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Frederik Smit, Kees van der Wolf & Peter Sleegers (2001). Bridge to the future. Collaboration between parents schools and communities


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Bridge to the future. Collaboration between parents schools and communities …

Bridge to the future. Collaboration between parents schools and communities

In an increasing number o f countries schools become convinced that good partnerships between parents and com munities are necessary in behalf of the optimization of pupils' development opportunities, the enhancement of pupils' educational careers and the improvement of teachers' task performance. ERNAPE (European Research Network About Parents in Education) is an association of research networks in the area of education, in particular about parents in education. In 1993 the association was established with the aim to share research results, stimulate research at all levels.

Two researchers from the ITS, in collaboration with specialists on parent participation from the University Nijmegen and the SCO-Kohnstamm Institute have brought together in this volume the recent scientific and social developments in relation to the collaboration between families, school and community.

Metin Alkan (University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Jacques Braster (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands), Martha Allexsaht-Snider (University of Georgia, USA), Frans Brekelmans (General Education Union AOb, Faculty of Law of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, deputy-judge, the Netherlands), Tanja van Beukering (Amsterdam Municipal Pedological Institute, the Netherlands), Elzbieta Bielecka (University in Bialystok, Poland), Stafano Castelli (State University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy), Laura De Clara (Comune di Codroipo, Italy), Pierre Couvreur (University of Mons, Belgium), Miriam David (Keele University, United Kingdom), Don Davies (Institue for Responsive Education, Marblehead MA, USA), Eddie Denessen (University Nijmegen, the Netherlands), Rollande Deslandes (Université du Quebec à Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada), Geert Driessen (ITS of the University Nijmegen, the Netherlands), Anne Bert Dijkstra (University of Groningen), Kateøina Emmerov (Masaryk University, Czech Republic), Wander van Es (Sardes, Utrecht, the Netherlands), Alvard Harutynyan (CRS/Armenia), Lex Herweijer ( Social and Cultural Planning Office of the Netherlands), Diana B. Hiatt-Michael (Pepperdine University, USA), Paul Jungbluth (ITS of the University Nijmegen, the Netherlands), Raili Kärkkäïnen (University of Helsinki, Finland), Cees A. Klaassen (University Nijmegen, the Netherlands), Andra Laczik (University of Oxford, United Kingdom), Miek Laemers (ITS of the University Nijmegen, the Netherlands), Willy Lahaye (University of Mons, Belgium), Iskra Maksimovic (CRS/Yugoslavia), Raquel-Amaya Martínez González (Universidad de Oviedo, Spain), Jacqueline McGilp (Australian Catholic University, Ballarat, Australia), Maria Mendel (University of Gdansk, Poland), Sean Neill (University of Warwick, United Kingdom), Patricia Nimal (University of Mons, Belgium), Pirjo Nuutinen (University of Joesuu, Savonlinna, Finland), Helen Phtiaka (Univeristy of Cyprus, Cyprus), Milada Rabušicová (Masaryk

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  • 1. Edited by: Frederik Smit Kees van der Wolf Peter SleegersA Bridge to the Future Collaboration between Parents, Schools and Communities
  • 3. ii A Bridge to the Future
  • 4. A Bridge to the FutureCollaboration between Parents, Schools and CommunitiesEdited by:dr. Frederik Smitprof. dr. Kees van der Wolfprof. dr. Peter SleegersINSTITUTE FOR APPLIED SOCIAL SCIENCESUNIVERSITY NIJMEGENSCO-KOHNSTAMM INSTITUTE
  • 5. iv A Bridge to the FutureThe prize of this edition is ƒ 35,00. (€ 16).Photo cover ‘Leanne and Jonne’: Y. BakkerPhoto on the back of the book: Michelle Muus, RotterdamWebsite design by Jos Wisman: http://www.phaomedium.nlAddress:Institute for Applied Social SciencesToernooiveld 5P.O. Box 90486500 KJ NijmegenThe Netherlandshttp://www.its.kun.nlTo order the book:International telephone ++ 31 24 365 35 00International fax ++ 31 24 365 35 99E-mail receptie@its.kun.nlCIP-GEGEVENS KONINKLIJKE BIBLIOTHEEK DEN HAAGA bridge to the future. / dr. Frederik Smit, prof. dr. Kees van der Wolf & prof. dr. Peter Sleegers -Nijmegen: ITSISBN 90 - 5554 - 177 - XNUGI 722© 2001 ITS, Stichting Katholieke Universiteit te NijmegenBehoudens de in of krachtens de Auteurswet van 1912 gestelde uitzonderingen mag niets uit deze uitgaveworden verveelvuldigd en/of openbaar gemaakt door middel van druk, fotokopie, microfilm of op welkeandere wijze dan ook, en evenmin in een retrieval systeem worden opgeslagen, zonder de voorafgaandeschriftelijke toestemming van het ITS van de Stichting Katholieke Universiteit te Nijmegen.No part of this book/publication may be reproduced in any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm or any othermeans without written permission from the publisher.
  • 6. PrefaceChildren learn at home, in school and in the experiments concerning collaboration betweencommunity. Collaboration between parents, home-school-communities were discussed.schools and communities is necessary to theoptimize of pupils’ developmental opportunities, The participants came from many countries inthe enhancement of pupils’ educational careers Europe including Hungarian, the Czech Republic,and the improvement of teachers’ task Poland, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia,performance. Bulgaria and also Cyprus. From outside Europe, the United States of America, Australia, CanadaERNAPE (European Research Network About and Malaysia were represented. The participantsParents in Education) is an association of research were not only researchers but also representednetworks in the area of education, in particular ministries of education, parent organisations,parents in education. In 1993 the association was teacher organisations and schools.established with the aim to share research resultsand stimulate research at all levels. One researcher from the ITS, in collaboration with specialists on parent participation from theA first conference ‘Education is Partnership’ was University of Nijmegen and the SCO-Kohnstammheld in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1996. Institute have brought together in this volume theThe second roundtable conference ‘Building recent scientific and social developments inbridges between home and school’ was in relation to the collaboration between families,Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1999. schools and communities.On 22, 23 and 24 November 2001 the thirdconference was organized at the Ichthus College We hope that this volume stimulates to build ain Rotterdam, the Netherlands. During this well-designed bridge that connect and unite allconference the current state of affairs, models, partners at home, in school and in thestrategies, legislation, experiences and communities to increase pupils’ success.Nijmegen/Amsterdam, November 2001prof. dr. Hans Mastop prof. dr. Hetty Dekkers dr. Anton Nijssendirector ITS director NUOVO director SCO-Kohnstamm Institute
  • 7. vi A Bridge to the Future
  • 8. ContentsIntroduction; a bridge to the future 1Frederik Smit, Kees van der Wolf, Peter SleegersSection 1 - Parents’ perspectives on the collaboration between home and school 3Can schools help to build a bridge to a new democratic future, Don Davies 5A vision of home-school partnership: three complementary conceptual frameworks,Rollande Deslandes 11Family education and implications for partnership with schools in Spain,Raquel-Amaya Martínez González 25Family-school liaisons in Cyprus: an investigation of families’ perspectives and needs,Loizos Symeou 33Government, school and parents in the Netherlands: every man to his trade,Loes van Tilborg & Wander van Es 45Relationships between parents and school in the Czech Republic,Kateøina Emmerová & Milada Rabušicová 49Culture differences in education: implications for parental involvement and educational policies,Eddie Denessen, Geert Driessen, Frederik Smit & Peter Sleegers 55The parental need for pluralistic primary education in the Netherlands,Jacques F.A. Braster 67Have minority parents a say in Dutch educational opportunity policies? Paul Jungbluth 71To see together. Visualization of meaning structures in interaction processes betweenchildren and adults in Finland, Raili Kärkkäïnen 75Developments in the position of parents in primary and secondary education in the Netherlands,Miek Laemers & Frans Brekelmans 81Evaluation of the legal functions of the complaints regulation in primary and secondaryeducation in the Netherlands, Juliette Vermaas 91
  • 9. viii A Bridge to the FutureSection 2 - Schools’ perspectives on collaboration with families and communitiy 101Changing responsibilities between home and school. Consequences for the pedagogicalprofessionality of teachers, Cees A. Klaassen & Frederik Smit 103Home-school relationships in one Russian school. A case study, Andrea Laczik 109Lifelong learning: schools and the parental contribution in Australia,Jacqueline McGilp 117Increasing social capital: teachers about school-family-community partnerships.Results of a study on the orientations of American and Polish teachers,Maria Mendel 125Parents as a problem?, Sean Neill 137Working with challenging parents within the framework of inclusive education,Kees van der Wolf & Tanja van Beukering 149Teachers, power relativism and partnership, Pirjo Nuutinen 157Involving parents in children’s education: what teachers say in Malaysia,Sharifah Md.Nor & Jennifer Wee Beng Neo 167Section 3 - Specific aspects of school-family-community relations 177Teacher training on parents in education, Birte Ravn 179Preparing teachers to work with parents, Diana B. Hiatt-Michael 185‘The school I’d like my child to attend, the world I’d like my child to live in’: …parental perspectives on ‘special education’ in Cyprus, Helen Phtiaka 189Minimalization of failure at school in Poland: children and youth from sociallydeprived families, Elzbieta Bielecka 195Young people’s representations of school and family relationships in Belgium,Willy Lahaye, Pierre Nimal & Patricia Couvreur 201School-parents relationships as seen by the Academy. A survey of the views of Italian researches,Stefano Castelli & Luca Vanin 213Focus group survey of parents of children with disabilities who are members of schoolimprovement teams in Florida, U.S.A., Sally M. Wade 215
  • 10. A Bridge to the Future ixFamily, school, and community intersections in teacher education and professionaldevelopment: integrating theoretical and conceptual frameworks,Martha Allexsaht-Snider & Stacy Schwartz 217Families, gender and education: issues of policy and practice, Miriam David 225Partnerships of families, schools and communities in Italy, Laura De Clara 231Parental involvement in mathematics education in a Canadian elementary school,Freda Rockliffe 235Parents, racism and education: some issues relating to parental involvement by Turkish andMoroccan communities in the Netherlands, Metin Alkan 245The relationships between parents of ethnic minority children, the schools and supportinginstitutions in the local community – some ideas for the future,Frederik Smit, Geert Driessen & Peter Sleegers 255The relationship between motives for choice and denomination in primary education in a 259system of choice, Anne Bert Dijkstra & Lex HerweijerStrong linkages among involved parents to improve the educational systems and societies 267of emerging democraties, Iskra Maksimovic & Alvard HarutynyanNotes on contributors 271
  • 11. x A Bridge to the Future
  • 12. Introduction: A Bridge to the FutureThis volume is a collection of 35 essays, grouped lifelong learning and parental contribution. Mariainto three sections, on the theme of parents, Mendel focuses in her study on the orientations ofschool and community. American and Polish teachers about school-The first part contains parents’ orientation and family community partnerships. The study ofreflections on the collaboration between home, Sean Neill concerns the position of parents in theschool (Don Davies), conceptual partnerships of school system. The research of Kees van der Wolfhome-school partnerships (Rollande Deslandes), and Tanja van Beukering focuses on workingfamily education and implications for partnership with challenging parents within the framework ofwith schools (Raquel-Amaya Martínez González) inclusive education. Pirjo Nuutinen reports whatand family-school liaisons (Loizos Symeou). Finnish teachers think about their power positionLoes van Tilborg and Wander van Es give their in relation to parents. The study of Sharifah on the relation between government, Nor and Jennifer Wee Beng Neo concernsschool and parents. Kateøina Emmerová and involving parents in children’s education inMilada Rabušicová explore questions about the Malaysia.relationships between parents and school in theCzech Republic. Eddie Denessen, Geert Driessen, The third section reports on a number ofFrederik Smit and Peter Sleegers focus on the investigations related tot specific aspects ofculture differences in education. Jacques Braster school-family-community relations. Birte Ravnpresents findings of a study of the parental need presents her ideas about teacher training onfor pluralistic education. Paul Jungbluth gives an parents in education. The study of Diana B. Hiatt-description of issues relating to minority parents Michael concerns preparing teachers to work within the Netherlands. Raili Kärkkäïnen reports parents. Helen Phtiaka reports on parentalabout the interaction process between children perspectives on special education in Cyprus.and adults. Miek Laemers and Frans Brekelmans Elzbieta Bielecka shows the results of a study intogive an overview of the position of parents in children and youth from socially deprivedprimary and secondary education in the families in Poland. Willy Lahaye and hisNetherlands. To finish this first section Juliette colleagues (Nimal and Couvreur) focus on youngVermaas presents an evaluation of the legal people’s representations of school and familyfunctions of the complaints regulation in primary relationships in Belgium. Stefano Castelli andand secondary education in the Netherlands. Luca Vanin explore questions about school- family relations in Italy. Sally Wade presents aThe second part is devoted to the school survey of parents of children with disabilities.perspective on collaboration between families, Martha Allexsaht-Snider and Stacy Schwartzschool and community. Cees Klaassen and describe the family, school, and communityFrederik Smit describe the changing intersections in teacher education andresponsibilities between home and school and the professional development. Miriam David gives anconsequences for the pedagogical professionality overview of changes in policies and practices inof teachers. Andrea Laczik gives an example of relation to families, gender and education. Laurahome-school relationships in a Russian school. De Clara presents findings of their study into theJacqueline McGilp presents an analysis of role of the media in education. The research of
  • 13. 2 A Bridge to the FutureFreda Rockliffe reports a study on mathematics in Finally Iskra Maksimovic & Alvard Harutynyana Canadian elementary school. Metin Alkan describe strong linkages among involved parentsfocuses on racism in education in the to improve the educational systems and societiesNetherlands. Frederik Smit, Geert Driessen and of emerging democraties.Peter Sleegers describe their study into the The contributions to this volume were presentedrelationships between parents of ethnic minority at the European Research Network About Parentschildren, the schools and supporting institutions and Education (ERNAPE) held in Rotterdam (thein the local community. The study of Anne Bert Netherlands) on 22, 23 and 24 November 2001.Dijkstra & Lex Herweijer concerns therelationship between motives for choice and Frederik Smitdenomination in primary education in a system of Kees van der Wolfchoice. Peter Sleegers
  • 14. Section 1Parents’ perspectives on the collaborationbetween home and school
  • 15. 4 A Bridge to the Future
  • 16. Can schools help to build a bridge to a new democraticfuture?Don DaviesMany gurus, journalists, and ordinary people America only, or schools in the Western world, orthese days are saying that nothing will be the schools everywhere.same in the world after September 11. Many aretalking - often very vaguely and grandly-about a I have been wrestling in an often confused andNew World Order - influenced by the inevitability sometimes rambling state of mind with thisof Globalism, the pervasive power of electronic question and its more specific and personalcommunication, the impact of mass popular follow-on:culture, and our long-term struggle to reduceterrorism. Can the school make a real difference? Can teachers, parents, and communities help theBut, we must ask what will be the shape and spirit bridge that is needed to reach a more democraticand substance of this changed world and the New future, a new world social order?Order. Predicting what will be is a very uncertain Here, I must put in my own and inevitablyproposition, so I find it more interesting and more controversial personal views about the directionimportant as an educator to ask what should be of change. Because without some clarity andthe shape and spirit and substance of our future? some agreement about direction, the new worldBut, this question is even more difficult and order might be that envisioned by Hitler, or onecertain to produce disagreement and controversy. of the early Popes who spurred the Crusades, orBut, that is the way it should be. by Osama Ben Laden or other radical Islamic fundamentalists, or by American politicians whoThis brings me to the question I have been want a world that looks exactly like ourwrestling with ever since the truly horrible prosperous, supposedly all-powerful, capitalist,tragedies in my country on September 11 and materialist, Superpower America.aftermath of those events, which are stillunfolding. So, my question then becomes: Can the schools contribute significantly to a new changed socialHere is the question and the frame for my brief order:comments here this morning: - In which we share material resources more equitably.Can the school have a significant impact on the - In which we make more widely availableshape and spirit and substance of our world in this decent housing, health care and opportunitiesnew century? for work, leisure, and education.Can the school make a real difference? You can - In which we have greatly reduced violence ofimagine that I am talking about schools in all kinds (including, of course, terrorism).
