Staying in School - TeachersAndFamilies

Staying in School
A guide to keeping students
actively engaged in school


Guidelines for Promoting Student Engagement

Parents' support for their child's school performance and involvement can take many different forms. The nature of this support will vary from family to family. Parental support for learning includes, but is not limited to, the following:

1) Modeling the importance of learning, self-discipline, and hard work. Children learn a lot from their parents' behaviors and attitudes. Parents can enhance their children's engagement and success in school by demonstrating a commitment to learning and hard work.

a. Set long-term goals for yourself, and measure your progress toward those goals.
b. Model persistence and demonstrate that hard work leads to success.
c. Demonstrate respect for authority. Support teacher assignments, school standards, and standards of behavior.
d. Show your interest and enthusiasm for learning.
e. When solving a problem, "think aloud" so your child learns how to solve problems by watching you.

2) Setting and enforcing high but realistic expectations. Students are more likely to achieve and succeed when parents and teachers have high expectations.

a. Clearly state and discuss your expectations for schoolwork and behavior.
b. Work with your child's teachers to provide consistent messages about expectations for schoolwork, attendance, and discipline.
c. Be sure your expectations and goals are appropriate for your child's age and maturity.
d. Emphasize both effort and results. Talking about working hard, not about being smart, is more likely to encourage student persistence when work is challenging.
e. Discuss the importance of a good education and the relevance of today's school performance to achieving tomorrow's goals.

3) Providing structure and monitoring. A consistent pattern of age appropriate monitoring and supervision can increase your child's chances for success in school.

a. Establish daily routines for studying and homework, bedtime, and meals.
b. Monitor out-of-school activities, and set limits on TV watching. Arrange for after-school care that will encourage good study habits.
c. Hold children accountable for chores, behavior, and schoolwork completion. Be sure there are appropriate, logical consequences for lack of performance in any of these areas.
d. Make sure your children attend school each day.
e. Be aware of how your children are doing in school.

4) Knowing what is going on at school. Parents and caregivers who stay abreast of what is going on at school can have a positive impact on students' attitudes and behaviors toward school.

a. Show interest in your children's progress at school.
b. Recognize children's efforts and progress. Give a high five for a 10 point improvement on a test.
c. Help children set long-term goals for future educational pursuits. Teach children that achieving their long-term goals may require some sacrifices.
d. Make sure that your children are able to get assistance with schoolwork when needed.

5) Making your home a learning environment. A supportive and stable home environment has a positive impact on school performance and the degree to which students are engaged in school and learning.

a. Make education the family's top priority by giving preference to schoolwork, reading, and other educative activities over television and other recreation.
b. Create a quiet place at home to study and do homework with appropriate books, reference materials, and other learning materials.
c. Spend time discussing current events and school-related topics with children.
d. Encourage and model leisure reading.

6) Being persistent and consistent. In order for education to remain a priority for children and youth parents should be both persistent and consistent when providing support for children's learning.

a. Consistently reinforce the message that, "education is important for your future."
b. Remain focused on children's educational progress regardless of whether they are doing well in school or in jeopardy of disengaging from school completely.
c. Do not allow children to be distracted from the importance of school and learning.
d. Work with teachers, school psychologists, and other school staff to maintain a focus on student progress.


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This article is provided by the National Association of School Psychologists,
and authored by Amanda Blount Morse, Sandra L. Christenson, and Camilla A. Lehr of the University of Minnesota.
Copyright © 2003-2011 by The Source for Learning, Inc. • All rights reserved.
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