Date of Award

12-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Mary F. Ziegler

Committee Members

Ralph G. Brockett, Priscilla W. Blanton, Connie L. White

Abstract

Research shows that when families are involved in their children’s education, children’s academic achievement increases. However, parents’ views of their roles in their children’s education do not always mesh with what school administrators define as family involvement. The purpose of this study was to explore parents’ perspectives on involvement in their children’s education. The research question that guided this study was, “What do parents perceive family involvement in children’s education to be?” The tradition of inquiry used in this study was the grounded theory method that focuses on the emergence of a theory rather than the testing of one. Fifteen parents were interviewed about their ideas of family involvement. The general theme that emerged from the data was that parents do whatever they need to do to help their children grow and succeed. Two major categories became apparent; what parents do and how they learn to do it. What parents do is communicate, give children reasons to learn, support learning, and ensure children’s growth and success. They learn to do these things through example, experience, society, and school personnel. Implications for policy and practice include a) revising teacher preparation programs to include curriculum that shows teachers how to work with families, and b) helping teachers see parents as adult learners who want to learn to help their children, but who learn in different ways and for different reasons than their children learn. In addition, this study expands the theory of family involvement by illustrating what parents perceive as important in helping their children grow and succeed.

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