  • 17. 6 A Bridge to the Future- In which we have learned how to reduce and everything but at the same time asserted that they control hatred, hostility, suspicion, and fear can and should do a lot toward the kind of between and among people across boundaries democratic social order that he believed in which of nations, regions, continents, races and ethnic is quite similar to the vision that I have sketched groups, religions, genders. here.- In which we have achieved a good, workable balance between individual freedom and, and Counts thought that the unique power that school responsibilities and between local and possessed was its ability to formulate and collective, social interests. articulate the ideal of a democratic society, to- In which social justice is more widely practiced communicate that ideal to students, and to for all. encourage them to use that ideal as a standard- In which we have learned better to enhance to for judging themselves and their society. protect our natural environment and our cultural and esthetic treasures. I agree with this point, and I want to build on it, and to suggest briefly some work and action forThat long list of ‘in which’s’ point to most of the schools, families, and communities together inmain elements of my own vision of a more order for the school to help build a new moredemocratic society, of what I mean by a new democratic order. I will briefly suggest foursocial order. Now, what can and should school do arenas for possible work and action:to help to build a bridge to that future? 1. What children are taught: content and experience.First and most importantly They should not and 2. The school as a model of democratic practice.cannot do much that matters - except in 3. School and community exchange.collaboration with their students, the families of 4. Leadership by teachers unions and parentthose students, and the community institutions, associations in support of a progressive socialagencies and residents. agenda.Among the most helpful ideas I have found in the Please understand that I have neither the time norpast few weeks is in a book written seventy years the capacity to offer specific details,ago by George S. Counts, then a well-known prescriptions, or advice about how to do it. I askeducational philosopher at the Teachers College you to be patient with general ideas andof Columbia University, where I studied (but not directions.quite 70 years ago). His 1932 book (now largelyforgotten) was entitled Dare the School Build a First, what children are taught: content andNew Social Order? It created a huge stir in the experienceeducational world. Problem: Most countries now use textbooks andI just have re-read it and find much of it very curriculum which either subtly or blatantly torelevant in 2001. promote only national pride and values and an ethnocentric Establishment-authorized view ofCounts pointed out that Americans have a history. Examples: In the US few schools teachsublime and naïve faith in education. Many are children much about our treatment of the Nativeconvinced that education is the one unfailing Americans, which was sometimes out and outremedy for every ill to which mankind is subject. genocide. Most countries push patriotism, butSome Americans speak glibly about the seldom salute the world globe as well as theirreconstruction of the society through education. own flag. Few of our schools give a balancedHe rejected this idea that the schools can do view of the struggle of labor unions in years past
  • 18. A Bridge to the Future 7and their mistreatment by corporate America and in books, ceremonies, and lectures, but notthe government. Many schools stress only the actually practiced.academic development of children neglectingtheir physical and emotional development. Democratic practice requires more than talk. It requires policies and practices that promoteClearly, we need to offer children more multi- academic and social success for all children,cultural, multi-national content and experience regardless of their background. The newand we need to help children develop the democratic social order will be impossible ifconfidence and skill to analyze both past and societies continue to practice educational triage,present events critically. consigning a substantial percentage of young people to second or third class roles in life.At the same time we need to attend both theintellectual and the physical and emotional needs Closing this gap would be a big contribution toof learners. We know that children that are building the new social order, but everyone herehungry, frightened, ill-clad, or emotionally will agree, I believe, that this cannot be achievedunstable can not be good learners. without real and continuing support andIn my opinion children in a new democratic order collaboration of parents and the key institutionsneed to understand and respect their own roots, and agencies in the community.culture, language, and community traditions as aneeded foundation for understanding and A school can also work in other ways towardrespecting the roots, cultures, and traditions of becoming a model, an example, of democraticothers. ideas in practices. These ideas are obvious to us, including.I recognize that what I am suggesting ispolitically impossible in a democratic society, and Respect for others, including those that arecan’t even be approached in a limited way different.without the support and collaboration of families Opportunities for all in the school community -and the decision-makers in communities, state, students, teachers, parents, administrators, schooland national capitals. A supportive political staff to have influence on the decisions that affectclimate is needed, and as Counts said, schools them.have only limited capacity to affect the broader Workable mechanisms for decision-makingpolitical and economic system. allowing parents a real voice in the important decisions of the school and school system -Second: the school as a model of democratic decisions about budgets, curriculum, andpractice personnel.Problem: In the US and many other Western Mechanisms for resolving conflict and differencescountries there is a huge gap in academic through negotiation and compromise.achievement and success between children of Recognition of the different needs, talents, andpoor, working class and immigrant families and learning style of students.children of the dominant middle class and moreaffluent families. And, of course, many of you will agree that students (and parents and teachers) learn moreIn the US and many others many schools operate about democracy from being a part of it in awith tight, top-down management, which allows school than they will by reading textbooks orfor little if any participation in decision-making hearing lectures about students or parents. In these schools is honored
  • 19. 8 A Bridge to the FutureA few schools in the countries represented here Such a school is lively part of the life of theare making some progress on this front, as we are community.hearing at this conference. Fourth: the role of teachers unions and parentThird, school-community exchange associations in support of a progressive socialProblem: In the US the traditional isolation of agendaschools from other community institutions and Problem: Teacher unions in the US, which quiteagencies continues in many places. Too many properly and by definition attend to the economicschools in the US see connections with the interests of their members, often drag their feetcommunity as a process of getting money, and oppose school reform efforts, including anyequipment, and political support rather than a serious involvement of parents and thegenuine exchange. community. Our unions have tended (with some importantMy experience over many years has shown me exceptions) to be cautious about promotingthat the most productive relationship between a progressive social agenda. And, in at least a thirdschool and its community is based on mutual self- of our states they are politically very weak.interest theory and requires the school to expandthe contribution that it can make to the In the US parent associations have seen their rolecommunity just as it seeks to increase the as primarily to raise money and support theresources that the community can offer the school leaderships agenda on educational Schools have facilities and equipment, the They have seldom been out in front onexpertise of teachers and administrators, jobs for progressive social issues and have often been verylocal residents, and the energy and time of their conservative and cautious.students. George Counts in Dare the School Build a NewCommunity Services programs for young people Social Order strongly advocates a moreare a good way to help both the young people and aggressive and progressive role for organizedthe community and an interesting way to help teachers.shape a democratic future by reinforcing the He makes this statement, which educators todaybelief of young people that every individual can will see as radical: ‘The power that teachersmake a difference. exercise in schools can be no greater than they wield in society. In order to be effective they(An example: Providence College in Rhode must throw off the slave psychology that hasIsland is using foundation grant money to create a dominated the mind of the pedagogue sincenetwork of 250 public high schools to advance ancient Greece…In their own lives they must .civic engagement, beginning a student led civic bridge the gap between school and society andaudit to assess what their schools are doing well play some part in the fashioning of those greatto provide opportunities for them to participate in common purposes, which should bind the twothe public life of their communities and what together. ‘ (p. 29 Dare the School Build a Newareas could be improved.) Social Order (new edition) Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale Illinois, 1978).In addition, the school I am envisioning will be a Counts makes an interesting point here, but it isgenuine community school offering needed politically unrealistic in most Americancourses, training, meeting places and help to communities, unless the political and socialparents and other adults in the community in leadership of teachers is strongly supported andcollaboration with other community institutions. protected by their unions.
  • 20. A Bridge to the Future 9 stCounts urged organized teachers to spark the Order.’ He predicted that 21 Century globallabor movement to lead efforts to democratize conflict will occur not between nation states suchAmerican life, focusing on improving the as the United States, Russia, and China, butconditions of socially marginal people and what between civilizations defined by shared values,he called the ‘lower classes’. culture and religion. None will clash more violently than the predominantly ChristianIt would certainly be a useful contribution to nations of the West and Muslim nations thatbuilding the kind of social order I have been stretch from Africa to Indonesia. That is scary,discussing here if teachers’ organizations in the given the events of the last few weeks.US would take the lead on a progressive socialagenda, including issues of immigration, But, the hope lies, Huntington says, in makingmistreatment of gay people, affordable housing, progress toward a more peaceful, universaland economic policies that damage the working civilization - which can emerge gradually throughpoor. the exploration and expansion of our communalities.Unfortunately, Counts ignores the role of parentsand parent associations. Robert Putnam, a Helping young people discover theseHarvard political scientist, has written a widely commonalities while not losing the special,discussed book, Bowling Alone, The Collapse and positive things that make individuals and groupsRevival of American Community. Putnam’s different is a task within the reach of educatorsstudies demonstrate that one important element of and parents everywhere. And, this task, whicha civil society and stronger communities is calls for collaboration and partnership.networks of civic associations. By civic Discovering commonalities is form of buildingassociations he means organizations such as the bridge to the future, isn’t it?parent groups, local choruses and orchestras,sports clubs, neighborhood. As I see it just now, the challenge in thesePutnam says that various forms of parent troubled and troubling times for my country andinvolvement - which we now often called yours is to move toward a culture that valuespartnership - can be helpful in democratic diversity as well as traditional identity, that putssocieties seeking to sustain and advance social justice ahead of profit, reconciliation aheaddemocratic principles and to build a more civil of revenge, and common humanity ahead of tribaland prosperous and productive community. interests. It is a culture that can face and not denyIndependent, community based parent and citizen its shortcomings and seek to remedy them.organizations working on school issues can also To go back to the question I began with: Parentshelp to enliven local democracy. These and teachers and communities can help to buildorganizations and parent associations linked to the bridge to a more democratic future, to thatthe schools can be seen as having a potential new social order I envision.positive impact on the school’s contribution to But, we must not burden them with super-inflatedbuilding a new democratic social order, if they expectations nor underestimate the barriers anddeliberately and aggressively seek to do this. the political and social realities.Conclusion What I have wanted to say today is that we shouldA final point - one that is both scary and offers do what we can in the spirit of school-family-hope. Samuel Huntington the Harvard Political community partnership, and in that way, we CANScientist wrote a book in 1996: The Clash of make a difference.Civilizations and the Remaking of the World
  • 21. 10 A Bridge to the Future
  • 22. A vision of home-school partnership: threecomplementary conceptual frameworksRollande DeslandesThis presentation aims to examine the parents were partners in school management bycomplementary nature of three conceptual virtue of their participation in the school council.frameworks of home-school partnership. Those in favor of the partnership approach citeEpstein’s (1987) overlapping spheres of influence the results of several researches demonstrating themodel illustrates a global and holistic vision of benefits of collaboration, notably, anpartnership. The model of parental involvement improvement in school grades, behaviors anddesigned by Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler (1995, attitudes (Epstein, 1996). Not everyone agrees1997) adds to understanding by focusing on with this approach, however, especially thoseparental sense of efficacy and parental role who view partnership as a means of maintainingconstruction. The enabling and empowerment teachers’ professional control by consideringmodel (Bouchard, 1998; Dunst et al., 1992) parental support as an option (Vincent &focuses on the influence of attitudes and Tomlinson, 1997). Still others deplore thebehaviors within parent-teacher interactions in a predominance of a vision of school-familyreciprocal partnership. A vision of collaborative collaboration dictated solely by the school and itspartnership appears to prevail in Quebec schools teachers, insisting that a one-way partnership isat the moment. Despite some reported difficulties, not viable (Vincent & Tomlinson, 1997). Lareauhowever, reciprocal partnership represents a (1996), for her part, categorically rejects apromising avenue. concept of partnership based on equal status, since she believes teachers should have greaterThe school-family relation is currently a topic of power than parents. Cochran and Dean (1991)interest among parents, teachers, policymakers call for compensatory programs of parentand all those involved in childhood education, as education as well as interventions based onis made clear in a report of the OECD (1997) and enabling and empowerment (Dunst et al., 1992).a Notice of the Conseil supérieur de l’éducation For Bouchard (1998), however, these two last(1998). It is the subject of a number of researches principles meet the very definition of partnershipat the provincial, national and international levels as ‘…the actualization of the resources andas well (e.g., Bouchard, 1998; Epstein, 1996, competencies of each’ (p. 23) (free translation). In2001; OECD, 1997; Pourtois & Desmit, 1997; a similar vein, the OECD (1997) describesVincent & Tomlinson, 1997). A study of both partnership as a process, since it involves ‘…theory and practice highlights a trend towards learning to work together and valuing eachparental involvement, while the prevailing partner’s positive contribution to the relationship’political discourse aims to develop collaboration - (p. 58) (free translation).partnership, even - between schools and families. During training sessions for teachers and humanAmendments to Quebec’s Education Act in service practitioners, we often encounteredDecember 1997, for example, affirmed that questions such as the following: ‘What do you do when the parents you want to see never come to
  • 23. 12 A Bridge to the Futurethe school?’ or ‘What can be done to attract Bronfenbrenner (1979, 1986) and designed from aparents who are difficult to reach?’ This led us to social and organizational perspective (Litwak &reflect upon the notion of partnership that now Meyer, 1974; Seeley, 1981, cited in Epstein,prevails in schools in Quebec and upon how this 1987, 1992, 1996), the overlapping spheres ofmodel of partnership corresponds to the one influence model emphasizes the cooperation andadvocated by various educational organizations. complementarity of schools and families, andThe present communication will examine the encourages communication and collaborationcomplementary nature of the three conceptual between the two institutions (Epstein, 1987,frameworks related to home-school partnerships: 1996). This model consists of spheresthe model of overlapping spheres of influence representing the family and the school that may(Epstein, 1987), the model of parental be pushed together or pulled apart by three forces:involvement (Hoover-Dempsey, 1995, 1997) and time (Force A), the characteristics, philosophiesthe family enabling and empowerment model and practices of the family (Force B) and those of(Bouchard, 1998; Dunst et al., 1992). Of the the school (Force C). These forces may or maythree, the model of parental involvement not help create occasions for shared activities(Hoover-Dempsey, 1995, 1997) will be given between the school and the family. We note, forparticular attention because of its concern with example, that the spheres overlap to a greaterthe problem of difficult-to-reach families. Finally, extent during a student’s preschool and primarywe will take a look at the type of partnership that school years (Force A). Likewise, when parentsnow exists in several schools in Quebec, more participate in the education of their child (Forcespecifically at the secondary level. B), the zone of interaction between the twoOur view of genuine partnership is one based on spheres increases. The same scenario is repeatedmutual trust, common goals and two-way when the teacher’s activities encourage parentalcommunication. To collaborate is to participate in involvement in schooling (Force C). Interactionthe accomplishment of a task or the assumption of between the two spheres is at a maximum whena responsibility. Partnership is therefore a the school and the family function as genuinecollaborative relationship between two parties, partners within an overall program that includes aand parental involvement is a means of number of shared activities. The modelestablishing it. Certain authors use the term emphasizes reciprocity among teachers, families‘reciprocal’ partnership to describe a mutual and students and recognizes that students aresharing of tasks or responsibilities, and the term active agents in school-family relations. A teacher‘collaborative’ or ‘associative’ partnership to may, for example, solicit parental involvement bydescribe a situation where a task or responsibility asking children to question members of theiris assumed at the request of the school and its families about the kinds of work they do. Theteachers (Bouchard, 1998; Boutin & Le Cren, model assumes that an exchange of skills,1998; Dunst et al., 1992; Epstein, 1992). abilities and interests between parents and teachers that is based upon mutual respect and aThe Overlapping Spheres of Influence Model sharing of common goals will benefit children’sInspired by the ecological model of learning and development (Epstein, 1996, 2001).
