14 SES 03 B, Parental Involvement with Schools and Children‘s Education (Part 2)
Family and school factors contribute to the frequency and quality of school-family liaisons. As far as family is concerned, literature mainly refers to its demographic characteristics indicating that women, whites, higher-income and better-educated persons tend to be more in contact with schools than their counterparts. In relation to gender, involvement with schools appears to be a female ‘brief’ and fathers are described as remaining distant (Reay, 1998; Lareau, 2000; Crozier, 2000; Epstein, 2001; Symeou, 2002; 2010). Lower socioeconomic status families are consistently found to be less involved in schools and to face more difficulties in doing so, especially in relation to certain school related activities (Vincent, 1996; Reay, 1998; Crozier, 2000; Lareau, 2000; Symeou, 2009). However, these obstacles in parents’ involvement are often psychological and might be related to parental low self-esteem, mistrust, anxiety, as well as ignorance, misunderstanding, diffusion and confusion about the family’s role (Symeou, 2005; Epstein, & Sanders, 2006). As far as teachers are concerned, there is evidence that they appear unaware of different families’ barriers to get involved into the school and consider non-coming parents as apathetic, thus being unappreciative of the fact that most parents provide various home-based forms of school related support (Reay, 1998; Crozier, 2000; Symeou, 2009). This paper presents the findings of a study that aims to investigate Cypriot teachers’ image of the ‘typical’ parent with whom they encounter in the course of their daily professional practice and to identify the ways in which these representations relate to the various demographic sub-groups of families represented in Cypriot schools. More specifically, after we briefly describe the distinct social and educational context in which the study was implemented, we present and discuss the analysed visual data collected from Greek-Cypriot pre-service and in-service teachers who were asked to draw their image of the ‘typical’ Cypriot parent. We then discuss how these images reflect the broader local parent and family characteristics and how these data could potentially enhance understanding of school-family relationships and particularly how all families would be supported to collaborate with their children’s schools and teachers.
Barthes, R. (1967). Elements of Semiology. (Trans. A. Lavers & C. Smith). London, UK: Jonathan Cape. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2000). Research methods in education. (5th ed.). London, Routledge. Crozier, G. (2000). Parents and schools: Partners or protagonists? Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books. Epstein, J. L. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships: Preparing educators and improving schools. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Epstein, J. L., & Sanders, M. G. (2006). Prospect for change: Preparing educators for school, family, and community partnerships. Peabody Journal of Education, 81(2), 81-120. Lareau, A. (2000). Home advantage. Social class and parental intervention in elementary education. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Prosner, J. (ed.) (2004) Image-based Research: A Sourcebook for Qualitative Researchers. London and New York: RoutledgeFalmer. Reay, D. (1998). Class work: Mothers’ involvement in their children’s primary schooling. London: UCL Press Limited. Rose, G. (2007) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials, 2nd ed. London, UK: Sage Publications. Symeou, L. (2002). Present and future home-school relations in Cyprus: An investigation of teachers’ and parents' perspectives. The School Community Journal. 12(2), 7-34. Symeou, L. (2005). Past and present in the notion of school-family collaboration. Aula Abierta, 85(1-2), 165-183. Symeou, L. (2009). Mind the Gap! Greek-Cypriot parents and their children’s homework. In R. Deslandes (Ed.) International perspectives on student outcomes and homework: Family-school-community partnerships (pp. 76-94). London: Taylor & Francis. Symeou, L. (2010). Teacher-family communication in Cypriot primary schools. A multiple case study of state Greek-Cypriot primary schools. Beau Bassin: VDM Publishing House. Tomaselli, K. (2009) Appropriating Images: The Semiotics of Visual Representation. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, Inc. Vincent, C. (1996). Parents and teachers: Power and participation. London: Falmer Press.
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