10 SES 01 D, Preparing Pre-School Teachers for Family School Partnerships: International perspectives
Teachers worldwide are expected to be able to communicate successfully with parents during parent-teacher conferences, as this is a key practice to enhance strong family-school partnerships (Christenson & Reschly, 2010; Dotger, 2011; Lawrence-Lightfoot, 2003). However, research shows that teacher education institutes are currently struggling to sufficiently prepare pre-service teachers for this topic (de Bruïne, Willemse, D’Haem, Griswold, Vloeberghs, & van Eynde, 2014; Evans, 2013). In particular, opportunities to practice and experience parent-teacher communication are missing (de Bruïne et al., Epstein & Sanders, 2006). To overcome this problem, simulations might offer interesting perspectives as they provide “clinically rich learning opportunities where all participating teachers experience, practice, reflect on, and build from discreet professional experiences that closely approximate realistic problems of practice” (Dotger, 2013, p.9; see also e.g., Badiee & Kaufman, 2015). Taking this into account, a design-based research (DBR) project was set up in the one-year teacher training programme of Ghent University (Belgium). In this context, both online and face-to-face simulations were designed. In the face-to-face simulations, pre-service teachers participate in real-time parent-teacher conferences in which (semi)professional actors play the standardized parent’s role. In the online simulations, pre-service teachers watch frequently paused video-clips showing parent-teacher conferences. Each time the video-clip paused, pre-service teachers are asked to write down what they would do or say to the parent at that certain moment. The present study reports about a quasi-experimental pretest/posttest study conducted in the context of this DBR project in order to gain insight into the impact of the face-to-face simulations (n=86) on the one hand, and the online simulations (n=218) on the other hand. The following variables were measured before and after the intervention: (1) self-efficacy beliefs about structuring parent-teacher conferences, (2) self-efficacy beliefs about establishing a relationships with parents, (2) beliefs about the importance of parent involvement, (3) beliefs about parents’ efficacy for helping their children learn, and (4) perception, interpretation and decision-making skills (PID-skills) regarding parent-teacher communication, as these situation-specific skills are representative for one’s competence development (Blömeke, Gustafsson, & Shavelson, 2015). Results show that both learning environments positively influence pre-service teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs (structure and relation) and PID-skills. The beliefs about parent involvement and parents’ efficacy remained stable. When comparing both conditions, slightly higher PID-skills scores were found in the face-to-face condition, whereas slightly higher self-efficacy scores were found in the online condition. Finally, implications for research and practice will be discussed.
Badiee, F., & Kaufman, D. 2015. Design evaluation of a simulation for teacher education. SAGE Open, 5(2), 1-10. Blömeke, S., Gustafsson, J.-E., and Shavelson, R.J. 2015. Beyond dichotomies. Competence viewed as a continuum. Zeitschrift für psychology, 223, 3-13. Christenson, S. L., & Reschly, A. (Eds.). 2010. Handbook of family-school partnerships. New York: Routledge. de Bruïne, E., Willemse, T.M.; D’Haem, J.; Griswold, P.; Vloeberghs, L. & van Eynde, S. 2014. Preparing teacher candidates for family–school partnerships. European Journal of Teacher Education, 37, 409–425. Dotger, B.H. 2011. From know how to do now: Instructional applications of the simulated interactions within teacher education. Teacher Education and Practice, 24(2), 132-148. Epstein, J. L., & Sanders, M. G. 2006. Prospects for change: Preparing educators for school, family, and community partnerships. Peabody Journal of Education, 81, 81–120. Evans, M. P. 2013. Educating Pre-service Teachers for Family, School, and Community Engagement. Teaching Education, 24, 123–133. Lawrence-Lightfoot, S. 2003. The essential conversation. New York, NY: Random House.
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