  • 24. A Bridge to the Future 13Figure 1 - Overlapping Spheres of Influence Model Family School Force B Force C - Characteristics - Characteristics f s - Philosophy F S - Philosophy - Practices - Practices a A a p F T t Force A Time/Age/Grade level Key: Intrainstitutional interactions (lower case) Interinstitutional interactions (upper case) f/F: Family s/S: School a/A: Adolescent p/P: Parent t/T: Teacher (Epstein, 1987, 1992, 1996, 2001)School-family partnership activities have been is, exchanges among parents within the samegrouped into a typology consisting of six community (Epstein, 1992, 1996).categories: (a) parents’ basic obligations towards Parents who are less involved in the schooling oftheir children (type 1), such as supervision, their children are usually from non-traditionalguidance and the provision of needed materials; families with lower levels of education (Force B)(b) the school’s basic obligations towards (Dornbusch & Ritter, 1992; Deslandes, Potvin, &children and their families (type 2), such as Leclerc, 1999). These parents generally tend tocommunications to parents about school programs help a child more in primary than secondaryand students’ progress; (c) parental involvement school, and to give more attention to one who isat school (type 3), shown by the volunteering of doing well or beginning to have problems thanparents in the classroom and their attendance at one who has been experiencing longstandingspecial events; (d) parental involvement in home difficulties (Force A) (Eccles & Harold, 1996). Oflearning (type 4), including help with school the variables examined, the activitieswork, discussions about school, encouragement, implemented by the school, that is, school-familycompliments, etc.; (e) parental involvement in partnership programs, have proved to be the bestdecision-making (school, school commission, predictors of parental involvement (Force C)etc.) (type 5), which refers, among other things, to (Dauber & Epstein, 1993). In other words, parentsparents’ involvement in the school council, and become more involved in their children’s(f) collaboration with the community (type 6),that education at home and at school when they
  • 25. 14 A Bridge to the Futureperceive that their collaboration is actively child’s education and when they perceive that theencouraged by the teachers and the school. child and the school wish them to be involved.Taking as a guide the overlapping spheres of The model suggests that once parents make theinfluence model with its typology of school- decision to participate, they choose specificfamily partnership activities, we recently did a activities shaped by their perception of their ownstudy comparing the levels of involvement of skills and abilities, other demands on their timeparents of students in the regular secondary III and energy and specific invitations toprogram (N=525) with those of parents of involvement from children, teachers and schools.students in special education (N=112) (Deslandes, The model also holds that parental involvementRoyer, Potvin, & Leclerc, 1999). The latter group influences children’s educational outcomes bywas composed of students with learning means of modeling, reinforcement anddifficulties or behavioral problems who were at instruction, three mechanisms which are, in turn,least two years behind in school. As reported in mediated by the developmental appropriateness ofthe educational literature, the families of problem parents’ strategies and the fit between parents’students had lower levels of education and tended actions and the expectations of the school. Theto be non-traditional (single-parent, blended or goal of parental involvement here is its influenceother). The results showed significant differences on the child’s educational outcomes, particularlyin the level of involvement of the two groups of his or her knowledge, skills and sense of efficacyparents, particularly with respect to activities for succeeding in school. For the purposes of thiscategorized as type 1 (e.g., parental supervision), study, our discussion will be limited to the firsttype 3 (e.g., involvement in the school activities level of this model.of the student), and type 4 (e.g., homeinvolvement such as help with homework, At the first level, the model suggests that parents’discussions and encouragement). Since these are decision to become involved in their child’sthe very types of parental involvement that have a education varies according to 1) their constructionpositive effect on school performance according of the parental role, 2) their sense of efficacy forto students’ perceptions, how can these helping their child succeed, and 3) the invitations,differences be explained? For an answer, we must demands and opportunities for involvementlook beyond Epstein’s model to the model of presented by the child and the school.parental involvement designed by Hoover-Demsey and Sandler (1995, 1997), which seems 1 - Construction of the Parental Roleto offer additional, or at least more detailed, ways Parental role construction is of primaryof examining the issue. importance because it determines what type of activities parents will consider necessary whenThe model of parental involvement interacting with their child. It is influenced byShaped in part by Bronfenbrenner’s ecological their understanding of the parental role and theirmodel (1976, 1986) and based upon the results of views on child development, child-rearing andpsychological and sociological studies, the model home-support roles. Accordingly, parents areof Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler (1995, 1997) unlikely to become involved if they believeexamines the process of parental involvement teaching should be left solely to teachers (Ritter,beginning with parents’ decision to become Mont-Reynaud & Dornbusch, 1993), or if theyinvolved (table 2). The model, which is read from are convinced an adolescent is primarilybottom to top, reasons that parents decide to responsible for his or her own education (Ecclesparticipate when they understand that & Harold, 1996). Role theory applied to parents’collaboration is part of their role as parents, when choices regarding their child’s educationthey believe they can positively influence their (Forsyth, 1990) holds that the groups to which
  • 26. A Bridge to the Future 15Figure 2 - The Model of parental involvement Child/Student Outcomes Skills and Knowledge Efficacy for Doing Well in SchoolTempering/Mediating VariablesParents’ Use of Developmentally Fit between Parents’ InvolvementAppropriate Involvement Strategies Actions & School ExpectationsMechanisms through Which Parent Involvement Influences Child/Student OutcomesModeling Reinforcement InstructionParents’ Choice of Involvement Forms Influenced by:Specific Domains Mix of Demands on Specific Invitations andOf Parents’ Skills Time and Energy from: Demands for Involvement from:& Knowledge Other Family Employment Children/School/Teachers Demands DemandsParental Involvement DecisionParents’ Positive Decision to Become InvolvedInfluenced by:Parents’ Construction of Parents’ Sense of Efficacy for General Opportunities and Parental Role Helping Child Succeed in School Demands for Involvement presented by:Influenced by: Influenced by:•Direct Experiences •Direct Experiences Parent’s Children School•Indirect Experiences •Indirect Experiences•Verbal Persuasion •Verbal Persuasion•Emotional Awakening •Emotional Awakening
  • 27. 16 A Bridge to the Futureparents belong – family, school, workplace – have efficacy, work on attributions for school success,expectations about appropriate behaviors, personal theories of intelligence and other studiesincluding those concerning parental involvement. of parental strategies for solving school-relatedIf the school expects little parental involvement, problems. Taken together, these theories offerfor example, parents will be less inclined to insight into the specific manifestations of parentalparticipate (Epstein & Dauber, 1991). efficacy that may be related to schoolParents’ Beliefs About Child Development and involvement. According to the self-efficacyChild-Rearing theory of Bandura (1989, 1997), parents firstRelationships have been established between develop goals for their behaviors based onparental beliefs, values, goals and knowledge on anticipated outcomes, then plan actions to achieveone hand, and a variety of parental behaviors these goals, which are in turn influenced bypertinent to the development of the child on the parents’ estimate of their abilities in a givenother (Darling & Steinberg, 1993). For example, situation. Individuals with a strong sense of self-parents who believe that children need affection efficacy will set higher goals and have a higherand external structure and that the goal of commitment to achieving them. Accordingly,education is to develop skills and creativity will parents with a strongly developed sense ofbe inclined to converse more with their children efficacy will be more likely to participate in theirand monitor their progress in school (for a more child’s education, since they believe this willdetailed discussion, see Deslandes, 1996). benefit his or her educational outcomes. At the secondary level, parents appear to have lessBeliefs about Parents’ Home-Support Roles in confidence in their ability to help with schoolChild and Adolescent Education work (Eccles & Harold, 1996), and the sameLareau’s studies (1996) demonstrate that social appears true for parents with a lower level ofclass influences beliefs about home-support roles education (Dauber & Epstein, 1993).in children’s education. Parents from a lowersocioeconomic level tend to have a separated Beliefs about Ability, Effort and Luck as Causesview of home and school, while those from the of Child and Adolescent School Successhigher-income groups consider themselves Work in this area suggests that parentalpartners with the school in educating their attributions to child effort are often associatedchildren (see Deslandes, 1996 for a detailed with higher performance among children, whiledescription of these theories). As a whole, the parental attributions to luck are associated withresearch suggests that parents develop beliefs and poorer performance. Likewise, parents willunderstandings regarding parental role persevere in their efforts and expect success ifexpectations from their membership in specific they believe they can control desired outcomes. Itgroups (family, school, church, community, may be inferred, then, that if parents believe thatsociety in general). Their views on the unstable and manageable factors, such as effort,development and rearing of children and are responsible for a child’s weak performance,adolescents and on appropriate home-support they will become involved in the child’sroles all influence their decision of whether or not education until success is achieved. On the otherto participate in their children’s education. hand, parents may choose not to become involved if they attribute their own or their child’s weak2 - Parents’ sense of efficacy for helping children performance to stable and innate factors, such as asucceed in school child’s lack of ability or a parent’s lack ofDo parents believe their involvement can benefit knowledge (Henderson & Dweck, 1990; Hoover-a child’s educational outcomes? The self-efficacy Dempsey & Sandler, 1995, 1997).construct is founded on theories of personal Theories of Intelligence
  • 28. A Bridge to the Future 17It appears that parents who believe in the parents’ efforts – the child’s intelligence, abilitydevelopment of intelligence, most notably or school performance – is viewed as somethingthrough effort and perseverance, tend to that can be changed. Finally, research suggestsemphasize the role of effort (their own and the that parents with a strong sense of efficacy arechild’s) in the learning process. Research more likely to develop strategies for anticipatingindicates that parents with a strong belief in their or solving school-related problems.ability to help their child succeed are likely tohave an incremental perception of intelligence, 3 - General invitations, demands andthat is, they believe their involvement in the opportunities for parental involvementchild’s education will help improve his or her The question to ask here is: Do parents perceiveknowledge and performance. On the other hand, that the child and the school want them to beparents with a weak sense of self-efficacy tend to involved? An affirmative answer may be basedhold to an entity theory of intelligence: they upon a child’s clear affirmation of the importancebelieve that success at school depends on ability of parental involvement, a school climate that israther than effort and that their help will inviting and teacher attitudes and behaviors thatconsequently have little impact (Henderson & are warm and welcoming.Dweck, 1990). General Opportunities, Invitations and Demands Presented by the ChildStrategies for Solving School-Related Problems According to the authors mentioned here, parentalStudies emphasize that whereas parents with a involvement is highest at the primary level,higher sense of efficacy help their child anticipate declines significantly around the fourth grade andand solve current problems in school (e.g., how to reaches its lowest peak at the secondary levelwork with a tutor, prepare for secondary school, (Dauber & Epstein, 1993; Deslandes, 1996;change friends, etc), those with a weak sense of Eccles & Harold, 1996). Reasons for this declineefficacy are more likely to rely upon the child or are the child’s developmental stage (e.g., thethe school to solve problems, or upon luck or the adolescent who wants more independence),interventions of others to improve difficult parents’ sense of efficacy for helping their childsituations for their children (Baker & Stevenson, solve problems and the greater complexity of1986). school work at the secondary level.In conclusion, parental efficacy, attributions, The level of school performance appears to betheories of intelligence and strategies for solving linked to high parental involvement. Accordingly,school-related problems may all explain parental adolescents who succeed well and have highdecisions about involvement in children’s aspirations say they receive more emotionaleducation. Efficacy theory suggests that parents support (encouragement, congratulations,with a strong sense of efficacy for helping their discussions, etc.) from their parents than do otherschildren succeed tend to believe their (Deslandes, 1996; Deslandes & Potvin, 1998). Ainvolvement will yield positive results. Research few types of involvement are an exception to theon attributions shows a link between parents’ rule, however. Researchers note moresense of efficacy and the emphasis they place on communication between parents and teachers andeffort, rather than ability or luck, as being more parent-adolescent interactions concerningessential to success. Parents who hold to schoolwork during times of school-relatedincremental theories of intelligence are likely to difficulties (Deslandes, 1996; Deslandes & Royer,have a higher sense of efficacy for helping a child 1997; Lee, 1994). The child’s personal qualities -succeed. In other words, parental involvement temperament, learning style, preferences – arewill be perceived as valuable if the target of the also factors that may influence parents’ decision
