by 高莫娜 Mona

The significance of parental involvement in their child’s study is inevitable. To dig it deeper, I planned to conduct a case study. At that time, I was teaching mostly Ethnic minority students and my class had a multicultural environment. The parents were mostly expatriates; came to Hong Kong for their contractual jobs. There is a lot of variation not only within their cultural backgrounds but socio-economic status as well. Where there are parents like pilots, flight attendants, engineers, there are low income earners as well. Where I have mothers who are flight attendants, I also communicate with stay-at-home moms. I was sure that I would be able to extract different views from each family as all families have different perspectives. Minuchin (1974), has also stated that all families have a different atmosphere which may or may not relate with one another

I had children from Chinese, Pakistani, Thai, Indian, Malaysian, Japanese, Singaporean, Filipino, Irish and Korean backgrounds.  I wanted to know the viewpoints of each community so I interviewed 10 parents. Parents were interviewed by means of a questionnaire based on Epstein’s framework of six dimensions of parental involvement. The results I found were really interesting. The survey found some distinct variations by race, where one aspect was very important for one parent, the same thing was ridiculous for the other.

Nonetheless, when drilling down to determine what types of involvement work best, I have found one common factor: “Programs and interventions that engage families in supporting their children’s learning at home are linked to higher student achievement.”  

Other forms of involvement among Epstein’s six factors (volunteering, attending school events) appeared to have less direct effect on student achievement. 

Questionnaire results

The objective of the questionnaire was first and foremost to ascertain the general opinions of the parents concerning the schools and their involvement in school activities. Of the total of 10 parents, 4 were interviewed in person 3 were interviewed via phone and the other 3 filled in the questionnaire and returned it back via email (because of their busy schedule). Answering parents were all females (mothers). The main results were as follows:

Table 1. Parents’ General overview about Parenting

Always/Often Sometimes/Never
Parents: % %
Feels welcome 90 10
Safe Environment for kids 100 0
Seminars are helpful 60 40
Enjoy different cultural activities 70 30


Most of the parents felt they are welcome to the school. They also said that their children felt safe and comfortable in school and collaboration with teachers is easy. But the Chinese parent was not satisfied with the teachers’ availability and their cooperation. She said that the teachers are over occupied with their routines and are not so open to welcome parents after school session. Some parents expressed the view that the school could be more attractive and have a better atmosphere.

The research has proved that family interaction and engagement in schools improves student achievement, attendance, confidence, and restores parents’ faith in their children’s education. Students with involved parents tend to score better in exams and achieve higher grades, have better social skills, and display improved behavior.

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