14 SES 04 A, Teachers, Parents and Families in Diverse Communities: Contributions from Australia, Finland and Israel
Previous research has shown that home-school cooperation is beneficial for children’s learning and development as well as children’s social functioning and it assists in addressing problem behaviours (e.g. Wilder 2014).
Although the benefits of the cooperation are noted by research, there are challenges to cooperation (e.g. Hornby & Rafaele 2011). Among the identified factors are different beliefs of what is included in parental involvement or cooperation (ibid.). Teachers are powerful actors in parental involvement with a power and position to either enhance involvement or discourage it (Bæck 2010.)
Professionals, such as teachers, endorse various kinds of beliefs concerning home-school cooperation originating partly from their training, contacts with their colleagues and partly from their cultural belief systems (see e.g. Huijbregts,& al.2008). These beliefs play a role in teachers’ activities (e.g. Skott 2015). Huijbregts and colleagues (2008) suggest that it would be beneficial for children if the persons taking care of them were more aware of their beliefs. The increased multiculturalism in Europe has highlighted this need. Partnership and trust between teachers and parents has been shown to benefit the children (e.g. El Nokali, Bachman & Votruba-Drzal 2010; Berger 1991), but, creating strong collaborative parent-school relation is challenged by schools often offering only one model of good parenting and lack sensitivity to the ideas of those parents who do not fit this model (Huijbregts & al 2008).
The focus in the presentation is on the views of teacher-students who are in the process of becoming professionals. We seek to answer the questions: How do the interviewed teacher-students describe home- school cooperation? Is it for them something beneficial and good or something problematic to be feared?
The data were collected in three thematic, focus group interviews of twelve Finnish teacher-students. The topics to be discussed in the interviews were based partly on Epstein’s model on parental involvement (e.g. Epstein & al 2009) and partly the new Finnish national curriculum which highlights home-school cooperation and the teacher-students were asked to tell what home-school cooperation is from their point of view. The data were transcribed and for the purpose of reporting the results to international audiences, excerpts of the data were translated from Finnish into English. The data was analysed qualitatively by first coding the data into categories, then searching for reappearing themes, similarities as well as differences and finally looking for connections between the themes (see e.g. Braun & Clarke 2006).
We expect that the teacher-students see cooperation with parents both problematic and beneficial. Due to their training, the teacher-students will probably highlight their role as professionals. Clarifying the teacher-students’ views on home-school cooperation will help to develop teacher education and enhance the participation possibilities of parents and students.
Bæck, U.-D. K. 2010. ‘We are the professionals’: a study of teachers’ views on parental involvement in school. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 31(3) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01425691003700565 Braun, V. and Clarke, V. 2006. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 3, 77 -101.’ 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, May/June 2010, 81 3, 988–1005. Epstein, J. L., Sanders, M. G., Simon, B. S., Salinas, K. C., Jansorn, N. R., & Van Voorhis, F. L. 2009. School, family, and community partnerships: Your handbook for action. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Hornby, G. and Lafaele, R. 2011. Barriers to parental involvement in education: an explanatory model, Educational Review, 63:1, 37-52, DOI: 10.1080/00131911.2010.488049 Huijbregts, S.K., Leseman, P.P.M., Tavecchio, L.W.C. 2008. Cultural diversity in center based childcare: Childrearing beliefs of professional caregivers from different cultural communities in the Netherlands. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 23(2), 233-244. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2007.10.001 Skott, J. 2015. The Promises, Problems, and Prospects of Research on Teachers’ Beliefs. In Fives, H. and Gill, M.G. (Eds) International Handbook of Research on Teachers’ Beliefs, pp.13-30. New York: Routledge. Wilder, S. 2014. Effects of parental involvement on academic achievement: a meta-synthesis. Educational Review 66(3), 377–397. DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2013.780009
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