  • 29. 18 A Bridge to the Futureabout whether or not to become involved in the probability of a positive decision. The lowestchild’s education (Eccles & Harold, 1993). likelihood of involvement occurs when parentalGeneral Opportunities, Invitations and Demands role construction is weak, that is, when parents doPresented by Schools and Teachers not believe they should be involved in theirEpstein (1996, 2001) affirms that teacher and child’s education and have at the same time a lowschool practices, most notably school-family sense of efficacy.partnership programs, play an essential role in the The model of Hoover-Dempsey and Sandlerpromotion of parental involvement at all demonstrates that to increase parentalsocioeconomic levels. This brings us to Epstein’s involvement, the school and the teachers mustoverlapping spheres of influence model (see table focus, at least in part, upon parents’ perspective1), which illustrates interpersonal and on the issue. In Quebec, we are presentlyinterinstitutional interactions as well as a examining the first level of Hoover-Dempsey’stypology of six types of parental involvement. model of parental involvement. The experimentation took place in May 2001. Over 1Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler (1995, 1997), 000 parents of elementary school students andhowever, maintain that the two other constructs - nearly 850 parents of secondary school studentsespecially that of parental role construction – are have filled in and returned their questionnaireseven more crucial to parental decision-making (Deslandes, 2000-2003). Since parents with athan invitations. In other words, if parents do not high sense of efficacy who believe they shouldbelieve they should be involved in a child’s participate in their child’s schooling will tend toeducation, their sense of efficacy and perception become involved, teachers should createof invitations will not be sufficient to predict their occasions for parent-teacher meetings and workinvolvement. Parental sense of efficacy appears to actively to show that parents can positivelybe equally important in the decision to become influence their child’s education. The followinginvolved. Clearly, the belief they are capable of partnership framework illustrates this principle.helping their child succeed increases theTable 3 - Family enabling and empowerment model Previous Interventions Interventions …. sense of Results on presentations, that favor responses being enabled autonomous values, beliefs enabling and have behaviours of and practices empowerment consequences individual for….. and family PARTNERSHIP (principles de reciprocity and equality)(Bouchard, 1998)
  • 30. A Bridge to the Future 19The Family Enabling and Empowerment Model facilitate interdependence and reciprocity inUsed by European, (Pourtois & Desmet, 1997), learning.American (Dunst, Johanson, Rounds, Trivette & A partnership approach must necessarily take intoHamby, 1992) and Québécois (Bouchard, 1998; account each partner’s expectations and point ofBouchard, Talbot, Pelchat & Boudreault, 1996) view (Dunst et al., 1992; Pourtois & Desmet,authors, the reciprocal partnership model is based 1997). As well, it must be based upon a notion ofon the principles of enabling and empowerment, equality which recognizes that each party – bothand advocates a parent-teacher relation calling for the parent and the teacher – has a particulara complete sharing of knowledge, skills and knowledge and expertise to share. Thus, parentsexperiences. Empowerment involves the as well as teachers manifest strengths thatactualization of each person’s resources and complement those of the other partners. Dunst etcompetencies, while enabling refers to parents’ al. (1992) describe four categories ofability to define their role and determine the characteristics favorable for establishing anature of their collaboration (Bouchard, 1998; partnership (see table 4): (a) emotionalBouchard et al., 1996; Cochran, 1989; Cochran & predispositions (attitudes) based on trust,Dean, 1991; Dunst et al., 1992). commitment, generosity, empathy and understanding; (b) intellectual predispositionsThis model describes a parent-teacher relation (beliefs) based on honesty, trust, mutual respect,based on mutual exchange in which each party flexibility and the sharing of responsibility; (c)learns from the knowledge and experience of the open, two-way communication that presupposesother. Bouchard (1998) refers to the social active listening and self-revelation, and (d)pedagogy of intervention, meaning that actions that manifest attitudes and beliefs (seeeducational attitudes, beliefs and practices Figure 4)Figure 4 - Model of characteristics associated with partnership PARTNERSHIP Attitudes Commitment Understanding Generosity Empathy Trust Open Communication Style of Beliefs communication Self - Honesty revelation responsibility Sharing of Flexibility Mutual Active Respect listening Behaviors
  • 31. 20 A Bridge to the FutureBouchard (1998) affirms that these actions are activities for encouraging partnership. Among thereflected in the theory of communicative action most promising activities in the case of difficult-espoused by Habermas (1987, and cited in to-reach parents are those whereby parents,Bouchard, 1998), which discusses behaviors that teachers, schools and students createexpress the intentions and actions of the actors in opportunities for the social construction of thea partnership. Communicative action involves a parental role, including collaboration and a higherreconciling of all points of view and a search for sense of efficacy. The enabling and empowermentconsensus, which approaches the principle of model, moreover, refocuses our attention on theequality underlying the reciprocal partnership interactional dimensions at the center of themodel. As mentioned above, parents are spheres of influence model. It highlights the oftenperceived as educational resources who can difficult-to-bridge gap between intentions andenrich the teacher within a relationship of mutual actual achievement, particularly with respect toexchange. Bouchard et al. (1996) give a few the parents of problem students. The model isexamples of behaviors that facilitate partnership, founded upon attitudes and behaviors that arenotably, the recognition of expertise (e.g., ‘Have essential to the development, use and increase ofyou observed any progress?’) and the recognition individual competencies. Today there seems to beof collaboration (e.g., ‘You’re doing a lot for your a growing awareness that individual parent-child; I see you really want her grades to teacher meetings marked by mutual respect,improve’). In short, the enabling and empathy and sharing can have repercussions onempowerment model described above emphasizes the eventual engagement of parents in partnershipthe use of knowledge and experience that are activities implemented for all the parents ofmost likely to develop an individual’s resources. children in the school. To sum up, the three models described here complement each other toThe complementary nature of the three the extent they lead to strategies for improvingconceptual frameworks and the notion of the efficacy of all the actors involved, therebypartnership creating successful school-family partnerships.The relevance of Epstein’s overlapping spheres ofinfluence model (1987, 1992, 1996, 2001) to the The examination of these theoretical models,concept of partnership is seen at the particularly the model of enabling andorganizational level. This model allows for a empowerment, has contributed to a newholistic analysis of the obstacles and facilitating understanding of partnership by emphasizing thefactors associated with school-family partnership study of parent-teacher interactions. This leads toand of the significant role played by the actors the following question: Can we maintain that ainvolved in childhood education throughout the genuine partnership - that is, a reciprocallife cycle. The model of Hoover-Dempsey and relationship - exists now in the so-called regularSandler (1995, 1997), in turn, expands on schools of Quebec? Based on our observationsEpstein’s model by emphasizing the importance and the work we are doing at present, the notionof the parents’ philosophy (Force B) and the role of partnership currently being advocated consists,of the student (Force A) in school-family rather, of collaboration in response to teachers’relations. What leads a parent to make the requests with a view to examining ways in whichdecision to become involved? Here the spheres of parents can help teachers improve their children’sinfluence model proves inadequate, since it fails academic performance. Nevertheless, this attemptto describe the effects of family and individual and others like it meet with resistance, since thesepsychological characteristics on the school-family practices have generally not been the custompartnership, and these characteristics must be among French Quebecers, especially at theexamined in order to determine effective secondary level. The theoretical models, it would
  • 32. A Bridge to the Future 21appear, describe an idea whose time is yet to orientations where the acquiring of skills andcome. experience in interpersonal relations will become increasingly more important. All in all, it appearsWe’ve seen that certain conditions are essential to that partnership between the school and familythe establishment of a genuine partnership. First (and even the community) will constitute anof all, we must ask if partnership is both a desired interesting development in the decade ahead.and desirable option. Next, the expectations andperceptions of the different groups involved in To sum up, Epstein’s overlapping spheres ofchildhood education must be taken into account. influence model (1987, 1992, 1996, 2001) is anWe support the view advanced by the OECD in inspiration for its overall vision of the differentits 1997 report that the development of factors that influence school-family partnerships.partnership is an ongoing process that is The parental involvement model of Hoover-continually subject to negotiation. At the moment, Dempsey and Sandler (1995, 1997), for its part,we view partnership as an ideal or goal towards allows for a better understanding of the reasonswhich parents, teachers and schools must work for a parent’s choice to participate or not intogether. This vision, however, is not clouded by school-related activities: parental roleromantic notions of partnership that fail to take its construction, sense of efficacy and invitations tolimitations into account. We realize that become involved appear to be the determiningpartnership is not a panacea and that, if it is to be factors. A respect for and openness to others aresuccessful, the right balance must be achieved the psychological prerequisites for all efforts toamong the actors involved. Nevertheless, we promote parental involvement. Recognition of thebelieve partnership to be a path of the future that value of others and the fulfillment of theirrequires a complete change in our ways of potential are at the very heart of the enabling andthinking and acting, and that this is a change our empowerment model (Bouchard, 1998; Dunst etpolicymakers heartily endorse (CSE, 1996). al., 1992), which is based on communication skills that foster cooperation and partnership. InDunst et al. (1992) emphasize that to establish a the majority of so-called regular schools ingenuine partnership takes time. As an example, Quebec today, partnership tends to be seen as athe school could make teachers more available for collaborative affair. Reciprocal partnership is, fordiscussions with parents, or allow for the hiring of the moment, a goal that remains to be achieved.a liaison officer to facilitate parent-teacher But things are progressing. In May 2001, theinteractions. In this era of budget cuts, is it current presenter was mandated by the Quebecrealistic to think a genuine partnership can be Ministry of Education (Deslandes, 2001-2004) todeveloped within such a context? As far as work on research action projects with twoteachers are concerned, this vision of partnership elementary and two secondary schools in order tohas particularly important consequences for identify models of implementation and evaluationcommunicative action. We can imagine program of family-school-community partnership programs.ReferencesBaker, D. P., & Stevenson, D. L. (1986). Mothers’ strategies for children’s school achievement : Managing the transition to high school. Sociology of Education, 59, 156-166.Bandura, A. (1989). Regulation of cognitive processes through perceived self-efficacy. Developmental Psychology, 25, 729-735.Bandura, A. (1997). Self-Efficacy. The exercise of control. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company.
  • 33. 22 A Bridge to the FutureBandura, A., Barbaranelli, C., Caprara, G. V., & Pastorelli, C. (1996). Multifaceted impact of self- efficacy beliefs on academic functioning. Child Developement, 67, 1206-1222.Bouchard, J.-M. (1998). Le partenariat dans une école de type communautaire. Dans R. Pallascio, L. Julien et G. Gosselin, Le partenariat en éducation. Pour mieux vivre ensemble! (pp. 19-35). Montréal: Éditions Nouvelles.Bouchard, J.-M., Talbot, L., Pelchat, D., & Sorel, L. (1998). Les parents et les intervenants, où en sont leurs relations? (deuxième partie). Apprentissage et Socialisation, 17 (3), 41-48.Boutin G., & Le Cren, F. (1998). Le partenariat en éducation, un défi à relever. Dans R. Pallascio, L. Julien et G. Gosselin, Le partenariat en éducation. Pour mieux vivre ensemble! (pp. 111-117). Montréal: Éditions Nouvelles.Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press.Bronfenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context for human development : Research perspectives. Development Psychology, 22, 723-742.Cochran, M. (1989). Empowerment through family support. Networking Bulletin, 1 (1), 2-3.Cochran, M., & Dean, C. (1991). Home-school relations and the empowerment process. The Elementary School Journal, 91 (3), 261-269.CSÉ (Conseil supérieur de l’éducation, 1998). L’école, une communauté éducative. Voies de renouvellement pour le secondaire. Sainte-Foy, Québec.Darling, N., & Steinberg, L. (1993). Parenting style as context : An integrative model. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 487-496.Dauber, S. L., & Epstein, J. L. (1993). Parents’ attitudes and practices of involvement in inner-city elementary and middle schools. In N. F. Chavkin (Ed.), Families and schools in a pluralistic society (pp. 53-71). Albany: State University of New York Press.Deslandes, R. (1996). Collaboration entre l’école et les familles : Influence du style parental et de la participation parentale sur la réussite scolaire au secondaire. Doctoral dissertation. Laval University, Québec, Canada.Deslandes, R. (2000-2003) Étude des raisons qui motivent les parents à participer ou non au suivi scolaire de leur enfant. Grant from Quebec Fonds pour la Formation de chercheurs et l’aide à la recherche (FCAR).Deslandes, R. (2001-2004). Programmes de partenariat école-famille-communauté. Grant from the Quebec Ministry of Education.Deslandes, R., & Potvin, P. (1998). Les comportements des parents et les aspirations scolaires des adolescents. La revue internationale de l’éducation familiale, 2 (1), 9-24.Deslandes, R., Potvin, P., & Leclerc, D. (1999). Family characteristics predictors of school achievement : Parental involvement as a mediator. McGill Journal of Education 34 (2), 133-151.Deslandes, R., Royer, É., Potvin, P., & Leclerc, D. (1999). Patterns of home and school partnership for regular and special education students at the secondary level. The Council for Exceptional Children, 65, 496-506.Dornbusch, S. M., & Ritter, P. L. (1992). Home-school processes in diverse ethnic groups, social classes, and family structures. In S. L. Christenson and J. C. Conoley (Eds.), Home-school collaboration : Enhancing children’s academic and social competence (pp. 111-124). Maryland : The National Association of School Psychologists.
