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PARENTS CRUCIAL TO REDUCING BULLYING

The research overwhelmingly demonstrates that parent involvement in children's learning is positively related to achievement. Further, the research shows that the more intensively parents are involved in their children's education, the more beneficial are the achievement effects. Regrettably, one of the most underrepresented aspects of investigating student bullying is the role that caregivers play in altering the prevalence of student bullying on and off school campus.


The research expresses strong indications that the most effective forms of parent involvement are those which engage parents in working directly with their children on learning activities in the home. Programs which involve parents in reading with their children, supporting their work on homework assignments, or tutoring them using materials and instructions provided by teachers, show particularly impressive results.


The research also shows that the earlier in a child's educational process parent involvement begins, the more powerful the effects will be. Educators frequently point out the critical role of the home and family environment in determining children's school success, and it appears that the earlier this influence is "harnessed," the greater the likelihood of higher student achievement. Early childhood education programs with active parent involvement components have amply demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach.


Numerous scholarly studies compared parent involvement programs that include training components with those that do not provide training enhances the effectiveness of parent involvement. Research in this area indicates that parents generally want and need direction to participate with maximum efficiency. Training takes many forms, from providing written instructions with a send-home instructional packet; to providing "make-and-take" workshops where parents construct, see demonstrations of, and practice using instructional interventions; to programs in which parents receive extensive training and ongoing supervision by school personnel.


Several articles contend that the schools with the most successful parent involvement programs are those which offer a variety of ways parents can participate. Recognizing that parents differ significantly in their willingness, ability, and available time for involvement in school activities, these schools provide a continuum of options for parent participation.


Most of the parent involvement research occurs with low-income, often black or Hispanic families. Sometimes this has happened because both the parent involvement activities and the evaluations of them are mandated as part of government-funded programs for disadvantaged children. In other cases, educators sensed the potential of parent involvement programs in poor neighborhoods, set these up, and then compared outcomes with those from other demographically similar schools.


Researchers discovered that minority or low-income parents are often underrepresented among the ranks of parents involved with the schools. There are numerous reasons for this: embarrassment or shyness about one's own educational level or linguistic abilities, lack of understanding or information about the structure of the school and accepted communication channels, perceived lack of welcome by teachers and administrators, and teachers and administrators' assumptions of parents' disinterest or inability to help with children's schooling.


Perhaps one of the most important findings of the research, however, is that parents of disadvantaged and minority children can and do make a positive contribution to their children's achievement in school if they receive adequate training and encouragement in the types of parent involvement that can make a difference. Even more significant, the research dispels a popular myth by revealing, as noted above, that parents can make a difference regardless of their levels of education. Indeed, disadvantaged children have the most to gain from parent involvement programs.


IINII uses a revolutionary Design Thinking process to identify the values that parents and caregivers expect their children to exhibit and weave those into anti-bullying activities. IINII also develops and provides training and ongoing guidance to parents in anti-bullying strategies and techniques to build an inclusive climate. To learn how you can engage parents in your anti-bullying program, visit our website at www.iinii.org, or contact us at iinii@iinii.org or 1800-507-2502.



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