14 SES 08 B, Place-Based and Place-Conscious Education I
Over the last 20 or more years, the importance of good relations between teachers and their pupils’ families has achieved the status of an ‘evident truth’ in the world of schools. Teachers, families, policy-makers and researchers all seem to be agreed on the value of improving links between teachers and parents as a way of improving schooling and pupil results (European Commission 2011). However, many approaches to achieving this (OCDE 2010; Honby and Lafaele 2011, Nagy 2011; etc.) appear to see the task as simply being one of involving parents to a greater degree in their children’s education. There is often little or no perception that schools themselves need to change. Rather, the sense is that various kinds of families, especially those that do not belong to the autochthonous middle class, need to improve their parenting so as to better adapt to, and involve themselves with, the model of schooling that teachers practise.
This conception, widespread amongst teachers, places prime responsibility for change and improvement with families and, in some cases, the starting point appears to be that teachers need to re-educate those families that, they believe, currently offer ‘bad’ forms or levels of support to their children. In our opinion, this vision is seriously flawed, both in terms of equity and the principle of academic success for all. By way of contrast, for us the key to improving relations between schools and pupils’ families is held by schools and teachers themselves. That is, it is teachers who have to take the first steps, to innovate and to improve if school-family relations are to be improved. Such a perspective draws, on the one hand, on the work of those researchers who see schools as being spaces that are far from socially ‘neutral’; for many non-middle-class families, supporting their children in ‘the way the schools expect’ is fraught with difficulties. Similarly, research in a number of different countries, such as that of Lahire (1995), Vincent (1996), Lareau (2004), Périer (2005), Dance and Vincent (2005), or Reay, Crozier and James (2001) has shown how the grammar of schools is "indifferent to differences", establishes just one model of ‘good parenting’ and generates multiple barriers to the parental involvement of families that do not conform with the white middle-class ‘norm’. On the other hand, a number of researchers have attempted to transform this “traditional grammar of schooling" (Tyack and Tobin 1994) in order to develop closer, more effective ties with all families and, thus, improve the school results of all pupils. In this way, positive results are beginning to appear that seem to lend support to our hypothesis: changes in the grammar of schools seem to generate better relations with families and, as a result, better academic results (Sénéchal and Young 2008; Avvisati et al. 2009; El Nokali 2010; Van Voorhis 2011; Jeynes 2012). From this perspective, the research question we formulated was: If relationships between primary and secondary schools and all their pupils’ families are improved, in both qualitative and quantitative terms, is it possible to detect a significant improvement in pupils’ academic results?
This question then led us to set the following objectives:
- To work to produce changes in the "grammar of schooling” in order to create good relations with all the pupils’ families.
- To facilitate, in this way, the involvement of all the families in the schooling of their children, ensuring that all the families feel part of the school.
- Through these closer relations, to improve the academic results of all pupils.
- Avvisati, F.; Gurgand, M.; Guyon, N.; Maurin, E. (2009). Rapport final “La mallette des parents” : quels effets attendre d’une politique d’implication des parents d’élèves dans les collèges ?. París: Paris School of Economics. - Ball, S. and Vincent, C. (2005) Childcare, choice and class practices. London: Routledge. - Carr, W.; Kemmis, S. (1988) Teoría crítica de la enseñanza. Barcelona, Martínez Roca. Pàg. 174 i 190.; Elliot, J. (1989) Pràctica, recerca i teoria en educació. Vic, EUMO. - Collet, J.; Tort. A.; (coord.) (2011). Escola, famílies i èxit. Barcelona: Fundació Jaume Bofill. - Collet, J.; Tort, A. (2013). “Escuelas, familias y éxito escolar para todos/as. Mejorar los vínculos entre docentes y familias, ¿mejora los resultados académicos?” Cuadernos de Pedagogía, 428: 82-85. - Collet, J.; Tort, A. (2014). “What Do Families of the ‘Professional and Managerial’ Class Educate Their Children for? The Links between Happiness and Autonomy”. British Journal of Sociology of Education Ifirts DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2013.814531 - Elliot, J. (1990) La investigación - acción en educación. Madrid, Morata. - El Nokali, N. E., Bachman, H. J., and Votruba-Drzal, E. (2010). Parent involvement and children’s academic and social development in elementary school. Child Development, 81(3), 988-1005. - Englund, M. M., Luckner, A. E., Whaley, G. J. L., and Egeland, B. (2004). Children’s achievement in early elementary school: Longitudinal effects of parental involvement, expectations, and quality of assistance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(4), 723-730. - Epstein, J.L.( 2001) School, family and community partnerships. Boulder, CO: Westview Press - European Commission (2011) Tackling early school leaving: A Key contribution to the Europe 2020 Agenda. Brussels, European Commission. - Hornby, G.; Lafaele, R. (2011) "Barriers to parental involvement in education: an explanatory model" Educational Review 63:1, 37-52. - Feiler, A. (2010) Engaging "hard to reach" parents. Londres: Wiley-Blackwell. - Jeynes, W. (2012). A meta-analysis of the efficacy of different types of parental involvement programs for urban students. Urban Education, 47(4), 706-742. - Lahire (1995) Tableaux de familles. Paris, Seuil. - Laureau, A (2004) Unequal childhood. Berkeley: University of california Press. - Nagy, K. (2011). The impact of a family involvement program on achievement in first grade students (Doctoral Dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 3440022) - OCDE (2010) The nature of learning. Paris: OCDE. - Reay, D., Crozier, G., and D. James. (2011) White Middle Class Identities and Urban Schooling. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. - Tyack, D.; and W. Tobin. (1994) "The ''Grammar'' of Schooling: Why has it Been so Hard to Change?" American Educational Research Journal 31: 453 - Vincent, C. (1996) Parents and teachers. power and participation. London: RoutledgeFalmer.
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