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The Effects Of Parental Involvement In The Education

The Effects Of Parental Involvement In The Education Essay

Parent involvement is a valuable component of any students education. It is a well-established fact that parental involvement is linked to childrens success at school. When parents are involved in their children’s education at home, they do better in school. (Henderson and Berla, 1994) The level of parent-school involvement is a better predictor of grades than are standardized test scores. (Desimone, 1999) The 12 years of 180 six-hour days spent in school add up to only 13% of a student’s waking, learning time during the first 18 years of life. The rest, 87% is spent out of school, primarily at home. (Walberg) What is important is not the type of school, or who goes there, but the quality of its relationship with the families. (Henderson and Map, 2002)

Research indicates that there are positive academic outcomes stemming from parental involvement with benefits beginning in early childhood, throughout adolescence and beyond. (Henderson and Mapp, 2002; Patrikakou, Weisberg, Redding, and Walberg, 2005)

Henderson and Berla (1994) in an article A New generation of Evidence, state that the family is critical to student achievement. When parents are involved in school, children go farther in school and the schools they go to are better. There is a strong correlation between parental involvement and increased academic achievement.

2.2 Conceptual Underpinnings of the study

Parental involvement was defined as including several different forms of parent participation in education and with the schools. Parents can support their children’s schooling by attending school functions, responding to school obligations (parent-teacher conferences, for example), and becoming involved in their children’s schoolwork. They provide encouragement, arrange for appropriate study time and space, model desired behavior (such as reading for pleasure), monitor homework, and actively tutor their children. (Henderson and Berla, 1994)

Parent is used in this study to include guardians, grand-parents, foster parents and anybody who takes care of the children. (Kathleen & Karen, 1989)

In the 1980s, the United States became particularly concerned with the quality of its educational system. Parental involvement in schools became a major issue.

Communities also become more watchful of the expense of public education, while local schools became concerned with continuous provision of high-quality teaching and other services. All of this occurred in a time of dwindling resources. Additionally, parents wanted assurance that their children were receiving preparation adequate to lead rewarding adult lives (Kathleen & Karen, 1989).

Riley (as cited in Moles, 2000) explained that “parents are the essential link in improving American education, and schools simply have to do a better job of reaching out to them” (p. vii). Parental expectations regarding their children appear to be a constant in children’s academic achievement and social adjustment. Although many parents may not be certain how to help their children with assignments, with guidance and support they can become actively involved in home learning activities, have an opportunity to teach, be models, and guide their children (Michigan Department of Education, 2001).

He became interested in how schools in the U.S. involve parents in the education of their children because of the situation in my home country, Cameroon. During his education in Africa, I observed that students whose parents were not involved in their education did not perform well. Many dropped out of school or failed to further their education. In the United States, parental involvement is discussed as a major focus. That is not the case in Cameroon. There, parents have little voice in pedagogy and content.

According to Keane (2007), parental involvement improves the chances of children’s success at school, yet research suggests that parent participation may be on the decline. Keane further asserted that student achievement represents more than just grades.

Attendance, students’ attitudes toward school, student behavior, and the drop-out rate all connect with student achievement. A report conducted by Desforges and Abouchaar (2003), showed that enhanced parental involvement leads to better academic performance, better attendance, and improved behavior at home and school (p. 44).

2.3 Context of Parental Involvement

In the post-World War II Era (1945-1950s), parental involvement included participation in parent conferences, monitoring of homework, signing of report cards, attending PTA meetings, and fundraising events. In the 1960s educators and policy makers focused on parental involvement as a way to improve educational success for the poor and underachieving students. This led to the development of a variety of models and strategies to promote such parental involvement (Milbrey & Shields, 1987).

In 1965, Haiman began experimenting with parent involvement program strategies. He designed and wrote the Parental Involvement Performance Standards for the National Head Start and this was used as a consultant to Head Start throughout the nation (Haiman, 1965). In 1968 he spoke on the relevance of curriculum, administration and community involvement (Chicago Tribune, 1968). By 1979, many schools had started incorporating parental involvement into their school programs. Parental involvement in special education programs also increased (Los Angeles Times, 1979).

By 1989, the National Education Organization had started incorporating parental involvement programs in their agendas. They provided training to school staff and parents on parental involvement. The School Board Association produced sample school policies on parental involvement which they believed would make schools more secure and more likely, academic development would take place. Best practices and models to support parental involvement were developed. Many reports were written to recommend the necessity of parental involvement in school improvement (USA Today, 1989). In the 1990s, studies demonstrated that parental involvement could predict academic achievement. Parental involvement was considered an integral part of the school curriculum. The level of parental involvement was increased in most of the school districts across the nation (USA Today, 1990).

Today, laws have been created to enforce parental involvement in schools including provisions of NCLB and School Accountability Teams. Movements for community control of education such as the education of low-income children, special education students, and English Language Learners have been developed to meet the needs of students. Districts focus on implementing strategies to promote parent, family, and community involvement (National Center for School Engagement, 2004). The Family Strengthening Policy Center (2004) established that states can develop a state-wide network to support teachers’ preparation for parental involvement, and also provide technical assistance to local districts and schools on how to get parents involved. School districts must have a written policy for administrative support and training for staff, parents and community members on parent involvement programs. The community should be able to advocate with state education agencies and school districts to promote widespread and effective parental involvement policies and practices.

According to the U.S. Department of Education (1997) a sustained mutual collaboration, support, and participation of school staff and families are required for a successful school-family partnerships and children’s learning. Although the success of school family partnerships is difficult to reach, it is important to note that the benefits to children and their educational success depends on hard work required to sustain the school-family partnerships (Epstein, Coates, Salinas, Sanders, & Simon, 1997).

In line with the mandates of NCLB, the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) has developed statewide standards which establish expectations for all New Mexico public school students. These standards require every district in New Mexico to develop an Education Plan for Student Success (EPSS) — a long-range strategic plan to promote students’ success and continuous school improvement (Parents Searching Out, 2009).

Parent involvement in learning activity is a strategy that was found by Epstein (1995) to increase the educational effectiveness of the time that parents and children spend together at home. Teachers and parents agree on the involvement of parents, seventy one percent of principals and fifty nine percent of teachers called it a priority based on research conducted by. Those schools whose parental involvement is strong provide a lot of benefit to the students. ” How Strong Communication Contributes to Student and School Success: Parent and Family Involvement” shows that improved parental involvement not only leads to academic achievement, but to better attendance and improved behavior at home and school as well. When school and home work together collaboratively, and using a competent approach to education, it can make a huge difference in student achievement. (Padgett 2006) The National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) suggests that a formal policy be created. Lack of planning was seen as one of the most challenging aspects to more involvement.

Walberg on “Families in Educational Productivity” states that there is no question that parent involvement represents an exceptionally powerful way of making schools more effective, and of dramatically enriching children’s experiences. Some research indicates that achievement among students in primary schools have identified theories and policies which play significant roles in parent involvement in education (Fan and Chen, 2001; Hill and Tyson, 2009). These theories and policies not only closed the education gap in terms of demographics they also maximize student potential. Parent involvement is so important that The No Child Left Behind Act (National PTA, 2006) is a Federal Policy that puts a mandate on parental involvement in education and family-school relations across primary school levels. However, despite the consensus about how important it is for family and school to work together across developmental stages, theories of parent involvement in education have been based on the primary school students in their context and do not focus on the changes that occur with middle school and early adolescent development (Hill and Taylor, 2004; Hill and Tyson, 2009). The Title 1 program is also a government mandated program developed to increase parent involvement and educational services for disadvantaged children. This program placed the emphasis on parental involvement as the primary means of improving the quality of education of low income children (Kim O. Yap and Enoki, 1995).

One may ask the question why parents should become involved in their children’s literacy activities. The evidence about the benefits of parents being involved in their children’s education in general and literacy activities in particular is overwhelming. (Fan and Chen 2001) in their meta-analysis found that parental involvement positively affects academic performance. Feinstein & Symons, 1999 point out in their research that parental involvement leads to academic achievement.

Epstein’s framework of six types of involvement are as follows: parenting which help all families establish home environments to support children as students; Communicating from home to school and school to home about school programs and student progress; Volunteering by organizing parent help and support. Learning at home by providing information and ideas from families about how to help students at home with homework and other curriculum-related activities; decisions and planning; Parents should be included in decision making; involve parent leaders and representatives; Collaborating with the community by identifying and integrating resources and services from the community to strengthen school programs, family practices, and student learning and development.

Students value their education when they see the interest shown by their parents. Barge, & Loges (2003), highlight the fact that government supports parental involvement.

According to Moosa, Karabenick, & Adam (2001), “…the alliance between home and school has dramatically changed throughout the history of formal education, as have the roles and functions that parents and teachers are expected to fulfill” (p. 477). Throughout time, parents have been “portrayed as both friend and foe in the course of educational reform” (Callahan, Rademacher, & Hildreth, 1998). Historically, parental involvement wasn’t always a welcomed addition to the school community, and even today some view parent-school relations as a power struggle. Shaver and Walls, (1998) reported that some research found little to no effect of parental involvement on school achievement for middle age students. For the most part however, teachers and administrators welcome a helping hand in the overcrowded classrooms of the public schools and agree that parental involvement is one way to bridge reading comprehension gaps. Today, it is widely recognized that parents play an essential role in their children’s school life. Numerous types of parental involvement have been shown to develop cognitive growth and success in school (Shaver and Walls, 1998). Schools are working hand in hand with parents, Edwards, and Alldred (2000); describe parents and schools as policy makers with similar functions when it comes to children.

Research indicates that there are positive academic outcomes stemming from parental involvement with benefits beginning in early childhood, throughout adolescence and beyond (Henderson and Mapp, 2002; Patrikakou, Weisberg, Redding, and Walberg, 2005). Shaver and Walls, (1998), are also in support, they point out that the connection between parents and school achievement is real.

The Epstein case studies are another research that supports parent involvement. Epstein (2002), used the Comprehensive School Reform Model (CSR) demonstrates how collaborative work produces positive outcomes. These studies were conducted in certain states, in selected school within the school districts. Educators, parents and community partners worked collaboratively on action teams to plan the curriculum. The programs are evaluated before being implemented in order to assess how well the plans connected family and school-community involvement.

Henderson and Berla (1994) in an article “A New generation of Evidence”, state that the family is critical to student achievement. When parents are involved in school, children go farther in school and the schools they go to are better. “Regardless of socioeconomic status or race, studies show a direct correlation between parental involvement and a child’s academic achievement (Williams 1992).

2.4 Parental Involvement and Achievement

It is well established that parental involvement is correlated with school achievement of both children and adolescents (Long, 2007). Primary school children gain greater academic, language, and social skills (Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994), primary school students have greater achievement and future aspirations (Eccles & Harold, 1993) and spend more time doing and completing homework (Epstein & Sanders, 2002). Research shows that parental involvement is more important to children’s academic success than their family’s socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or educational background (Amatea & West, 2007).

Parental involvement can encourage children’s and adolescents’ achievement in many ways. One way that parents can contribute positively to their children’s education is to assist them with their academic work at home. Parents who read to their children, assist them with their homework, and provide tutoring using resources provided by teachers tend to do better in school than children whose parents do not assist their children (Izzo et al., 1999). Additionally, in a study conducted by Callahan, Rademacher and Hildreth (1998) on twenty-six lower to middle-class “at risk” sixth and seventh grade white students, students’ mathematics scores increased when parents became involved with assisting them at home. In the Callahan et al. study, parents were trained for duration of ten weeks on how to implement home-based self management and reinforcement strategies. Shaver and Walls (1998) conducted a similar parent training with seventy-four Title I students in second to eighth grade. Their study showed that regardless of gender or socioeconomic status of the child, parent involvement increased the scores of both mathematics and reading. Other parental involvement strategies that are said to assist children academically are for parents to have books, newspapers, and computers in their homes (Suizzo, 2007).

This is not to say that just because there are books and newspapers in the home that children will read them; children do, however, fare better with their reading when there are books and computers in the home.

Research shows that the level of parental involvement is associated with academic success. Children whose parents are actively involved in their schooling benefit better than children whose parents are passively involved. Specifically, if parents attend teacher conferences, accept phone calls from the school, and read and sign communications from the school, their children will benefit academically more than children whose parents do none of the above. Furthermore, children excel even more when their parents assist them at home with their homework, attend school sponsored events, and volunteer at their children’s schools (Suizzo, 2007).

Children’s academic success also may be related to school-level parental involvement. Parental involvement can be defined as participation by a child’s mother and/or father, or legal guardian in a child’s education. Children who attend schools where there is a high level of parental involvement evidence greater achievement. School-level parental involvement seems to benefit children and adolescents academically and behaviorally by promoting information sharing and control over children’s behavior. Coleman (1990) asserted that children whose parents know each other promote school identification and success for their children. Broh (2000) also mentioned that students at school-level parental involvement schools were more likely to do their homework because completing their homework was considered the norm at these schools.

2.5 What is Parental Involvement?

Parental involvement means different things to different people. A recent newsletter published by The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement (2006) explained that some people equate involvement to chaperoning field trips or volunteering for PTA committees while others define it as attending an open house or signing off on homework folders. National PTA (2006) described parental involvement as regular participation of parents, a two-way process, and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities. National PTA pays particular attentions to parents, who are economically disadvantaged, disabled, have limited English proficiency, have limited literacy, or are of any racial or ethnic minority background. Under National PTA, schools are required to do evaluation and design strategies for more effective parental involvement, and also to revise, if necessary, the parental involvement policies. It also places the responsibility for schools to be certain that parent involvement initiatives are properly developed and evaluated.

National PTA reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, 1965) with four principles to frame ways in which families, educators, and communities can work together to improve teaching and learning. These principles include: accountability for results, local control and flexibility, expanded parental choice, and effective and successful programs that reflect scientifically based research. Enhancing connections within families, between families, and with their communities and the institutions that affect them should result in better outcomes for children and their families. These principles stress that parents and schools should be accountable for students’ achievement. In addition, plans for parental involvement should be flexible to address the local needs and build parents’ capacity to improve on their children’s achievement (U.S Department of Education, 2004; Family Strengthening Policy Center, FSPC, 2004). The Family Strengthening Policy Center, FSPC (2004), observed that there is no universal definition of what parental involvement in education entails. Some definitions include greater participation in the life of a school, while others are focused on the increased contributions to an individual child’s learning process. Still others incorporate the family into the learning process through adult education, parenting, and after school activities. Reenay et al., (2007) defined parental involvement as encompassing three areas: a) direct contact with teachers, b) parental actions at school, and c) parental actions at home. In many schools, parents are engaged in the governance and planning processes in building students’ achievement goals (FSPC, 2004). Nonetheless, parental involvement takes place when parents actively, resourcefully and responsibly contribute to promote and develop the well being of their communities (Northwest Regional Education, 2001; Jesse, 2009)

Davies (1991) defined parental involvement from a shifting perspective. Restructuring the society, communities, and schools leads to the transformation of parental involvement. The following evolving definition illustrates this paradigm shift.

2.5.1 Evolving Definition

Parental involvement shifts from “parent focus to family focus, family to community agencies, school to home/neighborhood setting, eager parents to hard-to reach families, teachers/administrators agendas to family priorities, and deficit view of urban families to emphasis on inherent strengths of families” (Davies, 1991). He further explained that even though non-traditional families are much more common nowadays than they were in the 1950s, alternative family structures are effective and should be recognized by the school.

