Empowering Parents Through Classroom Participation
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Educators are ever searching for strategies to increase student learning, and research has shown that meaningful parent participation in schools is an effective way to support academic and social-emotional growth in children. Many parents, however, do not participate in their children’s education for a variety of reasons, and the current research sought to determine whether inviting parents into a grade two classroom to support literacy centres empowered parents to be more active in all aspects of their child’s education. The author used a qualitative, case study design involving classroom observations and interviews with one teacher and four parent participants. From the interviews emerged six themes surrounding the benefits and challenges of classroom participation, including Making a Difference, Increased Understanding, Level of Comfort, Communication, Time Constraints, and Training Required. Results show that although the parents noted there were challenges to be overcome, each participant interview revealed that the process of participating in their child’s classroom empowered the parents to better understand the language and procedures of the school, and thereby more effectively support their children’s learning at home. These findings suggest that it is well worth the effort for schools to be purposeful in overcoming parents’ barriers to participation and in developing relationships of trust for the benefit of all learners.