This paper examines the role of parental support and its relationship to school performance and educational achievements throughout a student’s academic journey. As the social structure of the family is examined, classroom experiences, environmental factors, and peer relationship are also compared in relation to motivation and the self-regulating abilities that foster learning and problem-solving abilities. Home environment may contribute in several ways to a student’s initial literacy development, with lack of parental support, poor social and environmental factors, and a negative perception of the school experience hindering the overall learning process. As many students will look to performance indicators and social comparisons for evidence regarding personal achievement, evidence that points to failure may play a role in the student losing the efficacy for learning while causing the student to adopt self-handicapping approaches to learning.
Components of the home environment are often associated with a student’s academic functioning. The accumulations of risks in the home seem to prove more detrimental to achievement than any one risk alone (Swanson, Valiente, & Lemery-Chalfant, 2012). As the link between home environment and educational outcome is deeply intertwined, with the social structure of the family fostering early learning opportunities, parental support may be directly related to language development, vocabulary, reading comprehension and overall academic outcome. Home environment may contribute in several ways to children’s initial literacy development in school. Literacy opportunity, which refers to the degree to which the home environment provides possibilities for interactions with literacy, can range from the availability of “environmental” print such as books, to parents as models of literacy use, and finally to the joint involvement of parent and child in literacy activities (de Jong & Leseman, 2001). As phonemic awareness and basic word decoding skills may be the building block for early reading awareness and necessary for basic comprehension, a deeper level of reading comprehension seems to be directly linked to the linguistic and listening comprehension necessary for reading achievement and overall academic outcome throughout school. Although the prototypical form of home literacy may decline in importance when children become self-sufficient readers, families will continue to provide contexts for developing literacy skills in a broad sense, influencing cognitive–pragmatic skills that, in turn, foster children’s reading comprehension and learning achievements later in life (de Jong & Leseman, 2001).
The term self-regulated is used to describe learners who are motivated and strategic, they demonstrate effective problem-solving abilities and typically possess a high efficacy for learning while attributing academic outcomes to factors they can control (Perry, Nordby, & VandeKamp, 2003). However, in contrast to students who are self-regulating, many students will look to performance indicators (such as praise and encouragement) and social comparisons for evidence about who they are as students. If the evidence points to failure, students may lose efficacy for learning while adopting defensive and self- handicapping approaches to learning. They may attempt to avoid failure and self-esteem damage by seeking easy tasks, procrastinating, or avoiding academic work altogether. When access to learning opportunities are limited and the home environment fails to provide literacy support, the self-regulating behaviors that foster learning and academic achievement may be hindered, even when factored in to an educational setting. Consistency between home and school should implement practices that not only provide access to reading and other learning materials, but that also promote motivation, self-regulation, and achievement, allowing classroom activities to build upon children’s experiences at home (Perry, Nordby, & VandeKamp, 2003).
Academic achievement is consistently related to long-term productive health, social and professional outcomes, with parental roles and the home environment influencing achievement and academic outcome. However, theorists have argued that the accumulation of risk factors is more detrimental to positive functioning than is the presence of any one risk factor. Self-regulation and social relationships also contribute to achievement, with risk factors (such as lack of parental support and low socio-economic status) often correlating with poor academic functioning (Swanson, Valiente, & Lemery-Chalfant, 2012). Theorists posit the burden of simultaneous risks is of greater detriment to development than is the severity of a single risk. Investigators have demonstrated that CHR (cumulative home risk) composites predict academic outcomes during several developmental periods. An index of CHR comprised of poverty-related risks has been linked to preschoolers’ and elementary school students’ achievement concurrently, with cumulative home risk during infancy being related to poor achievement in preschool and throughout elementary school. Regulatory abilities may partially explain why CHR is related to achievement. Effortful control is a behavioral and emotional regulation of temperament that involves the abilities to focus and shift attention, to manage one’s dominant reactions to accomplish a task, and to initiate and complete tasks proactively (Swanson,Valiente, & Lemery-Chalfant, 2012). Effortful control is significantly influenced by the environment, with positive parental support promoting higher levels of effortful control. A home environment comprised or risks, such as conflict within the home, can significantly undermine effortful control. Poor models of managing emotions and controlling behavior may play a greater role than general intelligence in determining academic achievement.
