Attaining Advocacy: Who decides curriculum? What is the role of family and community in contributing to programs?
University of Affiliation:
The teaching and learning process, with the teacher as the significant role, is at the centre of the education process. The process also entails a culmination of several actions by the family, teachers, students, and the community that form connections and relationships between them. The continuation of the learning process requires a reciprocal relationship between the student, the teachers, the family, and the community. Students incorporate the principle of education and learning theory as major determinants of their success in school (Illeris 2018). Learning is a communication process that takes two ways; the educator or teacher performs teaching while the student exclusively performs learning.
Family forms the first education environment for the learner since family is the first phase that offers the child guidance and education (Etemadi and Saadat 2015). The family’s primary role for the learner is to build their religious and moral education since the child’s nature is mainly adapted from their parents and family members. The parent’s involvement in their child’s education will contribute significantly to their success. According to Ceka and Murati (2016), the parent’s involvement in their child’s education in school promotes their academic success and leads to the achievement of socioeconomic status in the future.
The role of the family is supplemented by the role of the school education and the community due to their close relation in encouraging and educating learners (Terziu, Hasani, and Osmani 2016). School education entails learning that is formulated and carried out with set rules and regulations that guide the learners. The process of learning is complicated in making learning activities effective, conducive, and efficient. This process entails several aspects in the learning environment, teachers, students, family, and the community that encourages learning for the child (Haut and Gorard 2015). Conventional learning happens far away and only focuses on verbalistic communication, authoritarian teaching, centralization of educators, educators who have the sole right to decide what students will learn, and ideologies that prevent students from developing their creativity. Multiple studies have been done to support the notion that students excel better in their studies with parents involved in their academics. Parent’s involvement in their children’s education at school and the community results in better performance in academics and general life.
The development of curriculum that that is implemented in schools in Australia is done by the Australian Curriculum assessment and reporting authority (ACRA) in collaboration with the early years learning framework for Australia (EYLF), who are the main policymakers influencing concepts and outcomes in the educational sector (McDowell et al., 2018). The curriculum entails teaching plans with specific goals, contents, measurements and strategies. Hence it is important to realize the roles and impacts of community and family in the development of the curriculum.
According to Alsubaie (2016), the education curriculum is dynamic since it changes depending on the development and challenges of modern times. As the nation’s civilization advances, more challenges appear. Globalization also encourages countries to compete highly to increase their country’s reputation in education. Therefore, to face this challenge, there needs to be proper curriculum implementation to improve the education sectors (Schneiderhan, Guetterman, and Dobson 2019). This becomes a factor in the gap between teachers, family, the community, and students in learning. The greatest desires of the family, the community, and teachers are seeing the success of the learner. Therefore, their efforts must be centred around achieving the learner’s success in life. “What should the school do, what should the community do, what is the role of the family and ultimately what should student do to achieve their goals in school and success in life?”
By focusing on children’s development in and out of school, collaborative methods between the communities, the school, family, and students will go a long way in helping and supporting students. (Vogrinc & Zuljan, 2009)
Teachers take up the leadership position in decision making on programs and setting up learning opportunities for students while observing the curriculum requirements. Hence, the teachers’ responsibility is to foster meaningful collaborations and partnerships with families and the community with aims of providing an educational program that prioritizes children’s interest (Saloka, 2009). It is therefore important to work closely with all the relevant stakeholders in obtaining significant ideas to be incorporated into the curriculum. An example how the Australian government regard the teachers, students and family as the key stakeholders in students education hence their ideals and recommendations considered most important in the development and establishment of conducive learning environment for students. To achieve this, it is therefore necessary to take steps towards awareness of the local community needs and strengths as well as students and families’ interests in enhancing leadership in academic settings. Additionally, it is a requirement in article 18 of the United Nations Convention on children’s rights for both parents to share responsibility for raising children and prioritizing the child’s best interest at all times (Tucker, 2016). The Early Years Framework also encourages educators to include families in decision making about the curriculum and ensure students experience meaningful learning experiences.
Collaboration in learning is vital for fostering improvement in student’s academics (Sheldon & Taylor-Vorbeck, 2019). There are numerous ways that have been found to be effective in encouraging students and families to improve student’s academic outcomes. Examples of these ways include parental and community involvement and teaching effective parenting skills to increase families’ involvement in student’s curriculum. Prior studies support the claims that students perform better when their parents are actively involved in their academics (McDowell et al., 2018). Participation of families and community in education programs has been linked to students scoring higher grades and scores in tests, high school attendance, and consistency in completing assignments. Additionally, there has also been increased positive attitudes and conduct towards school, reduced rebellion and admissions to special education, increased number of students graduating, an increased number of students being enrolled in higher education (Krieg et al., 2014).
