Tweaking the ways schools communicate with their families can lead to effective parent engagement, which in turn can lead to improved academic and social outcomes for children, according to a researcher-led parent engagement workshop.
Leading parent engagement experts, Dr Linda Willis and Professor Beryl Exerly from Griffith University, told independent school teachers in the first of a series of four workshops that parent engagement – a high priority focus for governments and schools – was all about bringing parents and their child’s learning and wellbeing closer together.
“Once parents know what is being taught in the classroom, or what topic might be coming up, they then have the opportunity to value-add to their child’s learning,” said Dr Willis.
“We know from the research that when schools and families work in partnership in that way, that is what leads to better outcomes for children – emotionally, socially and academically.”
Workshop attendees also heard there was “no one way to do parent engagement”.
“Communication methods that directly ‘ping’ classroom learning news to parents’ phones, without the need for families to wrangle with complicated portals and logins, were also shown to be very effective,” Professor Exley said.
Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) Chief Executive Officer Chris Mountford said he was proud of the innovative parent engagement programs and practices already underway in so many Queensland independent schools.
“We all know the value of parent engagement - the next step is supporting our schools with the latest evidence-based research about the ‘how’, which is what this ISQ workshop series provides,’’ Mr Mountford said.
QIS Parents Network Executive Officer Justine Cirocco urged parents and carers to take advantage of any invitation from their child’s school to become engaged in the curriculum.
“Parents have always provided important support to schools in terms of volunteering their time and financially supporting school fundraising,” Ms Cirocco said.
“This further step of proactively engaging parents in the curriculum and viewing them as ‘partners’ in their child’s education is wonderful.”
The workshop was the first in a series of four Parent Engagement in Practice workshops that Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) and Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network (QIS Parents Network) are providing in partnership with Griffith University for independent schools in 2022. Each workshop has a different focus - across year levels of school, or across curriculum areas.
Read more about Dr Linda Willis and Professor Beryl Exley’s parent engagement research project with Independent Schools Queensland and Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network here.
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