Parental Engagement Programme and Practices: Exploring the Perspectives of Teachers, Parents and School Leaders in Four Public Schools in Abu Dhabi

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Many previous researches confirm that effective parental engagement leads to better learning and development of children. This study aims to explore the perspectives of teachers, parents and school leaders on the parental engagement programme and practices in four public schools in Abu Dhabi. The study grounds mainly on Epstein’s six types of parent involvement, namely; parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision-making, and collaborating with community. Quantitative data were collected using Epstein’s parental involvement survey instrument; qualitative data were collected using a semi-structured interview questionnaire developed for this study. In addition, document analysis was done to understand the status of parental involvement programme in the selected four schools, which were compared with global and local standards. Both descriptive and inferential statistical analysis were made on quantitative data using SPSS and the qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis. The results from the quantitative data indicated that there is significant differences on the perspectives among the teachers, parents and school leaders on the six types of parent involvement. The analysis of the qualitative data further unpacked these differences on the perspectives of teachers, parents and school leaders on parental involvement. The study found that there is a gap between the parental involvement plans of the schools to their practices. Although all the three key stakeholders (teachers, parents, and school leaders) ideally want to actively, involve in parental engagement programmes, in reality there is seemingly lack of commitment to their intention. Parents mainly indicate unsuitable timings of parental engagement activities and meetings as key reason for missing them and they insist on innovative ways and technological tools to engage them effectively. Teachers largely consider too many parental engagement activities as exhaustive and seek meaningful integration of parental engagement in teaching and learning practices. While school leaders appreciate everyone’s active involvement and favour strategic approaches to parental involvement programmes. The study concludes that in general, parental engagement practices in the four public schools in Abu Dhabi are reasonably well established and steadily improving. However, it is very important for them to benchmark their programmes and practices periodically with the national and global standards.
Education -- Parent participation., perspectives of teachers, school leaders, United Arab Emirates (UAE), public schools