FINAL REFLECTION: BEGINNING TEACHING, CONTINUING LEARNING.
As stated in the Malaysian National Philosophy of Education;
“Education in Malaysia is an on-going effort towards developing the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner, so as to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonious based on a firm belief in and devotion to God. Such an effort is designed to produce Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable and competent, who possess high moral standards and who are responsible and capable of achieving a high level of personal well being as well as being able to contribute to the harmony and betterment of the family, society and the nation at large.” (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2003).
Hence, it is the responsibility of teachers as educators to create the individuals who are knowledgeable and competent. However, I believe that to establish a person who are balanced, possess high moral standards and able to contribute for the family, society and the nation at large is not only the responsibilities of a teacher alone but also with the commitment of the parents, family and society. As a consequence, schools play a significant role in getting parents and family members involved in students' education. As I stated before in the previous task, some family or parents might actually wanted to help in their child’s learning but they just did not know how to do so. For this reason, as the agents of socialization and changes, teachers need to guide the parents on how to be involved with the school and education.
However, it has been found that schools do not always know what the term parental involvement really means (Vandergrift & Greene, 1992). Some parents and schools may not understand that there are actually six types of involvement which had been listed out in the Eipstein’s conceptual framework for family – school – community involvement. Furthermore, Epstein (2001) encouraged schools to create greater "overlap" between the school, home, and community through the implementation of activities across six types of involvement: parenting, communication, volunteering, learning at home, decision-making, and collaboration with the community. As a teacher I can help the parents but not to interfere their family matters while the parents also need to help the teachers to play their responsibilities. Much of the research that examines the relationships between parent involvement and children’s education assesses parent involvement by utilizing one particular measure, such as counting the number of parents that volunteer, coming to meetings, or coming to parent-teacher conferences (Baker & Soden, 1997).
As for parents, they usually must undergo their parenting duty as the first type of involvement by providing housing, health, nutrition, safety and parenting skills in parent-child. The second type of involvement is interaction whether with the child or the school to built a home condition which support study and information to help school knows their child. Thirdly is communicating, whether school-home or home-school communication. Fourth, volunteering in school to help in classroom or any events. As teachers we can also grab this opportunity by sharing the knowledge from the parent with the students. Schools and teachers should let the parents know that their effort to contribute something to the school is always appreciated. Hence this will encourage the parents to involve more. People like to know that someone takes the time to notice and appreciate what they were doing (Wherry, 1992). The next type of involvement is decision making. Teachers should let the parents know that they also have the right to help the school in making decision. For example, all parents are the membership of the Parents Teachers Association. Hence, to encourage parents’ sense of belonging to their child’s school, teachers always invited the parents to attend the meeting or any events in school.
And the last type of involvement is collaborating with the community through contributions to school. The parents are also more supportive of the school with financial support as well as support of bond issues and other leeway levies (Stouffe, 1992). As a teacher, I need to make the parents realize that, by contributing something to the school such in financial or any services, they are not only giving good deeds to their own child but also for the child’s of all the community around them. If all the parents are aware with this positive circulation, hence this wills indirectly strengthening the bond among the society and the nation at large. This kind of circumstance brings the meaning of teachers as agents of socialization for me. “The time circulation had brings changes and challenges toward teaching profession including the functions modification and teachers’ roles. Teacher’s role as the main resource of knowledge for the students had changed into teacher as a facilitator in teaching and learning, agent of changes and the source of inspiration for the students “(Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2006). According to this, I may be able to help the parents who do not know how to involve by leading a class for parents at school. However, this suggestion needs to be approved by other teachers and especially the principal. The parents may even want to learn more and possibly attend the parent classes provided by the school. This type of situation can produce a positive spiral of success for the parent, school, and student (Gelfer, 1991).
