Yes, focused classroom strategies can work, at least in part, to counter lack of parental involvement.
Two related questions were presented to us via Twitter this week:
• If parents do not enforce educational importance, how can the method be successful? Please clarify. This is problem we face.
• I understand the method is to improve teacher performance, but does it factor in parental involvement, or lack of?
Let us begin by saying that life outside the classroom has a tremendous impact on a student’s performance in the classroom. Home life matters. Research has also shown that teachers matter. While these are two separate issues, the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model ensures that no matter what is going on in the home, each teacher is as effective as possible. Furthermore, the Marzano Model shows teachers how to connect emotionally with students to make sure they know that somebody cares about them.
• Teacher/Student Relationships: What will I do to establish and maintain effective relationships with students?
• Understanding students’ interests and backgrounds
• Using behaviors that indicate affection for students
• Displaying objectivity and control
Domains 2 and 4, (Planning and Preparing; Collegiality and Professionalism) also address the needs of students who need extra support in this regard, (“planning and preparing for special needs of students who lack support for schooling,” and “promoting positive interactions with students and parents”).
Every Child Can Learn
One foundation of the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model is the core belief that every child can learn. Our approach is not just for teachers of students with stable home lives; on the contrary, research has shown that teachers using Dr. Marzano’s research-based strategies can improve the performance of all students.
Compare the following scenarios, both based on a fictional student named John. His father is physically and verbally abusive. He is neglected and receives poor nutrition.
• Scenario 1: John’s teacher uses ineffective classroom strategies, focuses only on high-performing and engaged students, and makes little to no connection with John.
• Scenario 2: John’s teacher uses proven Marzano classroom strategies, gives attention to all students equally, and makes a specific effort to emotionally connect with John.
In which scenario will John be most likely to make academic improvements? Clearly, Scenario 2. In fact, without the Marzano-based approach in Scenario 2, the teacher may never discover that John is being abused, neglected, and fed poorly.
Teacher improvement has not only been tied to increased student performance, but also to decreases in teen pregnancy rates, increases in graduation rates, increases in college attendance, improvements in college performance, and lifetime earnings.
Home life matters. Teachers matter.
Teachers, do you have techniques for strengthening student relationships, or reaching out to parents? Share them in the comments section below.