  • 34. A Bridge to the Future 23Dunst, C. J., Johanson, C., Rounds, T., Trivette, C.M., & Hamby, D. (1992). Characteristics of parent- professional partnerships. In S. L. Christenson and J. C. Conoley (Eds.), Home-school collaboration : Enhancing children’s academic and social competence (pp. 157-174). Maryland : The National Association of School Psychologists.Eccles, J. S., & Harold, R. D. (1996). Family involvement in children’s and adolescents’ schooling. In A. Booth and J. Dunn (Eds.), Family-School Links: How do they affect educational outcomes? Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Epstein, J. L. (1987). Toward a theory of family-school connections : Teacher practices and parent involvement. In K. Hurrelmann, F. Kaufman and F. Loel (Eds.), Social Intervention : Potential and Constraints (pp. 121-136). New York : Walter de Gruyter.Epstein, J. L. (1992). School and family partnerships. In M. Alkin (Ed.) , Encyclopedia of Educational Research (pp. 1139-1151). New York : MacMillan.Epstein, J. L. (1996). Family-school links: How do they affect educational outcomes? In A. Booth and J. Dunn (Eds.), Family-School Links: How do they affect educational outcomes? Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Epstein, J. L. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships. Preparing educators and improving schools. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Epstein, J. L., & Dauber, S. L. (1991). School programs and teacher practices of parent involvement in inner-city elementary and middle schools. Elementary School Journal, 91, 291-305.Forsyth, D. R. (1990). Group Dynamics. Pacific Grove, CA : Brooks/Cole.Henderson, V. L., & Dweck, C. S. (1990). Motivation and achievement. In S. S. Feldman and G. R. Elliott (Eds.), At the threshold : The developing adolescent (pp. 308-329) Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press.Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., & Sandler, H. M. (1995). Parental involvement in children’s education : Why does it make a difference? Teachers College Record, 95, 310-331.Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., & Sandler, H. M. (1995). Why do parents become involved in their children’s education? Review of Educational Research, 67 (1), 3-42.Lareau, A. (1996). Assessing parent involvement in schooling : A critical analysis. In A. Booth and J. F. Dunn, Family-School Links: How do they affect educational outcomes? (pp. 57-64), Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Lee, S. (1994). Family-school connections and students’ education : Continuity and change of family involvement from the middle grades to high school. Dissertation, Doctor of Philosophy, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.OCDE (1997; Centre pour la recherche et l’innovation dans l’enseignement), Les parents partenaires de l’école, Paris.Pourtois, J.-P., & Desmet, H. (1997). Les relations famille-école : Un point de vue partenarial. Dans V. Tochon. (pp. 139-148). Éduquer avant l’école. Montréal, Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal.Ritter, P. L., Mont-Reynaud, R., & Dornbusch, S. M. (1993). Minority parents and their youth : Concern, encouragement, and support for school achievement. In N. F. Chavkin (Ed.), Families and schools in a pluralistic society (pp. 107-120). Albany : State University of New York.Vincent, C., & Tomlinson, S. (1997). Home-school relationships : « the swarming of disciplinary mechanisms »? British Educational Research Journal, 23, 361-377.
  • 35. 24 A Bridge to the Future
  • 36. Family education and implications for partnershipwith schools in SpainRaquel-Amaya Martínez GonzálezThe family as an Educational and Learning as the products, results and achievements thatcontext derived from them.One of the most influential social contexts for thedevelopment of human beings, which constitutes Taking this model into consideration, we cana true factor of individual and social diversity, is understand the family as a social, educational andthe family microsystem (Bronfenbrenner, 1986). learning context, which may contribute, given theIt is the first social context that embraces adequate conditions, to the human and personalindividuals, and from which they receive the development of all its members, either children,greatest influences all through life due to the young people or adults, in any evolutivedirect relationship maintained with the family developmental stage (Laosa and Sigel, 1982;members. Millán, 1996; Rodrigo and Palacios, 1998). But it also contributes to the social development, givenFrom the Ecological model of Bronfenbrenner, the socialization function that the family carriesalso known as System of Systems, it is considered out through education (Inkeless, 1966; Hoffman,that the diverse social environments where 1984; Martínez González, 1994a; Segalen, 1993).individuals interact, and which influence theirdevelopment, are cupped one into another, The family microsystem influences the personalgraphically shaping a concentric system which development of the individuals as a consequencestarts with the set of values, principles and norms of what happens in three basic family dimensions:predominant in a particular culture structural, attitudinal and behavioral (Martínez(Macrosystem). This macrosystem directly González, 1994ª, 1996a). Many parents areinfluences the characteristics of those conscious of the fundamental role they play incommunitarian environments in which their children’s development and process ofindividuals interact (Exosystem). These, in turn, socialization, and because of that, more and morecondition the nearest environments in which frequently they demand information andchildren develop, such as the family and the education to better cope with the challenges ofschool, with which they interact directly both, every evolutive stage of the individual and(Microsystems). These microsystems do not family development (Martínez González,remain isolated, but are, in turn, interacting and 1990,1994b, 1998, 1999; Martínez González andmodifying one another through the Mesosystem. Corral Blanco, 1991, 1996). Parents’ educationAll this web of bi-directional and dynamic constitutes an unfulfilled subject in our societyrelationships among the already mentioned and educational system, from which the educationsystems have an influence on individuals of individuals is articulated in multiple phases(Ontosystem), thus conditioning both their and for the development of multiple functions,development and socialization processes, as well but it does not consider the necessary education to
  • 37. 26 A Bridge to the Futureperform one of the most complex and with more The aims, objectives and principles we aresocial responsibility function: to be educators of considering should be concreted in the practice ofchildren for life. Family Education, which leads us to mention the Contents of the programmes and actions thatFamily education could be undertaken. These contents can beThis takes us to consider the need to develop the classified into two main areas, according to thedisciplinary field of Family Education (Martínez National Council on Family Relations (1984): 1)González, 1999). Arcus and his colleagues (1993) Thematic Areas and 2) Processes ofhave pointed out three main aims to be reached communication decision taking and problemthrough this Education: 1) to facilitate families solving.their contribution to both, the development of theindividual potential of their members and the These main processes to be developed whenfamily as a whole, 2) to prevent family problems putting Family Education into practice need afrom arising, and 3) to help families to overcome setting and some agents, which may both bethe difficulties they may come across at any time. diverse, but maybe they efficiency is higher when developed in the school setting by its educationalFrom these aims we can draw the Objectives agents. This context allows us to take intotowards the practice of parents’ education should consideration the Mesosystem mentioned bytend to, and which have been proposed by the Bronfenbrenner (1979), from which bi-directionalNational Commission on Family Life Education relationships among the two main microsystemsand the National Council on Family Relations can be analyzed: the family and the school.(USA). According to Thomas and Arcus (1992),these objectives can be summarized in Mesosystem: family-school partnershipstrengthening and enriching the individual and In several articles we have pointed out thefamily well-fair. These general objectives can be importance of promoting satisfactory family-made concrete in the following specific school relationships (Martínez González, 1992ª,objectives: 1) To learn to understand oneself and 1996ª, b,c; Martínez González and Corral Blanco,the others, 2) to facilitate the developmental and 1991, 1996), as well as the methodologicalhuman behavior processes within the family all aspects related to action-research that may lead tothrough the different stages of family life, 3) to be the effective implementation of processes in thisfamiliar with marriage and family patterns and field (Martínez González, 1992b, 1997).processes, 4) to acquire effective strategies forfamily life, 5) to stimulate the individuals’ The need to promote family-school partnershippotential to perform family roles at present and in does not come just from conceptual andthe future, and 6) to facilitate the development of theoretical considerations, but also from theabilities to keep the family together when parents’ demands for information, participationdifficulties arise. and education; thus, this need is experiential and real and not merely conceptual. This is theThe attainment of these objectives should be conclusion which comes from many studiesguided by some Principles associated to Family carried out on this subject; for example, in caseEducation practice, which takes into account the studies developed through action-research inindividuals’ and families’ needs, as well as the Spanish schools (Martínez González et al., 1994),respect for the diversity of circumstances and parents, teachers and students came across thevalues of the families (Arcus, Schvaneveldt & following partnership needs: 1) to communicateMoss, 1993). more in order to put in common the educative objectives that both, parents and teachers have as
  • 38. A Bridge to the Future 27regards the child/student, 2) to dialogue and act organize more activities to stimulate parentstogether more frequently so that teachers can participation at school.better know parents’ attitudes and behaviors asregards their children, 3) to communicate more In another study conducted by Martínez Gonzálezoften to talk about parents’ and teachers’ et al. (1993) with 328 parents, we could noticeconcerns, 4) to improve actions that help parents again the need to promote parents’ participation atto better bring up their children, and 5) to schools, as it is shown in the following table:Comparative table of percentages y ranks associated to parents’ agreement with several issues relatedto their children’s school Very much Little Nothing at Do not No answer all know It is easy to contact teachers 80,5 (1) 11,6 (4) 0,6 (4) 3,0 (5) 4,3 (2,5) Parents are welcome to school 76,2 (2) 6,4 (5) 0,0 (5) 13,1 (2) 4,3 (2,5) Teachers are polite and communicative 73,2 (3) 17,7 (3) 2,7 (3) 3,4 (4) 3,0 (5) with parents Teachers try to help students who have 57,9 (4) 18,0 (2) 4,9 (2) 15,5 (1) 3,7 (4) learning difficulties The school organizes activities in which parents can participate and 38,1 (5) 29,9 (1) 13,4 (1) 12,8 (3) 5,8 (1) contribute to their children’s educationGiven these needs, it seems appropriate to teachers groups at the schools, which is allowingpromote actions that stimulate communication us to evaluate and detect partnership needs and toamong parents, teachers and students which, in organize some activities to provide them withturn, facilitate their co-operation in school appropriate answers (Martínez González et al,activities, so that schools can gain educational 2000).quality. Among the most relevant initiatives to bedeveloped in this area is teachers´ training for Parents’ education programmespartnership (Davies, 1996; Martínez González, One of the most needed co-operation actions1996; OCDE, 1997). To this regard, we have pointed out by both, parents and teachers in manyorganized an Action-Training Seminar at the studies, is parents’ education. For example, in aDepartment of Education (Oviedo University, study carried out with Spanish parents aboutSpain) composed of professionals who develop issues related to the prevention of drugtheir educational activity in different academic consumption from the family context, Martínezlevels: principals and teachers of state and semi- González et al. (1998) found out that 64% of thestate schools, involved in Kindergarten, Primary sample admitted they did not have enoughand High school levels, University teachers of information to start doing something in case theirEducation and Pedagogists. Through co-operative children should get into drug problems.action-research we have arranged parents and
  • 39. 28 A Bridge to the FutureDo you have enough information to be able to start doing something in case your child gets into drugproblems? Frequency Percentage Yes 98 29.9 No 210 64.0 No answer 20 6.1 Total 328 100.0Parents’ education, as we have mentioned before, circumstances that affect the development of theconstitutes a clear lack in our educational system, programmes. It is a perspective mainly focusedto which some associations or agencies are trying on a quantitative approach of programmeto find an answer. Parents’ education can take a evaluation in which the relationship betweendiversity of formats, but it seems more effective costs and benefits are looked for, and which iswhen it is developed through programmes which mainly performed through experimentalincorporate active and participatory methodologies.methodologies (Bartau et al., 1999; MartínezGonzález, 1999). The objectives defined for the programmes must be coherent with the educational needs parentsThe perspective which has dominated the Design have. Because of that, it is recommended toof these programmes is that proposed by Tyler, analyze and to identify these needs through abased on the attainment of aims and objectives. previous evaluation process. For example, beforeThese perspective has led to a Summative developing a programme with parents ofevaluation tendency, directed to assess to what teenagers, the following parents’ needs wereextend these objectives are reached, many times detected:forgetting to take into account the contexts and
  • 40. A Bridge to the Future 29 parents’ concerns about their learning expectations to take part reasons for taking part in the children’s bringing up in the programme programme To be able to guide him properly To have a better relationship with Because he has a difficult age That he loses interest in his studies my teenager and to learn to bring and I have doubts about the him up properly future and whether I am doing The time he spends out and the friends things properly he has That he may consume drugs To help them to cope with this critical age To understand them, to To be in contact with other of adolescence communicate with them, to accept parents who have similar Their friends, hobbies, their activities them as they are problems and to learn from during the weekends (drugs, tobacco, them and from the coordinator alcohol) of the programme Their interest in their studies, their future Lies The limits of behavior She does not like studying and she does To be able to help my daughter to To learn to understand them. not make any effort at all. learn how to behave correctly She always has to have the last word. both, at home and outside. Her friends What worries me most about my son are How I should behave when he has To learn to understand what drugs a problem is happening around me His friends That he does not know how to cope with problems That they may consume drugs How I should behave when To learn Their friends, the environment problems arise How they should cope with failure.Once the programme has been designed, it can be developed and evaluated.Programme evaluation approach to family education programmeAccording to Arcus et al. (1993), the evaluation evaluation, where processes are taken intoof family education programmes is sheldon account in order to analyze to what extend all theperformed, and when it is so it is usually done factors involved in the design and development oftaking into account a Summative approach, based the programme, including objectives, are suitableon the analysis of results according to the (Stufflebeam et al., 1971). It is also important topreviously proposed objectives and the cost- consider parents’ interpretation of theeffectiveness relationship, accountability and programme because they affect the resultsfunding. The quantitative research methodology obtained. The aim, in short, is to identify, evenusing experimental and survey designs is applied before the programme has finished, which factorsin this evaluative perspective. According to this and processes can be improved and where theauthor, there is a need to incorporate a Formative programme must be reoriented. The Joint
  • 41. 30 A Bridge to the FutureCommittee on Standards for Educational ‘Yes, I would participate again to betterEvaluation has proposed standards to ensure the understand drugs dependency and the way thisquality of programme evaluation (1994),which can be prevented’are classified into four categories:1) Utility, 2) ‘Yes, because these educational activities help toFeasibility, 3) Propriety and 4) Accuracy. understand how to have a better relationship with your children and your partner’In this sense, in our Department of Education at ‘Yes, because many things can be learnt; theyOviedo University, we have developed an solve your doubts and also you can share yourevaluative research on parenting education impressions with those of other parents; it isprogrammes which gathers parents’ opinions and important to talk and to listen, especially in aevaluation on every phase of the programmes time in which we lack communication’(Martínez González et. al., 1998): 1) Organization ‘Yes, but you find few people interested in theseof the educational activities, 2) Introduction of the kind of activities. Nevertheless I wouldactivities, 3) Contents, 4) Methodology, 5) recommend them so as to learn new strategiesCoordination, and 6) Evaluation. and to have a reason to go out’.A fundamental issue in the evaluation of Conclusionsprogrammes is to identify the indicators and Taking conceptual, methodological and practicalprocedures which inform about the quality of the issues on intervention in the family as referential,programme and the extend in which the expected it seems there is a need to reflect on the practiceresults are being reached. Once the indicators of family education, on the development ofhave been introduced and the results of the educational programmes for parents and on theirprogrammes analyzed, it is possible to observe evaluation. More and more frequently, parents arenot only the positive effects obtained but also demanding parenting education and schools couldtheir limitations. try to give them an answer organizing parenting programmes as a way to promote partnership.One of the most generally used indicators in the Many parents does not show an interest in takingevaluation of educational activities is the degree part in decision making processes about schoolsof satisfaction that people get from participating policies, but they are really interested in learningin them. This indicator could be made concrete about how they can promote a betterthrough the suggestions these people make in communication with their children to effectivelyorder to foster other people’s participation, and contribute to their development. Parentingalso through the degree of interest that they programmes carried out within schools can helpthemselves feel to participate in a similar activity to build effective parents-teachers partnership.again. In this sense, most of the parents (93%)who participated in a study carried out by These reflections should allow us to project someMartínez González et al. (1998), informs that they actions for the future which are needed to keep onwould certainly encourage other parents to advancing in this disciplinary field of Familyparticipate in such educational activities, and Education on both, theoretical and practical84.2% of them admitted that they themselves grounds. They have to do with epistemologicalwould participate once more. 10.5% said they and methodological issues, as well as withwould not participate and 5.3% did not answer. considering diversity within the family and the role of the family educator. In these fields weAn example of some of the reasons parents need to keep on advancing to generate evidencepointed out to encourage the participation of other about the impact that Family Education has onparents are the following: individuals, families and the society as a whole.
