English Teacher’s Perception on Parental Involvement towards Motivation of ESL Learners


The key factors to second language acquisition include attitudes and motivation. Previous scholars and the vast majority of educators in public schools recognize parental participation in public schools as important for the success of students, both academically and socially. The main purpose of this research is to examine the opinion of English teachers regarding parental engagement towards the encouragement of students to learn English as a second language in school. A total of six teachers participated in this study, all of whom came from different backgrounds but were majoring in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). The data was gathered through an interview session and analyzed using a descriptive approach. The results show that parents, teachers and students share the burden of helping students develop their learning of languages. Therefore, the results suggest that the students themselves, as well as the teachers and parents, should consider some significant consequences. For students, they should be conscious of the importance of English, for teachers, creating a conducive environment to learn the language and for parents, to exhibit a positive attitude towards English. As for future study, it is recommended that a thorough analysis be carried out for future study to consider the thoughts of parents and students.

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Hsing, N. and Adnan, N. (2022) English Teacher’s Perception on Parental Involvement towards Motivation of ESL Learners. Creative Education, 13, 3739-3758. doi: 10.4236/ce.2022.1311237.

1. Introduction

In public schools, researchers and educators have long acknowledged parental involvement as the vital success of students in both perspectives, academically and socially. The primary role models in children’s immediate surroundings are usually their parents. Every parent’s desire is assuring their little ones to excel academically in school. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to provide the teacher’s perceptions on parental involvement in ESL learners in learning the English language. Specifically, this study is conducted to investigate: 1) English teacher’s perception on parental involvement towards student’s motivation in learning English as a second language in secondary education, 2) Effects of parental involvement on children’s motivation in learning English, and 3) Barriers of parental involvement towards their children’s learning of English.

Perception is a process which lets our surrounding involved with our sensory presence by recognizing the natural world inspiration as well as reactions to these stimuli. As for this study, perception refers to the idea and feeling of a group of teachers towards parent involvement in motivating their child to learn the English language (Cherry, 2016). While assisting a child with homework is just the starting. By going to educational trips on weekends or even completing arts project together will give constant reminders to parents in being supportive of their child’s education (Ireland, 2014). In this study, parental involvement refers to the six different types of parent involvement which is mentioned in the Epstein’s Framework.

The general word for motivation means enthusiasm for doing something. Every learning process begins immediately with interest. However, it is not always easy to stay motivated. It takes more than just motivation when it comes to learning a language. English, just like any other language, requires both intrinsic (e.g. self-satisfaction or interest in learning the language) and extrinsic (e.g. parent involvement, or when they want to gain a reward as well as avoiding a punishment) motivation. As in this study, motivation in learning English refers to the child’s interest to learn a language whether or not their parents seem as if they are also taking interest in the language.

2. Research Background

It has long been said that family has a significant impact on the children’s learning process. To increase the confidence of the children’s abilities and motivation in learning, parent involvement may be one of the key factors. Parent’s involvement (PI) or parent’s investment has taken on variety of meanings. There are a number of ways where it may take place like taking part in the school’s governance issues, participating freely in school activities, aid their children with schoolwork at home, and taking part in the parent-teacher associations. Past studies have targeted that PI is a key variable in bringing educational improvement for their children (Hornby & Witte, 2010). The involvement of parents tends to increase from families of higher income as well as educational background. However, on the other hand, some may suggest actions and practices by teachers may speculate more involvements from the parents themselves.

Usually, parents only hear from the school when their child has misbehaved or is doing poorly. This results in negative prospects towards the teachers and school as a whole, and is not an eye-opener for anyone. It is possible to improve this situation by bestowing constant constructive feedback and from the start, as well as initiate a positive environment in the classroom (Markham, 1995). The beliefs and perceptions of parents may also give rise to how children eventually approach learning. For instance, parent’s perception on the ability and motivation of their child, the parents’ knowledge of learning in the classroom, and beliefs regarding their own sense of virtue may be significant pioneer to a broad range of parenting strategies (Ames, 1993). These strategies may include the way parents talk to their child regarding school, supervising the progress of their child as well as aid their child’s learning. Therefore, parental involvement may contribute to the motivation of their children in learning.