Liontos (1992) mentioned recent beliefs about parents and families that schools should consider when involving them in their children’s’ education: “1) All families have strengths, 2) parents can learn new techniques, 3) parents have important perspectives about their children, 4) most parents really care about their children, 5) cultural differences are both valid and valuable, and 6) many family forms exist and are legitimate” (pp. 30-31).

Jesse (2009) noted that parental involvement has two independent components: parents as supporters and parents as active partners. This approach of parental involvement would be insufficient if schools make use of only one of these components. Parents can be active, yet not supportive of the education process and vice versa. He further indicated that parental involvement should take many forms. For example, parental involvement can be reading to children, volunteering at the school, collaborating on decision making committees, and advocating for children. Hewison and Tizard (1980) explained that parental involvement can be focused if the school addresses the following issues: a) define what is meant by parent involvement, b) define what the school means by parental involvement, c) provide examples of parents’ decision making roles, d) remove structural barriers, and e) identify who else has an interest in increasing the parents’ role in the school.

2.6 Why parents help?

Parents, teachers, and administrators should be equally responsible for the education of children. If schools want to truly ensure academic success of children, schools need to make sure that all educational planning passes through parents first (Patrikakou et al., Weissberg, 2005). According to the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA), although parents often state that they would like to be more involved in their children’s education, they complain that they feel left out of decision-making at their children’s school. Frankly, some school personnel are not comfortable with the idea of having parents involved in more than the traditional fundraisers. These personnel feel that as long as parents stick to traditional fundraiser events, everything else will be okay. Shatkin & Gershberg (2007) and Seeley (1992) found that parental involvement at some schools is seen as a power struggle. When teachers believe that they are the primary person to handle a child’s education, then they create an unbalanced and unequal partnership. Nevertheless, at least theoretically, most teachers welcome the idea of parent involvement. According to a teachers’ perceptions study published by the National Parent Involvement Network, 83% of teachers wanted an increase in parental involvement at their schools, and 95% of inner city teachers felt that parental involvement was lacking (Funkhouser, Gonzales, & Moles, 1997).

Many parental involvement strategies have been used in the past, but schools are still baffled by the lack of parental involvement at the secondary level (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001; Drake, 2000). Antiquated parental and family involvement strategies are often cited as a major problem in research. Schools that update their strategies to accommodate the characteristics of their community benefit more than those schools that only use a standard program (Drake, 2000). Other problems may be that most parental involvement strategies are aimed at helping middle class families (Crozier, 2001), focus mostly on primary schools, and do not place much emphasis on minority families. The increased diversity of students and their families presents an even greater challenge to schools and teachers (Lewis, 1992; Wanders et al., 2007).

Teachers recognize the benefits of including parents, but consistently complain that parents do not assist in their children’s education (Lewis, 1992). Administrators and educators should not assume that parents automatically know how to involve themselves at school or home. Parents need to be taught how to effectively involve themselves in their children’s schooling. The assumption that every parent knows how to teach their children should be admonished. Parents are not teachers and need to be instructed on how to teach, assist, and encourage their children at home (Quigley, 2000). Ineffective instruction at home by a parent could hinder the academic progress of their children.

The National PTA (2006) gave the following suggestions on how to involve parents: a) schools should host orientation sessions for parents on how to be involved, b) have an onsite family resource center, which will give parents access to materials on parenting, c) give parents handouts on curriculum information and teaching methods, d) encourage parents to volunteer in school and at school events, and e) invite parents to sit on committees to participate in school-decision making.

Likewise, it should not be assumed that teachers automatically know how to effectively involve parents in the classroom and at home. Epstein (1985) pointed out that the majority of teachers have little to no training on how to involve parents in the classroom. Therefore, most teachers lack necessary skills and knowledge on how to effectively work with parents. Kesslar-Sklar and Baker (2000) found that teachers need guidance from school administrators and consultants such as school psychologists to communicate with parents. In-services and workshops could provide guidance on how to effectively engage parents. Parent engagement is important on all levels of school involvement; however, sometimes schools are confused on what is considered parent engagement or involvement. School administrators and teachers feel that parental involvement is important for the academic success of children, but sometimes the definition of what constitutes parent involvement is often misconstrued between parents and teachers. According to Epstein and Sanders (2002), there are six types of involvement: a) parenting- assist families with parenting and child-rearing skills, understanding child and adolescent development, and setting home conditions that support children as students at each age and grade level; b) communicating- communicate with families about school programs and student progress through effective school-to-home and home-to-school communications; c) volunteering improve recruitment, training, work, and schedules to involve families as volunteers and audiences at the school or in other locations to support students and school programs; d) learning at home- involve families with their children in learning activities at home, including homework and other curriculum-linked activities and decisions; e) decision making-include families as participants in school decisions, governance, and advocacy through PTA/PTO, school councils, committees, and other parent organizations; and f) collaborating with the community- coordinate resources and services for families, students, and the school with businesses, agencies, and other groups, and provide services to the community. Schools play an important role in assisting parents with the aforementioned strategies. When these strategies along with parents feeling welcome are in effect, children thrive academically and socially. If parents do not feel welcome at their child’s school, they are less likely to be involved (Constantino, 2003).

2.7 How do Schools Engage Parents?

Hanke (2006) pointed out that lack of parental involvement is due to lack of helpful information to parents. Emails, phone, letters, newsletters and personal contacts can be made by schools to reach out to parents. If schools communicate with parents regularly and consistently using the various means, the gap between school and parental involvement will be reduced. Students’ expectations and achievement will increase if families show high levels of interest (National PTA, 1998). Six different areas of parental involvement are identified by Epstein et al., (1997): parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making, and collaborating with the community. Two types of communication exist (The Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, 2006). These two types include one-way (transmittal) and two-way communication. In one-way communication, the school disseminates information to parents on how they can help their children at home. Examples of this type of communication are newsletters and informational fliers. The two-way communication is considered much more interactive and perceived as a partnership between the school and families. Examples include surveys and questionnaires structured to collect informational data pertaining to students (The Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, 2006).

Reenay and Vivian (2007) explained that even though the invention of new technologies has made it easier for schools to reach out to parents (through emails, cell phones and internet websites), the use of traditional methods in communication has been found to be an effective way for schools to communicate with parents, but this has been limited in use by schools because of time constraints. In addition, it has been assessed that the frequent use of mass communications (newsletters, calendars, letters and handbooks) by school educators has not been effective in changing student behaviors.

However, as Jonson (1999) reported, many parents do not communicate with their children’s schools due to a vast number of reasons. For example, their concerns might not be heard or responded to promptly, or they are busy at work. Despite the fact that technology is a tool providing new channels for communication, studies have shown that parents and teachers find difficulty in using them or lack access to them (Weifeng & Jialing, 2007).

2.7.1 Parental Effect on Academic Performance

According to the New Skills for New Schools (1997) teacher organizations acknowledge the need for teachers to develop skills to involve families in their children’s education. For example the National Board for Professional Teaching Standard integrated parental involvement as a separate standard into the Professional Teaching Certificate (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, 1991). The aim of these organizations is to provide pre-service and in-service training to teachers on parental involvement. However, little is known about preparing teachers to work with families (New Skills for New Schools, 1997).

The school exists in a society representing people in many walks of life, all of whom have passed through some form of schooling, be it formal or informal. Most people in the community have an interest in, and are willing to contribute to the success of children and their safety in school. The school receives input from the society (e.g., students, staff and resources) and, consequently, graduates students into professions addressing the needs of the society. Thus, it is an open system. It is, therefore, important that members of the community – parents, business companies, seniors, and stake holders – work in partnership with the school for the success of children. Specifically, parents have direct impact on their children’s progress in school.

Zero Tolerance. A constructive way that school personnel could involve parents is to involve them in school policy issues. School policies such as Zero Tolerance, for example, could benefit from parent feedback and parent support. Initially, Zero Tolerance policies were set up in 1989 in three school districts (California, Kentucky, and New York) to punish students for drugs, fighting, and gang related activities. In 1993, schools across the country adopted the policy and eventually added smoking and school disruption to the policy (Skiba & Rausch, 2006). Zero Tolerance arose in response to the increase in violent interactions in some schools; murder, murder suicides, sexual assaults, and other violent crimes have increased in the media and concern for safety on school campuses has increased (National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), 2001). Urban schools and low income schools have seen an even greater increase in the adoption and implementation of Zero Tolerance policies with current Zero Tolerance policies targeting any behavior the district deems punishable.

Schools that follow “Zero Tolerance” policies by suspending and expelling students for minor reasons are at a greater risk for having student’s dropout (Skiba & Rausch, 2006). The prompt to develop and strengthen zero tolerance policies have not gone unnoticed by mental health professionals and researchers. NASP has reviewed these zero tolerance policies and has condemned them to anyone who would listen. NASP (2001) disagrees with this policy because students who are often suspended or expelled because of the Zero Tolerance policies often drop out of school or become part of discriminatory practices. Ensuring that parents are a part of policy making decisions with Zero Tolerance policies and other pertinent school policies will help to keep students in school. When parents are a part of important school decision-making policies, they feel more of an ownership in maintaining the policy. When parents feel included, school climate improves and in turn, student’s achievement improves. Besides involving parents in school policies such as Zero Tolerance, obstacles prohibiting parents from becoming involved must first be fixed. Recently, numerous research findings show that students who have been retained in the ninth grade also are at a higher rate for dropping out of school.

Grade Retention. Another policy issue that should be discussed with parents is that of grade retention versus social promotion. Recently, research findings show students who have been retained in the ninth grade also are at a higher rate for dropping out of school (Gewertz, 2007). Research shows that students transitioning from primary school to middle school to only get retained in the ninth grade are more likely to feel like an outcast. Most of these failing students view primary school completion as an unattainable goal. Some feel that if they cannot complete ninth grade, then they definitely cannot complete the following grades. Supportive staff and faculty at primary schools geared towards assisting students at-risk of failing the ninth grade could definitely assist in stopping students from dropping out of school. Making parents aware of transitional issues for ninth graders could also assist in keeping students on track. Schools could offer parents informational workshops or handouts at open house meetings on how to assist their children with the first year of primary school (Deslandes & Bertrand, 2005).

Schools that have effective transition programs include parents when transitioning students (Phelan, Yu, & Davidson, 1994). Schools can start the transition process by providing information about the new school to the student and the parent. Schools can do this through tours of the school, small-group sessions with counselors, and newsletters and websites that provide information to parents and students. Schools can further include parents with transitioning by using existing 9th grade parents to serve as ambassadors for providing information to new 9th grade parents (Paulson, 1994).

2.7.2 Parental Involvement-Parent Level

Wandersman et al. (2002) found that parents of all ethnic and diverse backgrounds want to participate and feel that it is important to participate in their children’s education. Although research shows that some parents are becoming more educated and want to do more than the traditional fundraiser, there are some parents who do not participate at all. Mostly, parents who do not participate at all in their children’s schooling come from the lower socioeconomic class and ethnic minority groups (Constantino, 2003). Although the U.S Census Bureau found a decrease in the white non-Hispanic population from 76% to 72% and an increase in the Hispanic population from 9% to 13% and the Black population from 12.3% to 12.9% (Constantino, 2003), parental involvement strategies still derive from the majority culture. Davies (1987) proposed that the majority of parental involvement strategies are biased towards the middle-class parent. Kaplan, Liu, and Kaplan (2000) found that parents are more likely to participate when they can communicate with same class personnel. Moles (1987) reinforced the idea of parents being comfortable with others from socioeconomic backgrounds similar to their own by portraying the typical involved parent as being female, white, high-income, and college-educated. Furthermore, Ingram et al. (2007) and Ramsburg (1998) found that parents who view education as part of parenting will be more involved than parents who do not view education as part of their role as parents.

2.7.3 Parent Involvement and Socioeconomic Status

Parent involvement varies from school to school with lower income schools having a difficult time getting parents involved, especially at the secondary level. The National PTA (1998) cited three reasons for parents not participating: a) a lack of time due to employment, b) parents not making themselves available for involvement, and c) inability to obtain a babysitter. In a survey completed by the National PTA (1998), 52% of the parents polled reported that “time constraints” was the main reason for not participating at their children’s school; however, 91% of the parents agreed that parental involvement was important for academic success. Other studies have found similar responses relating to time and employment (e.g., Collins et al, 1995). Other reasons that parents don’t get involved with their children’s school include language barriers and previous horrible school experiences (Delgado, 2007; Finders & Lewis, 1994). With this in mind, Robertson (1998) reported that one way schools can accommodate day working parents is to hold night events.

Antiquated methods of involving parents also play a role in how parents become involved at their children’s school. Epstein (1982) found that while schools used traditional methods of involving parents such as having parents volunteer in the classroom, they rarely used other methods that might work for increasing parental involvement. Methods better preferred by Epstein (1995b) are as follow: (a) help parents increase their child development knowledge; (b) encourage different types of parent involvement; (c) reach out to families through home visits, informal meeting settings, and written correspondence that the parent can understand; (d) communicate with parents using a variety of methods so that they could be kept abreast of their child’s progress; (e) accommodate parents work schedules when hosting school projects; (f) ensure school staff and faculty are accessible to parents; (g) reach out to families whose first language isn’t English by learning about their culture; (h) begin building relationships with parents at the opening conferences of the school year and continue this relationship by making parents comfortable at other teacher-parent conferences; (i) make parents comfortable by allowing them to visit the classroom and give feedback; (j) parent centers also should be established as a way for parents to gain knowledge; and (k) write a school policy statement that ensures a positive school climate for family involvement.

2.7.4 Parent Involvement and Parental Skill Level

At the secondary level, another reason why parents tend to drop off involvement is that the curriculum is more difficult and the students are wanting to be more independent (Collins et al., 1995; Ross, 2006). Some parents reported that they can no longer assist their children with completing their homework assignments due to their own skill limitations. Ballen and Moles (1994) countered this by advising that if parents monitor their children’s homework they can assist them with matriculation.

Furthermore, helping secondary students make postsecondary decisions and assisting them to select courses that will support their postsecondary plans is also good. Also, parents should not forget to regularly correspond with their children’s school by contacting teachers, and reading and signing correspondence sent to them. The positives for being involved at the secondary level outweigh all the negatives of not being involved at all; while parents cited reasons that they could no longer assist secondary level children, research shows that any level of participation is better than none.

2.7.5 Parental Involvement and Ethnicity

Teachers and school administrators need to appreciate the customs and beliefs of culturally and linguistically diverse parents if they truly want them to be involved in their children’s schooling (Wandersman et al., 2002). Parental involvement has long been associated with increased academic achievement; it also has been correlated with a decrease in minority dropouts (Rumberger et al., 1990). Recently, literature has given even more power to parents by stating that parents play a major role in assisting their children with matriculation (Vaden-Kiernan & McManus, 2002-2003). Literature also has shown that teacher’s perceptions of minorities also play a role in minority children matriculating. Teachers must first reflect on their own values and attitudes and see if their attitudes are keeping them from developing a positive relationship with minority parents (Weaver, 2005). A strong partnership between teachers and minority parents contributes tremendously to minority children’s matriculation (Espinosa, 1995). Hispanics and African-Americans were more likely to dropout than Caucasians; the Hispanic dropout rate for the year 2003 was 23.5% and the African- American rate was 10.9%, while the dropout rate for Caucasians was 6.3% for the same year (National Center for Education Statistics, 2006). Steele (1992) found that the school achievement and retention rate gaps between African-American and Caucasian students have been persistent throughout history. If minorities continue to dropout of school, they will continue to make less, depend on the federal government for assistance, and have less positive outcomes overall.