Parental involvement in student’s curriculum is portrayed in different ways, including cases where parents take up the teaching role at home while also volunteering and supporting the school programs. Additionally, parents can also become advocates for their children and participate in decision-making on academic matters, for instance, in developing school policies, budgets, and the recruitment of teachers (Jeynes, 2010). Nevertheless, in many schools, most administrations are open to collaborating with families in advocacy and decision-making on programs but still encourage families to help their children with learning at home. Additionally, family involvement in children’s curriculum can be classified as family involvement through communication, involvement through supporting activities, families’ involvement through learning, families’ involvement through advocacy, families’ involvement through decision making, involvement through volunteering, and parents involvement as home teachers (Geens & Vandenbroeck, 2013). This raises a question on whether the family’s involvement in the student’s curriculum is with the children or the involvement is with the academic institution.
Additionally, there are multiple aspects to be considered in the subject of family involvement: the socioeconomic aspects, ethnicity, and the marital status of the child’s guardian. There are theories such as the Vygotsky theory suggesting that children coming from families in lower socioeconomic classes might not be effectively impacted with parental involvement in their curriculum as compared with students coming from middle-class homes (Kohler, 2006). This is mainly due to many risk factors influencing the lives of children from lower social classes like poverty, poor health, and lack of safety, domestic conflicts, drugs, and poor housing situations. Hence, these factors limit the role of families in the involvement in schools for children in the lower class as compared to their peers who are not affected by these adverse environmental issues. Additionally, parenting styles and enthusiasm have a great contribution to the child’s academic outcomes (Jeynes, 2010). The parent-child relationship is vital in predicting and improving the child’s academic performance in contrast to the parental-school partnerships. Therefore, this is an encouragement for parents to be more involved in their children’s studies which can be done through training on effective parental styles considering that parenting approaches are not linked or defined by social aspects like poverty or ethnicity (McDowell et al., 2018). More awareness brought on the importance and roles of family involvement in school curriculum will incite change and encourage more parents to be involved in the children’s academics. Hence, help improve their children’s studies, hence the increased emphasis on parental involvement in schools. Additionally, the National Education Goals Panel has incorporated the goal for every school to promote partnerships with aims to increase parental involvement and promotion of social, emotional, and academic growth for children (Fan & Williams, 2009). Nevertheless, there is still limited research proving the effects of parental involvement on the student’s academic success, and many parents regard themselves as too late in participating in the child’s curriculum when they are in high school.
When it comes to the community, society plays a major role in how people relate, which in turn contributes majorly to the effectiveness of the management of schools. Education prepares the young generation for their respective roles in society (McDowell et al., 2018). Therefore, the community is obligated to transfer knowledge and information on roles from the old generation to the young generation in order to ensure the continuation of values and harmonization of the community for the progress of civilization of the society. Education increases awareness of the general knowledge and a better understanding of our environment, while training serves to improve knowledge and expertise of one on something they are aware of. Hence, it is vital to understand the family dynamics in efforts to bridge the gap between parental-school relationships and collaborations in education (Hornby, 2011). Families are a unit of life, the centre of the social system in terms of education since the family is responsible for providing learning circumstances. Families provide a basis for children to develop character in fostering relationships like love and friendships. Additionally, families also play a major role in the child’s attitude and behavior. Families are the first educators of their children, printing their personalities as they grow up. Different parenting style brings out different outcomes on every student. Research shows that proper parenting in the early years of a child is the most important in developing learning patterns for the child and family. Cognitive and communication skills such as emotional security, socialization, and problem-solving skills are usually developed in the early years of a child and impact their learning skills, educational performance, and cognitive growth throughout their years (Saloka, 2009). Parental prospects are interlinked with their children’s performance in school. Studies show a strong correspondence between strict parents at home and their children’s performance in school. Children who have a close interaction with their parents are found to be more academically inclined. For instance, families that activities together like attending church or eating dinner together also exhibited supervision and follow up on their homework.
