14 SES 09 B, Family Education and Parenting – Parental Involvement in Perspective IV
Parallel Paper Session
The relationship between teachers and families has come to be seen as increasingly important in the last few years. Firstly, with regard to attempts to improve the atmosphere in the classroom, the school as a whole, etc., but more recently it has also been identified as a key factor in improving school results (Trivette et al. 1995; Sui-Chu and Willms 1996; Avvisati et al. 2009; Feiler 2010; European Commission 2011; Collet and Tort 2011). As a contribution to the investigation of parent-teacher relations, a qualitative research project has been undertaken to examine the reality of school-family relations in 8 schools (early-years, primary and secondary) in Catalonia (Spain). This research set out to answer the following questions: how do teachers see relations between families and the schools? And what, in the opinion of the teachers, are the barriers to improving them? Taking as our starting point the model developed by Hornby and Lafaele, (2011), which identified 14 different barriers to the development of good parent-teacher relations (grouped in four clusters: individual parent and family factors; child factors; parent-teachers factors and societal factors), our research aimed to test whether there might not be another important barrier that this model does not contemplate: that is, the vision and prejudices of teachers with regard to school-family relations. In our opinion (hypothesis), a consideration of teacher attitudes needs to be added to the model since teacher discourses and prejudices against families represent one of the most important barriers to enhancing collaboration between parents and teachers.
From a survey of the literature (Trivette et al 1995, Driessen et al 2007, Kherroubi 2008, Avvisati et al 2009, Bertran 2010, Feiler 2010, Jeynes 2010, etc.) 5 main arguments can be identified that sustain teachers’ vision of the current (poor) relations with families. These are: a) the families’ connection with schools is merely ‘conjunctural’, whereas the teachers’ relation is ‘structural’, and hence it is teachers who hold both formal and informal power in this relationship; b) the causes of many of the pupils’ problems (poor results, bad behaviour, etc.) originate in the home; c) a significant number of parents have reneged on their responsibility to educate their children, failing to set clear limits for them or cultivate the idea of effort, etc.; d) as a result, families delegate responsibility to schools not only for the teaching of content but also for much of a child’s education and socialisation; e) and finally, families are felt to criticise and undermine teachers, to the extent that they set their children against teachers and act as ‘defenders’ of their child against the authority of the school.
We hypothesise that this is the view held by teachers, a view constructed out of prejudices, stereotypes and expectations that can become veritable ‘symbolic barriers’ to any possible improvement in parent-teacher relations on a number of different levels (communication, tutorial work, the incorporation of parents as teachers, etc.).
- Avvisati, F.; Gurgand, M.; Guyon, N.; Maurin, E (2009) Rapport final « La mallette des parents»: quels effets attendre d’une politique d’implication des parents d’élèves dans les collèges? Paris School of Economics: Paris. http://www.parisschoolofeconomics.eu/IMG/pdf/Synthese-36p-MALLETTE-PSE.pdf - Bertran, M. (2010) “Representations of Parenting Practices of Native and Immigrant Families in Institutional Care Service Settings in Barcelona” A: Haukanes, H.; Thelen, T. Parenting after the century of the child, London: Ashgate - Collet, J.; Tort, A. (2011) Famílies, escoles i èxit escolar. Millorar els vincles, millorar els resultats. Barcelona, Fundació Jaume Bofill. - Driessen et al. (2007) "Types of parents and school strategies aimed at the creation of effective partnerships" International Journal about Parents in Education 1, 0. 45-52- - European Commission (2011) Tackling early school leaving: A Key contribution to the Europe 2020 Agenda. Brussels, European Commission. - Feiler, A. (2010) Engaging "hard to reach" parents: teacher-parent collaboration to promote children's learning. Canberra, Wiley - Guba, E. G.; Lincoln, Y. S. (2005). “Paradigmatic controversies, contradictions, and emerging influences", in N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research (3rd ed.), pp. 191-215. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage - Hornby, G.; Lafaele, R. (2011) "Barriers to parental involvement in education: an explanatory model" Educational Review 63:1, 37-52. - Jeynes, W. (2010) "The salience of the subtle aspects of parental involvement". Teachers college record 112 (3) 747-777. - Kherroubi, M. (coord.) (2008) Des parents dans l'école. Paris, Foundation de France. - Sui-Chu, E.; Willms, J. (1996) "Effects of parental involvement on eighth-grade achievement". Sociology of Education 69, 126-141. - Trivette, et al. (1995) "The effects of four components of parental involvement on eighth grade student achievement". School Psychology Review 24 (2) 299-317.
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