Epstein (1991) found that parents from all ethnicities care about the education of their children, yet parent involvement is often low for minority parents. The problem isn’t that minority parents aren’t interested in their children’s education; rather, they are unsure of what schools expect from them and how they might contribute at their children’s school. It is a lack of knowledge on how to participate that leads to low levels of minority parent involvement (Epstein, 1991). Sometimes barriers and stereotypes exist that prohibit parental involvement of minority parents (Moosa, Karabenick, & Adams, 2001).

In an Arab-American study conducted by Moosa et al., they found that oftentimes teachers thought that Arab parents did not want to be a part of their parental involvement process, which usually entailed parents going to a parent training workshop. When polled, it was found that parents simply were not comfortable with the traditional parent training workshop. Instead, they preferred a one-on-one parent training workshop with the teacher. Arab-American parents felt uncomfortable because of their language proficiency, which they felt would be called into question in a larger setting. Similarly, one reason for why parents tend to drop off involvement at the secondary level identified by Collins et al. (1995) included the increased number of teachers to deal with and language barriers.

African-American parents also have a hard time with involving themselves with their children’s schooling (Koonce & Harper, 2005). Unlike the language barrier of Arab parents, some African-American parents find it difficult to trust their children’s school. Horrible childhood experiences of their own, continuous pessimism from teachers, and feelings of helplessness have led some African-American parents to not trust their children’s school (Brandon, 2007). Furthermore, African- American parents complain that they do not feel welcome at their child’s school (Dauber & Epstein, 1993). Nevertheless, involving African-American parents in their child’s school is an important factor for academic progress. When African-American parents are academically involved in their children’s schooling, behavior problems decrease and academic achievement increase. (Hill & Taylor, 2004)

Cultural and language differences hinder Hispanic parental involvement at schools; parents who do not speak English in their homes are least likely to participate in activities at their children’s schools (Koonce & Harper, 2005). Espinosa (1995) argued that successful involvement of Hispanic parents begins with understanding their culture and values. Failure to understand Hispanic parents’ values and culture may lead to negative outcomes for schools and students. For instance, Hispanic parents prefer face-to-face communication versus handwritten notes sent home by teachers. Additionally, American teachers traditionally prefer a structured parent conference, whereas Hispanic parents prefer a more relaxed conference setting. Failure to recognize simple cultural values could hinder the academic success of the Hispanic child and the involvement of the Hispanic parent (Inger, 1992).

Martinez and Velazquez (2000) found that engaging migrant families in the school process is an added challenge to schools. Children of migrant workers have greater risks of failing in school than the non-transient child. To effectively involve migrant parents, schools should first understand their background and cultural beliefs, and then base involvement strategies around these beliefs. School activities that may assist with involving migrant workers may include providing transportation, refreshments at school activities, and evening and weekend events (Inger, 1992).

2.7.6 Levels of Home-School Communication

In their research on School, Family and Community Partnership, Epstein et al., (1997) developed six types of parental involvement frameworks to help educators develop more comprehensive programs for school, family, and community partnerships. Although this framework may be used by schools as a guide, it is important to note that each school must choose practices that will help achieve its goals and meet the needs of its students and families. The six types of parental involvement framework include parenting, communication, volunteering, learning at home, decision making, and collaborating with the community (NMSA Research Summary, 2006). Epstein and her colleagues also emphasized the duty of the school in helping families establish home environments that will support children, design effective forms of home-school communication about students’ progress and school programs, and provide training and schedules that allow parents to get involved. Parents must be involved in the school decision-making process, governance, and advocacy through PTA/PTO, school councils committees, and other parent organizations. Schools have the responsibilities to work in partnership with businesses, agencies and other groups to coordinate resources and provide services to the school and the community (Epstein, Coates, Salinas, Sanders, & Simon, 1997).

Parental involvement has always been a key component in Title 1 Law (Wayne, 2008). This law requires that each school develop and distribute to parents a written parental involvement policy they agreed upon. National PTA (2006) required districts receiving Title I funds to notify parents on their rights to get information from the school regarding the professional qualifications of the child’s classroom teacher and paraprofessionals.

2.8 Importance of Parental Involvement at primary level

Extensive research has shown that student achievement increases when parents get involved (Harris et al, 1987). Teachers have acknowledged that priority be given in the public education policy to strengthen parents’ roles in the education of their children.

Comer (2001) explained that research on K-5 schools have linked parental involvement to student out comes including increased achievement in test results, a decrease in dropout rate, improved attendance and student behavior, improved parent teacher relations, greater commitment to schoolwork, and improved attitude toward school (Rich, et al., 1979). The following conclusions were made by Public School Review (2003) on parental involvement:

Increase in parental involvement leads to an increase in academic achievement, better classroom behavior and conduct, greater self esteem, increased motivation and attitude towards school, low rate of absenteeism, increased school satisfaction, and increased school climate (Russell & Reece, 2000).

Desforges and Abouchaar (2003) advised that parents should start getting involved in their children’s education from pre-school which can also make a positive difference at all levels, especially in the early years of school. In their study, Feinstein and Symons (1999) came up with the finding that parental involvement has been identified as a predictor for students’ achievement at the age of sixteen. Other studies have also shown that parental involvement of primary students is equally important.

Taylor (1999) has as one of its goals to get parents of under-achieving and low-income children involved in their education by providing them with adequate training and encouragement. Through parental involvement teachers’ morals are improved as parents develop greater appreciation of the challenges they are facing in the classroom. Teachers become aware of whom students are when they communicate with parents, and through that, they are able to develop individual teaching styles to meet the students’ needs. Many researchers have also confirmed to the fact that parents become more supportive and engage in their children’s schooling when two-way communication is established by the school. (Bauch, 1989)

2.8.1 Parent involvement for their child’s better education

Parent involvement is important across cultures and school levels. Children whose parents are actively involved in their education do better academically and socially. Furthermore, children whose parents are actively involved in their education have not a higher rate of primary level education. It is important that schools collaborate with parents in order to facilitate a climate of cohesiveness. (Harris et al, 1987)

When parents are actively involved in their children’s education at school and at home, students do better in school. Parent involvement is critical to helping children succeed regardless of grade level. A home environment where learning is promoted is a better predictor of academic success than income or cultural background. Reading aloud to children helps them to become better readers in school. Children perform better when parents talk to them about school on a daily basis. In addition to reading books and talking to their children about school, parents can organize and manage their children’s time spent doing academics in the home setting. Parent involvement in the home and school setting has showed improved achievement, absenteeism, behavior, and self confidence. (Inger, 1992)

Parent involvement drops off significantly after admission of school. Students whose parents stay involved in their schooling do better academically and socially. Transitioning from primary to middle school can be hard for some children. Without parent support at home and school, children may be at a risk for dropping out of school. Literature shows that minority children are at an even greater risk of dropping out. Obstacles that may prevent parents from becoming involved at the secondary level include: (a) not knowing how to be involved, (b) parents feel schoolwork is beyond their knowledge, and (c) previous negative school experiences. Schools can increase parent involvement by sending positive notes home, phone calls, and home visits. The current research focused on obtaining teachers’ perceptions of parent involvement at the primary and middle school levels. It was hypothesized that there would not be a significant difference between primary and middle school teachers’ perceptions of parent involvement; in fact, the results indicated that there was no significant difference in teachers’ perceptions of parental involvement at the primary and middle school levels. Because parental involvement may be more of an issue in low income areas with high minority populations, the Title I status and the interaction between Title I status and percent minority was accounted for by school characteristics. (Moosa, Karabenick, & Adams, 2001)

2.8.2 Parent involvement for better School Climate

Parent involvement is important to children’s success. However, parents may not become involved in their children’s education if schools do not have a positive school climate. Schools that create a positive school climate by reaching out to parents in turn create an atmosphere where parents want to be involved. When schools encourage parents to become involved, parents’ perceptions of schools improve. Schools can improve their school climate by facilitating positive home-to-school communication. (Davies, 1987)

When teachers send correspondence home about classroom activities and strategies for assisting children at home, parents are more likely to volunteer at school. Teachers create an atmosphere of partnership when they communicate with parents. Teachers also create an atmosphere of collaboration when they show enthusiasm towards working with students and parents from different cultures. (Kaplan, Liu, and Kaplan, 2000)

The current research focused on teachers’ perceptions of school climate at the primary and middle school levels. It was hypothesized that there would not be a significant difference between primary and middle school teachers’ perceptions of school climate; the results indicated that there was a significant difference in teachers’ perceptions of school climate at primary level. (Moles, 1987)

2.9 Better effective of Parental Involvement at primary level

Epstein (1995) found that schools also affect parent involvement levels and evidence shows that parents want to become involved but are not allowed to have open communication with the school. Conventional avenues for involving parents in school can be closed to parents due to specific cultural knowledge. Parents have a lot of difficulty adapting to the school culture especially in non English speaking communities, but cultural knowledge is power and it can prevent parents from participating fully.

Parental involvement benefits children, parents, as well as the community, at different levels. By becoming involved in their children’s education, parents have a better understanding of the school curriculum and activities. This makes parents more comfortable with the quality of education their children are receiving. Studies have shown that children whose parents are involved show greater social and emotional development (Allen & Daly, 2002). In addition, parental involvement leads to greater self-satisfaction, self-direction and control, social adjustment, and competence; more supportive relationships, positive peer relations, tolerance, successful marriages; and less delinquent behaviors (Desforges & Abouchaar, 2003)

The U.S. Department of Education (1997) research on parent involvement outlined three important aspects for children’s development and academic success. These include demonstrating attitudes, values, and interactions about learning through parenting; creating partnerships between schools and homes using two-way communication; and developing a sense of shared responsibility for learning outcomes by both schools and parents (Supreme Education Council, 2008).

Henderson and Berla (1994) explained that when parents are involved in education, teachers build high expectations for students, and high expectations for parents’ opinions on their ability to help their children at home. As a result of parental involvement, parents develop more self-confidence and become motivated to advance their own education. Families are willing to support children’s learning to increase achievement and, thus, the school gets a better reputation from the community (National PTA, 1998).

The New Skills for New Schools (1997) reported that research reviewing historical trends on parental involvement and student achievement has shown inconsistency in their findings and do not support the relationship. A number of studies have revealed that the benefits of family involvement are not restricted to student achievement but also include other factors based on educational accountability. For example, in Kentucky, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence provided parents and the community with information on specific components of school reform and informed them about their roles in implementing the education reform law.

2.10 Barriers to Effective Parental Involvement

Sanders and Sheldon (2009) highlighted minimal resources parents acquire through social networks as one reason parents are less involved in their children’s education. Another is the educational level of the parents can present a barrier to the school involvement, Stevenson and Baker (1997). The parents with more education are actively involved in Parent Teacher Association meetings and conferences. The involvement decreases as the students move from primary to middle school because parents are less knowledgeable in some of the academic subjects. Eccles and Harold (1993) found that less educated parents shift their attention away from school because they feel inadequate to help their children with homework.

The quality of parental involvement makes all the difference according to Zellman & Waterman (1998). We need to understand the underlying relationship between parent and child that supports children’s achievement and positive educational outcomes overall. A parent’s enthusiasm about education is, in most instances the underlying factor that contributes the child’s academic success. “Parent involvement programs might be more effective if they focus on such underlying constructs.”

It is believed by Lazar and Slostad (1999) that parents are willing to get involved in the education of their children, but the negative perceptions of parents persist because teacher education programs do not educate teachers to work with parents. Foster and Loven (1992) shared that the major explanation for this, according to researchers, is the fact that “very little attention is given to preparing teachers to work with parents and other adults” (Lazar & Slostad, 1999).

Despite the importance attached to parental involvement, it is still being ignored in schools (The New Skills for Schools, 1997). According to Lazar and Slostad, (1999) “the way parents viewed their roles was shaped by the circumstances and norms of particular cultures” and “their beliefs about their own effectiveness as teachers or tutors” (p. 208). Major barriers to parental involvement in schools include the school environment, school culture, time constraint, changing demographics and employment patterns, and the lack of teacher preparation in involving parents in their children’s schooling (New Skills for Schools, 1997).

In her study of school programs and teacher practice of parental involvement at inner-city primary and middle schools in 1991, Epstein found out that teachers had doubts whether they could motivate parents to become more involved even though they thought that parental involvement would improve students’ achievement. Teachers lack the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and strategies needed to collaborate with families leading to a weak school-family partnership (De Acosta, 1996). A report by the U.S. Department of Education (1997) indicated that 48 percent of principals who participated in a study believed that lack of staff training on parental involvement posed a barrier to parents’ involvement. The lack of preparation by teachers to involve parents in the education of their children remains a weakness in teacher education programs (Bredekamp, 1996).

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Should Animal Experimentation Continue

Animal experimentations have been extensively used in medical researches and products testing since the early 1980s. However, the use of animals for scientific researches and products testing has only concerned with human benefits. How about the animal rights? Does human benefits always make it legal for us to intervene the animal rights? The issue whether it is ethical and necessary to use animals for sciences and products testing has been vigorously debated for a period of time. While Animal Rights Activist perceived vivisections has ethically intruded animal rights, Laboratory Animal Research of the United States National Academy of Sciences believed animal researches is essential in many areas. Europeans for Medical Progress which also opposing this issue reveals animal experimentations as inefficient and unreliable. This essay will outline and examine their views in order to come up with the writer’s own stand over dilemma of animal experimentations.

Laboratory Animal Research of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences argues that there are needs for animal researches to be continued to protect humans from diseases and dangerous products. They were saying that modern technologies such as sophisticated computers are still scarce to represent the interactions between molecules, cells, tissues, organs and organisms like vivisection does. Researchers claimed the experimentations were carried out based on ethical procedures outlined by law and thus deny the issue of cruelty and animals’ abuse involved during the researches. They also declare that most research does not involve pain and if so, the pain is alleviated with analgesic or anesthetic drugs. Scientists also argue about the similarities of animals and humans biology which has allowed them to develop new drugs, vaccines and help them to learn more about our bodies and how its function. According to American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, the data gathered are not only useful in understanding humans, its does also helpful in understanding our pets, wildlife and other animals too (Use of Animals in Biomedical Research: Understanding the Issues. n.d. p1).

Even though this issue has been vigorously debated for a long time, the solution to stop it seems still too far and complex. As the perception on ethics, animal rights, and animals’ welfare develops over the years, animals continues being used in research but perhaps conducted within scientific, humanely appropriate, and ethical principles. This improvement was evolved as a result from the introductions of Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals by the National Research Council (NRC) of the United States. This guide that concerned with animal rights provides the institutions with brief outlines to carry out the research within scientific, humane, and ethical principles. As an example, the introduction of three Rs method – replacement, refinement, and reduction – were designed as the core guideline towards humanely animal research studies (National Research Council, 2010).

