A Revolutionary Approach to Enhancing Education

A seminal study has demonstrated that when parents and teachers collaborate properly, student learning and well-being are maximized.

In order to finish the three-year project where parents were actively involved rather than passively, Griffith University researchers Dr. Linda Willis and Professor Beryl Exley from the School of Education and Professional Studies worked in conjunction with Independent Schools Queensland and the Queensland Independent School Parents Network.

The Engaging Parents in Curriculum (EPIC) project offers a paradigm in which parents, educators, and school administrators collaborate as partners in a child’s education, acknowledging parents as the child’s first teachers.

The framework demonstrates that instructors were most successful in involving parents when their interactions were brief, sharp, frequently optional, tailored to the child, and purposeful. It has been tested in ten independent schools in Queensland.

Parent involvement, according to Dr. Willis, the project head and senior research fellow, is just about getting parents more involved in what their kids are learning.

She stated, “Effective parent engagement results in improved outcomes for students, as demonstrated by more than 60 years of research.”

When their parent and teacher, two significant adults in their lives, show an interest in and commitment to what they are learning, students feel validated and supported.

“They perform better socially and academically, and they also exhibit improved classroom behavior and a positive attitude toward learning.”

The EPIC project provided a variety of engagement opportunities for families to choose from during the academic year, so they wouldn’t feel compelled to take part if it didn’t fit into their schedules.

Professor Exley stated that as parent engagement is currently a national focus, the team is happy to be setting the standard, creating success stories, and enabling a wide range of schools to observe how other schools have handled their parent engagement initiatives.

According to Professor Exley, “parents who participate in their child’s education increase everyone’s wellbeing.” “We can create communities and really help guide and nurture those engagement opportunities if we have the right amount of guidance from knowledgeable teachers.”
Dr. Linda Evans, the principal of the participating school Fairholme College, stated that the school might improve learning opportunities for both parents and children by inviting parents to participate as partners in their child’s education rather than as consumers.

“We used to ask parents, who are their child’s experts, about what their child’s life is like at home and what matters to them,” the speaker said. “In the past, at events or information evenings, we would have stood in front of parents and said, ‘This is our approach for these very good reasons and here’s the data that supports it.

“We would have missed an opportunity to extend learning conversations beyond the school gates and into the home if we had not included a parent voice.”

Amanda Watt, Executive Officer of QIS Parents Network, concurred that it was encouraging to see parents treated as “partners” in their children’s education.

“Parents want to contribute and have a lot to offer,” Ms. Watt stated.

“This study has demonstrated that empathy is necessary for both educator-parent engagement and vice versa.”Since 2021, we have provided financial assistance to the EPIC research project because we have personally witnessed the positive impact that parent engagement has on the wellbeing of teachers, parents, and students.

“Respect, trust, and open communication between the home and the school also means that there’s a strong relationship from which to springboard when rocky times happen.”

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