14 SES 08 A, Parental Engagement, Goals and Communication: Influence on Students' Outcomes and Self-concept
Due to societal changes all-day schools are being implemented in Switzerland, mainly in the cities (Schuler Braunschweig & Kappler, 2018). All-day schools extend education in time and space as extracurricular activities are added to the regular curriculum. Such extended education allows families a compatibility of their working schedules (Honig, 2007). Additionally, hopes are raised for educational equity (Holtappels, 2009) as extended education offers a variety of educational opportunities for all children (Chiapparini, Kappler, & Schuler Braunschweig, 2018).
The implementation of all-day schools is a considerable educational school improvement change. Professionals such as classroom teachers and extracurricular teachers share the responsibility for formal and non-formal education (Chiapparini, Selmani, Kappler, & Schuler Braunschweig, 2018). As lunch, extracurricular activities and traditional lessons take place at school, informal, non-formal and formal learning opportunities are provided and supervised by a diverse group of professionals. Due to the increased time children spend in school, learning matters are to be executed at school during the day. As a result, homework is integrated within the new educational system. For parents this fact is expected to have consequences on the parental engagement relating to school issues of their children. This change in agency suggests that both parents and school staff undergo a re-interpretation of both their own, but also the other’s role and agentic position (see Goodall & Montgomery, 2014, p. 401). In the following presentation we track the view of the parents, the leading question is: What does the integration of homework into the all-day school schedule signify for the parental engagement?
Homework can be understood as a specific way of formal learning (see Rauschenbach et al., 2004). Teachers assign homework to their students for completing them outside of lesson time. This transition is a boundary crossing of learning arrangements and learning forms. Students literally transport scholarly material home to continue their studies in the family environment with more or less support given by the parents or family members. Although homework often is perceived by children as boring and – especially when problems in learning and performance arise – can increase conflicts between parents and children, most parents and teachers as well as pupils consider them as important for educational participation and effectiveness (Wild & Lorenz, 2010, p. 120). The latter emerges as a meaningful factor for the parent’s practice: Their intrusion and control of homework increase when children get bad grades (Niggli et al., 2007).
Homework is a possibility of parental engagement into school issues. In Epstein’s Framework of Six Types of Parental Involvement (Epstein et al., 2002), one type is resumed as “Learning at Home” that includes the parents’ practice of helping their children with homework. Therefore, the omission of homework, previously being executed at home, is striking the arrangement and opportunity of parental engagement and requires new negotiation processes between these two spheres of influence.
The here presented research project examines processes of negotiating pedagogic responsibilities in the transformation of regular schools to all-day schools. This allows a deduction of the partnership between family and professionals in all-day schools and adds knowledge to the debate on public education. The project is being conducted over a period of three years and financially supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Three primary schools and one secondary school being set up are being analyzed and compared at two points in time, two months before (t1) and one year after the implementation (t2). The relevant stakeholders such as principals, teachers, social workers, external providers, parents and children were interviewed about their daily routines as well as their understanding and definition of all-day schooling, with the objective of developing all-day schools and further enhancing extended education. To answer the research question, data from t2 were analyzed as at this point of time relevant themes of parental engagement were experienced and became manifest. The 8 interviews with parents from 4 different schools took place in the schools, either with one parent alone (n=4), as a parent couple (n=2), in a group of two (n=1) or three (n=1) parents from different children. The data consisted of semi-structured interviews and group discussion. The interview themes dealt with issues of daily routines, cooperation with school staff and well-being of the children. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using the MAXQDA data analysis software and the coding method from grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1998), to draw patterns of interpretation and activity from the subjective perspectives. The coding process was done in three steps: open coding (creating labels for chunks of data), axial coding (identifying relationships among the open codes), and selective coding (defining the key thesis). For reasons of intersubjectivity, the steps of axial and selective coding were executed within the research group.
Our data indicate that parental engagement in children’s learning at home highly depends on individual parents’ resources, attitudes and trust toward school as well as the student’s success at school. We found three patterns of relational connection between parents and professionals: 1. relational trust with distinct boundaries between school and home, 2. the adaption of parental engagement in overlapping spheres, and 3. relational mistrust with an increase of parental control. Higher trust enables full delegation of formal learning from family to school; little trust goes along with the need for increased parental control over formal learning. Relational trust seems to be the key factor that allows families to delegate formal learning to the professionals to a higher extend (Seashore Louis, Murphy, & Smylie, 2016). With regard to the claim of increased educational equity by all-day schooling (Holtappels, 2009), it can be seen critical that these negotiations about shared responsibilities over children’s formal learning happen individually between school and family. Therefore, one imminent challenge newly built all-day schools are facing is an adapted arrangement that respects the parents’ need for engagement in children’s learning at home and at the same time keeps in mind the ideal of equal educational opportunities for every child.
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