In the 1950s, researches which involved separating infant monkeys from their mothers at birth has been carried out as a means to examine on maternal deprivation. However, most psychologists have strongly criticized this action because it is ethically wrong to experiment human psychological problems that concern familial, social and cultural factors onto nonhuman models. As there are evidences that proved animals also experienced the same range of emotions as humans, psychological animal experiments that cause to animals suffering can be considered as inhumane. Meanwhile, Animal Rights Activists believed animals deserves their right to be treated as humans. This includes the right to be protected from any form of soreness. In other words, animals should be regarded as humans being rather than property. Switzerland and German has taken some steps in correspond to this issue. In 1992, Switzerland has perceived animals as being instead of things or property (Kayasse, E, S, n.d), while German added animals’ protection under the constitution in 2002.

While Animal Rights Activists opposed animal experimentations with concern about animal rights, Europeans for Medical Progress has its own stand to disapprove the use of animals in scientific researches. As the technologies develop, there are increasing numbers of clinicians and scientists started to argue on the reliability of using animals in medicals and scientific researches. The survey conducted on 2004 has demonstrated the evidences that vivisection is inefficient and unreliable. Advancement in technologies nowadays has made dependency on animals for research can be considered as impractical anymore. Moreover, newly developed methodologies that is economical has provides compelling results compared to animal studies.

Mice have been used greatly in the laboratory as the most reliable creatures to do the research on. However, it was reported in the Lab Animal magazine that mice is actually a poor models in understanding the mechanism of infection and a means of treatments for common human cancers. It was proven that the differences between humans and other animals in crucial genetic, molecular, immunologic and cellular has unlikely provide effective result in seeking for the cancer treatments. Moreover, the effective treatment tested on animals has at worst reflected poor efficacy and excessive side effects when it is applied to humans. Since 1987, U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have funded more than 100 HIV vaccine clinical trials in humans. Even though more than 50 preventive vaccines and 30 therapeutic vaccines have reflected positive results against HIV/AIDS in animals, the clinical trials has failed to react in humans.

The similarities between humans and animals biology has enable the scientists to explore about diseases and formulate treatment for human needs. Nonetheless, this statement is not applicable anymore since there is increasing research results which demonstrated animal experimentations failed to prove its reliability in seeking for the cure. Even though the limitation of vivisection was proven, for some reasons this method of research keep continues. One of the most reliable organizations in the field has revealed the reasons why animal experimentations persist until now. According to the Medical Research Modernization Committee, animal testing is very important especially in chemical and pharmaceutical industries for their own benefits (Anderegg, C. et al. 2006, p19). It functions as legal sanctuary for the companies in cases of customers’ loss and disability caused by chemical used in the products. As the products were legally prescribed tested on animals, the victims have no right to prosecute against the company. Moreover, animal testing is retaining until these days for some motives that serve the researchers’ economic, professional and political needs. Clinical research that related to humans usually involve lots of expenses and time-consuming, otherwise vivisections can easily get publish within short period of time.

Massive development in technology and medical modern innovation at the moment has enabled the creation of alternatives which able to substitute the usage of animals in scientific research. Epidemiological is the most reliable and effective studies in identifying the underlying causes of human diseases based on human population records (Anderegg, C. et al. 2006, p15). The best way to study human diseases is none other but to closely monitoring human patients. Humane Society of the United States reveals that every year more than twenty-five million animals has been used for research, testing, and education purposes. Apart from saving thousands of animals’ life, epidemiological studies are more consistent to clarify the mechanisms, effective prevention and treatment approaches.

It is not necessary to examine animals to find out the causes of some diseases. As alternatives, the innovation of modern noninvasive imaging devices such as CAT, MRI, PET and SPECT scans have revolutionized clinical investigation and thus reduce the dependency on animals for medical research (Anderegg, C. et al. 2006, p16). In addition, sophisticated computer modeling has also replaced animal experiments which normally take months or years for the results that were just within minutes and hours now. Plus, artificial skin or “Episkin” invented by L’Oreal research team perhaps may gives some hopes to thousands of various animals from undergo lab trials (Episkin: Growing Skin in the Lab. 2007).

To sum up, even though Laboratory Animal Research of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences continues to experiment on animals within ethical procedures for the sake to seek treatment and protect humans from harmful product, animal experimentations should not be kept ongoing. Both arguments from Animal Rights Activist and Europeans for Medical Progress are irrefutable and concrete to rebut the Laboratory Animal Research of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences claims. Plus, strong supports from Medical Research Modernization Committee have provides undeniable facts regarding vivisections in reality. Without any hesitation, the writer believed that animal researches should be ended since newly develop technologies will overwhelm the limitation of animal experimentations which has now obviously considered as unreasonable anymore.

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Therapy On Military Veterans With Ptsd

The modern world is characterized with undesirable events and process such as wars, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters. This paper focuses on the deadly warfare such as Vietnam War and their impacts on the soldiers who participated in them, as well as their families and acquaintances. Apart from deadly injuries sustained by the victims of these tragedies, long lasting psychological problems such as post traumatic stress disorders are also exhibited by the actual casualties, friends and their families. In realization of the detrimental repercussions of this phenomenon several years after their occurrences, scholars have come up with ways to deal with victims of the tragedies. This paper focuses on the various articles which illustrates history, and effects of PTSD. Various approaches of dealing with the disorders have been discussed in details. The approaches include, use of equine therapy, dog service and cognitive behavioral therapy. Also included in the paper are the procedures of dealing with PTSD, expected results and a conclusive discussion of the whole process. Ample references to reinforce the arguments in the paper are also provided.

History of PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is isolation and an anxiety predicament that develop in individuals sometimes after experiencing extremely traumatic occurrences such as crime, combat, a natural disaster or an accident. Traumatic event is a painful catastrophic stressor that is outside the range of the typical human experience. The peril of exposure to distress has been part and parcel of the man’s life since mankind evolved as a species. Academicians believe that (PTSD) has a long history that encompasses different fields of study. Psychiatry is one of the core fields associated with the phenomenon. Research shows that PTSD dates back to pre-Christ times, and also proves that today’s experience and effects of the disorder were also experienced in the distance past. The implication is that, since time immemorial human beings have always succumbed to fears. For instance, history has it that individuals who lived during the stone-age were mainly hunters and gatherers. The same history indicates that the individuals used to experience nightmares after a terrified day of hunting. As a matter of fact very little about PSTD has changed over the years except that human beings have emerged as more complex creatures with more complicated abilities. This complication is as a result of brain advancement which actually improves the manner in which people deal with stress and traumatic events. For the longest time ever, international psychological organs have invested a lot of time trying to come into terms with PSTD and ways to deal with it. For instance, in early 1980s American Psychiatrist Association recognized the disorder as a mental case which needs urgent attention. Though controversial in understanding of the disorder, PTSD knowledge has filled a crucial gap in psychiatric hypothesis and practices. Furthermore, PSTD is still an important phenomenon that calls for attention from psychologists and other academicians (Brian, Stanley, Sue, Katherine & Jill, 2011).

Individuals with PSTD may relive the occurrence through invasive memories, nightmares and flashbacks. Such individuals avoid anything that take them back to the trauma; and portrays restless feelings that they did not show long before the event/ occurrence. The feelings are so deep that their lives are extremely disrupted. In case of military veterans, their work experience involves a lot of traumatic events, which are inevitable throughout their work life. Some of these events involve military wars where at times they do execute criminals as part of their job. In other instances, they go through tough moments trying to safe people from disastrous areas such as in an event of bomb blast. These experiences end up challenging them psychologically long after these events takes place. Hence, they do develop psychological illness such as the PTSD. Equine therapy is one of the treatments that can be applied in dealing with PTSD. Equine therapy is a psychotherapy applied on horses, but research has shown that the same treatment can help military veterans recover from the traumatic events that they experience in their career. Consequently, various institutions have been set up in different parts of the world so as to provide these services. The effects of Equine Therapy depend on how it is applied. The analysis in the succeeding section focuses on some of the institutions that provide treatment and the effect of those services.

EAGALA Military Services

In an attempt to streamline many of equine-assisted schemes across the board, and assist active military, veterans, their families and the families of the diseased obtain the much needed therapy services, Equine Assisted Growth And Learning Organization has established EAGALA military services. The nonprofit making association was founded by Lynn Thomas, who became the executive director of the organization. The military task of the association focused on five key sections: community education, research, government relations, program development and member training. This population has been working with Equine professions and EAGALA Certified Mental Health unit, since 1999 to date. The services have always revolved around the provision of emotional treatments, behavioral and mental challenges ranging from TBI, depression, addiction to combat grief, misery and family trauma, reintegration to PTSD. Occurrence of PTSD might be as sky-scraping as 20% in military veterans of the famous Operations Iraqi as well as for the Enduring Freedom veterans. This is according to National Centre for PTSD. The centre also indicates that, PTSD among the Vietnam veterans might be as high as 30%. Despite these alarming rates of PTSD, a recent RAND report indicates that only few soldiers have sought the necessary treatment (Korinek, 2012). Consequently, more than 1000 soldiers have committed suicide.

In response to the high level of deaths out of PTSD, EAGALA has called upon all the interested stakeholders to exhibit the replica of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP). The model makes use of ground-based practices where the natural horses act as metaphors. These involve representing associations with unit members or family, fears, aspect of self or strengths. Academicians and scholars believe that horse therapy can be essentially more effective than conventional talk therapy. They also claim that horse therapy can be applied as either a short-term move for those already facing re-deployment, or as a long term approach treatment helping several in reintegration into family life and civilian (Santaquin & Utah, 2011).

According to survey program carried out by Asylum Services, an EAGALA military veteran Services plan located in Texas State, past only six programs, military veterans and their partners reported around 60% progress in harshness of marital challenges comprising, financial disputes, physical abuse, verbal abuse, parenting choices and forgiveness. Couples also reported around 50% perfection in emotional closeness, conflict resolution, sex, trust, anger and respect. An officer in the study stated that the forum provide a safe environment for him to open up because without it then it could be tricky to face reality. He also said that occasionally, the horses talked for him and assisted him to cope with his family challenges (Santaquin & Utah, 2011).

Jimmy Walters, a USA veteran, indicates that EAGALA Model makes use of the horse to achieve insight into perceptions and behaviors. According to Jimmy the reaction of the horse provide real time and unbiased feedback, breaking via the barriers that a lot of military people experience in discussions with others, who might not acknowledge what the veterans who made it back feels. Jimmy also notes that EAP provides a plan for coping with trauma in a manner that shows some sense to military veteran members. Another 23 years old active duty affiliate of Special Forces also proved that Equine Therapy works even for the active military people. He said that horses could understand his feelings and accept him; a phenomenon which he found very strange. As a result, the officer claims that the therapy has not only made it possible for him to re-connect with his family and himself, but has also made him a crucial tool in the military (Santaquin & Utah, 2011).

Ladies also have something to say concerning equine therapy. Julie Giove Sardonia, a Californian therapist, claims that since many veterans dislike talk therapy, then horses as therapists are the best in serving these military veterans. She also concluded that healing occurs naturally, particularly for the military veterans. Hence, a relationship of a soldier with a horse can offer self-understanding and emotional insights. Susan T. Lisi, a Chief Steward in VA Medical Center located in New York, affirmed that they conducted several EAGALA EAP programs with their veterans emphasizing on dealing with resilience, resources and anger management. She adds that comprehensively, veteran partakers have claimed that never ever have they found an individual session or a group so life-changing and useful. She also adds that after these sessions, several of them reflect recurrently on the skills and experience learned and then applies them in their lives. Another female soldier who was identified with PTSD after serving in the military for seven years also gave her side of the story. She claimed that she had been to numerous therapists and nothing seemed to come out of it. However, when she tried horses, it worked for her. These are some of the real life stories which portray the effectiveness of equine therapy on military veterans with PSTD (Santaquin & Utah, 2011).

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding is an institution that provides equine therapy services to female veterans suffering from PSTD. In this discussion, a life story of a lady by the name Katye Zwiefka and her friends provides an overview of how Equine Therapy works for the veterans. Zwiefka had served as a marine corps for years before she joined High Hopes Therapeutic Riding. After Zwiefka had ridden a horse for the first time, she cried out of joy. She compared the good feeling to the pleasure she felt as a youngster on an early Christmas morning. Katye affirms that that It had been a long ever since she had that feeling; just that thrill and that excitement, that happiness that is uncontaminated by the humanity (McDermott & Jennifer, 2012).

Zwiefka who had been struggling with PTSD for years turned to the center hopeful that she would find psychological support that she needed. She was not alone in the centre but she was accompanied by another veteran, Khaylan Widener. Khaylan also said that linking with the horse has assisted them deal with the isolation and anxiety and isolation they have experienced while serving in the military (McDermott & Jennifer, 2012).

Zwiefka, describe the military life as that of total isolation where it is completely difficult to connect with people. She says that even at the age of 30, she still find it hard to feel comfortable and at peace with the surrounding. Her life is made even worse by the nightmares that accompany her dreams. She says that the nightmares makes her extremely uncomfortable, and hence, hard to go back to sleep. It is this desperation that pushes her into seeking professional assistance. However, with the horse riding, Zwiefka feel relaxed and forget all the stress that characterizes her daily life. She says that by thinking about riding then everything falls into its place. In fact, the thought of the smell of her horse makes her feel at peace with herself and with the surrounding (McDermott & Jennifer, 2012).

Widener has the same story as her colleague Zwiefka. The two met at Norwich vet centre where they had gone for counseling. The centre is run by the United States of America Department of Veterans Affairs and is meant to assist veterans such as Widener. She too was struggling with PTSD some few years after she was involved in the Iraq issues of 2007 and 2008. In the mission, widener lost eight of her closest friends, who succumbed to attacks from their enemies. The incidence demoralized widener more so because she lacked the support that she needed at the moment. As if that was not enough, widener also experienced another scenario that left her in a delicate health condition. This happened when she fell of a truck in Iraq during an attack by a rocket-propelled grenade. The tragedy made her suffer a traumatic brain injury which really affected her health. In general, her five years service in the army was not a good experience because it was full of tragedies and inhuman experiences (McDermott & Jennifer, 2012).

It is in the year 2009 that widener officially quitted from the military work. She is now 28 years and lives in Norwich. At this age it would be expected that she would be happily married and taking care of her own family. However, widener’s life is different from that of a typical woman because she still cannot find happiness; even though she is a mother of one and a wife. Widener feels that this abnormality has a lot to do with her military life. Nevertheless, she seems to have found a solution to her challenges the moment she enrolled for the Equine Therapy. She looks at the exercise as an opportunity to work through her issues without being criticized or judged. During her initial days in the center she made it a point of interacting with the members of the institution. These are especially children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism and attention deficient disorders. By interacting with these children, Widener developed her skills of socializing with people (McDermott & Jennifer, 2012).

Apart from improving on her socialization skills, widener has been able to appreciate herself. At one point she says that riding helped her to be herself. She describes riding as a practice that has the ability to reveal a positive part of her that she had even forgotten that she possessed. In fact she claims that she was a social butterfly long before she joined militarily. Conversely, everything changed drastically because when she came back from the military she was extremely withdrawn. All in all, she is now able to appreciate her ability to lead a normal free from trauma (McDermott & Jennifer, 2012).

Zwiefka and Widener act as examples of many women who have benefited from the equine therapy. All of them have been able to recover or are in the process of recovering from post traumatic stress disorder. It should be noted that psychologically, horse riding is more effective in dealing with PTSD than talks. In fact, many of the military veterans are not sociable and that could be the reason as to why horse riding works with them and not the therapy talk.

