14 SES 11 A, Part 2 Symposium. Positive Parenting: Assessment, Programmes and Evaluation
BACKGROUND: What makes parents satisfied about the school their child attends, and how are these opinions related to their involvement? The issue will be approached from two angles. One is Joyce L. Epstein´s model of family-school-community partnership, pointing out the importance of three overlapping spheres of influence, working together to support children ́s development and education (Coleman 2013, Epstein 2011). The other angle is "the nordic point of view" as described by Pasi Sahlberg (2014) emphazising quality and equity as the strengths of the educational systems in Nordic countries. METHOD: The study Parental involvement in compulsory education in Iceland builds on data from a research project conducted in 20 schools in collaboration with their staff, students and parents. School staff (N=823) responded to a questionnaire survey presented in four stages. An on-site survey was conducted for students (N=1821) in grades 7–10, and all parents (N=3481) were surveyed as well. FINDINGS: Main findings show that relations with parents took the form of regular parent interviews and electronic communications, but direct parental involvement in school activities was limited. Teachers used more time on cooperation with few parents about children´s behavioural problems than on cooperation with the whole parent group. The majority of parents was content with their childs schools and the teachers. Dissatisfied were those parents that felt that their child needed but didn´t get enough behavioural or educational support. CONCLUSIONS AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: It should be considered to encourage teachers to spend more time on cooperating with the whole parent group, to increase direct contact with all parents, and to be aware that parents can be vulnerable due to their child´s special needs. Parent participation must be encouraged in many different ways. It would benefit all if schools staff understood the diverse parent group better, if the aim is a joint responsibility of student welfare and education.
Coleman, M. (2013). Empowering Family-Teacher Partnerships. Building Connections Within Diverse Communities. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage. Epstein, J. L. (2011). School, family, and community partnerships: preparing educators, and improving schools.Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Sahlberg, P. (2014). True Facts and Tales about Teachers and Teaching: A Nordic Point of View. A lecture on 14th of August at Future teachers: A profession at Crossroads, in Reykjavík, Iceland.
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