  • 42. A Bridge to the Future 31That is to say, we need to analyze to which extend individual, the family, the school and the society,parents’ education is really preventive and as it is derived from its main objective.contributes to strengthen and enrich theReferencesArcus, M.E., Schvaneveldt, J.D. & Moss, J.J. (Eds.) (1993). Handbook of Family Life Education. The practice of Family Life Education. London, Sage Publications.Bartau, I.; Maganto, J.M.; Etxeberría, J.; y Martínez González, R.A. (1999). La implicación educativa de los padres: un programa de formación. Revista Española de Orientación y Psicopedagogía. Vol. 10, Nº 17, 1er Semestre: 43-52.Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.Bronfenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context for human development: Research perspectives, Developmental Psychology, (22), 6:723-742.Davies, D. and Johnson, V. (Eds).(1996). Crossing Boundaries. Multi-National Action Research on Family- School Collaboration. Boston, Centre on Families, Communities, Schools & Childrens Learning.Hoffman, L.W. (1984). Work, family and the socialisation of the child, en R.D. Parke (Ed.). Review of child development research. Vol.7: The Family. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.Inkeless, A. (1966). Social structure and the socialisation of competence. Harvard Educational Review, 36: 265-83.Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (1994). The Program Evaluation Standards (1994). ThousandOaks, CA. Sage Publications Inc.Laosa, L.M. y Sigel, I.E. (Eds.) (1982). Families as Learning Environments for Children. New York, Plenum Press.Martínez González, R.A. (1990). ‘Educación para ser padres y para la vida familiar dentro del marco de la Educación Permanente’, en UNED, Centro Asociado de Asturias. La Educación Permanente. Perspectivas a nivel Nacional e Internacional. Gijón, Centro Asociado de la UNED en Asturias.Martínez González, R.A. (1992a). ‘La participación de los padres en el centro escolar: una forma de intervención comunitaria sobre las dificultades escolares’, Bordón, 44 (2).Martínez González, R.A. (1992b). ‘Exploración diagnóstica de la cooperación entre familia y centro escolar’, Entemu:63-80. Publicación Anual del Centro Asociado de la UNED en Asturias.Martínez González, R.A. (1994a). Socialización familiar y desarrollo personal del niño en edad escolar. Entemu, Publicación Anual del centro Asociado de la UNED en Asturias.Martínez González, R.A. (1994b). ‘Familia y educación formal. Implicación de la familia en el proceso de enseñanza-aprendizaje’, en Centro de Investigación, Documentación y Evaluación, Premios Nacionales de Investigación e Innovación Educativa 1992. Madrid, Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia.Martínez González, R.A. (1996a). Familia y Educación. Universidad de Oviedo, Servicio de Publicaciones.Martínez González, R.A. (1996b). Familias y escuela, en Manuel Millán (Dir.).: Psicología de la Familia. Un enfoque evolutivo y sistémico. Valencia, Promolibro.Martínez González, R.A. (1996c). Parent involvement in schools in Spain: A case study, en D. Davies and V. Johnson (Eds). Crossing Boundaries. Multi-National Action Research on Family-School Collaboration. Boston, Centre on Families, Communities, Schools & Childrens Learning.Martínez González, R.A. (1997). ‘Experiencia de investigación-acción para analizar las necesidades de cooperación entre las familias y los centros escolares’, Bordón, 49(2):155-163.
  • 43. 32 A Bridge to the FutureMartínez González, R.A. (1998). The challenge of Parenting Education: New Demands for Schools in Spain. Chilhood Education. Infancy through Early Adolescence.. International Focus Issue.: International Perspectives on School-Family-Community Partnerships. Vol. 74, Nº 6:351-354.Martínez González, R.A. (1999). Orientación educativa para la vida familiar. Revista Española de Orientación y Psicopedagogía. Vol. 10, Nº 17, 1er Semestre: 115-127.Martínez González, R.A. & Corral Blanco, N. (1991): ‘Parents and Children: Academic Values and School Achievement’, International Journal of Educational Research. Special issue: ‘Parents and teachers as collaborative partners’(15),2:163-169.Martínez González, R.A. y Corral Blanco, N. (1996). The need of partnership: A comparison of parents and children in Spain. Forum of Education, Vol.51, N.1. p.73-82.Martínez González, R.A.; Corral Blanco, N., Fernández Fernández, S.; San Fabián Maroto, J.L., y Santiago Martínez, P. (1994). Diagnóstico de Necesidades en la Cooperación entre Familia y Centro Escolar. Informe de Investigación no publicado, subvencionada por la Universidad de Oviedo.Martínez González, R.A., Pereira, M.; Corral Blanco, N. (1998). Prevención del consumo de drogas desde el contexto familiar. Estudio de factores implicados. Informe de Investigación no publicado. Departamento de Ciencias de la Educación. Universidad de Oviedo.Martínez González, R.A., Pereira, M.; Peña del Agua, A.; Rodríguez, B., Martínez, R., González, M.P. th (2000). Training teachers for partnership through action-research. Documento presentado al 10 Annual International Roundtable on School, Family and Community Partnership, organizada por el International Network on School, Family and Community Partnership. April 24. New Orleans, USA.Millán Ventura, M. (Dir.) (1996). Psicología de la familia. Un enfoque evolutivo y sistémico. Valencia, Promolibro.National Council on Family Relations (1984). Standards and criteria for the certification of family life educator, college/university curriculum guidelines, and content guidelines for family life education: A framework for planning programs over the life span. Minneapolis, MN, National Council on Family Relations.Rodrigo, M.J. y Palacios, J. (Coord.) (1998). Familia y desarrollo humano. Madrid, Alianza Editorial.Segalen, M. (1993). Sociologie de la famille. París, Armand Colin.Stufflebeam, D.L. et al. (Ed.) (1971). Educational evaluation and decision-making. Itasca, Illinois, Peacock.Thomas, J. & Arcus, M. (1992). Family Life Education: An analysis of the concept. Family Relations, 41:3- 8.
  • 44. Family-school liaisons in Cyprus:an investigation of families’ perspectives and needsLoizos SymeouIntroduction the collective well-being of the whole school andThe recognition that families are important in all the children in it (Munn, 1993). It is moreinfluencing their children’s educational likely to presuppose a revitalization of theachievement has stimulated major efforts administration and operation of schooling throughto improve family-school relationships in procedures that allow parents to take an activeeducational systems. Hence, nowadays, the part and full-scale participation in schoolfamily is considered a significant stakeholder in governorship and decision-making at allschool enterprises. educational levels (Soliman, 1995; Stapes & Morris, 1993). When family-school relationshipsThe rubrics ‘parental involvement’ and ‘parental reach the level of participation, one can refer to aparticipation’ in schools have often been used by ‘partnership’ (Martin, Ranson, & Tall, 1997).international literature interchangeably in order todescribe a broad spectrum of family-school Despite the vivid debate among internationalcontacts and relationships. Nonetheless, the two researchers in relation to the outcomes of relativeterms embed two different concepts. Parental innovations, there is currently a widely accepted‘involvement’ refers to procedures which allow agreement that a school culture which supportsparents to have a role in what is happening in the active family engagement in the school can bringschool, but where the nature and extent of this about specific improvements in pupils’role is predetermined by the professional staff of performance, behavior and motivation, generalthe school, the teachers. In this case, the parents’ teacher functioning, and parental confidence androle is confined to spectators of events or self-efficacy (Becker & Epstein, 1982;activities which schools organize for parents Henderson, 1987; Hoover-Dempsey, et al., 1987;(Davies & Johnson, 1996; Tomlinson, 1991), or Epstein, 1986; 1987; 1992; Reeve, 1993;of activities that can be described as ‘parental Bourmina, 1995; Connors & Epstein, 1995;duties’ (Vining, 1997) or ‘voluntary labour’ Benito & Filp, 1996; Davies & Johnson, 1996;(Reeve, 1993). Parental ‘involvement’ Krumm, 1996). Strong family-school liaisonspractices are maintained to be concerned mainly have also been suggested to develop a generalwith the well-being of the parent’s own child family and community support for the schools(Munn, 1993). The term ‘participation’ signals a (Epstein, 1992; Townsend, 1995) and have beenshift to a broader and different range of cited as one of the prerequisites for schoolrelationships between families and schools in effectiveness (Hopkins, Ainscow, & West, 1994;both content and intent. In this case, both parties O’Connor, 1994; Sammons, Hillman, Mortimore,share responsibility and authority on a continuous 1995; Ainley, 1995; Coleman, 1998; Pasiardis,basis. This shift places parents explicitly within 1998).
