Top 7 Benefits of Online Tutoring in 2018

Best Benefits Of Tutoring Through The Internet

It used to be that tutoring was seen as a solution for an imperfection, only needed if a student had an issue. More recently, as state-funded schools struggle with swelling class sizes and shrinking budgets, tutoring – especially virtual online tutor – is becoming a clear answer to help supplement students’ classroom learning, whether they’re struggling or already doing well in their studies.

At A3 Tutors, LLC, we’re excited to see this growth in understanding of and knowledge of online tutoring options. There are many ways that online tutoring can help students benefit, including the six below.

 

1. One-on-One Attention

Many current students experience the effects of a deficiency of attention from their teachers, who are overburdened with increasing numbers of students and fewer assets. David Bell, Ed.D. (c.a.), founder and CEO of A3 Tutors stated “changes have exacerbated this issue as government spending plans have shifted meaning fewer educators and less accessible resources – making it hard for even the best teachers to succeed. An online tutor can give students one-on-one attention in the security of their homes. This eliminates possible distractions or other impediments like transportation and scheduling restrictions, and means students can maintain privacy”.

 

2. Relationships

Due to the one-on-one learning situation, students can often more easily bond with a tutor, even an online one, than with a teacher. Working with a tutor allows the tutor to focus on one student at a time and remove the constraints of being in an authority or judging position. This can allow tutors to relate more effectively to a student’s point of view than an educator who needs to keep up a more distanced and segregated relationship.

 

3. Self Esteem

Since a teacher has to share lessons with an entire class of students and can’t tailor it to specific students’ needs, there’s a risk that in most lessons some students will understand it while others do not. This can cause students to feel “stupid” or not on par with their classmates. By introducing ideas or lessons in a way that makes it easier for a student to understand, a great tutor can help bolster students’ self-esteem and learning capacity.

 

4. Availability

Bell said, “A tutor, particularly an online tutor, can be accessible as often as a student needs, and can be accessible whenever. Educators are not required to work with students outside of school hours, yet tutors are by and large accessible at whatever point a student needs them. And with an online tutor, students avoid the potential burden of leaving their homes.”

 

5. Selection

One benefit of online tutoring that goes beyond face-to-face tutoring is tutor selection. Using an online tutor gives students access to tutors with whatever background or availability needed. This makes it easier to discover a tutor who is a decent counterpart for the student’s specific needs.

 

6. Cost

Online tutoring offers a wide selection of tutors accessible from anywhere, meaning tutees are more likely to find one that’s the best fit for them and in their price range without worrying about location. Plus, online tutoring removes the need to pay for extras like gas or transportation, reducing the cost even further, helping to be a good steward of the environment.

 

7. Technology

Many students find that they prefer online tutoring. Online sessions can be recorded for future reference and good tutors will be able to use technology for illustrative purposes through photographs, activities, illustrations, and outlines. These technological learning tools are not always available for face-to-face learning.

These are only a few of the reasons that an online tutor can be a great benefit for any student. A3 Tutors offer a range of online tutoring options, which allow for one-on-one attention and the ability to find a tutor customized to your student’s needs. We look forward to talking to you more about how we can help you reach your learning goals – feel free to contact us at https://www.a3tutors.com or call us at +1 (877) 411-8630 to learn more.

Developing Faculty Use Of Virtual Learning In Incarcerated Higher Education Programs

 

One of the most important things any society can do is to provide its residents with a quality education (Buchanan, 2012). But what does a “quality” education mean? John Dew offers a few different ways to define it, such quality in education is “quality as endurance,” like a Mercedes Benz that will drive for hundreds of thousands of miles. Another potential definition is “quality as luxury and prestige” like a private yacht in Monte Carlo, or “quality as conformance requirements” or “quality as continuous improvement” (Dew, 2009, p. 4-5). While all of these suppositions are important, it is quality improvement in education that drives educators to constantly improve their profession and provide better guidance to their students. One way and area that administrators can best achieve this improvement is to focus on helping faculty who teach in correctional higher education.

