ERG SES C 05, Ignite Talks
Ignite Talk Session
As the interest in the social and emotional learning curriculum in schools increases, so does the literature on the crucial role of schools and parents working together to promote children’s positive mental health. Over the years, a consistent body of evidence has documented that the parents who most need to be involved with the school, are least likely to be involved. For example empirical studies have shown that parents from more deprived backgrounds engage less with their children’s schooling (Baquedano-López et al., 2013; Lee & Bowen, 2006; McWayne et al., 2013). In the same vein, we also know that educational outcomes are lowest amongst those from more deprived backgrounds (Bradshaw & Main, 2016; Strand, 2014) and this is a social concern. Although academic accomplishment is very important, social and emotional learning is also an essential aspect of children’s development and their achievement in school, but currently has limited parental involvement.
Whilst there is a growing body of quantitative knowledge supporting the awareness that students preform better, academically and socially when parents are involved (Jeynes, 2012; Durlak et al., 2011), there remains a limited theorisation and empirical examination of how to involve parents from diverse backgrounds with a focus on the lived experience of participation from the parent. With this in mind, the three core objectives of this study were:
1. To explore the role of parental involvement in social and emotional learning programmes to promote children's mental health in schools.
2. To investigate parental involvement through the lens of parents to hep us understand what persuades or hinders parents to participate and the facts that facilitates or hinders the involvement of those least likely to access services
3. To develop a theoretical framework for increasing our understanding of relationships between schools and parents in particular those who are not engaged.
One of the key dilemmas in sociology concerning human action and social structures is the issue of how far human actors are in control of the conditions in their lives (Archer, 1996). This study is conceptually framed by Bourdieu's concepts of habitus, capital and field to help increase our understanding of relationships between schools and parents in particular for those families who find it difficult to be involved as it provided the appropriate theoretical and conceptual anchorages for understanding school-family partnerships that support positive academic and social outcomes for school age children. Bourdieu's key concepts were used to explore parent/school relationships to elucidate individual and contextual factors to help explain how they may interplay.
The study represents one of the few in-depth studies of parental engagement to focus on the role of parental involvement with children’s social and emotional learning education by adopting an ethnographic perspective and including parents’ views, using Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, field and capital to examine and better understand parental involvement in an attempt to identify some of the key issues and debates around parental involvement in schools. This study used a qualitative design based on two case studies using a purposive sample of eight schools in relation to two different social and emotional learning programmes, namely Roots of Empathy and Nurture Groups. The researcher conducted a series of semi-structured interviews with parents, teachers and principals across the eight schools. Interviews served as the main method for understanding multiple constructed perspectives in this research (Stake, 2008). In brief, the interviews helped capture the experiences and perspectives of both parents and school personnel and the challenges they face with regards parental involvement with the school. Individual interviews were conducted with school principals, teachers and parents for the study as follows: • 12 interviews with school principals; • 12 interviews with teachers • 22 interviews with parents Interviews were scheduled for 45 minutes in a private setting that was convenient for the respondent. Most interviews were conducted face-to-face, but a few interviews were conducted over the phone. All data from the interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed and anonymised and the digital recordings deleted. All transcribed data were stored in MAXQDA qualitative software analysis package using a coding framework developed through a thematic analysis.
The main findings of the study show that parental involvement is a complex phenomenon and evolves and varies between schools in relation to differences in the leadership styles within each school and the dispositions of different stakeholders. In addition, and with regard to social and emotional learning, this study found that the level of prescriptiveness within the social and emotional learning programmes set the bar for how or if schools could involve parents. The study considers the implications of these findings for theory and practice.
Archer, M.S. (1996). Culture and agency: The place of culture in social theory. Cambridge University Press. Ball, S. (2003). Class Strategies and the Education Market: the middle classes and social advantage, Routledge Falmer. Baquedano-López, P., Alexander, R.A. and Hernandez, S.J. (2013). Equity Issues in Parental and Community Involvement in Schools What Teacher Educators Need to Know. Review of Research in Education, 37(1), pp.149-182. Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The Forms of capital. In J.G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp.241–258). New York: Greenwood Press. Bourdieu, P. (1988). Homo academicus. Stanford University Press. Bourdieu, P. (1990). The logic of practice. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bourdieu, P. (1993). The field of cultural production. Oxford: Polity Press. Bourdieu, P. (1995). Social space and symbolic power, in: D. McQuarie (Ed.) Readings in Contemporary Sociological Theory: From Modernity to Post-modernity (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice-Hall), pp.323–334. Bourdieu, P. (1996a). The Rules of Art, S Emanuel (trans.). Cambridge: Policy. Bourdieu, P. (1997). “The Forms of Capital.” In Education, Culture, Economy, Society, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bourdieu, P. and Passeron J.C. (1977). Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture, London, Sage. Bourdieu, P. and Wacquant, L.J. (1992). An invitation to reflexive sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Bouffard, S. and Weiss, H. (2008). Thinking big: A new framework for family involvement policy, practice, and research. The evaluation exchange, 14(1-2), pp.2-5. Connolly, P., Miller, S., Kee, F., Sloan, S., Gildea, A., McIntosh, E., Boyer, N. and Bland, M. (2017). A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial Evaluation and Cost Effectiveness Analysis of the Roots of Empathy Programme. Research Report. National Institute of Public Health Research (NIHR). Crozier, G. and Davies, J. (2007). Hard to reach parents or hard to reach schools? A discussion of home-school relations, with particular reference to Bangladeshi and Pakistani parents. British Educational Research Journal, 33(3), pp.295-313. Weissberg, R.P., Durlak, J.A., Domitrovich, C.E. and Gullotta, T.P. (2015). Social and emotional learning: Past, present, and future. Handbook of social and emotional learning: Research and practice. Wells, J., Barlow, J. and Stewart-Brown, S. (2003). A systematic review of universal approaches to mental health promotion in schools. Health Education, 103(4), pp.197-220.
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