ERG SES C 05, Poster Session
Social background factors that have a major impact on the educational achievement have been a highly focussed topic in education research, and not only since the international school achievement studies. In current education research, an increasing interest in the collaboration between parents and teachers can be observed. This parent-teacher-collaboration is a central feature of school quality and its intensification is an important element of systematic school development (Henchey, 2001; Muijs, 2003). While in anglophone countries, parental involvement has a central place in the discourse of school quality and school development, the parent-teacher-collaboration in Germany has not been a focal issue yet (Krumm, 1996; Mortimore, 1993), and so far, there is no normative understanding of this collaboration. In some cases, models are adapted from anglo-american studies (Epstein, 2005; Sacher, 2009). These models of parent-teacher-collaboration differentiate this areas of collaboration: (1) parental education, (2) exchange of information, (3) parental engagement, (4) domestic support, (5) parental participation, and (6) collaboration with external partners.
Legal regulations on the parent-teacher-collaboration in North Rhine-Westphalia determine the duties of information and the collective participation rights of parents. They are supposed to secure the public acceptance of schools. The effects of this politically-oriented collaboration on the performance of students are in contrast to pedagogical-oriented collaboration offers little productive (Krumm, 1996; Sacher, 2014).
Often parents and teachers do not enter into collaboration (Sacher, 2014; Neuenschwander et al., 2004). There is evidence that the offers of collaboration made by schools are little aligned with heterogeneous parents. This applies in particular for parents with a low socio-economic status or with immigrant backgrounds, which therefore are not reached by the offers (Schwaiger & Neumann, 2010). Classic collaboration offers often require certain resources from parents and thus do not reach those parents that do not have the required resources. Perceptions of normality that are implicit in these offers can affect and reinforce social inequality when only privileged parents benefit from collaboration offers (Bourdieu, 2005; Lareau, 1989). Schools in challenging circumstances are particularly challenged to develop appropriate concepts for collaboration. When the groups of parents are heterogeneous and especially when there are many little privileged parents, traditional offers of collaboration can be ineffective.
There is little consensus on responsibility for or content and objectives of collaboration. It is assumed that reasoning patterns, expectations of actions, and role definitions diverge between teachers and parents and prevent or charge entering into a collaboration. Yet, those are insufficiently differentiated and decoded. Thus the collaboration needs a role, function, and goal clarification, which must be negotiated (Neuenschwander et al., 2004).
According to this findings, first the project examines the conditions and the importance of collaboration at the system and school level with respect to implied responsibilities, duties, contents, and objectives. The goal is to find out how schools focus the parent-teacher-collaboration and how it is focused in the school system.
In a second step, the project focuses individual conditions for collaboration with parents on the side of teachers. Relevant aspects are how teachers perceive collaboration and profession as well as their own competence, and what causal attributions for the (un-)entered collaboration they apply. It is assumed that teachers offer different effective collaboration services, or are ready to offer various collaboration services according to perceived and actual competence, role definition, and conception of collaboration.
To assess the collaboration process, the characteristics on individual teacher level, the proposed offers of collaboration, the communication channels used, and the (un-) entered collaboration are compared. The contents of collaboration and resulting benefits, as perceived by teachers and parents, are analysed and the design and the use of the actual collaboration are focused.
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