  • 45. 34 A Bridge to the FutureIn Cyprus, a country with a highly centralized The second aspect of the research’s importance iseducational system, families and schools seem to broader. At an international level, where family-be largely operating independently from each school relations appear prominently on theother and keeping their communication to a agendas of policy-makers, professionals andminimum. Indicative of the extent of the paucity parents, the outcomes of this research wouldof substantial family-school liaisons is the lack of constitute a reference for the current realitiesany recent relative legislative action. concerning the issue in Cyprus. As Davies andCorrespondingly, the available literature on the Johnson (1996) suggest, such attempts contributeexisting relationships between schools and to the international exchange of ideas andfamilies and the boundaries of family practices in the area across national boundaries.involvement in schools is still extremely limited.Moreover, the attitudes of families concerning Methodologythis issue have not yet been explored in depth. In order to achieve the research objectives and achieve generalisable results, a survey wasThe purpose of the study conducted among a random sample of theThis paper presents the findings of a nation-wide families of Cyprus state funded primary, which aimed at investigating Cypriot The survey took place from March to May 2000.families’ perspectives as far as the ways family- The selection of the sample was based on a multi-school nexuses have been set up in the state staged proportionate stratified process. A total ofprimary education of Cyprus, and whether, and if 348 family members (0.58% of the families’so how, these should be transformed. population having a child at a state primaryAdditionally, it draws conclusions on differences school) from 173 schools (out of an overallin practices of different school settings and population of 343 Cyprus state primary schools)differences in the attitudes of the sub-groups participated in the research.comprising families. Finally, the paper tries togenerate a framework for future innovations in For the research’s purposes, a questionnaire wasthe field of family-school liaisons in Cyprus. constructed. This was pre-tested and piloted before the actual survey took place. The researchAddressing these issues is extremely important, device enquired in its first section thedue to paucity of previous research in the area of respondents’ demographic characteristics. Itsfamily-school liaisons Cyprus. A nation-wide second section was asking the respondents tostudy which would provide generalisable results, indicate the frequency specific practices aiming atcould underpin broader theoretical considerations linking families with their child’s school were putand initiate debate on the issue, thus render it a into action in their school during the school-yearquestion valid for further research and future 1999-2000, whereas the third section inquiredinvestigations. This may apply particularly now whether respondents would actually like thethat educational reforms are an issue of vivid respective practices to be further pursued.debate in Cyprus and that the educational status Questions in the latter two sections werequo of the country might be influenced by the presented in a structured, pre-coded format withlikelihood of Cyprus’s full membership in the ordinal coding. A question followed asking theEuropean Union. Investigating families’ thoughts respondents to indicate the most importantand understandings, and revealing their ‘cultural practice/s of all the practices they were previouslymodels’ in relation to the area would be of presented. The questionnaire’s last section was anextreme significance for introducing any relevant open-ended question inviting respondents toinnovation and change (Fullan, 1991). express comments and further ideas in relation to family-school relationships. The last two
  • 46. A Bridge to the Future 35questions served mostly for checking and the schoolwork. Finally, ‘Labour’ practicesassuring data reliability. The collected consist of practices that demand families to offerquantitative data was analyzed with the statistical their voluntary labour in mundane school jobs.package SPSS. Both descriptive and inferentialstatistics were derived from the quantitative As indicated by the mean score for the aboveanalysis, whereas qualitative analysis was used to factors, the factors that received the highestanalyze the content of the last open-ended means were both groupings relating to the schoolquestion. providing oral information to the families about their specific child. These were followed by ‘AllResults families formal outreach’ practices, whereas thea. Answers to the first research question: Current remaining factors/groupings received very lowrealities means, in particular ‘Teacher-parent closeRespondents’ statements on the most frequent contact’ and ‘Labour’ practices.practices currently established to link familieswith their child’s school underwent factor In order to investigate differences in the ways theanalysis in an attempt to group and categorize extracted groupings are being currently set up inthese practices. Seven factors were extracted, different school and class settings, analysis ofexplaining 63% of the variance and a mean score variance was conducted. This revealed a numberfor each factor was calculated. Table 1 presents a of significant differences. Families in ruralbreakdown of the seven factors. schools were found to experience significantly more close contact with teachers in comparison toThe first factor/grouping of practices, ‘All families in urban and semi-urban areas (factor 2:families formal outreach’ practices, consists of f=1,58, df=254, p=0,001), to receive more oralformal practices the school initiates and aim at information about their child’s studying habitsinforming families about its function, (factor 3: f=2,00, df=253, p=0,027), to receivedemonstrating its work and training families on more written information (factor 5: f=3,06,school-related issues in a formal way. The second df=252, p=0,021), and to be invited more often togrouping, ‘Teacher-family close contact’ offer their voluntary labour (factor 7: f=19,23,practices, consisted of practices bringing families df=248, p=0,005). Families of schools with ain close contact with their child’s teacher in a small number of pupils, i.e. with less than 80mode which allowed the establishment of more pupils, were found to experience significantlyinformal relationships. The third and sixth more teacher close contact than in larger schoolsgrouping of practices consisted of practices (factor 2: f=4,42, df=256, p=0,013), to have theiraiming at providing families with oral voice heard more (factor 4: f=4,90, df=252,information about their specific child, the former p=0,008), and to be more often invited to offerin relation to the child’s working habits and labour in their child’s school (factor 7: f=15,73,attitudes, and the latter in relation to the child’s df=250, p=0,00). Additionally, families in schoolsin-school attainment. The fourth grouping, with a low SES and low educational background‘Families’ voice’ practices, is comprised of catchments area were found to experiencepractices that might introduce a participatory statistically more frequent invitations to offermode in family-school liaisons and put across their voluntary labour (factor 7) in comparison tofamily’s needs and priorities. ‘Written informing’ schools with more middle and high class familiesgrouping consists of practices established by the (f=15,97, df=244, p=0,049) and secondary andteachers aiming at providing written information tertiary educational background families (f=8,08,to families about their specific child, the class or df=241, p=0,027), respectively.
  • 47. 36 A Bridge to the FutureTable 1 - Factors/Groupings of currently established practices (loadings)Statement: 1 st 2 nd 3 rd 4 th 5 th 6 th 7 thDuring the current school year All Teacher- Oral Families Written Oral Labourmy child’s teachers or school families family informin ’ voice informing informinghave… formal close g for a for a outreach contact specific specific child (1) child (2)B13: Organized aworkshop/seminar on parenting 0,81skillsB12: Organized aworkshop/seminar on how 0,74parents should help their childwith their schoolingB14: Invited me to events orgatherings during the afternoon 0,67or the eveningB11: Invited me to a morningevent in the school at which all 0,63school families were invitedB6: Sent home a letter or 0,43memo concerning all familiesB9: Invited me to help during a 0,77lesson in the child’s classroomB18: The teacher phoned us at 0,65homeB17: The teacher visited us at 0,57homeB8: Invited me to attend alesson in the child’s classroom 0,53as a viewerB10: Invited me to a morning 0,40event in the child’s classroomB2: Provided me with oralinformation on how children 0,81should study at homeB1: Provided me with oralinformation on how children 0,80should work at schoolB21: Asked families toparticipate in committeeswhich deal with issues that 0,70concern the school (apart fromthe PA)B22: Asked families to informthe school about their child’s 0,67needsB5: Sent me a report informingme about the child’s progress 0,68and needs
  • 48. A Bridge to the Future 37Statement: 1 st 2 nd 3 rd 4 th 5 th 6 th 7 thDuring the current school year All Teacher- Oral Families Written Oral Labourmy child’s teachers or school families family informin ’ voice informing informinghave… formal close g for a for a outreach contact specific specific child (1) child (2)B20: Sent us a report on thespecific aims of a particular 0,67teaching periodB19: Sent us a newsletter or a 0,57bulletinB7: Sent home a noticeconcerning the child when 0,41there was a needB4: Informed me when we metabout the child’s behavior at 0,82schoolB3: Informed me when we met 0,76about the child’s achievementB16: Asked families to assistwith student supervision on 0,81class trips, performances, orsport eventsB15:Asked families to assist with 0,73school maintenanceMean* 1,20 0,28 1,63 0,32 0,41 2,35 0,25Standard Deviation 0,70 0,42 1,00 0,59 0,57 0,69 0,55Reliability Alpha 0,76 0,66 0,89 0,58 0,62 0,73 0,58% of variance 12,03 9,59 9,30 9,11 8,39 7,89 7,11*Scale: 0=Never, 1=Once or twice, 2=Sometimes, 3=Many timesAs far as the pupils’ class-level, significant child’s studying habits (factor 3: f=3,87, df=253,differences were found in the case of factor 3, p=0,02), to send families less written informationnamely the oral information teachers provide on (factor 5: f=21,47, df=251, p=0,00), and topupils’ studying habits. It was revealed that involve them less in voluntary labour activitiesfamilies having a child in the first two grades tend (factor 7: f=9,01, df=249, p=0,00).to receive significantly more such information incomparison to families with a child at the upper Another variable which was found to introduceclasses (f=5,71, df=255, p=0,004). The child’s differences in the ways different families wereclass size was also found to be a significant experiencing their relationships with their child’svariant. Teachers of classes with a large number school was whether or not the family wasof pupils, (i.e. more than 25), in comparison to participating in the school’s Parents’ Associationteachers of classes with a smaller number of (PA). T-test analysis revealed that family’spupils seem to establish less contact with families membership in the school’s PA signaled(factor 2: f=12,00, df=253, p=0,00), to provide significantly more experience of close contactless oral information to families about their with their child’s teacher (factor 2: f=9,73,
  • 49. 38 A Bridge to the Futuredf=249, p=0,004), more opportunities of having work with the work done at school. The secondtheir voice heard (factor 4: f=14,87, df=245, factor contained practices that could be classifiedp=0,05), and more often invitations to offer their as those involving parents with thevoluntary labour (factor 7: f=17,90, df=244, ‘Class’s/school’s collective well-being’, whereasp=0,011). the third comprises practices that signal a more informal contact among the two agents. The nextb. Answers to the second research question: factor was comprised by ‘Oral information for theAttitudes toward future changes family’s specific child’ practices and the lastFamilies’ responses to whether they would like to factor was extracted from ‘Direct line informationsee a further pursuit of these practices underwent for the family’s specific child’ practices.also factor analysis. Once more, a mean score foreach factor was calculated in an attempt to group The mean score to these factors reveals thatthe statements and understand more families’ families desire all the above groupings ofpriorities for future changes. Five factors were practices to be further pursued in a high degree.extracted, explaining 58,61% of the variance Their main concern, though, is to be provided(Table 2). with a direct line of information concerning their own child. Families seem additionally to embraceFactor 1, ‘Families’ enculturation’ practices, practices initiated by the schools that aim theirconsisted of practices initiated by the school and ‘school’ enculturation, so that they can be able toaiming at training and demonstrating families align their efforts to enhance their child’show to cultivate habits that would align families’ schooling with the school’s efforts.Table 2 - Attitudes towards changes in practices (loadings)Statement: 1 st 2 nd 3 rd 4 th 5 thMy child’s school should… in comparison more Families’ Class/ Informal Oral Direct linewith what hey do now enculturati school contact informatio informatio on collective n for a n for a well-being specific specific child childC2: Explain to me when we meet the way 0,78children should work at homeC1: Explain to me when we meet the way 0,77children should work at schoolC13: Organize training workshops/seminars for 0,76the parents on parenting skillsC12: Organize training workshops/seminars forthe parents on how parents should help their 0,68child with their schoolingC21: Send to pupils’ homes a report on the 0,53specific aims of a particular teaching periodC8: Invite me to attend a lesson in the child’s 0,50class as a viewerC9: Invite me to help during a lesson in the 0,49child’s classroom
  • 50. A Bridge to the Future 39Statement: 1 st 2 nd 3 rd 4 th 5 thMy child’s school should… in comparison more Families’ Class/ Informal Oral Direct linewith what hey do now enculturati school contact informatio informatio on collective n for a n for a well-being specific specific child childC15: Ask families to assist with school 0,73maintenanceC20: Send home a classroom newsletter or a 0,70bulletinC22: Ask families to participate in committees 0,65which deal with issues that concern the schoolC14: Organize events or gatherings during the 0,60afternoon or the eveningC24: Conduct research to explore families’ 0,55perceptions of the schoolC10: Organize morning events or gatherings 0,50for the class’s parents in the child’s classroomC18: The teacher to come to our home to pay a 0,72visitC17: Ask families to assist without being paidwith the supervision of students who remain at 0,63school until their parents come to pick them upC16: Ask families to assist with studentsupervision on class trips, student 0,57performances, or sport eventsC11: Organize morning events or gatherings in 0,50the school for all school familiesC6: Send me home notices concerning all thefamilies 0,49C4: To provide me with oral information on 0,83the child’s behavior at schoolC3: To provide me with oral information on 0,82the child’s school achievementsC19: The teacher to phone me in order toinform me about something that concerns the 0,78childC7: Send me home a notice concerning the 0,68child when there is a needC5: Send me reports informing me about the 0,55child’s progress and needsMean* 1,65 1,54 1,33 1,19 1,66Standard Deviation 0,37 0,41 0,48 0,36 0,41Reliability Alpha 0,77 0,71 0,69 0,79 0,56% of variance 27,74 11,78 6,92 6,71 5,43* Scale: 0=Less than now/Not at all, 1=As now, 2=More than now
  • 51. 40 A Bridge to the FutureThe above findings were validated by the analysis professionals or of a non-professional-like natureof the responses to the question asking families to are rarely established.identify the most important of the practices theywere presented in Section 3. The practices found Additionally, it can be claimed that families tendto be comprising the two most significant to express a desire for a variety of practices to begroupings described above were also found to be pursued more, thus indicating a gap between theirthe most highly valued by families, alongside needs and their schools’ programmes andwith practices comprising the ‘Oral information practices. Such a gap between establishedfor a specific child’ grouping. The latter, even practices and families individual beliefs isthough received the lowest mean score of all the identified by both international (Cutright, 1994;groupings of practices considered as needed to be Epstein & Dauber, 1991) and Cyprus literaturefurther pursued, were the practices rated more (Georgiou, 1996; 1998).highly in terms of importance to families, thusindicating that currently this is succeeded at a Nonetheless, families’ evaluation of specifichigh and satisfactory degree. practices aiming linking them with their child’s schools and their query for modifying theseInvestigation of differences in attitudes towards relationships imply mild modes of involvement.future changes between sub samples of the Cypriot families – to use Munn’s (1993) relevantfamilies’ population revealed variance in distinction- are mainly concerned with beingpriorities only in one case between low SES ‘involved’ in practices that secure the well-beingfamilies and high and middle class families. More of their own child, and not getting engaged inparticularly, analysis of variance suggested that ‘participation’ practices relating to the collectivelow SES families demand more than families well-being of the whole school and all thewith a higher status to receive oral information children in it. Findings suggesting that families inabout their own child’s schooling (factor 4: Cyprus favor their involvement in schools at ‘thef=18,69, df=254, p=0,015). various aspects of school governing’ (Georgiou, 1996, p.35) cannot be supported by this study.Discussion A significant conclusion of the current study isThe main conclusion of the data analysis is that that the nature and the extent of family-schoolcurrently implemented practices trying to link nexuses in Cyprus primary schools are likely tofamilies and schools in Cyprus are restricted, a be related to a number of external variables. Atfinding that has been also demonstrated by small- the school-level, it appears that the school’s sizescale relevant Cyprus research studies (Georgiou, and its location introduce significant differences.1996; 1998; Phtiaka, 1994; 1996; 1998). These Schools with a small pupils’ population and ruralwere found to be limited mainly to practices schools, as opposed to bigger and non-ruralaiming at providing families information about schools, respectively, seem to be experiencing atheir own child, about the schools’ function and more general vivid link with families, withhow families can support the school’s work. significantly more teacher-family contacts,Conclusively, primary schools in Cyprus appear opportunities for exchanging information andcurrently to be establishing procedures, practices invitations to families to offer voluntary labour.and activities, which they, themselves, initiate and These findings might contradict internationalpredetermined, what has been claimed to be studies, which have showed that schools in urbanparental ‘involvement’ and not ‘participation’ areas use more parental involvement techniques(Tomlinson, 1991). At the same time, practices (e.g. Epstein, 1987).that might bring families in close contact with
  • 52. A Bridge to the Future 41At the teacher’s-level, it was found that teachers 2000; Epstein & Dauber, 1991; Finders & Lewis,of lower grades tend to exchange more 1994; Vincent, 1996).information with families than teachers of uppergrades, whereas teachers of smaller classes seem Concluding suggestionsto be currently linked with their pupils’ families If the aim of schools in Cyprus is to establishin more of a variety of ways, something that stronger nexuses with families and optimally tocorresponds to findings outside Cyprus (Epstein develop a partnership in educating pupils, it is& Dauber, 1991). Finally, at the family’s level, primarily required to change and reconstructthe variable of being a member of the school’s expectations and perceptions of the family and theParents’ Association was found to have a great school, in order to achieve their mutualimpact on the way a family is involved in its understanding. This will be the first step towardschild’s schooling. Families which were members the road of ‘participation’.of this association are likely to be more involvedwith in-school activities, namely to have more This study revealed families’ current constructsclose contact with their child’s teacher, to have and models, which are prerequisites of such atheir voice heard more and to be offering more change. The identification of families’ needs for afrequently their voluntary labour. This privilege direct and immediate line of information aboutfor PA’s members and their own children was their child’s schooling, and their readiness foralso demonstrated in some of the families’ their ‘school’ enculturation and their surge foranswers to the questionnaire’s open-question. more information on pedagogical and educationalOne mother who was not a member of her issues, might be the starting point of any small orschool’s association said: large scale innovative attempts. The fact thatI’m concerned very much about the behavior of families appear to be more or less homogeneousmost of the teachers, who, due to their regular in their queries dictates the wider andcontact with children’s parents who are either generalisable readiness of families for themembers of the Parents’ Association or have a particular changes. The school, as professionalhigh-said social position, favor their children at educators, planners and system managers ifthe different school activities, even in the teaching family involvement, or even better participation,and, thus children with more abilities are is to occur, must be able to take this initiative tooverlooked. facilitate and encourage such a process.Related might be the findings that, while families’ During any such innovations, special attentionviews as far as future changes are homogeneous, should be paid to the differences currentlyfamilies of low SES request more oral appearing in the ways families and school areinformation for their child than their counterparts linked. Urban and larger schools, as well as(thus indicating that currently they might not be professionals teaching at the upper-class levelsexperiencing such an informing in a satisfactory and larger classes will need to put a strongerdegree), as also that schools in low SES effort in achieving such an aim, since it appearscatchments areas were found to invite more often that their circumstances hinder vividness infamilies to offer their voluntary labour than liaising with pupils’ families. Of a more ethicalschools in higher SES catchments areas. All these consideration and attention deserves the wayissues direct attention to the social inequalities to schools relate to families of a different SESfamily-school liaisons described in many background, and particularly the currentinternational studies (Epstein, 1987; Lareau, discrepancies in the way schools relate to families which are members of the Parents’ Association.