In most cases, children remain with parents in their home, so the parents are to be accountable to fulfill the fundamental needs of their little ones. To add up, some parents tend to favor a controlled lifestyle of their children. As stated (Ghazi, Ali, Shahzad, & Khan, 2010), variations of beneficial, extrinsic and motivational factors may be offered by parents, however, the context and manner in which the motivation is to be given or received is one significant part. If a child believes she can do it, then she will, therefore, personal judgement or self-efficacy must constantly exist.

3. Problem Statement

Malaysia is a country of multi-culturalism due to the existence of multiple racial ethnicity. Based on the government’s language and education policies, the Malay language is promoted as the official and national language of the country which restricts the opportunities for learning and speaking in English. Therefore, the growth of English learners has been impeded.

The people who do not grow up in an English-speaking environment and have no knowledge of the language remain mostly uninterested due to the fact that their dominant languages are their native language. Moreover, some feel demotivated when trying to use the language when they receive negative comments from the people around them. Alas, they find no motivation in learning other languages. (Ames, 1995) stated that when formulating academic, social, and emotional support from parental investment, it should supply a profound basis to fraternize children’s motivation and attentiveness in learning English as a second language. Thus, this study seeks to investigate English teacher’s perceptions on parental involvement towards motivation of ESL learners in the secondary education in Malaysia.

The main objective of this research is to investigate English teacher’s perception on parental involvement towards student’s motivation in learning English as a second language in school. The research questions are as below:

1) What are the perceptions of teachers on parental involvement towards their children’s learning of English?

2) What are the benefits of parental involvement on children’s motivation in learning English?

3) What are the barriers of parental involvement towards their children’s learning of English?

4. Theoretical Framework

Urie Bronfenbrenner theory is about human development which is also affected by the social environment of the individual (Guy-Evans, 2020). It was stated that different individual grew up differently and a child’s identity depends on it. His theory emphasizes on five interrelated systems in which a child interacts with. The five systems are the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, the macrosystem and the chronosystem.

Joyce Epstein has developed six different types of parent involvement, also known as the ‘Epstein’s Parental Involvement Framework.’ This framework has ever since assisted educators in unfolding partnership programs between school and family (Epstein, 1995). The six different types of involvement can be parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making and collaborating with community. While Figure 1 shows the conceptual framework for this study.

The findings of this study will expand the repertoire of the parents’ perception of their child as a learner with the help of information contained in the communications between home to school. When the school is able to get parents involved with their child’s education, the child may feel that education is equally important as the parent’s work. In the ground of effective parent involvement and engagement practices, this study is believed to give contribution towards it. The data collected later can reveal the teacher’s perception on parent involvement, the benefits of parental involvement as well as the barriers of parental involvement towards their child’s learning of the English language.

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological System Theory

The Bronfenbrenner’s ecological human development theory is a foundation used by many educational researchers to study diverse aspects of parent involvement

Figure 1. Conceptual framework.

involvement and ways of how parents are to take part in supporting the success of their child both at home and in school (Guy-Evans, 2020). The five systems introduced in this theory are as follows:

1) Microsystem—A group of people who are in direct contact with the child like family and school.

2) Mesosytem—The relationship between the groups of people as mentioned in microsystem.

3) Exosystem—Group of people who are indirect contact with the individual, for example the people at work.

4) Macrosystem—The cultural elements that give impact to the child and people around, for instance, cultural values.

5) Chronosystem—The stage in which the person is actually going through in life, for example their marriage.

Epstein’s Parental Involvement Framework

The amount of participation a parent commits to their child’s life is called parent involvement (PI). PI can help their child in so many ways. It is more than just attending children’s report day meeting (Epstein, 1995). For instance, in the aspects of social, educational, safety as well as school involvement. Most schools encourage parental involvement by doing events or opening up volunteering opportunities. This situation however is up to the parents themselves whether or not they would want to take part. Joyce Epstein has developed the various types of ways in which parents can do in which it is considered as involving. The six types of involvement can be as follow:

1) Parenting: Programs to help families initiate home environments to assist children as students.

2) Communicating: Construct efficacious form of school-to-home and home-to-school communications regarding programs in school and the progress of children.

3) Volunteering: Parents help and support should be enlisted and be systematic.