 

Incarcerated education

It’s critical to understand the complexity of teaching in a correctional setting. As Spaulding describes, “Many prison educators are not full participants in the correctional system, and they are not full-time members of the higher education community” (Spaulding, 2011, p.73). These teachers are not fully members of either the higher education or correctional systems. Instead, most correctional teachers are contracted part-time through local universities or community colleges (Williams, 1989).

 

Teaching in a correctional facility

I’ve spent many years teaching in different educational settings. I first started out in public education as a K-8 ESL teacher. Then, I moved into an adjunct professor position with Central Arizona College before teaching in a correctional setting with adult inmates. For the first two positions, I received ongoing faculty development training to bolster my skills and learn about advances in best practices. However, in correctional education, I have never received training other than security procedures and self-defense lessons. Luckily, I am able to carry over the learning I received through the Central Arizona College faculty development training into my correctional education setting. However, those teachers that are not in dual employment conditions like I am are expected to provide the best teaching they can without the benefit of similar training. Hundreds if not thousands of teachers in correctional education are expected to continue to develop quality in their teaching craft without the support of training to improve.

Though students have access to textbooks, computers, libraries, educational T.V., and other teaching tools, these cannot replace having a teacher. Students still perceive faculty as the most valuable resource in a correctional education classroom. In an academic correctional classroom the teacher is the most important asset for inmate student learning and “are perceived as very helpful by almost all students” (Tewksberry & Stengel, 2006, p. 21). To ensure that this continues to be true, we must support our correctional facility teachers and offer the resources necessary to allow them to better themselves.

Personal computers and the Internet have revolutionized entire sectors of American society. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Skype and other online communications media have allowed billions of people around the world to share ideas in a matter of seconds, mostly at a very low cost. These advances in computer technology are as remarkable as they are familiar.

But most people are not aware of how computers and Internet technology are transforming the way students learn. This emerging education paradigm is often called “virtual learning,” and it has the potential to improve student achievement, educational access and schools’ cost-effectiveness.

Specifically, virtual learning uses computer software, the Internet or both to deliver instruction to students. This minimizes or eliminates the need for teachers and students to share a classroom. Virtual learning does not include the increasing use of e-mail or online forums to help teachers better communicate with students and parents about coursework and student progress; as helpful as these learning management systems are, they do not change how students are taught (Van Beek, 2011).

 

Education In Correctional Facilities

Since the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2001, there are rigorous standards that many states require teachers must meet to earn or maintain their certification. This includes professional development activities that improve teachers’ knowledge of their subjects; helps them ensure students can meet state academic achievement standards; and are developed with tandem with teachers, principals, parents, and administrators of the school, among other requirements (United States Department of Education, 2012). However, part-time faculty often struggle to meet these professional development requirements, a challenge with is especially concerning as so many teachers in correctional facilities are contracted part-time.

The challenges inmate students encounter every day in correctional facilities are very different from students of traditional higher educational programs (DelliCarpini, 2008). However, relevant and meaningful professional development for higher education faculty is rarely available even though we instruct students who are most at-risk in terms of academic success. Instead, faculty in correctional higher education programs attend professional development venues aimed at more traditional higher education teachers and often find that it is not applicable to their classrooms. For example, I often attend training opportunities through Central Arizona College and leave feeling that though I received interesting and valid information, it didn’t really fit into a correctional classroom environment.

After teaching corrections for more than four years, I’ve grown familiar with the student population and the nature of the job. I’ve become accustomed to the flow of daily life inside the walls of a prison and feel a sense of comfort in the routine. I could be having a stressful morning getting to work, but once I check out my mace and key set I calm down. Inmate students usually have not had the most positive experience with academic education. For many, the educational system let them down. For some, they were just lazy and were not interested in school as teenagers, but most inmate students want an academic education. The challenge is the discipline and knowledge needed to slowly prepare for the GED test. If we’re able to provide relevant professional development opportunities, we can work to address these challenges and ensure that we’re nurturing correctional teachers who can help these students succeed.

 

References

Buchanan, N. (2012). An educated population is essential to a nation’s prosperity, yet some politicians are demonizing our educational system for political advantage. Verdict. Retrieved from https://verdict.justia.com/2012/03/29/an-educated-population-is-essential-to-a-nations-prosperity-yet-some-politicians-are-demonizing-our-educational-system-for-political-advantage.

DelliCarpini, M. (2008). Creating communities of professional practice in the correctional education classroom. Journal Of Correctional Education, 59(3), 219-230.

Dew, J. (2009). Quality issues in higher education. Journal For Quality & Participation, 32(1), 4-9.

Pieczura, M. (2012). Weighing the pros and cons of TAP. Educational Leadership, 70(3), 70-72.

Spaulding, S. (2011). Borderland stories about teaching college in prison. New Directions For Community Colleges, 2011(155), 73-83. doi:10.1002/cc.459

Tewksbury, R., & Stengel, K. M. (2006). Assessing Correctional Education Programs: The Students’ Perspective. Journal Of Correctional Education, 57(1), 13-25.

United States Department of Education. (2012). A PPSS lessons from the field report providing effective teachers for all students: Examples from five districts. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Policy and Program Studies Service.

Van Beek, Michael. (2011). Retrieved from: https://www.mackinac.org/14475

Williams, D. N., & ERIC Clearinghouse for Junior Colleges, L. C. (1989). Correctional Education and the Community College. ERIC Digest.

Advantages Of Reading And Virtual Learning For Test Takers

 

Something that happens numerous times in my classroom is when students approach me and ask “How can I improve my test scores for exams?”

I’ve noticed that good readers usually have more developed higher order thinking skills and computer-based or virtual learning skills and therefore they are better test takers. Therefore, it is important to have these skills before taking an exam because students need to have a decent level of both before preparing for tests or exams. It is not a quick or easy process to acquire these skills, but one that requires dedication to the development.

When I ask students “How much do you read?”, the most common response is, “Not that much.” After hearing their response, I challenge students to transform their habits. I explain that they need to read at least an hour a day. Students can read books, magazines or newspapers, but it is essential that they accommodate their individual reading level.

The ideal reading level will be simple enough for the student to comprehend, but challenging enough to allow for progress to higher levels of reading and new vocabulary. When each student reads at their prescribed level, learning occurs at an accelerated rate while still allowing the student to make connections in real-world experiences and observations through books, newspapers, and magazines.

 

The Importance Of Reading

Science proves that right now your own brain is actively engaged as you are reading my article; assuming you are enjoying the content. Your brain is actively working through the process of changing letters into words (or symbols) and your brain then takes these symbols and associates them with a previously understood meaning, converting their structure into language and understanding.

It’s not a simple process, but very complex and challenging for many inexperienced readers. According to Bloom’s Taxonomy, low-level readers fall within the lowest level of cognition:  knowledge and comprehension. How do I challenge low-level readers to move forward to higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy? How can you achieve the same goal?

Students need to put the necessary time into reading. We have all heard that “practice makes perfect” and this is a great example of that saying. There is no easy path to successful reading, except reading. Again, my suggestion is at least one hour per day.

 

Benefits Of Reading Books

Once readers put the time reading what the author is trying to convey, they will start to form opinions about the information presented. Readers must decide to agree, disagree or solve a problem related to the text they just read. Once students engage in this type of thinking, readers begin to participate in Bloom’s higher level of cognition which involves analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

In the 1950s, Benjamin Bloom, an educational psychologist, and his colleagues developed a classification system identifying different levels of cognition that defined both lower and high order thinking.  The six levels within the cognitive domain are from lower to higher: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Higher-order thinking is the ability to think beyond rote memorization of facts or knowledge. Rote memory recall is not really thinking. Higher order thinking skills involve actually doing something with the facts that we learn.  When students use their higher order thinking skills that means they understand, they can find connections between many facts, they can manipulate them, and put them together in new ways. Most importantly they can apply them to find new solutions to problems.

Students with poor reading comprehension skills may be able to answer concrete questions or recall details. They can usually name characters or places. But they may have a difficult time summarizing information, or comparing one story to another, or using new information to reach new conclusions. Making inferences, identifying the big picture or moral of a story, distinguishing opinions from facts, or finding biases are also skills very difficult – if not impossible – for the reader with poor reading comprehension skills.

One of the goals of reading is to make new connections to our life and world.  Readers who can use higher order thinking not only show knowledge and understanding of the text, they can put the information in new contexts and form relations between ideas.  (Marshall, 2013)

 

Advantages Of Reading Books

The less time you spend in front of a screen, the better. You’re not damaging your eyes. If you want to sleep, you shouldn’t be looking at a computer screen for at least a half-hour before bed. The blue light emitted from the screen reduces the naturally occurring melatonin in your brain. Melatonin regulates your natural ability to fall asleep. Reading a book solves these problems.

As students continue to read on a regular basis, they will inevitably encounter new vocabulary in their reading. This is beneficial for the student to be exposed to new language and develop a more extensive vocabulary through which to express themselves.

In my personal experience, as the saying goes, “If I had a nickel for every time” a student asked what a word meant, I would no longer have to teach to pay the bills. Exposure to unknown ideas sparks students’ curiosity and cause them to question further. Students begin to wonder what words mean and will then seek answers to satisfy their curiosity.

New vocabulary is a challenging, but essential for students to obtain. Instead of just giving the definitions to their word questions, have students find answers on their own. The first tool to provide your students is the dictionary. Looking in the dictionary can and will be an adventure for your students because they will discover word origins and previous uses of the word throughout its history. Such a discovery process allows students to forge new and authentic connections to the world around them and is crucial for improving reading skills needed for each year’s new GED test.

 

Advantages Of Online Learning

A key part of learning for testers is the opportunity for virtual learning – or learning via the use of online resources such as the internet, social media, or computer software. This virtual learning is especially important for students who may not have access to more traditional in-person learning opportunities that others do to develop this critical thinking. By having access to the Internet or other online resources, students are granted a cost-effective way to access the information they need to become better readers and test-takers.

 

Virtual learning comes in several forms:

Computer-Based: Instruction is not provided by a teacher; instead, the instruction is provided by software installed on a local computer or server. This software can frequently customize the material to suit the specific needs of each student.

Internet-Based: This is similar to computer-based instruction, but in this case, the software that provides the instruction is delivered through the Web and stored on a remote server.

Remote Teacher Online: Instruction is provided by a teacher, but that teacher is not physically present with the student. Instead, the teacher interacts with the student via the Internet, through such media as online video, online forums, e-mail and instant messaging.

Blended Learning: This combines traditional face-to-face instruction, directed by a teacher with computer-based, Internet-based or remote teacher online instruction. In effect, instruction comes from two sources: a traditional classroom teacher, and at least one of the forms of virtual learning described above.

Facilitated Virtual Learning: This is computer-based, Internet-based or remote teacher online instruction that is supplemented by a human “facilitator.” This facilitator does not direct the student’s instruction, but rather assists the student’s learning process by providing tutoring or additional supervision. The facilitator may be present with the learner or communicating remotely via the Web or other forms of electronic communication (Van Beek, 2011).

As students increase their time spent reading and using virtual learning, they inevitably progress on the scale of Bloom’s Taxonomy towards higher level thinking.  The predictable advantages that accompany learning through reading are my main motivation for encouraging students to spend time here. The more often they read, the better they perform in testing and exams. Emphasizing extended reading along with virtual learning in your classroom and see how much better your students will perform in their tests and exams. Just remember to take advantage of paper-based reading where you can as well. 

 

References

Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of educational objectives: Complete edition.New York: Longman.

 

Anderson, L.W., & Sosniak, L.A. (Eds.). (1994). “Bloom’s taxonomy: a forty-year retrospective.”            Ninety-third yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Pt. 2. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

 

Bloom, Benjamin S. & David R. Krathwohl. (1956). “Taxonomy of educational objectives: The                  classification of educational goals, by a committee of college and university examiners.”                Handbook 1: Cognitive domain. New York: Longmans.

 

Marshall, Pam. (2013). Retrieved from: http://www.k12reader.com/reading-comprehension-and-higher-order-thinking-skills/

Van Beek, Michael. (2011). Retrieved from: https://www.mackinac.org/14475

Why You Need To Put Down The Cell Phone More Often

Woman Using Mobile Device
A recent article published in the BBC reports that ‘An overuse of mobile phones by parents disrupts family life, according to a survey of secondary pupils.’

An alarming amount of pupils who took part in the survey claim that they have previously had to ask their parents to stop using their mobile devices, some even reported this happening at meal time. However, only a small percentage of parents felt that they spent too much time on their devices.

This can raise a lot of questions about how online and mobile usage can affect how families spend time together. While mobile devices have plenty of advantages, such as; ease of keeping in touch, ability to capture photos quickly while you’re all together and searching the internet in seconds, they can also have a detrimental effect on family life.

What might only seem like a quick scroll through Facebook or Instagram, can turn into half an hour gone in the blink of an eye, involved in an online world and not communicating in the real world.

 

We’re All Guilty Of Too Much Screen Time

It’s not just parents that this happens to though, children are using mobile devices just as much, if not more. In some cases, children are using their mobile devices late into the night and this can lead to sleep deprivation.

Asking your child to use their phone less, will be much less effective if you’re an avid user of technology yourself, as they will find this unfair and dismiss your request.

Setting aside a set amount of time every day for family time is a great idea for both parents and children. If you’ve all been caught up in virtual life for a while, you’ll be surprised at what stuff you may have missed. Setting aside one day a weekend to go out as a family and have a meal together, with no technology, can be great for strengthening your family relationship.

Having a strong family bond also helps encourage children to come to you with any problems they may be having (online and offline), which can be greatly important in solving any issues and helping your child stay safe.

How Much Does a Private Tutor Cost?

Private tutor cost question with dollar above and education icons

 

“Individuals generally charge according to their level of education and experience. Expect to pay $12 to $20 per hour for a high school student, and up to $85 per hour for a certified teacher with top-notch experience. A teacher trained and qualified to work with children with special needs will likely charge more. Rates will vary quite a bit depending on your location, subject, and frequency of the sessions” (Care.com, 2016)

“Unlike a learning center, private tutors will spend all of their time one-on-one with your child. The sessions will typically take place in your own home. Private tutors tend to specialize in only a few subjects, so if you’re looking for in-home tutoring on a wider range of subjects, you may end up needing more than one tutor.

With a tremendous number of listing agencies to connect you with a private tutor, finding one that’s right for your child is easier than ever. Expect the cost to be around $30 to $40 per hour, but as high as $85, depending on the tutor’s experience level and subject. Private tutors generally do not charge additional upfront fees or require contracts” (Angies List, 2016)

 

Tutoring Costs at A3 Tutors, LLC

You can count on A3 Tutors, LLC to be your best tutoring partner because we work one on one to help students get the help they need regardless of subject, level, or location. Our tutors partner with a student, tailoring a tutoring plan that addresses the student’s specific needs and interests. Our tutors are uniquely qualified to provide the hands-on educational support you need because we understand and work in the education system.

