05 SES 15 A, Preventing and Reducing Educational Risks during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, secondary school students in the Netherlands could temporarily not attend school during spring 2020 (11 weeks) and from December 16th 2020 onwards and were involved in distance teaching. During these periods it became clear that distance-education from home requires extra parental involvement. Bol (2020) showed that students from disadvantaged backgrounds received less parental support and have less recourses (e.g., own computer) to study at home during the COVID-19 pandemic than children from advantaged backgrounds. Great concern among education practitioners and scholars exists that this reality puts the learning and development of disadvantaged students at greater risk. Schools play an important role to reduce these inequalities amongst students. However, how schools react might strongly depend on their resilience and available resources. In the current study, we investigated how secondary schools in the Netherlands shaped school-family partnerships with families from disadvantaged backgrounds to support students at educational risk. We used a multiple case study design (Yin, 2018) to look at six secondary schools with a high percentage of pupils from poverty areas (denoted by low income, received benefits or unemployment status) in the cities of Amsterdam and Nijmegen. In each school, semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with four target groups, namely 1) 3 school board members, 2) 4 teachers, 3) 10 pupils, and 4) 4 parents. During the interviews, we took three central key aspects of school-family-partnerships into account: a) prerequisites for learning (e.g., quiet and well-equipped workplace), b) clear communication between school and parents, and c) parental support for learning at home (Daniel, 2011; Epstein et al., 2019). The preliminary results show that how schools shape family-school partnerships during COVID-19 depends on the schools’ ability to notice and interpret risks (in the involvement of parents) in students’ learning (cognitive responding) and to enact courses of action (behavioral responding). Further, in shaping family-school partnerships schools often make use of the existing bond between parents and school and of external social networks (e.g., youth services and parent-child advisors). The study provides further insight into how the abovementioned three core mechanisms of resilience (Williams, Gruber, Sutcliffe, Shepherd, & Zhao, 2017) are important for shaping family-school partnerships with parents from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Bol, T. (2020). Inequality in homeschooling during the Corona crisis in the Netherlands. First results from the LISS Panel. University of Amsterdam. Amsterdam. Daniel, G. (2011). Family-school partnerships: towards sustainable pedagogical practice. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39, 165-176. doi:10.1080/1359866X.2011.560651 Epstein, J. L., Sanders, M. G., Sheldon, S. B., Simon, B. S., Salinas, K. C., Jansorn, N. R., . . . Williams, K. J. (2019). School, family, and community partnerships. Your handbook for action. (Fourt ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin. Williams, T. A., Gruber, D. A., Sutcliffe, K. M., Shepherd, D. A., & Zhao, E. Y. (2017). Organizational response to adversity: Fusing crisis management and resilience research streams. Academy of Management Annals, 11, 733-769. Yin, R. K. (2018). Case-study research and applications: Design and methods. 6th edition. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
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