The parent-child relationship forms the base for success in academics (McDowell et al., 2018). Strong parent-child relations on educational matters subsequently result in high performance in education. Studies show that collaborations between schools and families in supporting learning leads to success in the children’s academics and throughout their lives. Therefore, it is necessary for schools to adjust and incorporate families’ involvement in the education process to ensure student’s achievement in their studies. Additionally, there is a need for awareness of the roles of families and communities in education and fostering children for the continued support of children’s moral education and academic learning.
There has been a gap in parental-school partnerships in recent times due to minimal involvement of families and communities in developing student’s programs and curriculum. This is most evident in working-class families or families with working mothers who are usually less involved in their children’s academics. According to McNeal (2015), lack of family involvement in school programs has negative impacts on the student’s academics. Additionally, schools have a crucial responsibility in ensuring collaborations with families in the student’s educations and formulation of the school curriculum, which contributes to the students’ good performance. However, these parental-school collaborations are often not reinforced (Cullen et al., 2006).
Therefore, this study will follow a quantitative survey using questionnaires for data collection from families, teachers, and students. First, the research will seek to determine the roles of families and communities in school programs and the improvement of student’s academics. Second, analyze the effects of families’ involvement in school programs on student’s performance, and lastly to determine who are involved in the development of school curriculum and the decision making in programs matters. Therefore, the research will focus on reviewing the relevant theories and frameworks recognizing the involvement of key stakeholders and the required components for improved decision-making processes for school programs and the development of the curriculum. In addition, this research will be exploring the role of intentional leadership in early years education by analyzing the impacts of different leadership roles in influencing the contribution and participation of families and community in school programs with aims to promoting significant change in involvement, collaborations, and improved decision making of the curriculum.
The study seeks to address the following research questions.
Limitations of the Study
Despite the study’s validity, it is limited because it fails to cover the statistical analysis of the learner’s socialization information. The research is also limited in covering all the public schools in the region and only identified a few. For better conclusive results, the research must study all the public schools.
Basic Assumptions of the Study
This study assumes that the responses from parents will be honest, sincere, and accurate during their interviews and while filling in questionnaires. The study also assumes that the schools will provide a conducive learning environment, and the qualified teachers and staff will engage the children and assist them in their education.
This part deals with the description of techniques incorporated in conducting the research. It is divided into the following parts; research design, target population, sampling method, research instruments, data collection, and data analysis methods.
1.1 Research design
This study will investigate the key stakeholders in the formulation of the curriculum and analyze the contribution of the family and the community to the success of the learner. Particularly, this study seeks to investigate the teaching strategies of educators in the early years and their practices regarding the implementation of the involvement of family and community in school programs. The research design used for this study will be a mixed-method design: A mixed-method design utilizes both qualitative and quantitative approaches in different parts of the research and philosophical assumptions. The research will also use a literature study approach by utilizing the library in reviewing current developments in curriculum and education and the latest literature that addresses contributions of family, community, and school in a learner’s education.
1.2 Target Population
The study will focus on parents, children, and the community in 10 schools in Australia to provide data on their contribution to their children’s learning activities through questionnaires and interview surveys.
1.3 Sampling Procedures and Sample Size
To determine the role of families and communities on children’s academics, the researcher, with the help of the school’s headteachers, will identify four public schools that had reported instances of family’s non-contribution in their children’s learning in school as the sample areas. Additionally, the selected sample areas will also be used for the data collection on the key stakeholders in the development of the curriculum and determining the impacts of the family and community on the curriculum and leadership. From all four schools, the researcher will identify parents of children in the early years of school and observe the patterns of their contribution to their children’s educational curriculum. Then, with the teacher’s help, the researcher will select ten parents from the early year’s classes, bringing a total sample unit of 40 parents from each school. Additionally, the researcher will select ten children to answer the questionnaires giving a total of 40 children. Lastly, five teachers will be selected from each school, giving a total sample of 20 teachers.
1.4 Research instruments
While investigating the parent’s contribution to their children’s education and welfare, an interview will be administered to their parents. The interview will be involving a one-on-one conversation between the researcher and the parent, where questions will also be posted to obtain more clarity from the interviewee. The interviewer will initiate and direct the conversation to obtain quantifiable information regarding the research (King, Harrocks, and Brooks 2018). Interviews provide a means for the researcher to obtain information that might not have been included in questionnaires. Also, since the interviews will be one-on-one, the interviewer will have an opportunity to observe the interviewee’s reactions and their extra-linguistic aspects (Wolgemuth et al., 2015). The procedure will entail the interviewer asking the interviewee questions in the same manner. Interviews will be flexible, sensitive, and personal in order for the researcher to obtain more responses from the respondents. In addition, questionnaires will be used in obtaining detailed data for the impacts of families and communities on the development of the curriculum.