A3 Tutors has the educational foundation needed to achieve positive educational outcomes for you. Our tutors have Arizona State Fingerprint Clearance Cards and everyone has completed background checks. With this high level of expertise, you should expect to pay $50 – $70/hour, but that is not the case with our company. Our tutoring costs are $45.00/hour at most. This is a very affordable price for hiring an experienced professional for your tutoring needs.

Mastering the 2014 GED Test: One Simple Suggestion

Master 2014 GED Test

There is no doubt that the 2014 GED test is a difficult assessment for students to pass. It is completely computer-based and the knowledge that students are required to possess prior to the GED test is more extensive than it has been in previous years.

Hopefully, your students will acquire 21st-century skills necessary for the exam and beyond or else they are in danger of becoming the equivalent of extinct dinosaurs in the workplace. Lockwood, Nally, Dowdell, McGlone, & Steurer, in their article titled “Implementing the 2014 Ged Exam and Computer-Based Ged Testing in Correctional Facilities: A Guide for Correctional Educators and Administrators” (2013) explain the need for students to master the many types of questions (multiple choice, short answer, hot spot, drag and drop, etc) used throughout the GED exam.

Here’s What I Suggest You Do

One simple and powerful suggestion for successful testing is to install Pearson Vue’s free and downloadable practice test onto your classroom computers. Have students explore the practice test on their classroom computer as a hands-on exercise. It is essentially the same as the official test. To access the resource, click on the following link:

http://gedtestingservice.com/educators/freepracticetest

Look to the right-hand side of the page. The free GED practice tests are available in both English and Spanish but do not have all of the features of the GED Ready practice test, which is online only.

My students love using this resource because they see exactly how the GED test will appear. This prevents them from wasting time figuring out how to navigate through the test and they are exposed to the many types of questions that will appear when the day of their exam arrives.

Reference

Lockwood, S. R., Nally, J. M., Dowdell, J., McGlone, J., & Steurer, S. (2013). Implementing the 2014 Ged Exam and Computer-Based Ged Testing in Correctional Facilities: A Guide for Correctional Educators and Administrators. Journal Of Correctional Education64(2), 5-21.

Rebuttal: Getting Great Teachers to the Front of the Classroom

David Bell Water Background

http://azgovernor.gov/governor/blog/2017/04/getting-great-teachers-front-classroom

Governor Ducey,

In your recent State of the State address, you implied that there were problems with our state’s teacher certification process. You argued that well-known citizens such as Sandra Day O’Connor should not be required to go through the same educational process as other Arizona teachers.

I don’t believe that anything with teacher qualification needs to be fixed. If the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor wants to teach civics, she should go through the same qualification that all teachers have to go through. Rather than changing our certification system, it is critical that we change how we pay our teachers.

Pay Them What They Deserve

If you value something, you pay a higher price for it. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Arizona educators. Instead, teachers in our state are paid nearly lowest in the nation – averaging at 49th of the 50 states for pay. Many of our state’s property owner and taxpayers don’t want to pay for this valuable service. Many retirees feel that they’ve done their part in another state; one that outranks Arizona in teacher pay and performance.

Arizona has become a revolving door for teachers because of low pay. Teachers work here for a year or two and then move on to another state that pays more. Why would you want to bring in more teachers? Pay the ones you have higher wages and they will stay, and Arizona will be able to keep great teachers here for the long haul.

It has been said that a society truly reveals what it values most by how it prioritizes the sufficient funding of its most vital programs. A thriving education system is a central bedrock of a prosperous, flourishing society.

Currently, Arizona is 49th out of the 50 states in teacher salary pay, and it is last in capital funding per student spending. What does that say about whether our state values education?

It is critical to focus on actions, not words. Words are only words until there are actions to fulfill them. Governor Ducey, if you truly value education for the children of Arizona as you claim, then you must adequately pay teachers for the indispensable value they provide to all of our students.

