Author Evanthia Patrikakou begins her article by describing what adolescence is--"an intriguing stage of development filled with many physical, cognitive, social, and emotional changes," then expands her perspective to encompass the methodology, research, results, and implications of an extensive study on 8th graders tracked through their high school, college, and work force years.
The author, based on prior research, expects the two most important environments in child development, home and school, to increase their collaboration during this adolescent developmental stage. Instead, her findings detail that the opposite is true: as children progress through school, parent involvement declines dramatically (Zill & Nord, 1994).
She cites several factors contributing to this paradoxical decline: (1) the more complex structure of middle and high schools, (2) the demanding curricula that can be intimidating to parents, and (3) the fewer school outreach efforts to involve parents.
In agreement with findings from other studies (Catsambis, 2001), high educational expectations constitute a powerful way through which parents can encourage continuously the educational attainments of their adolescents in high school and beyond. Secondary education students believe that they can do better at school if they know that their families are interested in their schoolwork and expect them to succeed, thus challenging the prevalent view that adolescents do not want their parents involved at all.
Significant, too, is the author's discussion of what parent involvement should not be, that is strictly viewed and defined in fairly narrow terms, such as direct involvement in homework completion, since the increasingly complex demands of the high school curriculum would prohibit many parents from being involved in that way. Her findings, in fact, indicate a strong form of parent involvement is expectations. Parents who hold high expectations for their teens, communicate them clearly, and encourage their adolescents to work hard in order to attain them, can make a difference in students' success.
Patrikakou advocates infusing the results of this research in training preservice teachers, especially those teachers who will teach in middle and high schools where parent involvement is not an expected part of the educational process but where
parent involvement can be a positive and powerful source of influence for the achievement of adolescents and young adults. By encouraging parents to be involved in developmentally appropriate ways, schools can maximize the benefits for all students by gaining an important ally in their effort not to leave children behind.
Ohio English Language Arts Standards (2001)
Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and Self-Monitoring Strategies Standard
Writing Process Standard