Teachers' Opinions about the Responsibilities of Parents, Schools, and Teachers in Enhancing Student Learning

Article excerpt

The process of teaching and learning is rooted in student, teacher, and curriculum. Discussions about education are mostly focused on the level of attainment of the desired learning objectives. When student achievement is low, then some critical factors related to teaching and learning should be closely examined, such as qualities of teachers and school curricula, appropriateness of teaching strategies to students' developmental levels, and atmosphere and climate of schools related to students learning. Different views and suggestions about increasing students' academic achievement are discussed publicly. However, the perceptions of teachers as one of the main parts of the teaching and learning system have not publicized enough. The aim of this study was to examine teachers' views about the responsibilities of parents, schools, and teachers to enhance students' academic achievement.

Specifically, the following three questions guided this study:

1. What do teachers think of the responsibilities of parents in enhancing students' academic achievement in schools?

2. What do teachers think of the responsibilities of schools in enhancing students' academic achievement in schools?

3. What do teachers think of the responsibilities of teachers in enhancing students' academic achievement in schools?

The family characteristic that is the most powerful predictor of school performance is socioeconomic status. The correlation between socioeconomic status and academic achievement has been found 0.58 (White, 1982). Some caring parents are very good in creating a home atmosphere that fosters student learning (e.g., reading to their children, helping them with their homework, encouraging them to go to college, and taking them to the library and some cultural events) (Danielson, 2002). They also communicate their expectations to the children and show a great interest in the schoolwork of their children (Fan & Chen, 2001).

There is a positive relationship between school quality and student learning. According to a current meta-analysis study, schools definitely can make a difference in student achievement. For example, the average student who attends a "good" school will have a score that is 23 percentile points higher than the average student who attends a "poor" school (Marzano, Pikering, & Pollock, 2001). The question is then "What are the characteristics of good or effective schools ? ". Marzano (2003) listed in rank order five school-level factors in terms of their impact on student achievement. They are guaranteed and viable curriculum, challenging goals and effective feedback, parental and community involvement, safe and orderly environment, and collegiality and professionalism. If a school is to be a true learning community, both teachers and students must have the opportunity to help develop the policies and practices that affect them (Danielson, 2002). Moreover, there is a negative relationship between school size and student achievement. Since, small schools report better attendance and fewer discipline problems than larger ones, small schools have been proven to be more conducive to student academic achievement (Burke, 1987).

Teachers have a significant impact on student achievement. Teachers directly affect how students learn, what they learn, how much they learn, and the ways they interact with one another and the world around them. The effect the classroom teacher can have on student achievement is clear because student achievement begins and ends with the quality of the teacher, the instructional program, and his/her leadership. After conducting a meta-analysis study, Marzano (2003) concluded that the most effective teachers produced a gain of about 53 percentage points in student achievement over one year, whereas the least effective teachers produced achievement gains of about 14 percentage points over one year. Furthermore, 54-percentile point discrepancy in achievement gains between students with least effective teachers versus those with most effective teachers-29 percentage points versus 83 percentage points respectively over three years. …