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Better teacher-parent relationships 'key to improved educational outcomes'

23/02/2017 Joanna

A new study has highlighted the positive educational outcomes that can result from an improved relationship between parents and teachers.

Conducted by the University of Missouri, the research found that teacher ratings of parental involvement early in a child's academic career can accurately predict the student's later educational and social successes.

For the study, more than 100 teachers took part in a professional development programme to help them foster more effective relationships with parents and students, as well as to improve their classroom management skills. They also completed surveys at the beginning and end of the school year about the more than 1,800 students and parents they worked with, including questions about the quality of their relationships with parents.

It was shown that children whose parents were identified by teachers as playing an active and positive role in their education generally had higher levels of prosocial behaviour and greater academic success.

This is likely due in part to the fact that teachers gave extra attention for students and parents they had connected with, whereas if the same teacher perceived another child's parents to be uninvolved or to have a bad influence on their education, this would create a cycle of negative reinforcement.

Moreover, the study indicated that parents whose children were taught by staff who received the relationship training were more likely to develop more positive behaviours, including higher involvement and bonding with the teacher.

Keith Herman, a professor at the University of Missouri College of Education, said: "This study shows that we can support teachers to improve their relationships with all parents, resulting in a better education for all children, while also encouraging parents to become more involved in the education process."

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