Horses for Veterans

A Pentagon Channel documentary focuses on how veterans with PTSD are finding assistance via the supremacy of horse therapy at the Flag is Up Farms. A Horse Whisper by the name Monty Robert explores the effect of Equine Therapy on military veterans with PTSD. The study involves veterans of all ages. Robert thinks that the number one thing is to work with military veterans who have already lost hope in life. Robert demonstrates this by using abused and extremely mistreated horses; a technique he refers to Joining Up method. He adapts it specifically for the self-isolating military veterans experiencing post traumatic stress. His agenda is on learning to trust humans not by force but rather by choosing to trust them. Through the use of horse’s language or the trauma of the military veteran to converse, he supplemented, his plan engenders trust. He says that when horses trust you they will move towards you rather than keeping a distance from you. Roberts refer to horses as flight animals which are afraid of anything which does not earn their trust. That behavior matches perfectly well with the behavior of a military veteran. These individuals are never comfortable with anything they do not trust or understand. He also dislikes the traditional way of handling horses and advocates for the nonviolent approach. He thinks that veterans too need this approach to deal with their trust issues (Department Of Defense, 2012).

Alejandra Sanchez, a veteran, is a regular visitor to Flag is Up Farms, but recalls her foremost occasion as if it was in the recent past. She affirms that she has never been so frightened in her life; not even as it was in her Iraq experience. She recalls that her anxiety and isolation was via the roof, since she had to face the fact that she had PTSD. Since then nightmares challenged her throughout the night. In one instance, she remembers a nightmare that reminded her of how she had reached a point of desperation while in Iraq. Sanchez describes how life of a veteran is hard because of being forced to work with individuals you do not understand. This is on top of the fact that there is lack of trustworthiness between a veteran and those around them. Coming from such a difficult life, Sanchez looks at horse riding as the trickiest thing. She could not find it easy to calm herself down in order for the horses to trust her. However, she knew very well that while she was angry, anxious or violent; the horses could not corporate. That was the beginning point of her recovery from PTSD. She is now the humble character that any horse can trust. As a matter of fact, equine therapy has positively changed the life of Sanchez (Department Of Defense, 2012).

Alicia Watkins is another veteran who experienced the worst of the military life. She joined military as an outgoing and a fun loving woman but came out of it as totally different character. She says that her experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq were not the best because they left her traumatized than ever. After the noble military service, Alicia became an isolated character who was homeless and spent a year in her car because she had lost her dignity. Life was so difficult for her that she had reached a point where she felt like committing suicide. These near death experiences were averted drastically when she made it a point to attend to Roberts’s program.

Initially, it was not easy for her to deal with the horses. However, she was positive about riding and eventually she made it possible to bridge the psychological gap between her and the outer world. She can now talk to people freely without fear or distrust. She can also be able to deal with her challenges without complication. These are some of the numerous positive things that Equine Therapy brought to her life. Robert indicates that Equine Therapy does not help the veterans to forget the past but rather it help them to mask the trauma with positive behaviors. He illustrates this by use of the horses’ experiences. Roberts indicates that horses that were previously mistreated do not just forget the mistreatments, but the nonviolent treatment makes them to trust people again. That is the same way that equine therapy works for the veterans (Department Of Defense, 2012).

Therapist Using Horses in Treating PTSD

According to Bough, the author of this article, one may look hale and hearty physically, but it’s probable that, yet without either physical stress manifestations; traumatic experiences and stress can exhibit themselves in humans and horses. However, Bough looks at Equine Therapy as the only solution for the PTSD. The treatment makes it possible for the horses and human beings to interact and solve any trauma or stress (Baugh &Ben, 2009)

Suze Maze, a psychotherapist and horseman possesses a wide knowledge; essential in dealing with trauma. Veterans have Suze to trust with their disorders. For instance, she is able to assist soldiers from Fort Gordon after returning from Iraq military service. Maze learned about Equine Assisted Psychotherapist while living in Kentucky via the EAGALA model, and afterward became certified. The name of her dealing is Horse Empowerment. According to Maze, the impacts of long-term and recurring deployments can be exhibited in the workplace, however, the phenomenon also affect families of the soldiers. Maze learned these facts at a time while she was living with individuals who were struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction. As such Maze finds it extremely important to form a platform where people who had lost hope in life could find necessary help. She looks at the military occupation as one of the noble career, where individuals put their lives on danger for the sake of the society at large. She also found it crucial to devise ways to deal with challenges faced by families of the veterans (Baugh &Ben, 2009)

Maze uses her long experience to prove the fact that Equine Therapy is the best treatment for veterans and their families. She looks at the positive aspects of the horses that make them key in dealing with post traumatic stress disorders. For one, Maze notes that trust is one thing that veterans need to develop. Maze indicates that soldiers in the service are taught not to trust anybody not even their closest friend. The notion grows slowly by slowly while in the military. This notion is very healthy for them while at the military, but it turns out to be a challenge when they get out of the army. Conversely, horses need to trust people or else they flee from those they do not trust. Thus, horse riding helps soldiers to start trusting people again. Maze notes that horse riding involves doing a task, where all the five senses are involved. She also advocates for a classical therapeutic office model to be taken out of the framework and positioned in the ring with horses, permitting the patient to interrelate with the horses as well as a professional squad with at least a licensed psychological health expert and at least a horseman specialist. Maze notes that the objective of all these is to serve military people and even those civilians undertaking treatment, with a defensive safety measure. The wish is that the modality and treatment will assist service people make an easier changeover from warfare to garrison life. Eventually, Equine Therapy is able to achieve all these aspirations in the most efficient way possible. As a result, it provides the best option for military veterans experiencing post traumatic stress disorders (Baugh &Ben, 2009)

War Veterans get help from Rick Iannucci’s ‘therapeutic riding’ program

The article is authored by Reese, and emphasizes on the effectiveness of equine therapy on dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. The author makes uses a life story of Rick Iannucci, who is the current director of Cowboy Up, which is a horse equine therapy program for warfare military veterans. Rick describes horse therapy as the excellent means that help PTSD to recover within a very short period of time. He uses the words of Winston Churchill (a military man in the Boer war), who stated that there is great about the outer surface of a horse that is excellent for the in part of a man (Reese & April, 2011).

For two and a half years, a flow of Afghanistan and Iraq war-veterans have found their means to Rick. A lot of them get there carrying both psychological and physical scars of warfare. First, they learn to walk and groom the expressly skilled quarter horses, and then the veterans work out their means up to riding and mounting them around the ring. As the military veterans link with the horses, on top of learning how to understand them, they start to heal and feel related with the civilian world once more (Reese & April, 2011).

Rick affirms that Horses will only corporate with you; if you are not uptight. This is because they wheedle a certain degree of contemplation from individuals. In other words, horses demand to see veterans come into terms with the reality. As a rule, when the military veterans begin riding and associating with the horses, they instantly begin calming down. Despite the fact that the majority of the veterans arrive at cowboy up with physicals disabilities; they all recover through the use of Equine Therapy. In his study, Rick rebrands PTSD as post-traumatic spiritual disorder (PTSD). This because he tend to believe that what happens to soldiers during the warfare is a spirit’s wounding. Therefore, he thinks that their main goal is to find that wound and heal it. Iannucci and his team integrate psychological, physical and spiritual healing. Ricks describe it as having faith again in others, themselves and faith in almighty God. He advocates for horse riding as the only mechanism that can enable veterans to achieve this wonderful life requirements. The ability of Equine Therapy to deliver veterans from PTSD is emphasized by victims of the disorder such as Sterling Bucholz. He was assisted by Rick to recover from military trauma through the horse riding technique. Many other examples prove that Equine Therapy is effective in assisting veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Reese & April, 2011).

Military Service, Post-Trauma Symptoms and Health in Older Adulthood: An Analysis of Northern Vietnamese Survivors of the Vietnam War

Vietnam war-induced anxiety influences mortality, morbidity, psychological state of affairs and value of life in the long run is understood roughly entirely as a product of psychoanalysis of the lives and healthiness of American military veterans of 20th century wars. Studies reveal that, over thirty years past hostilities, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) proves to be a noteworthy predictor of every cause, cancer, cardiovascular and external root mortality amongst United States veterans involved in Vietnam War. These facts prove that the repercussions of Vietnam War were detrimental and needed attention. This papers focus on the most viable solution for the military veterans of the war (Korinek, 2012)

Procedures: The pilot study consisted of 2 phases. First, conducting structured interviews with 310 people, age 55 and above. 215 respondents of the 310 were successfully interviewed. Out of the 95 charged with attrition cases, 81 people had died by the time of this study while the remainder had moved outside the commune. Surprisingly, 75% of the decedents were not military veterans. In an attempt to meet a target sample range of 400 respondents, 196 individuals aged 55 and above were randomly chosen from existing household registration mechanism. 91 of them were successfully interviewed making up a total of 405 respondents. Included in this total is 19 proxy interviews conducted with next of kin. This was in cases where a respondent was too mentally or physically unfit to be interviewed however, Questions concerning perceptions and feelings were not responded to by the proxies. In examining the connection between military service, distress exposure and health conditions, military service was characterized using 4 categories militia nonveterans, non-militia, combat veterans and noncombat veterans. To determine exposure to war-time stress events, the study relied upon a modified report of PTSD module of the World Health Organization findings recorded by Composite International Diagnostic Interview (Korinek, 2012).

Results: Focusing on relationship between military service and trauma risk, the sample splits along gender lines. From the study, more than half of the males are armed military veterans, and virtually one third worked in combatant sections. On the other hand, less than half of the sample consisted of women, either as armed officers or in other military roles. The difference explains why 87 percent suffered from trauma while only 13% of women were dealing with PTSD and related disorders. In general, this populace of older generation had extremely prevalent exposure to stressful events throughout their life course (Korinek, 2012).

Statistically, a considerable association of war traumas with undesirable health among men is evident. The study also proves that long lasting effects of warfare on health and chronic illness several decades past the war are more perceptible amongst men who experienced combat exposure than in women. In addition, the war had disruptive effects on certain groups of people that are not may not be well expressed in a population-based sample. Such groups include: those orphaned at a tender age and those who sustained serious injuries in bombing campaigns or in other combat events (Korinek, 2012).

Conclusion: As a matter of facts, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders diagnosis and label is not easily transported linguistically and culturally. The cultural lens via which sadness, dreams and other mental and psychological conditions are interpreted will influence stress experienced and the tendencies to remember and disclose them. It can also be concluded that lasting physical and psychological pains of war can have culturally discrete roots. Therefore, it is important to perceive physical and psychological aspects linked to war from a Vietnamese spiritual lens and cultural perspective. Lastly, it is no doubt that this research has implications that extend clear of the Vietnamese context hence, it can address more challenges than just the few outlined therein (Korinek, 2012).

The Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Anxiety Ratings of Hospitalized Psychiatric Patients

According to the authors of this article Barker and Dawson, Animal-assisted therapy comprise association between a trained animal and patients, along with the animal’s human handler or owner, with an objective of enhancing patients’ progress on the road to therapeutic objectives. This study scrutinized whether a program of animal-assisted therapy lowered the anxiety or nervous intensity of hospitalized psychiatric patients, as well as whether any disparities in declines in anxiety were correlating with patients’ diagnoses.

Procedures: The study subjects used were two hundred and thirty patients referred for therapeutic exercise sessions. A pre-treatment and post-treatment intersect study design was applied to compare the results of a particular animal-assisted therapy program with those of a solitary frequently scheduled therapeutic exercise program. Before and after partaking in the 2 types of programs, subjects completed the condition degree of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, which is a self-report examination of anxiety presently felt. Blended-models repeated-measures psychoanalysis was applied to test discrepancies in scores from prior to and past the two categories of sessions.

Results: Statistically considerable declines in anxiety scores were established subsequent to the animal-assisted therapy program for patients with mood disorders, psychotic disorders and other forms of disorders, and following the therapeutic recreation program for patients suffering from mood disorders. On the other hand, no statistically significant discrepancies in decline of anxiety were established between the 2 types of sessions.

Conclusions: Animal-assisted therapy was linked to reduced condition anxiety intensities for hospitalized patients suffering from a range of psychiatric diagnoses, whereas a routine therapeutic exercise session was related to reduced intensity, only for patients suffering from mood disorders (Barker, Dawson, 2011).

This study scrutinized 2 Tele-health interventions to deal with symptoms of combat-associated posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans. Thirty-three men combat veterans were at random allocated to one of two Tele-health treatment situations: mindfulness or psycho-education. In the two conditions, partakers completed eight weeks of Tele-health treatment, which is, two sessions individually followed by six programs over the telephone. The eight weeks treatment was followed by three evaluations, which include pretreatment, post-treatment and finally a 6-week follow-up. The mindfulness healing was founded on the tenets of mindfulness-based anxiety reduction while the psycho-education guide was based on regularly applied psycho-education tools for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

For the 24 partakers who completed all evaluations showed that: (a) Tele-health appears to be a viable mode for relief of Post Traumatic Stress Disorders treatment for veterans; (b) Veterans suffering from PTSD have the capacity to bear and report high fulfillment with a concise mindfulness involvement; (c) partaking in the mindfulness involvement is associated with an impermanent decline in PTSD symptoms (d) A concise mindfulness treatment cannot be of sufficient intensity to cause effects on PTSD symptoms (Niles, Klunk-Gillis, Ryngala, Silberbogen, Paysnick, & Wolf, 2012).

The Physical and Mental Health of Australian Vietnam Veterans 3 Decades after the War and Its Relation to Military Service, Combat, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The long-term health repercussions of warfare service remain unclear, despite escalating scientific interest to reveal the underlying facts. A study of a random model of Australian Vietnam militarily veterans was planned to assess military veterans’ postwar mental and physical and health more than36 years past the war and to scrutinize its connection to combat, Army service and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder evaluated 14 years earlier. Prevalence’s in 450 veterans were contrasted to those in the Australian broad population. Military Veterans’ Army service and information from the first evaluation were assessed using complex logistic regression projection modeling. Servicemen’s health and some health hazard factors were inferior and medical talk rates were superior to Australian populace expectations. Out of 67 long-term cases, the prevalence of 47 was superior and the occurrence of four was lower when contrasted to inhabitants expectations. Nearly half of all military veterans used medication for mental comfort. The occurrence of psychiatric diagnoses surpassed Australian people expectations. War service and Military characteristics as well as age were the mainly common predictors of physical health terminals, whereas PTSD was mainly heavily linked to psychiatric cases. In comparison Draftees had superior physical healthiness than habitual enlistees although no better mental fitness. War-related PTSD and Army service are associated with danger of ill health in later life amongst Australian Vietnam war veterans (Brian, Stanley, Sue, Katherine & Jill, 2011).

Service Dog Training Program for Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress in Service Members

As a matter of facts, only two uses of dogs are widely recognized, which include a dog as a pet and use of the animal by police officers to track law offenders and locating victims of disasters. However, it has been realized that dogs can deal with challenges faced by traumatized individuals such as war veterans. This article focuses on how dogs are used to provide treatment to service men with PTSD and other related disorders (Patricia, 2012).

