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Enhancing parental involvement in student learning

Robin Averill, Abby Metson, and Susan Bailey

There is much international evidence that parental involvement in children’s learning can positively influence achievement. New Zealand policy expects schools to nurture such involvement, particularly in relation to Máori and Pasifika learners. Despite policy imperatives and valuable professional development projects, such involvement has proved challenging to embed within many English-medium school settings. We examined policy, theoretical, and research literature to identify key supports and barriers to establishing strong parental involvement in children’s learning, with a particular focus on the context of mathematics. A review of literature shows that parental involvement can be nurtured by school-wide commitment, learning-focused parent–teacher partnerships, effective communication, purposeful home-based learning, and shared home and school decision making. However, establishing sustained parental involvement in learning is challenging, with time constraints, language and cultural differences, and varied expectations posing barriers. Further guidance, support, and New Zealand-based research are needed to ensure such involvement can be maximised, including investigation into the effects of such involvement on achievement, affect, and well-being, particularly in relation to Máori and Pasifika students in English-medium settings.

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