Outcomes

It’s us or them. Choose a side.

Well, not so fast. We all want to know where we fit in, and to belong. Maybe because we are social beings, we naturally group ourselves into an “us” and a “them” dynamic in various situations. Take education, for example. There are parents, and there are teachers. Two groups of people. You don’t have to look far to find a news story that has parents against school faculty or school boards these days. But wait, don’t both groups share a common goal?

Aren’t we all on the same side: helping our children to learn and grow? Having a common goal can unite seemingly different groups.

What if working together, there was a way to create more understanding and collaboration, and students benefited? Everyone could work towards this goal to help children thrive in learning. After all, we know that the more engaged a person is with an activity, the easier it is for them to master it. This is especially true for education.

Children who are engaged in learning are more likely to perform well and get good grades. Those who are not focused on or interested in learning may end up falling behind.

Family engagement plays a pivotal role in a child’s engagement, and success, at school. The more engaged the family, the more engaged the child.

Today we’ll look at what family engagement is, how it leads to greater engagement in school, and what educational institutions can do to increase family engagement.

What Is “Family Engagement?”

We explain family engagement pertaining to a child’s education as both the child’s family and teachers being committed and contributing to the child’s educational success.

Pursuing family engagement takes effort on both sides.

  • Teachers must communicate and involve parents in school events, activities, and happenings. This takes teachers reaching out to the parents to build bonds and trust.
  • The family must be open to the teacher’s input and take time, both inside the classroom and at home, to support the teacher’s efforts.

How Does Family Engagement at Home Lead to Family Engagement at School?

There’s a direct tie between family engagement and how successful a child is at school. Why is that? Two ideas are:

  • A household culture of open conversations, trustworthiness, setting expectations, active listening, and positivity leads to strong, healthy, long-term family relationships. These go beyond the home into other areas of the family members’ lives, including the classroom.
  • This type of engagement at home has a carry-over effect on a child’s education at school. This is especially true when the family recognizes the effect the family has on the child’s education and is closely aligned with the teacher.

Unfortunately, many parents do not know how to create this culture of engagement. They may not realize the impact they have on their child’s education. They may believe the teacher and at-school learning environment is the determining factor in their child’s success. In this case, they need a roadmap to show them how to assist via family engagement.

How Can Educational Institutions Help with Family Engagement?

There are some actions teachers and educational leaders can take to build up a child’s foundation of family engagement. Educational institutions interested in fostering family engagement need to come up with new ideas to assist families in thinking outside the box. They should attempt to link engagement at home with engagement at school, and how it enhances the chances of success in life. A few of the most popular ways to do this are:

  • Offer parents opportunities to join in-school activities. This gives them a better sense of what goes on in the classroom and opens conversations about it with their children at home.
  • Communicate with parents as much as possible. Teachers who offer updates and encourage questions with parents are more likely to be able to connect better with them. Through the year, parents who are more comfortable communicating with their child’s teacher are more aware of what they need outside the classroom.
  • Provide family engagement training. Learning institutions can proactively jumpstart parents’ engagement at home by offering them training. Through presentations and exercises, the trainers can show parents a strategy they can use at home to help their children reach their full potential in school.

Teachers and school faculty should keep in mind that their attempts to increase family engagement at home may take more attempts than one. Still, the effort is worth it. By being available, empathetic, and approachable, educational faculty can assist parents in learning how to increase their involvement with their children’s education. The result? The kids learn faster, get better grades, increase their self-confidence, and have a greater chance of achieving success.

About Avery and Brian Baker

Avery and Brian Baker are a father and son team of motivational speakers, workshop facilitators, and authors. They specialize in delivering solutions to build healthier relationships among families and organizations.

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