American University of Beirut (LEBANON)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 207-211
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
This study was designed to identify barriers to learning in Palestinian children. It examined the relative contributions of child characteristic (i.e., gender, age), parents’ socio-demographics ( i.e., parents education, family size, refugee status) and aspects of parental styles of influence and practices such as family ambiance, harsh discipline, physical abuse, psychological maltreatment, gender inequities, satisfying children’s needs, and parental support to academic achievement ( i.e., GPA).

The sample consisted of 1000 school age children who ranged in age from 12 to 16 years. Two school counselors carried the interviews with children at school, and with the available parent at home. Three regression models were constructed for comparison. Model 1 included only the child’s characteristics (i.e., age and gender). Model 2 included the parents demographics (i.e., mother’s education, father’s education, family size, family income, refugee vs. non refugee status), as well as the variables in Model 1. Model 3 included all the preceding variables, in addition to aspects of parental styles of influence and practices such as family ambiance, physical abuse, psychological maltreatment, gender inequities, harsh disciplining, satisfying child’s needs, and parental support.

The results indicated that the model containing all three predictor blocks accounts for 17.3 % of children’s academic achievement variance. Of the child characteristics child’s gender was a significant predictor with males having lower academic achievement than girls. Among parent’s sociodemographic variables, only three stood out as predictors of better academic achievement including higher income and higher levels of parent’s education. Refugee status and family size were not significant. Of the parental styles of influence and practices variables only three stood out as significant predictors of academic achievement in children. Children who experienced gender inequities and psychological maltreatment in the family tended to report lower levels of academic achievement. Surprisingly, children who reported that they were subjected to harsh discipline by their parents in terms of coercive punishment, immediate obedience to parental orders, monitoring and directing activities had higher levels of academic achievement.

Intervention efforts should be focused on educational programs for parents.