Effortful control seems to be related to achievement due to the influences of processes operating in the classroom. Highly regulated students may hone regulatory skills because they develop relationships conducive to high performance. Teachers and classmates tend to favor and assist well-regulated children more so than those low in effortful control, high in antisocial behaviors, or generally less engaged in classroom activities. Disruptive, deregulated students form conflict-ridden academic relationships will often result in less positive interaction, feedback, and instruction in early elementary and middle school (Swanson,Valiente, & Lemery-Chalfant, 2012). As high-quality relationships enhance motivation toward academic goals, negative classroom relationships can result in negative school associations that interfere with motivation and engagement in later schoolwork. Classroom and peer interactions are especially important for children traditionally at risk academically. Peer-rejected students tend to disengage from activities in the classroom, with peer victimization significantly lowering levels of student engagement and effortful control. Teacher responsiveness and a supportive peer environment seem to be directly linked to student achievement, perhaps because students associate the school environment as a desirable positive social atmosphere in which to participate (Swanson,Valiente, & Lemery-Chalfant, 2012). Furthermore, as student’s home learning responsiveness tends to be predictors of school responsiveness, teacher’s response levels to students seem to be directly related to student’s negative perceptions of the classroom experience (McNair & Johnson, 2009).
Adolescent views of school importance, academic performance, and future success are likely associated with the characteristics of the various contexts in which they develop (such as parental support, parent’s education level, and resources available within the home). Home environment serves as a learning context, with parental academic philosophies often guiding the choices they make at home for their adolescent children. These philosophies will place adolescents in a position to achieve or not to achieve academically. In addition, schools that provide supportive learning environments are more likely to produce students who value school and are committed to achieving. A parent that is achievement-oriented is likely to model behavior consistent with academic achievement and may be more likely assist in the student’s learning. Time spent with academic-related activities, such as reading for enjoyment, is often associated with higher achievement and cognitive test scores (McNair & Johnson, 2009). Families that do not have or provide access to learning resources in the home may place their adolescent children at a disadvantage in relation to their school attitudes and academic performance. In contrast, adolescents who are offered opportunities to experience cultural capital in the home are more likely to master academic material, attain higher levels of academic achievement, and achieve higher levels of schooling than those who are not offered these experiences (McNair & Johnson, 2009).
Although parental involvement and a home environment that fosters academic achievement plays a significant role in determining educational outcome, environments outside of the immediate family context also serve as a source of influence. School environment also serves as an important socialization context and is often associated with students’ positive orientation towards and motivation for academic success. Positive school experiences promote views of school importance and school performance and are often associated with increased academic motivation and achievement, with negative school experiences being associated with decreased academic motivation and achievement (McNair & Johnson, 2009). As parental academic involvement with adolescent student in the home context communicates the importance of academics which is associated with the adolescent taking a more positive approach to school, positive school experiences and positive peer relationships also play a role in the perception of a positive school environment and tends to be strong predictor of academic success. As both the home and school environment play a role of importance in the socialization process fundamental for success, student who are largely responsive and minimally negative tend to offer a number of specific prosocial responses, such as greeting, sharing, helping, imitating, and complying that appear to function together (Herring, & Wahler, 2003). In addition, adolescent recognition of school importance tends to be associated with motivation towards current and future academic success, with adolescent orientation towards academics and school being associated with behaviors necessary for academic success. As a result, academic performance is likely to increase when adolescents view school as important and when they value high achievement (McNair & Johnson, 2009).
As parental support and an environment supportive of academic achievement tends to be central to academic achievement, the accumulation of risk factors seem to be more detrimental to positive functioning than the presence of any one risk factor in itself. Effortful control is significantly influenced by environment and positive parental support seems directly related to a student’s ability to produce higher levels of effortful control. A home environment comprised of risk factors can undermine effortful control and negatively influence academic outcomes. The link between home environment, social development, and educational outcome appears to directly influence motivation, with the social structure of the family fostering early learning opportunities. Parental support may be directly related to language development, vocabulary, reading comprehension and overall academic outcome. If access to learning opportunities are not provided within the home and literacy support is not implemented, the self-regulating behaviors that foster learning and academic achievement will negatively affect classroom achievement. Although positive classroom experiences will also play a role in promoting learning and achievement, it is the consistency between home and school that elevates motivation, self-regulation, and overall academic achievement.
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