Shaping Collaborative Leadership in Higher Education

A3 Tutors, LLC Dark Light Fade

A leader’s approach and ability to channel stakeholders’ talents and energy toward a specific goal in which everyone has a stake that is deeply rooted in the leader’s own values, beliefs, and experiences. These collaborations directly affect both the leader’s collective nature and relationships with all of the stakeholders (Olsen, 2010). Values, beliefs, and experiences are dynamic and interconnected and serve as interpretive filters for experiences (Trackman, 2008). Being able to distinguish between all of the above can be very helpful for critical analysis to redefine, clarify, and solidify stakeholder values.

Research Findings Regarding the Collaborative Nature of Leaders

The cooperative nature of a leader from a western society is negatively affected by our culture of individualism. Yet even individualistic societies value in-group collectivism for the furtherance of cooperative leadership. Leaders who marginally value cooperation with all stakeholders will most likely be indifferent to the participative process and will fail to see the value and benefits of shared responsibility. Conversely, leaders who are willing to sacrifice some of their authority (Olsen, 2010) in the name of collective leadership will engage in a struggle to maintain the vision, focus, and mission of their Higher Education Institution (HEI) (Trackman, 2008).

When leaders develop policies for their HEI’s, they are responsible to everyone with a stake in the institution. However, ensuring the equitable input of all stakeholders in developing a structure for governing is not easy. Leaders must be careful not to create what Trackman calls “a crisis of confidence” (2008, p. 65) within the institution. He writes that “good university governance also does not simply happen. It is usually the product of painstaking effort to arrive at suitable governance structures, protocols, and processes” (p.77). Universities and colleges attempt to recruit students on a continual basis, but bad leadership and other governance problems can make that difficult. Institutional leaders must figure out how to address unproductive or ineffective HEI policies without going too far in the opposite direction, which ultimately, may cause more problems.

Influence of Values, Beliefs, and Experience on Relationships

A leader’s rapport with students, support staff and more importantly, parents, can become an important asset in HEI’s. LaRocque, Kleiman, and Darling (2011) state that many factors affect parental involvement in their child’s education attainment – factors such as income, citizenship, and others can affect parents’ involvement in the school process. LaRocque et al. stated that “teacher attitudes and actions will greatly influence how all parents perceive a school’s interest in their families and their relation to the school” (2011). My own experience has shown me that parents will become involved if they are welcomed to participate by classroom teachers. To accomplish this, I would call parents once a month. If I need support with a classroom project, parents were very willing to assist me. These interactions were mutually beneficial. Leadership in HEI’s will be much more likely to value parental involvement in future engagements.

Parents play a key role in student success (LaRocque et al., 2011) and are one of “the missing links” in positive educational outcomes. Most educational leaders are not adequately competent in the area of parental involvement. Many scholars struggle to understand the role that parent’s play in a student’s educational success. However, when leaders attempt to break down barriers such as language, cultural, emotional and physical barriers, (LaRocque et al., 2011) parental involvement is extremely valuable and important.

Likewise, shared governance with students should also be considered. In the 1960s and 70s, students were very effective at exerting their influence in decisions made on colleges campuses across America. However, in more recent years that has declined dramatically (Miles, Miller, & Nadler, 2008). Philip Carey (2013) suggests that students need a dynamic government process. Furthermore, he writes that “restrictive policies and procedures associated with managerialism should be resisted” (p. 1303). There are many ways for students to further contribute to policy-making decisions within their HEIs. Each HEI is going to be unique and one model of student governance is not going to adequately fit all HEI’s.

It is critical to have students actively involved in shared governance, as they are the ones who are helping finance the institution. As the recipients of the educational experience, students can contribute and have a voice in how their funds are used for educational purposes. When students are involved they become shareholders themselves that “buy into” the governance happening at their school. Student leadership projects are perfect opportunities to include students in the process. Productive and lasting relationships can be formed collaborating in shared areas of concern toward achieving the HEI’s mission.