According to National Education for Assistance Dog Service, a fully trained dog can help veterans with mental or physical problems both during rehabilitation and after they return to civilian life. This dogs provide physical and emotional support, hence, restore the serviceman’s self-confidence and dignity; necessary to move into next chapter of life. On the other hand, The Worrier Canine Connection plays the role of training service members with PTSD, how to train service dogs to serve as source of help to physically handicapped soldiers. The secret behind use of the dogs in treatment of mental problems lies in the fact that dogs are lively pets. This makes them good to interact with veterans, essential because service men are denied that opportunity to socialize during wars. In the interaction process veterans regain their lost confidence and lead a normal life (Patricia, 2012).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a problem that affects the majority of the member of the society. As such, several psychologists have devised different mechanisms for dealing with it. Any mechanism used has its advantages as well as its drawbacks. In case of the equine therapy, it is effective in the long run and is mostly advocated for the personality portrayed by the majority of the veterans. However, Equine Therapy is an expensive means, which may not be afforded by the majority of the world veterans. In addition to the high cost, the practice works well with veterans who have enough free time to attend the riding sessions. This is a limitation because even after retirement, many of the soldiers still engage in other forms of employment to earn an extra coin. To solve these challenges other forms of treatment might be of help (Robert & Howard, 2012).

Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment is one of the most applied therapies globally. The treatment is based on the suggestion that, psychological tribulations crop up on account of the manner in which individuals evaluate or interpret situations, feelings, thoughts and our behaviors. The method is based on the fact that, due to their tendency to generalize things, human beings end up traumatized. For instance, individuals who have ever been bit by a spider may end up concluding that all spiders are equally dangerous. Such people exhibit a lot of fear and anxiety whenever they come across a spider of whichever type. These individuals may opt to avoid spiders completely in order to lead a normal life free of anxiety and fear. However, in some cases this might not be possible because it might be hard to avoid all the traumatizing events throughout someone’s life time. For instance, when military veterans experience inhuman acts during wars, it might not be easy to forget whatever happened especially where people had to lose their lives. For the veterans, whether they avoid the same scenes or not, they cannot avoid the trauma and the stress that goes with the experiences. Sometimes even the contemplation of the traumatizing events leads to anxiety and isolation (Monson, Fredman, Adair, Stevens, Resick, Schnurr, MacDonald & Macdonald, 2011). Eventually, the victims of such trauma develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which is not easy to heal. Cognitive behavioral treatment uses three different techniques to deal with PTSD. The analysis in the succeeding section focuses on these techniques (Robert & Howard, 2012).

Self-Monitoring

The therapists concerned might first and foremost request the veteran patient to track their feelings and thoughts. The psychologist may then ask the patient to put down the thoughts and their feelings in response to definite circumstances, particularly those that give rise to anxiety or any other disturbing feeling. This assist the patient acknowledge how they assess their incidents and the end results of these assessments, such as anxiety.

Cognitive Restructuring

Once these assessments are acknowledged, the specialized may then assist the patient collect proof for and against the assessments. This is the cognitive restructuring process. Through the process, veterans may appreciate that their assessments or interpretations of circumstances are not exclusively perfect. They may as well comprehend that, even though thoughts often appear factual, they are hardly ever based on facts. These realities help veterans overcome PTSD with a lot of ease.

Behavioral Experiments

In this final stage, the therapist will request the veteran to participate in behavioral experimentations. This encompasses asking the patient to try these new methods of perceiving the humanity. This might be possible by getting into circumstances where they might come into contact with something that they once feared. Once they manage to go through this stage successfully, then they might have managed to overcome PTSD.

Further Analysis of PTSD

Clinical understanding suggests that reported youth adversity, adult experiences of hostility, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are widespread among people suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD) (Zanarini, Hörz, Frankenburg, Reich & Fitzmaurice, 2011). While several research findings support the connection between babyhood and adult adversity and BPD, only seven studies have evaluated the commonness of PTSD in models of criteria-defined patients suffering from BPD (3-9). Generally, the researchers recognized that PTSD was fairly regular, with a range of 20-54.9% and a center commonness of around 46%. In addition, only 2 longitudinal researches have evaluated the path of PTSD in a model of well-defined patients suffering from BPD (Niles, Klunk-Gillis, Ryngala, Silberbogen, Paysnick, & Wolf,  2012). In the foremost of these studies the Collaborative Longitudinal Personality Disorders Study o CLPS- it was concluded that BPD dispatched more swiftly over 2 years of potential follow-up in individuals with PTSD than those with unqualified PTSD. In the second phase of these researches – the McLean Study of Adult Development (MSAD) – it was established that the occurrence of PTSD reduces extensively over six years of prospective transcribe but remained considerably higher among people with BPD than amongst axis II comparison theme (Barker, Dawson 2011). It was also established that the lack of PTSD at baseline was a noteworthy predictor of a quicker period to-remission of BPD.

The recent study, which is an annex of the McLean research of Adult Development research mentioned earlier, is the first longitudinal research to evaluate the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder, over and above 10 years of probable follow-up in a huge and well-defined model of patients with borderline traits disorder and axis II comparison subject matters (Zanarini, Hörz, Frankenburg, Weingeroff, Reich, Fitzmaurice 2011). It is also the very first research to evaluate time-to-recurrence, time-to-recurrence, and time-to new inception of post-traumatic stress disorder in individuals with borderline traits disorder tracked prospectively for a 10 years (Zanarini, Hörz, Frankenburg, Reich & Fitzmaurice, 2011). In addition, it is the very first research to evaluate the connection between sex adversity in childhood and maturity and the possibility of remission and reappearance of post-traumatic stress disorder amongst borderline patients meeting standards for this co-occurring mental challenge at research entry. Material and techniques the current research is section of the MSAD, a comprehensive longitudinal research of the units of BPD. All subjects were originally in-patients at the great McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. every patient was first and foremost screened to establish that he/she: (i) was between the ages of 18-35; ii) had a known IQ of 71 or above (iii) was fluent in English (iv) had no history/current symptoms of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar I disorder, schizophrenia or an organic status that could result to psychiatric symptoms. After the research procedures were clarified, written informed approval was acquired. Each patient then convened with a master-level interviewer who was blind to the patient’s diagnoses for a meticulous diagnostic evaluation (Zanarini, Hörz, Frankenburg, Reich, & Fitzmaurice, 2011). Three semi prearranged diagnostic interviews were executed. These diagnostic consultations were: I) the ordered Clinical consultation for DSM-III-R Axis I (SCID I) (12), ii) the modified Diagnostic consultation for Borderlines (DIB-R) (13) and iii) the Diagnostic consultation for DSM-III-R Personality Disorders. The test-retest and inter-rater dependability of all 3 of these procedures have been established to be excellent. At each of 5 follow-up waves, disconnected by twenty four months, axis I and II psychopathology was re-evaluated through interview techniques comparable to the baseline measures by clinically qualified MA-level or BA-level staff affiliates blind to basic diagnoses. After informed approval was found, diagnostic battery was re administered.

Remission as any 2-year phase (any follow-up phase) in which the standards for PTSD were no longer obtained. For this study 2 years is appropriate at the beginning of the research to mirror meanings of remission of BPD and its essential symptoms (18). In addition, a reappearance or new inception could be defined as any 1-month epoch in which the standards for PTSD were achieved after a 2-year remission. Therefore it can be concluded that youth adversity, adult experiences of hostility, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are widespread among people suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD).

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Henry Ford And John Gray

Henry Ford and John Gray founded Ford Motor Company in 1903 with the intent of making automobiles affordable to the average American family. In 1908, Ford was credited with producing one of the “most popular cars in the world,” the Model T (NPR, 2006). The company was highly profitable in its early stages, operating on a model of Taylorism and pioneering the use of assembly line in automobile production. The company has since moved to a more Holistic approach, creating a diverse and motivated workplace culture. Through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), innovative technologies, international presence, and strong leadership practices the Ford Motor Company has established themselves as a worldwide leader in the automotive industry. Their place has been determined by a few significant operational and design decisions, such as maintaining affordability and high safety standards, but continued success is reliant upon maintaining successful innovation to meet evolving customer expectations.

This analysis does not include Lincoln, the luxury brand of automobiles produced by Ford Motor Company.

Output Analysis

The Output Analysis will focus on the organizational effectiveness of Ford Motor Company. To assess its effectiveness, Ford’s outputs will be analyzed with respect to several output factors and how they compare to other American automobile manufacturers. The output factors this analysis will focus on are customer results in the automobiles produced, business and financial indicators, employee engagement in the output measures, company innovation, and Ford’s global/societal responsibility.

Customers

This analysis will focus on two primary customer satisfaction factors in 2012 vehicle models: Dependability and safety.

For dependability, or reliability, Ford has performed very well. J.D. Power & Associates 2012 US Vehicle Dependability Study shown below shows Ford well above average in problems per 100 vehicles. While Toyota received the most awards with eight, Ford Motor Company did receive three awards for vehicle dependability (J.D. Power & Associates).

Figure . J.D. Power and Associates – 2012 Dependability Study

(Power and Assocates 2012)

For safety, Ford has a very good history of good safety performance highlighted by their #1 ranking in 2010. (Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, 2009) Ford’s exceptional safety record continues but has fallen slightly behind competitors in 2012 where it received 12 top safety awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, 2011) compared to Toyota/Lexus/Scion at 15 winners, General Motors with 14, and Volkswagen/Audi with 13. Ford’s Top Safety Picks for 2012 include the following vehicles:

Fiesta (Mini Car)

Focus (Small Car)

Fusion (Midsize Car)

Taurus (Large Car)

Edge (Midsize SUV)

Explorer (Midsize SUV)

F-150 (Large Pickup)

Overall, the results indicate a steady safety performance for Ford vehicles. However, the results also show a significant increase in competitor safety performance and Ford is no longer the industry vehicle safety leader as it was a few years ago.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement can mean many things but perhaps the best definition of it that engagement “is a positive work-related psychological state” and “a motivational state reflected in a genuine willingness to invest focused effort toward organizational goals and success”. (Albrecht, 2010) How much, or how well, the employees buy-in to the company’s strategic goals and success can greatly affect the company’s performance. One could reasonably assume that an employee who really cares and is invested in the success of his or her employer would be more productive and more likely to recommend improvements and seek to improve quality and performance of the products.

While employee engagement is something companies strive for and want to foster, gaining it, maintaining it, and measuring it is another thing entirely. Employee engagement is something that will likely be varied individually and over time, fluctuating constantly depending on many variables. With that in mind, perhaps the best way to look at employee engagement is to look at company practices that are intended to foster employee engagement positively.

On Ford Motor Company’s employee web page (Ford Motor Company, 2012), the company lists many of the things they do to foster engagement in their employees, including town hall meetings, intranet surveys and chats, joint labor/management committees and diversity councils. Ford also conducts employee “Drive Events” to give employees the opportunity to test drive new vehicles before they are released. This provides customer perspective to the employee and helps promote the vehicles to the public.

Ford also uses employees in beta testing of new applications and equipment to provide real-world feedback during product development. This gives the employees a sense of contribution and ownership in the development process they may not otherwise have.

Innovation

Two key sources of innovation within Ford are electric vehicles and connectivity within vehicles.

Electric vehicle technology has come to the forefront of clean energy initiatives for automotive manufacturers and Ford has created a goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in U.S. and European vehicles by 30% by 2020 with a global electrification strategy. (Hughes-Cromwich, 2011) The strategy is a long-term strategy that starts with hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) in the short term and full battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the long term.

The strategy is to create a high level of sustainability for its vehicles in the future. However, Ford is not unique in this innovation and may even be a little behind the technology curve. Nissan, GM, Toyota, and others are currently producing multiple electric vehicles. There are also several other smaller start-up manufacturers producing electric vehicles such as Tesla and Fisker. Ford, on the other hand, is taking a much more deliberate approach to their electric vehicle plan, the electrification strategy, that will result in an across the board electrification of their entire vehicle fleet. (Herron, 2012)

The success of Ford’s deliberate approach will not be known for several years as their strategy plays out, but they are clearly not being as aggressive as other manufacturers in the field of electric vehicle production. This year have they produced new Ford Focus Electric, which will soon be followed by four others including the Ford Fusion Electric.

Vehicle connectivity is another key factor in vehicle innovation as the world in general becomes more connected and technology application based. What started out several years ago with installed global positioning satellite (GPS) systems and Bluetooth connection is now evolving to constant Internet connection with in-vehicle mobile services that include streaming audio/video.

Ford’s Sync system is a factory installed hands-free communication and entertainment system that enables drivers to use voice activation to perform numerous digital functions while driving. These functions include phone calls, radio controls, mapping functions, and vehicle climate control. The system is programmed for operator voice recognition and customizable for operator needs. (Ford Motor Company, 2012)

Other manufacturers also have similar technology such as GMs OnStar, Toyota’s Entune, and Chrysler’s Uconnect systems. OnStar was the industry leader for in-vehicle communications for several years after starting in 1996 (Borgia, 2009) but other manufacturers are catching up. Comparing the systems to each other is an extremely quirky and personal endeavor with different people rating each one differently depending on their personal needs and uses.

In summary, Ford’s SYNC system has reached the forefront of in-vehicle connectivity technology in five short years and competes with the technology of the other manufacturers. The system is continuing to evolve as technology increases.

Societal

Corporate Societal Responsibility has integrated into Ford Motor Company intrinsically through their ONE Ford Mission and Vision, as shown in Figure below.

Figure . Ford Motor Company business strategy: ONE Ford

http://corporate.ford.com/doc/one_ford.pdf

Ford maintains an in-depth sustainability strategy with the ONE Ford business strategy with the goal to create three primary outputs: Great Products, Strong Business, and a Better World. (Ford Motor Company, 2011) Within the primary company output of a Better World, Ford has built a sustainability strategy to “create value consistent with the long-term preservation and enhancement of environmental, social and financial capital.”

Ford, as part of its sustainability strategy, maintains seven primary focus areas to achieve sustainability: Fuel Economy, Vehicle Safety, Income, Employee Satisfaction, Supply Chain, CO2 Emissions and Water Use. Nearly all of these are societal in nature as they deal with environmental, education, safety, and energy.

There are also numerous examples of Ford’s commitment to society that includes working and building partnerships with communities. These include Operation Goodwill, Ford Mobile Food Pantry Program, Pride and Honor Flight, The Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3), Ford Community Corps, Ford Blue Oval Scholarships, and the Ford Volunteer Corps just the name a few. (Ford Motor Company, 2011)

External Business Environment Analysis

Ford, like all American auto manufacturers, experienced a significant downturn in the auto industry during the recent economic recession. What separates the successful companies is how they deal with a volatile economy and how they are able to exploit the business environment during the economic recovery. Ford has not only weathered the recession rather well, but also expanded into Asia where the economy remained strong and established long-term production capability. This section will look at several characteristics of the external business environment as it relates to Ford and will discuss Ford’s environmental initiatives.

Business and Economic Characteristics

The automotive industry has struggled over the past several years while working through a tumultuous economy in the United States and Europe. However, the significant drop in production in 2008 and 2009, and the slow recovery since, has been offset dramatically by sales in China where “production grew a staggering 32.4% in 2010, led by the country’s rising income, expanding urbanization and growing population.” (IBIS World Industry Report, 2012)

The production growth in China and other emerging markets is expected to continue along with the economic recovery in the U.S. and Europe, which IBIS expects to produce a 2012 growth of 5.2% in total industry revenue worth an estimated $2.2 trillion. However, despite this projected growth the longer-term outlook to 2017 is more conservative. There is potential growth of less than 5%, as the U.S. and European economies will likely remain sluggish as they deal increasing debt.

