10 SES 01 D, Preparing Pre-School Teachers for Family School Partnerships: International perspectives
As stated above Family-School Partnerships (FSP) are important for students’ development. Therefore, pre-service teachers need to learn how to establish this. However, in teacher education programmes this topic is insufficiently addressed partially attributed to already overloaded programmes (Willemse et al., 2016; Saltmarsh et al., 2015). This struggle of addressing FSP in teacher education in particular applies for teacher education programmes for secondary education (Evans, 2013). As a result pre-service teachers, in particular pre-service teachers for secondary education, appeared to have rather restricted views on FSP and indecisive attitudes towards the importance of collaborating with parents (Willemse et al., 2017). This presentation reports on a study conducted in two universities (one in the Netherlands and one in Belgium, Flanders), whereas instead of doing nothing it was decided to conduct a study exploring whether a small-scale curriculum change, might, as a first step, contribute to pre-service teachers’ awareness of the importance of FSP, broaden their concepts and the identification of goals for further learning. Starting from the argument of Van den Akker (2003) that curriculum changes do not necessarily have to start at a meso-level, the design principles of this small-scale curriculum change covered an assignment to interview novice-teachers about FSP which was followed by a class on this topic. The design of an interview assignment with an in-service teacher was based on the idea that interviewing or discussion with colleagues contributes to (pre-service) teachers’ knowledge development (Hoekstra et al., 2009). Moreover, Tillema and Van der Westhuizen (2013) consider those discussions as a strong way to develop and frame professional knowledge which might help pre-service teachers to bridge the gap between prior beliefs, theoretical knowledge, and daily practices and influence their knowledge, attitudes and views. The class following the assignment covered the general theories of FSP (Epstein, 2011; Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2002; Hornby & Lafaele, 2011) and supported the students to reflect on the outcomes of the interviews and their personal views on FSP. Afterwards, pre-service teachers reported in written reflections that they had become aware of the importance of FSP, emphasising that FSP is more than just communication. However, their focus for further professionalization remained on improving their communication skills. Though this small-scale curriculum change seems to be a small step forward to a better preparation on FSP, further improvements are necessary to promote a comprehensive view of FSP.
Akker, J., van den. 2003. Curriculum Perspectives: An Introduction. In J. van den Akker, W. Kuiper, and U. Hameyer (Eds.), Curriculum Landscapes and Trends (1-10). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Epstein, J.L.  2011 revised. School, Family and Community Partnerships. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Evans, M.P. 2013. Educating Pre-Service Teachers for Family, School, and Community Engagement.”Teaching Education 24(2): 123-133. Hoekstra, A., Brekelmans, M., Beijaard, D. and Korthagen, F. 2009. Experienced Teachers’ Informal Learning: Learning Activities and Changes in Behavior and Cognition, Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(5): 663-673. Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., Walker, J., Jones, K. and Reed, R.. 2002. Teachers Involving Parents (TIP): Results of an In-Service Teacher Education Program for Enhancing Parental Involvement. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18: 843–867. Hornby, G., and Lafaele, R. 2011. Barriers to Parental Involvement in Education: An Exploratory Model. Educational Review 63: 37–52. Saltmarsh, S., Barr, J. and Chapman, A. 2014. Preparing for Parents: How Australian Teacher Education Is Addressing the Question of Parent–School Engagement. Asia Pacific Journal of Education 35: 69–84. Willemse, T.M., Vloeberghs, L., de Bruïne, E.J. and Van Eynde, S 2015. Preparing teachers for family-school partnerships: a Dutch and Belgian perspective. Teaching Education, 27(2), 212-228 DOI: 10.1080/10476210.2015.1069264
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