4) Learning at home: Supply families with adequate information and ideas in order to help students at home be it with homework or extracurricular related activities, or even planning.

5) Decision making: In making school decisions or developing parent leaders and representatives, no parents should be left out.

6) Collaborating with community: Any relevant services from the community should be pointed out and merge these resources in order to strengthen programs in school, family practices and student growth.

5. Related Previous Studies

According (Hernandez, 2011), a significant point is that communication with the school community sets the essence for all other parent involvement activities. Moreover, for parents to develop a positive attitude about teachers and school in general, it is significant that parents discern the school as being more communicative. Based on his study, the top priority is that the school needs to be aware of how parents are involved of their children well-being in school.

In order to strengthen the use of English, Malaysia’s Ministry of Education (MOE) has improved on the existing curricular by introducing the Highly Immersive Programme (HIP) to primary school level in 2011, which is under the “Upholding Bahasa Malaysia and Strengthening English” (MBMMBI) policy (Yamat, Umar, & Mahmood, 2014). As highlighted in the Malaysia Education Blueprint (MEB) 2013-2025, HIP, aligned with student yearning aims to instill positive attitudes towards the learning and usage of English. It was also mentioned that the four rudimentary factors for the success of HIP are the school, teachers, students as well as parents and community.

A study by (Ghazi, Ali, Shahzad, & Khan, 2010) stated that to help motivate children towards their education, positive reinforcement should be practiced. These positive reinforcements include giving incentives, rewarding children in going to places they desire and many more. In addition, it was also mentioned that the children get motivated when parents give praise and appreciation to them on doing well. On top of that, when children are given the appropriate help and encouragements in terms of homework and co-curricular activities, they tend to perform better in school.

In the Malaysian context, there are studies conducted on the attitudes and motivation of secondary students towards learning English as a second language. (Ming, Ling, & Jaafar, 2011) mentioned that students understand the significance of English in school and they are enthusiastic to learn the language. Students do not see it as a wasted effort although they feel that learning the language is strenuous. In contrast to some students who show the lack of interest in learning English as they claimed that the language is not amusing. Supported by (Mat & Yunus, 2014) who stated that some students enjoy learning English due to their own self desire in being fluent whereas some students have anxiety in using the language.

6. Research Methodology

The research study will use the qualitative method and interview questionnaires would be listed out and asked in order to accumulate the data. As for this study, it is designed to identify teacher’s perception, the effects and barriers of parental involvement towards motivation of ESL learners from the perspectives of English teachers from different schools. By doing a qualitative research, interviews can be carried out in order to gain better insight of the phenomena alongside the teachers’ personal experience which may relate to the situation, rather than a quantitative approach.

The reason a qualitative method is chosen because it is more suitable when trying to seek and explain of “how” and “why” a particular phenomenon operates as it does in a particular context. Just like the previous studies, researches have done it to better understand how and why parental involvement can or may give effect to the motivation of their child in learning the English language in particular.

Upon analyzing the data, a deductive coding approach will be used in order to look for the ideas or concepts relating it to the framework and theory use in this research. For this research, the Epstein’s parental involvement framework and Bronfenbrenner’s ecological system theory will be examined closely in order to see the relationship of English teacher’s perception on parental involvement towards the motivation of ESL learners (Guy-Evans, 2020).

Research Participants

A simple random sampling technique is used in picking the participants for the study. The participants of this study are all English teachers, majoring in the English field. A total of six teachers will be asked to take part in the research by answering a set of questions given in the interview session. The respondents can be both male or female teachers, regardless of age group or teaching experience.

Research Instruments

The instrument that is going to be used is a set of questions adapted from the School and Family Partnerships Survey of Teachers in Elementary and Middle Grades (Epstein & Salinas, 1993). From the questionnaire, selection sections will be analyzed especially in measuring the teacher’s perception regarding 1) their own perceptions as teachers about parental involvement, 2) the effects of parental involvement, and 3) the barriers of parent involvement. In the interview, teachers will be asked on their personal opinion and how they actually teach children English whether or not they involve the student’s parents. The Center on Families, Communities, Schools, and Children’s Learning have long developed and used this survey for years. Due to that, the results of their survey provide credence in reliability and validity.

Research Procedure

The interview questions would be listed out and divided into three sections where Section 1 aims to find out the teacher’s perception on parental involvement towards children’s motivation in learning English, Section 2 aims to find out the benefits of parental involvement and Section 3 aims to find out the barriers of parental involvement. Then, an interview of approximately 30 to 45 minutes will be conducted to a total of six English teachers, taking in consideration of their major in English field. After completion, the recording will be transcribed and data will be encoded into several coding and therefore analyzed into certain categories then discussed.

Data Analysis

Since there is an indefinite way of analyzing a qualitative data, the process depends on the interpretations as well as the presentation of evidence from past studies. When the data are collected via the interview, it will be transcribed and categorized accordingly following different coding schemes. From there, the nominal data can therefore be analyzed and interpreted to useful data in analyzing teacher’s perception, effects and awareness on parental involvement towards ESL learners.

7. Findings

Teacher’s Perception on Parental Involvement towards Child’s Motivation in Learning English as a Second Language

Educational involvement of the family, parents in particular, helps children to grow up being productive and responsible members of a society. It simply means that when parents are involved in educating their children, it is equal to school being proactive in bringing about improvement and growth among the students. The themes and sub-themes which emerged from the data are as follows: (Table 1).

1) Parenting

As stated in the Epstein’s Framework (Epstein, 1995), there are six ways on how parents can be involved in their child’s life. In the first section of the interview, a total of eight questions were asked to find out the teacher’s opinion on whether or not a child can be motivated if their parents are involved. Based on the views given by the teachers, all six respondents do think that parents’ involvement is important in so many aspects of a child’s life holistically;

“As they are growing, they are the ones doing decision and everything for their kids.” and

“In show of support, parents are taking concern over the children’s education.” (Participant A)

“Mainly because students only spend time around 6 hours at school, most of the time at home.” (Participant C)

“I believe it’s important because it greatly influences the children’s attitude.” (Participant D)

“Student’s well-being starts from home.” (Participant F)

Table 1. List of themes and sub-themes.

Based on the responses given, the theme identified is parenting, whereas the sub-themes are microsystem and mesosystem. Parenting is one way of parental involvement where it simply means parents getting involve in the right programs to help initiate a comfortable home environment to accommodate the child as a student. To help the child develop, microsystem is the community of people like family and school are the ones who are in direct contact with the child. It is critical not only the community surrounding the kid, but also the bonding that is within the community towards the child.

2) Communicating

In addition, the theme emerged from the interview is communication and the sub-themes are microsystem as well as mesosystem. In response to the questions from Section 1, the teachers do not seem to feel so strongly that parents can meet the needs of their children. As mentioned by Participant C,

“The only thing that they know is, ‘What can I buy?’ ‘Workbooks or dictionaries?’ and things like that.”

Effective communication is one significant way to help a child grow. Based on Epstein’s framework, it is important to develop successful school-to-home and home-to-school communications with regard to school programs and the children’s progress;

“The best that I usually do is write note on a piece of book and ask the parents to reply to me or share some information through WhatsApp.” (Participant A)

“As a class teacher, I would text my kids if they don’t come to school and if they don’t come more than three days, I would text their parents.” and

“What I mean by doing it right is although they don’t know how to teach, but at least they put their kids in line like asking their children what’s their progress, or what’s happening” (Participant C)

The fact that some parents are unable to provide the child with the correct type of assistance simply means that the parents themselves are not fluent in the language, and this is definitely not their fault. The littlest effort in helping even by just buying books for the child is considered helpful. Through good communication skills and relationship between the group of community who are in direct contact with the child, it can help the child to learn the language better, as mentioned by Participant D,

“By having parent-child reading session together, children can somehow learn to like the language.”

Supported by the results from a study (Ames, 1993) that indicates that a school-to-home contact frequency and content are significant. If there are interactions containing information that can affect parents’ views of their child as a learner, give parents a sense of success, and make the parent feel comfortable with the school, the engagement of the parent may be enhanced. In addition, according to (Ames, 1995), the findings suggest that helping teachers develop a sense of motivation to include parents can be an important component of a school-based intervention which seeks to inspire teachers to incorporate parental involvement programs. The study also mentioned that school-to-home interactions appear to be related to the level of comfort of parents with the school and their views of their child as a learner. On the other hand, maintaining a good relationship between teachers and parents is very important because parents are advised to inform the teachers of any problems faced by the child at home. Not because the teacher can help to solve the problem completely, but it can help the teachers to be more sensitive towards their feelings and take into account possible ways of handling the student in class. This was also mentioned in a study by (Hernandez, 2011) that when parents can be active this way, many of the behaviour management issues faced by teachers can be more easily handled. As stated by Participant E,

“Parents can help to inform the teachers about their children.”

3) Volunteering

According to (Meador, 2018), when a continuous effort of getting parents involve by giving them more responsibility each time they invest in the process, it will lead the parents to appreciate their child’s education. All six teachers agreed that most parents in their school would take the opportunity to contribute to the school one way or another;

“Give support to their children to go to school for tuition classes.” (Participant B)

“We do have parents who try to get involved in several activities in school.” (Participant F)

Participant C even mentioned that there was a time where her school drama team needed help and thanks to the parents of the children, they were able to go compete on the day of the competition.

“Parents do have the means to help us… Luckily at that time, we have two students in the team, whose father was the manager of some factory that had a few vans that they can lend to us which are free of charge.”

Volunteering according to Epstein’s framework (Epstein, 1995) does not necessarily mean supporting and helping out in school, but also at home. Participant E clarified how parents can help and support their children at home;

“Parents need to monitor their children’s progress. When they monitor the progress, they will know what follow-up actions to take on their child.”

If parents can help with homework, even in the simplest way, the child can feel motivated to learn.

“This way, it will show the children support and encouragement to learning.” (Participant D)

“When parents are involved with their own children’s learning, it can help their children to grasp the subject matter.” (Participant F)

Though, according to the teachers, as they are working parents, some parents may not be there to contribute or even attend school events. Parents work to support the family they have, that is, they work to earn and pay the annual school fees and additional tuition, it is definitely not something to blame. As mentioned in a study by (Hernandez, 2011), working parents who are simply too busy to attend school activities which are not directly related to the academic curriculum of their children.

4) Learning at home

Moreover, learning at home is one theme which emerged from the data alongside with the sub-themes of microsystem, mesosystem and macrosystem. Schools should provide sufficient information and ideas for families to help students at home with homework or extracurricular activities, or even with preparation and planning. However, the problem arises as according to the teachers, in some cases particularly;

“They understand the importance of English, but the problem is they do not know how to go about it like what other sources that they can find to help the students.” (Participant A)

“All they can think of is sending their children for tuition classes.” (Participant B)

“… parents only know how to buy books for their children but they do not know how to assist at home, okay, in terms of when we give homework.” (Participant C)

Participant C believes that the child can be academically on the right track with the help of the parents at home.

“Because with parent’s involvement, with things like homework or task or project that we give students outside of the school time, parents will be the one that need to make sure their children are doing it right.”

Although the sampled teachers feel like parents do not know how to assist the child at home with the language, they are still keen in giving homework for the child to do, hoping that the parents will assist sooner or later. In (Hernandez, 2011) view, if the parents are deemed unable to fulfill their obligations because it is not their will or they do not care, this may have a negative effect on the relationship between parents and teachers. In this study, according to two teachers, they will include parents with their child in certain activities, thereby helping the child learn not only at school, but also at home.

“I would give them projects like, ‘You have to interview your parents’ something like that. So that is how I would try to involve parents in the activities.” (Participant C)

“… do more English exercises at home like grammar or at least they write essay to practice their writing at home.” (Participant F)

5) Decision making

No parents should be left out in school decisions or in the formation of community leaders and representatives. Another theme found from the data is decision making. Including parents in a few decisions making for the school is logical as they are indirectly involved with the school, which is through their children. Some teachers agreed that parents should be included when making decision for the schools but not the subject matter in particular, as stated by Participant A;

“…towards school management but not English specifically.”

Nevertheless, not all parents will commit to attending the school meetings. The parents are kind enough to help out and just go with the flow when a decision is made.

“…there are some group of parents who are very helpful where they are helpful in terms of helping out with certain activities like being present in that activity although they don’t help out firsthand.” (Participant F)

6) Collaborating with community

In addition, all appropriate community services should be identified and these resources when combined, is able to improve education, family activities and student development programs. The respondents also added that the society should also contribute in order for the schools to provide better services to students;

“By having good relationship with the parents, they can help to make things smoother for us as teachers.” (Participant C)

From the given opinion, the teacher participant mentioned that when schools have good alliances with the community like parents, the school could go further in terms of planning, organizing and conducting a program. As mentioned by Participant A and B,

“…the exposure that the parents give is very much important.”

“…it’s important for the child. It’s part of how parents help their child grow.”

While some parents are not helping out from the planning stage, they are making an effort to get involved even if it means only participating on the event day. This action is still recognizable and appreciated by the teachers;

“…parents are only involved in certain activities that the school organized annually.” (Participant F)

A sub-theme arose from the theme of collaborating with community is the exosystem where it means group of individuals who are indirectly in contact with the person. The exosystem of the child in this study is the school and the community.

The Effects of Parent Involvement on Children’s Motivation in Learning English

The next segment of the interview conducted was to find out whether or not parental involvement has an impact on the motivation of a child, especially in learning English. The themes which arose from the data are 1) Motivates the learner and, 2) Encourage good teacher, parent and student relationship.

1) Motivating the learner

There are three words, according to (Saminathan, Yin, Mustafa, & Abdullah, 2020) where teachers can instill an interest in students to learn English, which are creativity, understanding and encouragement. With the help of parental involvement, the child will have a sense of belonging and would feel that the parents care;

“If parents talk to their children, it will show that parents are concern with their education and the students will at least be vigilant.” (Participant C)

“… the children will know that the parents also care about the school.” (Participant D)

To add up, the willingness of teachers to involve parents is the foundation for involving parents in a school and a crucial prerequisite for organizing and carrying out activities. Teachers are considered the front line of a school and are the main contact for every parent. Parental involvement in the learning of their children not only improves the morale, attitude and academic achievement of a child across all subject areas, but also encourages better behaviour and social adaptation (Tekin, 2011). The sampled teachers did mention several ways on how they would encourage parents to be involved with the child’s learning of English;

“…we usually suggest to them is to let the children watch cartoons with English subtitles, listen to English songs and read English books.” (Participant A)

“It’s already considered a good effort if they contact the teachers and ask how to help their children.” (Participant B)

“I would tell them to make sure their children do whatever I ask them to do at home.” (Participant C)

“…new vocabulary, or literature, the characters and the characteristics or retell the plot of the stories to the parents.” and

“…just make sure that the children finish their homework and if they were to learn extra, get the students to practice grammar, doing grammar exercises at home and practicing writing…and try to converse in English with their parents at home.” (Participant F)

Children will better understand the importance of learning English with the aid of parents. While some parents may not be proficient with the language, it should not be an obstacle to the children learning it. As stated by Participant F,

“Parents should be the soul motivator for the students in everything including to learn English even if the parents do not know how to speak English.”

It is however good if the parents are literate with the language. This can support students and teachers alike;

“…if the parents are proficient enough to at least teach the students the basic words at home, then when they go to school, they are ready.” (Participant C)

Most importantly, the surrounding of the child is an important aspect of how a child may learn. It is similar to what has been mentioned from the Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory where the it states that the relationships that makes up the environment have an effect on the development of the child (Guy-Evans, 2020). Therefore, providing a comfortable surrounding for the child at home and at school is critical (Basri, Hashim, & Yunus, 2019). This can foster the child’s motivation to learn more.

“They need to get use to the school environment; they need to feel comfortable in the learning environment so that they can learn better.” (Participant A)

“…school is where the students learn and school is where students are allowed to do mistakes and they are correct on those mistakes without being punish by the law.” (Participant F)

2) Encourage good teacher, parent and student relationship

Based on (Ames, 1995), the study reported that children have positive attitude of motivation and parent involvement were more likely as the parents received persistent and useful communication from the teacher. This further elaborates the findings from this study where when parents are involved, the child will feel motivated to learn;

“…let’s say their children are learning about animals, the parents can come up with the idea of making a trip to the zoo and see animals with their own eyes.” (Participant A)

“Parents should talk to the child what they have learned in school if they are well informed by the teachers in school.” (Participant D)

“It helps to strengthen the family relationship, their bond and at the same time, if we go back and relate it to learning English, at least the students will try to recall something interesting that they’ve learned in the English class.” (Participant F)

Apart from that, when parents are being helpful to teachers in terms of informing the teachers of the student’s trouble or so, this can further strengthen the relationship between student and teacher (Plaindaren & Shah, 2019). Sampled teachers have mentioned several times from the study about how it can help to lessen their burden if they know more about the child, particularly why and what makes the child to behave so during class. As in Bronfenbrenner’s ecological system theory (Guy-Evans, 2020), the second layer is called the mesosystem, a layer that links between the structures of the child’s microsystem, like the teacher of the child and the parents (Adnan, Norman, & Nordin, 2019). Supported by Participant C, D, E and F from this study,

“Parents should talk to teachers because problems that children face at home, they bring it along with them to school, together with their affected emotions.”

“Especially on the student’s studies, poor habits or poor attitude. This way, teachers will know how to handle the students.”

“Parents are allowed to share about the problems their children are facing at home. It can somehow help us help them.”

“It helps the teachers to better understand their students.”

As the involvement of parents increased, teachers and school administrators may also have the opportunity to implement quality education (Norman, Nordin, & Hashim, 2019).

The Barriers of Parental Involvement on Children’s Motivation in Learning English

Teachers may pose an obstacle for parents to come to school and participate in activities when there is any form of negative attitude towards the students’ parents (Hernandez, 2011). Other than the teachers’ attitudes which may make parents feel uncomfortable, parents’ family funds may also contribute as an obstacle for parents to participate actively in their children’s education (Rusli, Hashim, Yunus, Zakaria, & Norman, 2019). Nevertheless, based on the interviews conducted with the sampled teachers, a few common barriers to parental involvement in schools are as follows:

1) Attitudes

Some teachers feel uncomfortable discussing the problem with family members. Reason is that they are afraid parents are going to breach the confidentiality of the child. As mentioned by Participant E,

“…not exactly because I am not a class teacher.”

Furthermore, some teachers ought to think that families are too overwhelmed to participate in school;

“I think parents won’t really have the time. I mean, they sometimes don’t come for school events either.” (Participant A)

Due to having this assumption, some teachers are not ready to accept families as equal partners to aid the child’s education. Other than the attitudes of the teachers, parents’ attitude also plays a major role. According to the participants, some parents have trust issues against the school, towards the teachers in particular. Moreover, some typical parent mindset is that once children go to school, it is fully the teacher’s responsibility and they think that they do not have to contribute in any way.

2) Logistics

A few barriers related to logistics is that most schools and programs could not afford to pay for the children. The majority of events held at schools are funded by the Parents Teachers Association and the money comes partially from the government, and the community themselves. Another major problem related to why parents could not attend these school meetings or activities is because it is held during working hours or during inconvenient times for them. As stated by Participant A,

“Understandable that they are working adults and most school activities happen during the working hours.”

It is understandable when parents are in this situation because if they are to spend their time with the school activities, there will be no compensation for the time they take off from work. Unless the employers are considerate, then it would not be an issue for the family. Besides that, some children come from a home which is located far from the school. This means that in some cases, transportation or road conditions is inconvenient for families, as mentioned by a sampled teacher, Participant C,

“Usually I just contact the parents by phone. Some parents live in a very rural area.”

“The places where they live at are not the place where it is easily accessed.”

3) System barriers

Apart from having no time to compensate parents during working hour or even teachers outside of the working hour, there is also no system to reward both parties for their time and contributions. The school in general, lacks resources to support parent and family involvement. This is something to debate with because who else would want to put in extra effort if it is not rewarding. The sampled teachers mentioned that they have too much work and sometimes have just enough time to do certain things like handing out the student’s report card in school during the one-time event which is report card day;

“…during report card day only usually.” (Participant D)

“…during report card day only.” and

“…teachers are busy.” (Participant F)

Some classes in school have more than 30 students and teachers find it a struggle to give equal attention to all students. As stated by Participant B,

“One class is sometimes not enough to answer every child’s question. So yes, they are allowed to ask their parents at home and parents should talk to them to help them understand better.”

