14 SES 04 B, Professionals' Perceptions and Role in School-community Learning Projects
Previous studies indicate that the resources and opportunities of a neighborhood can influence school based parental involvement (Eccles & Harold, 1996). In her report on the difference between parents living in professional middle-class communities and working-class communities Lareau (1987) discusses that interactions in school were perceived as comfortable for middle-class parents and uncomfortable for working-class parents. Furthermore how parents define their own role in the school context, judge how “pleasant” the school is to their situation or whether they only feel involved in order to receive bad news about their children depends on how parents are involved at school (Eccles & Harold, 1996, p. 7). Furthermore, recent results based on the PIRLS 2011 (Progress of International Reading Literacy Survey) underline that the way parents perceive their school involvement is related to their children’s educational outcomes in reading (Anoymous). However, how parents feel embedded in school depends on the parental social background and how well they interact with teachers (Coleman, 1988). Against this background, this paper focuses on the perceived effects of the parenting mentoring as a concept of school based parental involvement (Epstein, 1987).
The city of Hamburg has developed a mentoring program for schools in districts, whose resident have high rates of unemployment, need social support, incomes below the poverty line as well as in some cases have low German language skills. The mentoring program is aimed not only at students attending the schools participating in the program but also particularly at parents living in these districts. Therefore, the mentoring program focusses on involving parents in school based on a peer to peer level by allowing different kinds of interactions in schools. Around 150 parents have been trained as parental mentors and “parental cafés” have been founded where parents can interact with each other speaking about school transition, activities outside school or participation opportunities at school as well as giving opportunities in which parents can support each other (e.g., by translating). In order to evaluate how successful the mentoring is in involving the parents more in school as well as which consequences this has for school life, this project is monitored scientifically by evaluating the parental mentoring program. The following research question is therefore at the focus of this contribution:
How do different agents included in the mentoring program perceive the effects of the parental mentoring program at the different schools?
This question is answered based on a multiple perspective approach taking the perception of the project coordinators as well as the participating parents into account.
Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, 95–120. Eccles, J. & Harold, R. (1996). Family Involvement in Children's and Adolescent' Schooling. In J. Eccles & R. Harold (Hrsg.), Family-school links: How do they affect educational outcomes? Malwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Epstein, J. L. (1987). Parent Involvement: What Research Says to Administrators Education and Urban Society, 19 (2), 119–136. Lareau, A. (1987). Social Class Differences in Family-School Relationships: The Importance of Cultural Capital. Sociology of Education, 60 (2), 73–85. Mayring, P. (2000). Qualitative Content Analysis. Forum: Qualitative Social Research. Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1089 [09th January 2017].
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