In order to promote parents involvement in school, teachers need to organize various type of programs so that the parents are interested to know the school more and give more attention to their child. One thing that is necessary is to make sure the programs used are at the correct grade level and that there is a lot of variety (Rickelman & Henk, 1991). Other than common parents – teacher conferences and record book day, schools can also organize any relaxing and interesting program such as sport afternoon activity with parents and students, school’s open day and many more. However to implement these events teachers need to cooperate with the administration and get some supports from the principal. "Ultimate responsibility for creating harmony between the school and the home rests with the principal" (Campbell, 1992). Hence, to implement my vision as a future teacher, I realize that the advocacy from the school’s administration and other colleagues are very important. "This combination of level of commitment and active participation is what makes an involved parent" (Vandergrift & Greene, 1992).
Obviously, there are great amount of advantages and positive implications from parent’s involvement in school, not only for the children but also for the society and the parents itself. Actually, the more parents are involved in their children’s learning, the better they get to know their child. The parents are able to "increase their understanding of child development in areas of physical, social, emotional and cognitive development" (Gelfer, 1991). Furthermore, according to Campbell (1992) who has conducted a research on students who were classified as high achievers had discovered that these students shared ten common characteristics which are:
1. A feeling of control over their lives.
2. Frequent communication of high expectations to children.
3. A family dream of success for the future.
4. Hard work as a key to success.
5. An active, not a sedentary, lifestyle.
6. Twenty-five to 35 home-centred learning hours per week.
7. The family viewed as a mutual support system and problem-solving unit.
8. Clearly understood household rules, consistently enforced.
9. Frequent contact with teachers.
10. Emphasis on spiritual growth. (Campbell, 1992)
This shows that parent’s involvement and parental support really helped the students to improve their achievement. Moreover, students will also feel motivated and obtained the inspirations from their parents who are also working hard for their child’s success. According to Loucks (1992), "Research shows that parent involvement in the school results in improved student achievement". For the most part, as a future teacher, I need to play my roles first before I put my vision in action.
“...as the most significant and costly resource in schools, teachers are central to school improvement efforts. Improving the efficiency and equity of schooling depends, in large measure, on ensuring that competent people want to work as teachers, that their teaching is of high quality, and that all students have access to high quality teaching.”
(Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2005 cited in Ministry of Education Malaysia (2006))
Hence, to be an effective teacher who able to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonic, I must first act based on the Philosophy of Teacher’s Education in the Malaysian Teacher Standards which is to be “a teacher who possesses noble characters, progressive and scientific views, ready to execute the aspiration of the country and also to praise the legacy of the nation cultures, to guarantee individuals development and to foster a unite, democratic, progressive and disciplined society.” (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2006)
Baker, A.J.L., & Soden, L.M. (1997). Parent involvement in children’s education: A critical assessment of the knowledge base. (Report No. PS-025357). Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED407127)
Campbell, L. (1992, April). Parents and schools working for student success. NASSP Bulletin, 76(543), 1-4.
Epstein, Joyce L. (2001). School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Preparing Educators and Improving Schools. Boulder, CO: Westview.
Gelfer, J. (1991). Teacher-parent partnerships: Enhancing communications. Childhood Education, 67(3), 164-167.
Loucks, H. (1992). Increasing parent/family involvement: Ten ideas that work. NASSP Bulletin, 76(543), 19-23.
Ministry of Education Malaysia (2003). Integrated Curriculum fro Primary Schools. Curriculum Development Centre: Kuala Lumpur.
Ministry of Education Malaysia (2006) The 9th Malaysia Plan. Principal Plan of Education Development. National Library Malaysia: Putrajaya.
Rickelman, R., & Henk, W. (1991, March). Parents and computers: Partners in helping children learning to read. The Reading Teacher, 44(7), 508-509.
Stouffer, B. (1992). We can increase parent involvement in secondary schools. NASSP Bulletin, 76(543), 5-9.
Vandergrift, J., & Greene, A. (1992). Rethinking parent involvement. Educational Leadership, 50(1), 57-59.
Wherry, J. (1992). Getting parents involved. Education Digest, 57(8), 49-50.