Parents and Teachers are like two sides of the same coin invested for the overall growth and development of the child. Parents hold the fingers to support and boost the confidence of the child when the child takes the first step and the teacher holds the same finger to support and boost the confidence of the child while entering the academic world. Both work relentlessly towards the child’s progress. One guards him/her in the house and the other outside. Parents and Teachers are two important shields of life the child needs to have around. This keeps the child comfortable and lets the child start his/her journey towards exploration in this ‘big bad world’ or should I say ‘big wonderful world’. The beauty in this stage of the child’s life is that both teachers as well as parents expect less and involve/participate more with the child. We all therefore are witness to the result. We don’t ever forget to walk once we gather our balance at the age of one. On the other hand, we also retain in our memory all the alphabets of a particular language for a lifetime.
Have we ever wondered why this happens? Here we should be able to understand the difference between Parent/Teacher Expectation and Parent/Teacher Involvement. Expectations are Beliefs whereas Involvement (Participation) is Behaviour. With these two important variables we have other factors which govern the overall development of the child. On Parental front it could be their educational background, social status, economic stability whereas on the Teacher’s front it could be the quality of the educational institute, pedagogical advancement, rigor of the curriculum and an ecosystem of a learning environment. Parents interaction with the child at home has a tendency to influence the child’s interaction with the teacher at school and vice versa.
A considerable amount of literature shows that Parental Participation and involvement has a positive impact on the children’s learning and success in school (Eccles & Harold, 1993; Koegel, Koegel, & Schreibman, 1991; Newmann & Wehlage, 1995). Parents who are involved in their children’s schooling display not only an increase in their parenting skills but also are seen to have knowledge of the child’s development (Epstein, 2001).
While Parents are a permanent part of the child’s frame of milieu, teachers are fairly transient personalities in the child’s life. In such a reality one may feel that the influence of this teacher student relationship would be comparatively insignificant. However, there is evidence that the relationships which the teachers form with the children have a sizeable and substantial impact on the later outcomes of the child’s life (Burchinal et al., 2002; Howes et al., 1994, 1998; Pianta et al., 1997, 2002). Studies also indicate that individual children may form relational styles with teachers which may be different from their interactions and relationships with their parents. (Goossens & van IJzendoorn, 1990; Howes et al., 1998; van IJzendoorn, Sagi, & Lambermon, 1992). Such uniqueness in the relationship which the child builds with these two influencers therefore demands attention and discussion with the relevant stakeholders. The focus of interaction should then be the overall growth of the child where participation of parents and teachers is high and not about a child being a project with high expectations.
Burchinal, M. R., Peisner-Feinberg, E., Pianta, R., & Howes, C. (2002) Development of academic skills from preschool through second grade: Family and classroom predictors of developmental trajectories. Journalof School Psychology, 40, 415–436.
Eccles, Jacquelynne S., & Harold, Rena D. (1993). Parent-school involvement during the early adolescent years. Teachers College Record, 94(3), 568-587.
Epstein, Joyce L. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships: Preparing educators and improving schools. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Goossens, F. A., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (1990). Quality of infant’s attachments to professional caregivers: Relation to infant–parent attachment and day-care characteristics. ChildDevelopment, 61, 832–837.
Howes, C., Hamilton, C. E., & Philipsen, L. C. (1998). Stability and continuity of child–caregiver and child–peer relationships. Child Development, 69, 418–426.
Koegel, Robert L.; Koegel, Lynn K.; & Schreibman, Laura. (1991). Assessing and training parents in teaching pivotal behaviors. In Ronald Prinz (Ed.), Advances in behavioral assessment of children and families (Vol. 5, pp. 65-82). L ondon: Jessica Kinsley.
Newmann, Fred M., & Wehlage, Gary G. (1995). Successful school restructuring. Madison: University of Wisconsin, Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools.
Pianta, R. C., Nimetz, S. L., & Bennett, E. (1997). Mother–child relationships, teacher– child relationships, and school outcomes in preschool and kindergarten. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12, 263–280.
van IJzendoorn, M. H., Sagi, A., & Lambermon, M. (1992). The multiple caregiver paradox: Data from Holland and Israel. In R. C. Pianta (Ed.), Beyond the parent: The role of otheradults in children’s lives: New directions for child development (pp. 5–24). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc.