Directors' Attitudes Regarding Parental Involvement in the Middle School Choral Program

September 25, 2008 / By: Jeffrey A. Rapp

The aim of this study was to investigate middle school choral directors’ attitudes and efforts in enhancing parental involvement in their programs. Many researchers have described the benefits of the family, home environment, and parental involvement on academic aptitude and achievement in general. Western educators, particularly those from the U.S. and U.K., have acknowledged that if their efforts are to generate lasting success they must reach beyond the pupil in the classroom and enlist the support of parents. A model for investigation was devised by combining the approaches of previous researchers that are presented in the literature review. Specifically, inquiry was made into: (1) the directors’ broad attitudes regarding parental involvement; (2) methods and frequency of communication used by directors to promote involvement; and (3) directors’ intentional efforts to promote involvement—further categorized as parental musicianship, parental supervision, and parental support.

This descriptive study collected data using a postal survey distributed to one hundred middle school choral directors throughout the state of Minnesota.  Participants (n = 39) were asked to respond to a series of twenty prompts that probed their attitudes and activities in enhancing parental involvement. 

The results of this survey suggest that while most directors acknowledge the value of parental involvement, they take a relatively narrow approach in implementing it. A Likert-type analysis of the survey results showed that directors were very active in promoting activities that may be categorized as parental support such as attendance at concerts, providing transportation, and talking with their child about musical progress. Teachers were somewhat less likely, however, to intentionally incorporate parental musicianship activities into their curriculum. These items included talking about music with their child, singing with their child, attending non-school concerts together, and listening to recordings with their child. Finally, teachers were least likely to encourage parental supervision activities such as parental assistance in vocal practice, attendance at lessons and/or rehearsals, and recording of the student’s practice. Although researchers in instrumental music have shown parental supervision to be advantageous to musical achievement, the subjects in this study seldom promoted this category.