Implications

This study examined the definitions of parental involvement given by teachers and parents of hearing impaired children in a residential school for the deaf. No definitive conclusions could be drawn, however these implications for the researcher's practice were found.

The most critical implication was the importance of communication between parent and child. Both parents and teachers agreed that parents must be able to communicate with their child. It was only with learning sign language that parents would be able to effectively provide any type of involvement in their child's education. Parents would not be able to volunteer in their child's classroom, nor effectively help with academics if they did not have the means to communicate. Programs need to be researched and developed on the best ways to practically influence parents to learn how to communicate with their child who is deaf.

Communication between parent and teacher was also considered important, but neglected. The teachers felt they were consistent with their correspondence, yet the response from parents was limited. More research needs to be conducted about the best ways to keep parents current on classroom occurrences, while also encouraging parents to keep teachers informed about home occurrences.

The findings also suggest that teachers felt parents needed more education about how to meet the needs of their child. This included education on child development and most importantly on deafness and its effects. Research also needs to be conducted in this area as well. In this study, neither parent interviewed mentioned this as a concern, suggesting the need for further study to see if parents really do not meet the needs of their children, or if this is a bias held by teachers.

Teachers and parents interviewed both mentioned academic support as involvement. Research has been conducted on this aspect of involvement, but needs to continue in order to find the best ways parents can successfully reinforce what is taught in school.

Research also needs to be conducted on how to effectively involve parents who live a distance from the school in the education of their child.

In summary, parent involvement remains a concern of both teachers and parents. Thus, in addition to more research, teachers and parents need to continue to communicate about ways to insure that it occurs. The more that is known about what parents and teachers define as parental involvement, the better both teachers and parents work to implement strategies to increase parental involvement for children who are deaf.

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