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Parent and teacher perceptions of ways teachers work with the parents of their students

Robert Russell Putnam, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This descriptive study examined the current practices used by two hundred and twenty-seven elementary school teachers in 23 demographically different schools across the United States to work with the parents of their students. The examination of the perceptions of selected teachers and parents towards the effectiveness of specific ways that teachers work with parents was an additional objective of this research. Further, parent and teacher recommendations for improving parent and teacher collaboration were considered. It is the responsibility of schools to ensure that all children of all families have the opportunity to obtain a quality education. Unfortunately demographic and social changes have made it increasingly difficult for schools to meet that responsibility effectively. Educators are being forced to examine alterable school and nonschool conditions that will help them meet their responsibilities to create more effective schools. Attention has been turning toward the practices teachers use to encourage a parent's involvement in his or her child's education. The practices teachers use to communicate, inform, and influence parents can have profound effects on a parent's attitudes and actions towards working closely with teachers to help youngsters learn well. To understand the factors that affect parental involvement it is necessary to identify the types of practices teachers currently are using to involve parents in their children's learning, and examine how the parents and teachers perceive those practices. The data seem to support five major findings. First, the data show that written communications, conferences, telephone calls, involving parents at school, open houses, workshops, homework and home visits are categories that account for most of the ways teachers report working with parents. Second, parental involvement practices are more likely to be used in early childhood classrooms. Third, there are differences between teacher leaders and the other teachers in this study. Fourth, teacher leaders reported high levels of personal efficacy. Fifth, teacher leaders and their respective parents share markedly similar perceptions about the practices used by these teachers.

Subject Area

Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Putnam, Robert Russell, "Parent and teacher perceptions of ways teachers work with the parents of their students" (1996). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9619425.