Forces Driving Change in the Industry

Several forces drive change in the auto industry. This analysis will focus on three: gas prices, industry structure, and emerging markets.

Gas Prices

A significant increase in fuel prices over the past several years has caused a shift in automobile production away from larger vehicles with high fuel consumption in favor of smaller fuel efficient vehicles. Figure shows regular gas prices have doubled over the past 7 years. This has driven auto manufacturers to be much more competitive in fuel economy in their vehicles.

Figure . 96 Month Average Retail Gas Price Chart

(GasBuddy.com, 2012)

Industry Structure

Another example of external forces affecting the auto industry is the increase in steel prices. Significant growth in developing countries, primarily China, has led to increased raw material prices industry wide. For example, the price of iron ore increased from $60 a ton in 2009 to $180 a ton in April 2010. (International Trade Administration, 2011) Similar increases were experiences for thermoplastics, which increased 16% in 2010.

Dramatic price increases in raw materials put the manufacturers in a tough position. Steel suppliers seek shorter term contracts with auto manufacturers to protect themselves from the rising price of ore and while the auto manufacturers want to stabilize the steel costs to better manage car costs and profits. The results is an extremely competitive environment where the demand for cheaper and more fuel efficient vehicles must be balanced with higher material costs.

Emerging Markets

The BRICs (China, Russia, India, and Brazil) represent emerging economies with a rapidly expanding industrial capacity. While their industrial capacity increases, so does their demand and middle class families emerge and are able to purchase cars. (IBIS World Industry Report, 2012) This affects U.S. manufacturers such as Ford in a couple of different ways, both positive and negative. First, the growing economy in the emerging markets has created demand for U.S. cars and helped grow sales in a tough U.S. economy. However, U.S. automakers have been getting a lot of their raw materials, iron ore in particular, from China in recent years and China’s own increased industrial manufacturing has affected both price and availability. (International Trade Administration, 2011)

Competitive Forces in the Industry

Auto manufacturing is an increasingly competitive industry. The primary competitive force in play is market share concentration. In Ford’s case, market share concentration is relatively low with the four largest automakers accounting for 33.7% of industry revenue in 2012 (IBIS World Industry Report, 2012) and will continue to drop as new companies emerge and large companies split into smaller divisions as Chrysler did in 2007.

However, as the market share concentration drops, competition increases as smaller automakers hone in on niche cars that meet the demand for cheap, economic transportation. While many of these smaller manufacturers are not a real competitive threat at this time, they are quickly gaining ground.

Major Threats and Opportunities

Perhaps the best example of an up and coming automaker threatening big automakers like Ford is Tata Motors in Mumbai, India. While Tata Motors has been manufacturing cars in India since 1954, the last decade has seen an incredible expansion to other parts of the world. Tata began a big push by acquiring Daewoo truck manufacturing in 2004 and culminated in purchasing Jaguar Land Rover from Ford in 2008 for $2.3 billion in the middle of the U.S. financial crisis. (Fitzwater, 2012) Now, Jaguar Land Rover is producing substantial profits for Tata Motors with sales of $15.4 billion in 2011, a 48% increase from 2010.

Tata Motors is a company on the rise. While Ford and other U.S. and European automakers were trying to survive and recover for a recession from 2008 to 2011, Asian companies like Tata are charging full speed ahead taking advantage of a growing market in China. Figure below shows Tata Motors’ growth since 2002.

Figure . Tata Motors Growth

(Fitzwater, 2012)

In 2009, Tata Motors introduced a car called the Nano, which sells for approximately $2100 and is currently working on a car that will run on compressed air. (Fitzwater, 2012) This is simply a price point that companies like Ford cannot compete with. Companies such as Tata may not be an immediate threat to U.S. markets due to stringent safety and environmental requirement laws, but they cut into sales in the BRICs. Also, with Tata’s quick rise, it should be assumed they are targeting U.S. and European markets in the near future.

Keys to Competitive Success

Given Tata Motors’ history, a key to Ford’s success may lie in Asia. Fortunately, Ford has not been blind to the emerging markets in the BRICs. Ford has already built a new assembly plant in Chongqing, China and plans to build three more assembly plants in Asia-Pacific in the near future, highlighted by a $1 billion facility investment in Sanand, Gujarat in India. (Ford Motor Company, 2011)

Another key to Ford’s success is in vehicle profitability. Ultimately, as in any business, Ford’s success depends on how profitable it is. However, profitability varies greatly depending on the line of vehicle. Large, expensive SUV’s that are popular in America carry a large profit margin and smaller, less expensive cars have a much smaller profit. Given the global demand for affordable and efficient cars, Ford is exploiting that segment of the market by increasing production efficiency and sales of smaller vehicles. With the increases production capacity of four new assembly plants in Asia, Ford will be able to increase their profit contributions from smaller vehicle through greatly increased sales in the BRICs.

Inputs and Internal Business Environment Analysis

The internal business environment within the Ford Motor Company has as much to do with its success or failure, as do any external factors. The Ford Motor Company has been able to weather bad economic conditions in the automotive industry and come out ahead, internal business organizational and process changes, and external pressures that could have forced the company to collapse. The internal environment of the Ford Motor Company has been changed significantly over the past decade for the better. If it were not for the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the company might not be alive today. Ford is divided into two separate companies, Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Credit Company, that can provide a full spectrum of automobile selling, lending, and buying (MarketLine, 2012).

Alan Mulally took over as the CEO of Ford in 2006. Before him, under the leadership of Bill Ford Jr., the Ford Motor Company was divided between each of its separate geographic regions and the regions acted independently, without cooperation. The geographic regions could be described as different factions that are in conflict with each other. There existed no sharing of information, ideas, technology, or designs between each of the regions before Mulally took over as CEO (The Associated Press, 2012). Ford has historically operated separately in each of its four main geographic regions, North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. These regions also have their own distinct and duplicative processes (Ford Motor Company, 2008). In addition, before 2006, Ford factories around the world produced too many varieties of vehicles and vehicles themselves; Ford dealerships had to even offer discounts in order to sell all of the vehicles (The Associated Press, 2012). Initially this operation made sense for the Ford Motor Company because of sparse communication and transportation infrastructure. As technology has increased, this led to inefficiencies, duplication of effort, and waste of resources, talent, and money (Ford Motor Company, 2008).

In 2006, everything for Ford began changing. Alan Mulally took over the company from William C. “Bill” Ford Jr., a direct descendent of Henry Ford, realized that the way his company was headed was going to devastate the company. Bill stepped down as CEO but continued to remain on as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Alan Mulally, after realizing how separated each of the operating regions had become, instituted a completely new management, manufacturing, and design plan across the board. To fix and improve the broken manufacturing process, Mulally introduced what is called a Direct Labor Management System (DLMS) to assist in the production and planning of vehicles. The DLMS improves the assembly process by standardizing everything. Also, the DLMS was implemented to help provide a generic manufacturing process across many different vehicles types. For instance, vehicle structure and frames were standardized across trucks so that one type of frame could be used in multiple vehicle models. The DLMS provides consistent and accurate estimates of product (technical) and non-product (clerical) labor times. By using the DLMS, Ford was able to remove all non-product tasks from engineers, allowing them to focus more time on product processes (John O’Brien, 1989).

In addition to the new DLMS, Mulally’s new management style was implemented and executives completed training on procedures and processes. Any executives not onboard with the changes were let go. First, Mulally implemented a new procedure to match production to demand and were able to demand higher vehicle prices. This strategy prepared Ford to better weather the impending harsh economic environment. Ford executives across the company changed the way they conducted business. Executives established weekly business review meetings in which employees voiced concerns and opinions, called Mutual Growth Forums (MGF). This way, direct change is implemented more often. These meetings have become so successful that they trickled down to lower level managers and are considered a staple of the company’s management at all levels. In addition to managers and executives working together, engineers and designers are also encouraged to collaborate to make better products through MGF (The Associated Press, 2012).

Alan Mulally remarkably transformed the way the Ford Motor Company operates. Ford still operates internationally, but is more successful and informed in the way it markets, manufactures, designs, sells, and buys vehicles. Ford still has an extensive, strong, and diversified operational network of manufacturing, assembly, distribution, warehouse, sales, administrative, and engineering centers. As a result, the company is better able to manage the way it operates now than it has been in the past. Ford is made up of 69 manufacturing plants, 41 distribution centers and warehouses, 56 research and development and engineering centers, 11,790 dealerships, and 110 sales offices after Mulally condensed operations (MarketLine, 2012). In conjunction with shaking up the organizational structure and physical footprint of the company, Mulally also substantially changed the products that Ford produces.

Over the past several decades, Ford has relied mostly on the sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Ford also manufactured vehicles under the Ford, Mercury, Volvo, and Lincoln brands (Chakraborty, 2012). Before the economic and auto crisis hit in 2008, Ford had begun to restructure its brands and image. Ford shifted to creating additional types of cars including electric and hybrid cars and staking more of its revenue on selling more cars than trucks with the ability to shift production based on demand (MarketLine, 2012). The shift that Mulally instilled in the Ford Motor Company allowed it to survive the 2008 economic downturn where other American car manufacturers could not. Ford is now has a net income which is approximately $6.56 billion higher than its main competitors. Another contribution to a hefty increase in net income was Ford’s investment in alternative fuel technologies to improve fuel efficiency (Chakraborty, 2012).

An inhibitor to Ford’s restructuring efforts can be partly attributed to its contract with the United Auto Workers (UAW) Union. The impact of the closure of unneeded manufacturing plants which would result in the layoff of workers cannot be fully seen immediately. Any hourly employees that are members of the UAW must still get paid at a rate of 90% with full benefits until the end of the contract. This pattern bargaining plan, accepted by Ford in 1990, prevents auto companies from easily laying off hourly employees.

Mulally’s restructuring efforts will only be fully realized in the future (Maynard, 2006). The change that Mulally has implemented in the Ford Motor Company will be hard pressed to keep up when he is scheduled to retire within the next couple of years. The man that will take over the helm of Ford, Mark Fields, is the current director of North, South, and Central American operations and actually wrote the restructuring plan that Mulally implemented (The Associated Press, 2012). It is yet to be seen of the new organizational changes will survive this change in leadership.

Transformation/Execution Systems

Reward System

Motivation is generally linked to reward, and it is accepted that maintaining a healthy reward system is central to the regulation of employment. Reward systems vary between organizations, including: monetary or non-monetary, tangible or intangible, and physical or psychological. Rewards are offered to the employees as compensation for the productive work they execute. (Reward System in Organizations, 2009)

Ford Motor Company incorporated an effective reward system exemplified by the restructuring of its operations and its organizational chain of command. The company incorporates a team-based methodology in its manufacturing process to give employees more control over their responsibilities (2006).  Instead of simply following the instructions of managers, workers can directly contact suppliers to talk about quality of equipment or fix the product defects. At Ford, employee’s decisions are valued by their organization; they can exercise personal judgment to increase their productivity. Â

Ford is one of the numerous organizations in the United States that use the Internet to run incentive programs for employee motivation, recognition, award selection, and award fulfilment. Online-oriented employee motivation poses various benefits that are advantageous for employees and the organization itself. For instance, promotional events are posted online, reducing the use of paper. These materials can be immediately and efficiently managed.  Hence, online incentive programs save time, money, and even permit greater control for the organization and employees.

Ford also acknowledges corporate social responsibility (CSR) to benefit employees, consumers, dealers, suppliers and community. Hence, Ford is able to provide a quality life to its employees and their families (Reward System in Organizations, 2009)

Other forms of compensation for Ford employees are programs for Employee Involvement (EI).  Some of the EI programs are Mutual Growth Forums (MGF), as discussed previously, and the Employee Assistance Plan (EAP).

Through MGF the relationship between employees and administration is developed through two-way communication. To do this, the concerned parties conduct regular meetings to discuss matters of mutual interest, such as product plans, competition, economics, holiday schedules and work conditions.

The EI program is completely voluntary and takes care of workers who have health problems, drug dependency, or other immediate concerns. The program also includes a referral technique for professional counselling, assessment, and treatment, as well as wellness activities for health risk evaluations, stress management, hypertension monitoring, and so on. These compensations benefits to Ford with enhanced employee creativity, lessened absenteeism, better quality of products, and improved relations between employees and the administration.

Team design

Ford incorporated the Ford Production System (FPS) in the mid-1990s, an initiative to restructure its manufacturing process to enhance flexibility and efficiency in its automobile production systems. Under FPS, factory employees form teams called “work groups.” (Liker & Morgan, 2011). With this new format, managers of the workgroups are given the authority to make independent work decisions, which eventually result in time savings.

In 2000, Ford concentrated its product development teams into three centers of competence. Small cars developed at co-centers in Cologne, Germany and Dunton, U.K., and large-car and truck teams are in Dearborn, Michigan. (Wernle, 2000)

Product Design Team

Product design team has a parallel approach, improving on the linear process. These teams are task-focused and the level of communication and decision-making is high. The project team design begins with the empowering and staffing the team, the team members are chosen according to the company history and breakdown of the task. Then, the design engineers, responsible for the development of the product are selected. (Therese, 1990)

Leadership/decision making

Bill Ford is the chairman of Ford Motor Company and most of the decisions in the company are taken care by CEO, Alan Mulally, and a board of directors. The CEO makes the majority of the executive decisions. The role of the board is to select and evaluate the CEO and other top-level executives. (Ford Motor Company 2011 Annual Report, 2011) The board of directors has 17 members.

Through Ford Production System (FPS) work groups were formed which gave powers to the managers of the work groups to make their own decisions. Employees were significantly involved in the decision-making process as they could directly contact the suppliers and discuss the quality of the products. (Liker & Morgan, 2011)

Human Resource System

When CEO Alan Mulally came to Ford in 2006, he developed the “One Ford” plan. Under One Ford, all Ford workers are integrated into a system where employee opinions are valued. (White, 2011). Since 2009, Ford has been encouraging social networks in order to enable easy communication among employees so that employees can more easily engage customers. (Khan & Khan, 2011)

Cross-cultural Human Resource Management at Ford

Ford is putting efforts to reach diverse communities by targeting universities with higher percentage of women and minority groups (Reward System in Organizations, 2009). Ford launched its global diversity initiative in 1994 to improve diversity and work life throughout the company. Of its 157,000 U.S. employees, 12.8% of Officials and managers are minorities. African Americans represent 8.7% of all top management posts and 17.3% of the workforce overall (Reward System in Organizations, 2009). Ford has also launched some programs and processes for managing diversity. This has been a key-contributing factor to Ford Motor Company’s goal of global markets and corporate efficiency.

Technology

In 1933, Henry Ford had outlined on what makes a great product when he said, “It is the type of engine and it’s reliability; the structure of chassis and body, durability; preference should be given to safety factors; a steady development in comfort, convenience of driving and economy of the vehicle and these factors make the car.” These basic principles as envisioned by Henry Ford are very closely monitored as the Four Pillars, which are the main areas of focus for Ford today. (Armbruster, 2011)

The four pillars are: Drive smart, Drive safe, Drive quality, and Drive green.