Proposed Method for Effective Shared Leadership

The HEI’s vision must embody values and beliefs that are esteemed by all stakeholders. Outside stakeholders are essential to the survival of any organization. Whether they are gatekeepers or stakeholders in the decision-making process, they maintain standards or bring in fresh ideas. Support staff, students, and parents want to create relationships with their institutions’ governance gatekeepers, yet are also doubtful (2013). Carey writes that “respondents acknowledged the occasionally negative impact of gatekeepers on the system, but the data offers little insight into the motivations for their actions” (p. 1300). One way to create this trust is to develop brand communities. Brand communities “can be vibrant entities where consumers can be actively engaged in collaborative practices with one another and with supportive institutions in ways that can build brand equity” (McAlexander & Koenig, 2012, p. 123).

State colleges and universities are receiving less money (Chakrabarti, Mabutas, & Zafar, 2012). To balance this decrease, tuition at HEI’s continue to increase (Doyle, 2013). Accreditation agencies are important external stakeholders, helping determine whether certain colleges and universities are providing quality education to their students. These agencies evaluate if colleges, universities, and academic programs have achieved an acceptable level of quality for academic viability. Accreditation approval is important for an HEI because potential students can then evaluate if their academic efforts will prepare them for a career in their chosen field.

Communication is one of the best ways to break down barriers is to involve and engage parents, student, and staff. Critically reflecting on how well an HEI is accomplishing its mission provides an opportunity for participation of all stakeholders (Miles et al., 2008). One way to help identify collaborative opportunities is through groups that survey the goals of the HEI. Once data for the survey groups have been tallied, leaders can classify and prioritize the issues, then they should create leadership forums and deliberate solutions to the challenges that exist. The purpose is to be able to build trust and openness within the forum. The answers to institutional challenges are discoverable in the stakeholder’s collective wisdom, knowledge, and experiences (Miles et al., 2008). Colleagues in other HEIs may also be a gold mine of creative solutions. Networking with leaders from neighboring HEIs may shed light on positive or negative outcomes of implementing procedures or programs under consideration.

In talking about how critical accountability is in HEIs, Gary Olson (2010) wrote that “our increased commitment to accountability has led to more deliberate, defensible, and professional decision-making. Specifically, it has highlighted the necessity of making data-driven rather than seat-of-the-pants decisions, much less ideologically driven ones” (Olsen, 2010). HEIs have legal responsibilities to all stakeholders of the institution. That’s why administrators, faculty, support staff, and students all benefit by working together as a team toward a shared vision with a collaborative leader.

References

Carey, P. (2013). Student engagement: Stakeholder perspectives on course representation in university governance. Studies In Higher Education, 38(9), 1290-1304. doi:10.1080/03075079.2011.621022

Chakrabarti, R., Mabutas, M., & Zafar, B. (2012). Soaring tuitions: Are public funding cuts to blame? New York, NY. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Doyle, W. R. (2013). Playing the numbers: State funding for higher education: Situation normal? Change, 45(6), 58-61. doi:10.1080/00091383.2013.842112

LaRocque, M., Kleiman, I., & Darling, S. M. (2011). Parental involvement: The missing link in school achievement. Preventing School Failure, 55(3), 115-122. doi:10.1080/10459880903472876

McAlexander, J. H., & F. Koenig, H. (2012). Building communities of philanthropy in higher education: contextual influences. International Journal Of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Marketing, 17(2), 122-131. doi:10.1002/nvsm.1415

Miles, J. M., Miller, M. T., & Nadler, D. P. (2008). Student governance: Toward effectiveness and the ideal. College Student Journal, 42(4), 1061-1069.

Olsen, G., (2010). Holding ourselves accountable. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Holding-Ourselves-Accountable/64325/.

Trakman, L. (2008). Modeling university governance. Higher Education Quarterly, 62(1-2), 63–83.

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