1.5 Data Collection Methods
Data was collection would be done using questionnaires and interviews. First, with the assistance of the teachers, the researcher will identify the homes of the families in the sample unit. After the proper logistics are made, the interviewer will schedule interviews and agree on the locations of the interviews with parents from the selected households. The interviews will be administered mostly on weekends when most families were free from their normal responsibilities. Additionally, questionnaires will be administered to the test sample using electronic mail for ease of access, and the respondents were given a time frame of two weeks to fill the questionnaires.
1.6 Data Analysis
Qualitative and quantitative methods of data analysis will be used. The data will undergo three stages after it is collected; it is then filtered to ensure the data presented is valid, the data will then be classified into themes, and then a conclusion is drawn. Next, the information collected will be analyzed to provide explanations to the research questions being investigated. Finally, the data will be analyzed using frequencies and percentages to provide findings using figures and tables.
1.7 Ethical Considerations
The researcher must pay close keenness to their work to avoid causing physiological or physical harm to the respondents by asking them irrelevant, threatening, embarrassing, or making them nervous. According to LaRossa and Bennet (2018), ethical considerations such as anonymity and confidentiality are critical aspects in conducting social research will be observed. The researcher explained the purpose of the study to the respondents and assured them that their identities and their information would be confidential.
Significance of the study
The study findings will provide significant data for all the stakeholders involved in the provision of education and curriculum developers. The Australian government might find it necessary to consider enacting policies that ensure families and the community contribute to their children’s education both in and out of school. Families will be able to comprehend the impact of their contribution on the students’ performance and overall well-being. Therefore, they will start making more meaningful contributions and ensure their contribution is felt in the child’s learning. Additionally, learning institutions will find it necessary to enact strategies and techniques that will ensure that the family contributes to their children’s education.
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Ceka, A., & Murati, R. (2016). The Role of Parents in the Education of Children. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(5), 61-64.
Cullen, J., Hedges, H., & Bone, J. (n.d.). Planning, undertaking and disseminating research in early childhood settings: An ethical Framework1. Work-Based Research in the Early Years, 121-134. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446250778.n9
Etemadi, O., & Saadat, S. (2015). Role of family health and attachment styles in prediction of students’ academic self-efficacy. Education Strategies in Medical Sciences, 8(4), 195-201.
Fan, W., & Williams, C. M. (2009). The effects of parental involvement on students’ academic self‐efficacy, engagement and intrinsic motivation. Educational Psychology, 30(1), 53-74. https://doi.org/10.1080/01443410903353302
Geens, N., & Vandenbroeck, M. (2013). Early childhood education and care as a space for social support in urban contexts of diversity. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 21(3), 407-419. https://doi.org/10.1080/1350293x.2013.814361
Hornby, G. (2011). Parental involvement in childhood education: Building effective school-family partnerships. Springer Science & Business Media.
Huat See, B., & Gorard, S. (2015). The role of parents in young people’s education—a critical review of the causal evidence. Oxford Review of Education, 41(3), 346-366.
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Jeynes, W. (2010). Parental involvement and academic success. Routledge.
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Krieg, S., Davis, K., & Smith, K. A. (2014). Exploring the dance of early childhood educational leadership. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 39(1), 73-80. https://doi.org/10.1177/183693911403900110
LaRossa, R., & Bennett, L. A. (2018). Ethical dilemmas in qualitative family research. In The psychosocial interior of the family (pp. 139-156). Routledge.
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McNeal, R. B. (2015). Parent involvement and student performance: The influence of school context. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 14(2), 153-167.
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Terziu, L., Hasani, N., & Osmani, O. (2016). The role of the school principal in increasing students’ success. Revista de Stiinte Politice, (50), 103.
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Vogrinc, J., & Zuljan, M. V. (2009). Action research in schools – an important factor in teachers’ professional development. Educational Studies, 35(1), 53-63. https://doi.org/10.1080/03055690802470399
Wolgemuth, J. R., Erdil-Moody, Z., Opsal, T., Cross, J. E., Kaanta, T., Dickmann, E. M., & Colomer, S. (2015). Participants’ experiences of the qualitative interview: Considering the importance of research paradigms. Qualitative research, 15(3), 351-372.
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