Drive Smart

Ford is committed to deliver industry-leading technology that enhances driving experience at a value to the customer. Ford’s history of technological innovation goes way back from 1906 with the unitary engine and transmission and also the 1908 Model T which had the standard interchangeable parts. In 1936, for its Lincoln Zephyr, Ford came up with new alligator type hood, which made it way easier for consumers to access and service the engine. Ford introduced many new technologies to their customers in 1980s such as electronic message centers (1980), keyless entry systems (1980), heated front seats (1984) and insta-clear windshields (1986) which are amongst the few. Ford added more to their technology list in 1990s with auto-glide front seats (1993) which gave more comfort to the drivers of their vehicles, the seat and mirror positions had memory recall function (1994), voice activated cell phones (1995) and reverse activated rearview mirrors (1995). It’s true that some of these technologies mentioned above are no longer in use today, but they surely demonstrate the innovative atmosphere that still Ford has maintained. (Armbruster, 2011)

Their latest technology as part of drive smart include

Sync- This is an award winning communication and entertainment system developed by ford and Microsoft. Sync integrates most Bluetooth enabled mobile phones and digital media players. Sync Wi-Fi mobile hotspot makes the vehicle a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot which allows all passengers to access the internet.

MyFord touch- An LCD touch screen is mounted on the dashboard which has multiple features like App links, voice command system, 911 assist etc…

Blind spot Information System with cross traffic alert system.

Rear view camera system

Parking assistant and Electric power assisted steering (Technology fact sheet, 2012)

Drive Safe

Ford has been continuously thriving hard to introduce new designs to keep customers safe in its vehicles. Beginning in 1909, Ford gave an option to use acetylene headlamps which would provide more safety during low light conditions. In 1927, Henry and Edsel Ford came up with an idea of installing laminated safety glass in the windshields of the Model A which would reduce the injuries from flying glass in the event of an accident. After few years of research, Ford introduced many other features in their model line in 1956 such as steering wheel which could absorb energy, door latches with impact resistance, padded instrument panels, seat belts for driver and passengers. They also introduced airbag systems in the 1980s which made Ford’s customers of all ages feel much safer. (Armbruster, 2011)

Latest technology as part of Drive safe:

Roll stability control- Sensors are placed intelligently to detect vehicle roll motion and automatically engage measures to maintain control of the vehicle.

Curve control technology- Helps driver to maintain control over the vehicle while making a quick curve. The technology rapidly reduces the torque and also applies brakes to slow down the vehicle.

Lane keeping technology

Forward collision warning with brake support

Next generation air bags for extra protection to the driver and passengers. (Technology fact sheet, 2012)

Drive Quality

Ford offers world-class quality which challenges the best in the industry. As Henry Ford’s vision, he always wanted to give people most reliable transportation at lowest possible cost. This focus on quality has been the biggest weapon in Ford’s business. Henry Ford II even launched a new campaign called “Quality and Demand Go Hand in Hand” (Armbruster, 2011). The aim of this campaign was to improve quality in Ford products from the very first step of production. Henry Ford II believed that quality would be the determining factor for Ford to lead the market in the tough competition. Ford In 1981,launched the “Quality is Job 1” program which showed Ford’s dedication towards maintaining the quality.

Seventy-nine percent of Ford customers who purchased 2011 model year cars and trucks were satisfied with the quality of their vehicles, according to the 2011 full-year GQRS study. (Armbruster, 2011)

Latest technology:

Error proof manufacturing- Error proof systems are incorporated to ensure critical-to-quality assembly process which allows constant monitoring during the build.

The new technologies include an environment friendly anti-corrosion system that reduces the use of water to half.

A 3-wet paint technology that reduces CO2 emission by 15%.

Electrical systems of the vehicles are thoroughly checked to ensure electrically driven features operate properly. (Technology fact sheet, 2012)

Drive Green

As early as 1913, Henry Ford had started to design and experiment batteries which would be an alternative power source for Ford vehicles (Armbruster, 2011). He also promoted experiments on botanical sources of ethanol in search for an inexpensive, renewable fuel. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, fuel economy was a major deciding factor in purchasing a car for a common man because of emissions and safety legislation, and also the oil crisis at that time. Ford Motor Company responded to this crisis quickly by launching more fuel-efficient vehicles and also educated people about optimum driving techniques to attain better fuel efficiency. (Armbruster, 2011)

Latest Technology:

Eco boost, ford’s latest technology smaller displacement turbocharged gas engines reduces fuel consumption by 20% and also reduces CO2 emission by 15%.

Ford is planning to advance transmissions to six-speed gearbox, which improves fuel efficiency.

Ford’s hybrid vehicle C-MAX energi is expected to deliver greater fuel efficiency than Toyota Prius

Ford’s first all-electric vehicle is rated by U.S environmental protection agency as America’s most fuel-efficient vehicle. (Technology fact sheet, 2012)

Problem Statement

Ford Motor Company continues to lead the automobile industry on an international level, but will face many challenges as the marketplace evolves. In order to remain competitive, it is recommended that Form motor company improve its investment in the electric car market, facilitate a smooth CEO leadership transition, and evolve CSR programs with customer and environmental demand.

Electric Car Market

Ford has taken a very deliberate approach to developing electric vehicles. While Ford plans to develop and market electric vehicles rather slowly, 25%-30% of the fleet electric by 2020, other manufacturers are leading the way. Tesla Motors’ Model S is a fully electric vehicle that was selected as Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 2013 (Motor Trend, 2013), representing the arrival of a truly impactful electric car. The Model S was also selected as Car of the Year for multiple other publications including Automobile Magazine. Other manufacturers are introducing electric cars already or in the near term.

The recommendation is that Ford monitors the electric vehicle market very closely and look for ways to expedite production of fully electric vehicles if the market demands it. Technology is increasing at a rapid rate with manufacturers like Tesla taking full advantage of the availability of it while claiming over 250 patents related electric car production. Ford should not stand by and let companies like Tesla set the pace in the electric car market.

This is not to say that Ford should abandon its current strategy for full electric competition, but simply that Ford needs to stay engaged to be able to respond shifts in electric car technology and market demand. The market for electric vehicles is still emerging, nobody knows the long-term demand, but it is recommended that Ford be at the forefront of that emerging market, in terms of both technology and availability.

Leadership

The Ford Motor Company has been transformed significantly since Alan Mulally took over the helm of the company from Bill Ford Jr. Ford improved under Mulally’s leadership because of his proactive approach to decision making and his stringent plan for leadership and executive reform. A new Direct Labor Management System (DLMS) was implemented under Mulally’s leadership that allows Ford employees to utilize common practices, equipment, and automobile parts.

Ford might have some challenge in maintaining its current level of efficiency and its positive revenue flow when Mark Fields takes over as CEO. Even though Fields created the restructuring plan that was implemented by Mulally, Mulally held most of the executives responsible for Ford’s previous decline.

It is recommended for Fields to expand upon Mulally’s leadership shakeup and continue to replace executives that have previously contributed to the decline of Ford. Bringing in new management could also introduce a revitalizing spark for the future of Ford.

Corporate Social Responsibility

A study by Sun Mi Ha on Ford Motor Company and CSR shows that Ford’s consumers prefer the company’s product based on its reputation for social and environmental responsibility (Ha, 2008).

Ford produces electric automobiles, efficient gasoline and diesel powered cars, and is working on reducing the carbon impact on the world (Ford & Mullaly, 2012). Through these initiatives, Ford has excelled; however, CSR is more about reacting to the present scenarios quickly and addressing the demands and needs of the customers.

It is recommended that Ford focus more on environmental impact in the future. These requirements continuously evolve and may again in the future as impact of carbon on the environment and water in the manufacturing plants are further quantified. Implementing a minimum CSR requirement will not help Ford compete in future expansion. In these ways, they must be proactive. Top management should manage their environmental and societal impact to ensure a constructive influence.

Read Also: Role as a Leader in Creating and Sustaining a High-performance Organization

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Difference Between Criminal And Civil Procedure

Law is a set of general rules which are created by a superior entity in order to regulate human behaviour and maintain justice and peace in the society. Law applies to everyone living in a particular territory [1] . There are as many legal systems in the world as countries, but for academic reasons we classify them into three main categories: Continental (Civil, Romano-Germanic) legal system, Common (Anglo-American) legal system and Religious legal system. Law can be split up in different branches such as, Criminal law, Civil law, Commercial law, etc. In this essay I will discuss the differences between Criminal and Civil procedure in Continental and Common legal system.

Continental legal system is the oldest and most widely implemented legal system in the world. It derives from Roman law, Canon law and Commercial law. The Roman law started its contribution by the XII Tables which were published in 450 B.C. Later in the year 530 Justinian codified Roman law by publishing “Corpus Juris Civilis”. According to Justinian Roman law consisted of Ius Civile the body of laws which applied to local citizens, Ius Gentium the laws which applied to foreigners and Ius Naturale the body of laws that were considered common to all human beings [2] . The Canon law was developed by the Church in order to administrate and monitor the rights and obligations of the people. The needs and interests of merchants lead to the development of Commercial law. The historical sources of concepts, institutions, and procedures come from these three sub traditions. Today it is dominant in most parts of Western Europe, all of central and South America, many parts of Asia and Africa. Continental legal system has influenced the laws of specific nations, the law of international organizations and international law. The main feature of this legal system is that all the laws are codified (i.e. written down).

The Common law system is one of the most influential legal systems of the world.

Before 1066 in England there was no legal system, instead it was based upon oral customary rules, which varied from region to region. In 1154, Henry II institutionalised common law by establishing a unified court system which was ‘common’ to the whole country. The common-law system exists in England, the United States, and other countries which were colonized by England. This makes it one of the most widespread legal systems in the world. Common Law system is mainly based on the case law or judicial precedent, this system doesn’t use legislation as a primary source of law instead legislation for them is a clarification of legal rules and principles which are essentially derived from case law/judicial precedents. In this type of legal system law is developed on a “case-by-case” basis. In the common law system the solution to a case becomes a part of the law. This concept is known as “Stare Decisis”.

In the Common legal system the judges have very broad interpretive power. However in the Continental legal system the judges serve as civil servants who receive salary and belong to an organization of judges [3] . In Continental legal system all the laws are written and codified, and unlike Common legal system they are not determined by the judges. Instead they are determined by the parliament. Legislation is the primary source of law and the court system is not adversarial (i.e. the judge takes an active part in the hearings/trials). Also in the Continental legal system any updates to the laws must be made through legislation or some other long process. While in the common law system laws can be changed/updated by single rulings. This allows the common legal system to develop faster than the continental legal system. In the Continental legal system there is a major difference between public and private law. Private law includes the rules governing civil and commercial relationships, whereas Public law consists of matters that concern the government. Similarly in Common legal system there is a difference in private and public law; however the process is slightly different.

Substantive and Procedural Law:

There are two main categories within law known as substantive law and procedural law. Substantive law deals with creating and defining the rights and obligations of individuals and parties. It refers to all categories of public and private law. On the other hand, procedural law is the body of legal rules which regulates the process of determining the rights and obligations of parties. Procedural law is also referred to as “adjective law” [4] . It is made up of state or federal statues, rules proclaimed by courts and standards established by constitutional law [5] . Common legal system pays more attention to procedural law than to substantive law. However, substantive law plays a vital role in Continental legal system.

Criminal Law and Procedure:

Criminal law is the body of rules and statues which define the conduct which is prohibited by the state/government because it may harm the society/public. It is a welfare that establishes punishment which will be imposed if this law is broken. Criminal procedure states the rule under which criminal cases are conducted. It involves investigation, prosecution, adjudication and the punishment of the crimes. A regular criminal proceeding, in the Continental legal system, is divided into three main parts: the investigating phase, the examining phase and the trial. The public prosecutor conducts the investigative phase and also takes an active part in the examining phase, which is supervised by the examining judge. This phase is mainly written and it determines whether there is a need for a trial or not [6] . The trial is a relatively brief and informal affair conducted by a judge without a jury. The defendant does not necessarily have the right to keep silent. Sometimes the trial does not require all the witnesses to be present and may last in excess of a year. On the other hand, in the Common legal system a criminal proceeding starts with a police investigation which is aimed at collecting evidence that will prove the defendant guilty. Then an adversarial trial is conducted before either a judge or a jury. The attorneys conduct the trial and try to convince the judge in their favour. The trial is continuous and the evidence against the defendant must be presented by live witnesses in court.

One of the basic differences in criminal procedure in Common legal system and Continental legal system is that, the judge in Continental legal system plays a more active role in determining the facts of the case (i.e. takes an active part in the proceedings) while the contrary is true for Common legal system. Also, the continental legal system relies more on written argument than on oral argument. However, in the common legal system everything in the trial is primarily oral.

Civil Law and Procedure:

Civil law is the body of rules that delineates the private law (e.g. contract law, property law, family law, etc.). It is opposed to criminal or public law. Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the rules and standards that courts follow while judging civil lawsuits (i.e. non-criminal matters). It administers how a lawsuit/case will be carried out (i.e. the whole process). It is a general part of the private law and can be exercised by anyone to impose, redress or protect their legal rights. In the Continental law civil procedure is found in codes, whereas in the Common legal system it is found in rules of court made under statutory powers. Historically, in the Common legal system civil procedure lawsuits included a jury and a judge. The matter of law was reserved for the decision of the judge and the matters of fact for the jury. Even though, this practice is greatly discontinued in most of the modern Common legal countries the United States still employ it. The litigation is commenced by means of a document drawn up by the claimant which is then validated by the court. Hereafter, pleadings are followed by disclosure (i.e. disclosing evidence to the other party). Trial is usually lead by a hearing in which problems arising in pretrial procedure might be determined and attempts to compromise are made. In Continental legal system trial by jury is unknown and the litigation is usually conducted by a multijudge court. The issues of law are often determined by a series of hearings. The prominence is more on written evidence than on oral presentation [7] .

Difference between Criminal and Civil Procedure:

In criminal lawsuits, the litigation is always filed by the state, whereas in civil lawsuits a private party files the litigation and becomes the claimant. In criminal lawsuits a guilty defendant is punished by either imprisonment, fine paid to the state or death penalty (exceptional cases). On the other hand, the losing defendant in civil lawsuits is generally supposed to reimburse for the losses caused to the claimant. In criminal lawsuits the burden of proof is always on the state (i.e. the state must prove that the defendant is guilty), since the defendant is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty. However, in the civil lawsuits the burden of proof is initially on the claimant, but in some cases it shifts to the defendant. In criminal cases the defendant is protected by a number of protections which are specified in the constitution (or legislation). But in civil cases there are no protections offered to defendants. Another difference between criminal and civil lawsuits is that, criminal cases have to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Civil cases only have to be proven on the balance of probabilities [8] .

It can be seen that there are many differences in the Common legal system and the Continental legal system. These differences exist not only in their historical background but also in their approach to legal matters. I personally believe the procedures are flexible and the parties to the case enjoy more rights and obligations in Common Law system, since the Judge refers to a previously held similar cases and the legislation is not codified. As we know, there are clearly many differences between Common and Continental legal systems, however it should be noted that in the recent times both systems have started to ‘converge’ in their use of the sources of law. As De Cruz (1999) mentions, in the recent times the English legal system has started to give more significance to legislation. On the other hand the Continental legal system has also started to rely on precedents, especially in German constitutional and French administrative courts. Thus, this leads us to think that there is a possibility of the legal systems ‘converging’ together. This concept is known as the “Convergence theory”. This might be possible in some aspects, however not completely because of the enormous difference in ideology, social and economic policies, morality and many other things.

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