Surely the staffs and parents would feel motivated if there is something in exchange for their efforts.

4) Lack of skills

Last but not least, another barrier which emerged from the interview is lack of skills, both in parents and teachers. In terms of parents or families, they may have not taken part in school meetings or activities before and do not know how or where to start with;

“So, when you encourage them, those who send their children to school on Saturdays, the parents look as if they want to help too but don’t know how to.” (Participant A)

In relation to this, if the school staff is not ready to collaborate with the family, it will then lead to one waiting for another to start something. This situation may be caused by a lack of informative role of both families and staffs.

8. Discussion

The findings of this study imply that some serious implications should be considered by students themselves, as well as teachers and parents. As for students, they should be inspired to master the language by being aware of the importance of English (Basri, Hashim, & Yunus, 2019). By being exposed to the language on a daily basis, be it reading, writing, listening or speaking, it can help them to further improve. When doing so regularly, it will gradually increase their self-confidence and self-esteem when using English. The more knowledge they have about the language, the more equipped they will be to deal with any potential challenge ahead of them.

As for the teachers, the best way to help is by creating a comfortable environment for the students to learn the language (Plaindaren & Shah, 2019). Just like one sampled teacher said, the school should be a safe place for students to learn English without getting punished for doing any mistakes. Just like in the classroom, teachers should give students opportunity to use the language and not giving negative reinforcement if a mistake is made. The mistake can be addressed politely to not humiliate or threaten the child. This will encourage the students to be brave in using the language as they try.

Parents, on the other hand, should also play an active role to vitalize their children in doing well in the language. As mentioned earlier, parents should be a role model to their children. By having to exhibit a positive attitude towards using English, the children will definitely follow their examples and may lead to interest towards the language. Besides that, parents should work side by side with teachers in helping to make the child’s learning experience better at home and in school. Also stated previously, the sampled teacher would inform parents what the child has learn in class and would encourage parents to revise with their child at home by relating it with real life experiences.

This research has its benefits, but during the analysis, limitations were also encountered. The research solely focused on English teacher’s perception on parental involvement in motivating the child to learn English. For future study, it is advised that an in-depth analysis be done to consider the thoughts of parents as well as students. Besides that, the results of this study should not be generalized to all the teachers as participants come from different schools, who major in the Teaching of English as a Second Language (TESL). Thus, if the participants for future studies are from the same school, the data may reflect the whole population of that particular setting. As for some recommendations relating to parental involvement and children motivation, below are a few things to consider (Adnan, Norman, & Nordin, 2019; Norman, Nordin, & Hashim, 2019; Rusli, Hashim, Yunus, Zakaria, & Norman, 2019):

1) Parents should be exposed to proper ways to assist the child with schoolwork at home as a student.

2) Children should be given the correct needs to learn the language (textbooks, exercise books).

3) Teachers should be willing to be open about accepting parents as equal partners in educating the child.

4) Steps should be taken in the community to raise awareness of the importance of participation of parents in their children’s education.

5) The findings of this study imply that some serious implications should be considered by students themselves, as well as teachers and parents. As for students, they should be inspired to master the language by being aware of the importance of English. By being exposed to the language on a daily basis, be it reading, writing, listening or speaking, it can help them to further improve. When doing so regularly, it will gradually increase their self-confidence and self-esteem when using English. The more knowledge they have about the language, the more equipped they will be to deal with any potential challenge ahead of them.

9. Conclusion

In addition to learning English as a compulsory subject in school, according to the sampled participants, it is important for parents to see the significance of the language as well. Students will slowly find interest in learning the language inside and outside the classroom by having a positive attitude towards the language. It should be taken into account that all parents, teachers and students share the responsibility to help students improve their language acquisition (Adnan & Sayadi, 2021). For students and parents, they should bear in mind that all that matters when they want to master a language is effort, right attitude and motivation. As for teachers, high motivations in teaching English and relating teaching to meaningful experiences are important, to help learners understand better. As a conclusion, effective language learners are determined by positive attitude, motivation and efforts.


This research is supported by Geran Galakan Penyelidik Muda UKM (Grant no: GGPM-2018-072) and Dana Khas Penyelidikan FPEND Pembelajaran Futuristik (Grant no: GG-2021-011).

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


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