  • 53. 42 A Bridge to the FutureReferencesAinley, J. (1995). Parents and schools: Changing relationships. Journal of Christian Education. 38 (2), 33-43.Becker, H. J. & Epstein, J. L. (1982). Influences on teachers’ use of parent involvement at home (Report No. 324). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University.Benito, C & Filp, J. (1996). The transition from home to school: A socioeconomic analysis of the benefits of an educational intervention with families and schools. International Journal of Educational Research. 25 (1), 53-65.Bourmina, T. (1995). Research and development on home-school relationships. Oxford Studies in Comparative Education. 5 (1), 143-158.Coleman, P. (1998). Parent, student and teacher collaboration The power of three. California: Corwin Press, INC.Connors, L. J., & Epstein, J. L. (1995). Parent and school partnerships. In M. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting: Vol. 4. Applied and practical parenting (pp. 437-458). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Cutright, M. (1984, November). How wide open is the door to parent involvement in the schools? PTA Today, 10-11.Davies, D. & Johnson, V. R. (1996). Crossing boundaries: An introduction. International Journal of Educational Research. 25 (1), 3-7.Epstein, J. L. (1986). Parents’ reactions to teacher practices of parent involvement. Elementary School Journal. 86, 227-294.Epstein, J. L. (1987). Parent involvement. What research says to administrators. Education and Urban Society. 19 (2), 119-136.Epstein, J. L. (1992). School and family partnerships. In M. Alkin (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of Educational Research (pp. 1139-1151). New York: MacMillan.Epstein, J. L. & Dauber, S. L. (1991). School programs and teacher practices of parent involvement in inner-city elementary and middle schools. The Elementary School Journal. 91 (3), 289-306.Finders, M. & Lewis, C. (1994). Why some parents don’t come to school. Educational Leadership. 51 (8), 50-54. ndFullan, M. (1991). The new meaning of education change (2 ed.). Teachers College Press.Georgiou, S. N. (1996). Parental involvement in Cyprus. International Journal of Educational Research. 25 (1), 33-43.Georgiou, S. N. (1998). A study of two Cypriot school communities. The School Community Journal. 8 (1), 73-91.Henderson, A. (1987). The evidence continues to grow: Parent involvement improves school achievement. Columbia, MD: National Committee for Citizens in Education.Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., Bassler, O., & Brissie, J. S. (1987). Parent involvement: Contributions of teacher efficacy, school socioeconomic status, and other school characteristics. American Educational Research Journal. 24, 417-435.Hopkins, D., Ainscow, M., & West, M., (1994). School improvement in an era of change (Ch.9). Great Britain: Redwood Books.Krumm, V. (1996). Parent involvement in Austria and Taiwan: Results of a comparative study. International Journal of Educational Research. 25 (1), 9-24. ndLareau, A. (2000). Home advantage. Social class and parental intervention in elementary education (2 ed.). Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, INC.
  • 54. A Bridge to the Future 43Limerick, I. B. (1989). Community involvement in schools: A study of three Queensland schools. Brisbane: University of Queensland. [Online]. Abstract from: Australian Education Index.Macbeth, A. (1989). Involving parents: Effective parent-teacher relations. Oxford: Heinemann.Martin, J., Ranson, S., & Tall, G. (1997). Parents as partners in assuring the quality of schools. Scottish Education Review. 29 (1), 39-55.Munn, P. (1993). Parents and schools: customers, managers or partners. London: Routledge.O’Connor, M. (1994). Giving parents a voice. Parental involvement in policy-making. London: RISE.Pashiardis, P. (1998). Researching the characteristics of effective primary school principals in Cyprus. A qualitative approach. Educational Management & Administration. 26 (2), 117-130.Phtiaka, H. (1994). Them and us? School and home links in Cyprus. Paper presented at the Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research (C.E.D.A.R.) International Conference. University of Warwick, 15-17 April, 1994.Phtiaka, H. (1996). Each to his own? Home-school relations in Cyprus. Forum of Education. 51, 1, 47- 59.Phtiaka, H. (1998). ‘It’s their job, not ours!’: Home-school relations in Cyprus. Mediterranean Journal of Educational Studies. 3 (2), 19-51.Reeve, P. (1993). Issues in parent participation. The Australian Administrator. 14 (4-5), 1-11.Sammons, P., Hillman, J., & Mortimore, P. (1995). Key Characterstics of School Effectiveness. London: Institute of Education/OFSTED.Soliman, I. (1995). From involvement to participation: Six levels of school-community interaction. In B. Limerick & H. Nielsen (Eds.), School and community relations: Participation, policy and practice (pp. 159-173). Sydney: Harcourt Brace.Stapes, K. & Morris, W. (1993). Parent participation revisited. In ACSA (Ed.), ‘The ACSA ‘93 collection conference papers: Curriculum in profile: Quality or Inequality’ (V. 3, pp. 1107-1119). Belconnen: ACT.Tomlinson, S. (1991). Home-school partnerships. In IPPR (Eds.), Teachers and parents (Education and training paper No. 7). London: IPPR.Townsend, T. (1995). School effectiveness and school-base decision-making: Themes for Australian education in the 1990’s. In B. Limerick & H. Nielsen (Eds.), School and community relations: Participation, policy and practice (pp. 101-115). Sydney: Harcourt Brace.Vincent, C. (1996). Parents and teachers: Power and participation. London: Falmer PressVining, L. (1997). Managing the volunteer workforce in schools. Sydney: University of NSW.
  • 55. 44 A Bridge to the Future
  • 56. Government, school and parents in the Netherlands:every man to his tradeLoes van Tilborg & Wander van EsSummer 2001 the research institute Sardes the school; they have their own assignments toproduced a report by order of the City of themselves and to their children. They want toRotterdam in which the triangle government- share in the prosperity our society has to offerschool-parents was analyzed. In this article we them and they want their children to reachgive an impression of some of the results. respectable positions in that society. These contradictions in expectations and points ofGovernment pedagogics view of the partners in education make theNowadays parents in the Netherlands are offered relationship government, school and parents aa variety of activities that can be described as complex one. Since the relationship is fairly freegovernment pedagogics; others know what is best of obligations achievements are appreciated veryfor parents, what is best for their children and differently.what parental involvement is about especially inrelation to school careers of their own children. Legislation is a very important governmentalIt is clear that parents don’t take the government task; it defines the obligations according to whichsupply of activities for granted. It is also clear that parents have to perform their parental duties andparents in the Netherlands have new demands like it states their rights. Besides that legal role, thechildcare or after-school care. What else do authorities try to reach out to parents to supportparents want? And what are the expectations of them in raising their children. Contrary to lawsgovernment and schools about parental policies to make parents better performers in theirinvolvement? educational behavior are not unambiguous and parents may well have other opinions than theGovernment and parents have a legal relationship authorities have.according to which parents are supposed to raise They have a suspicion about government-their children properly. In addition to this thin involvement with their private lives. Theylegal line the authorities maintain a noncommittal shouldn’t as many studies show hardly or noattitude towards parents in which they are offered positive effects of the offer that is made to parentsforms of support in their parental tasks. by the government.School and parents relate in a different way. Although parents think positive about their ownSchool has it own tasks and objectives and capacities and use family-networks or friends forconsiders parents as important supporters to their support, sometimes they call in help from School likes parents to be involved in Nursery school teachers, teachers and familyschool-activities, wants them to be allies, at doctors are the ones parents take in confidenceschool and at home. about their uncertainties. In this indirect wayParents have a different view: they don’t feel an authorities provide support to parents.urging obligation to further society as a whole or
  • 57. 46 A Bridge to the FutureGovernment and communities have –due to all which parents act as customers with wishes andsorts of influences and for example the lack of demands. Therefore government and schoolsresults- produced many activities in a great and should consider a few principles in developingchanging variety to support parents. activities for parents: parents are (loyal?)Policy-making by government bodies with respect customers and like to be treated like to that,to supporting parents in many cases resembles parents don’t form a homogeneous group but canstumbling through woods in the night; you may be divided in customergroups with differentfind yourself on the right track. There is a bigger wishes.chance you may not. At this moment in the Netherlands four different main customergroups of parents can be described:Schools have to provide good education. - Parents who for various reasons don’t need theStandards of content and quality are laid down in offered services or activities provided bylegislation and the Education Inspectorate and government or school. They are not prepared toparents supervise the school. The educational fully show the parental involvement schoolparticipation act enables parents (and teachers) to asks of them. Neither are they prepared tohave a say in schoolmatters. School, however, adapt educational models or activities theuses school participation councils to reach its own government offers them. Figures show thatgoals rather than empower parents. School only 30% of the parents use the opportunitiesexpects parents to be allies, for its the child’s for parental involvement at school and lessfuture that is on stake and everything and than 5% are involved with educationaleveryone should be brought in position to reach activities offered by government or localfor the best result the school can be held authorities.responsible for. School legitimizes its demands to - There is a limited group of parents that like toparents by pointing out that certain educational use the existing educational offers frequentlybehavior and an interest in schoolbusiness and are willing to make their own role aspromote learning behavior and motivation of parents subservient or attune to the views ofchildren. Alas, research shows it isn’t easy to government and school. They are the eternalmention educational factors that function as well volunteers, always prepared to show upin the sphere of influence of the school and home whenever the school asks them to. They are aas show a clear and lasting positive result on valuable (and not always fully valued) partnerschool success of children. In promoting parental of the school, often used as liaison officersinvolvement schools have to face the same between school and other parents.problems as the government: due to lack of - A third group of parents take their own valuesresults standards of parental involvement that as basic assumption and only use educationalworks are absent. So, the concept of ‘parental services or activities when they tally in withinvolvement’ stands for a multitude and variety of their set of values. Value-driven choice of‘desired’ parental activities. school by parents shows a considerable increase: a clear example are the IslamicCustomergroups schools in the Netherlands that are founded inAs said, parents are very much aware about the the last few years.choices they make in raising their children to - A last and growing group of parents are thosesuccessful citizens. Parents perform their own, that ask for a package of services that isn’tchosen tasks and accept offers in support by directly related to the school careers of theirgovernment or school in case those offers children, but that is convenient or a substituteconclude with their own objectives. Government for their own tasks.and school are, in that respect, a marketplace on
  • 58. A Bridge to the Future 47The need for such packages is shown by the communication between partners is improved.growing group of parents that makes a choice for But why not discuss the model of sharedschools that can provide the wanted facilities as: a responsibility and educational partnership whenschool timetable without the usual luncheon break we know that a majority of parents isn’t reallyso parents haven’t to be at home, a staff that is interested in getting involved with schooltasks,suitably trained and stable, that can provide but on the contrary asks the school to providespecial care and prevents that children are sent more services?home due to illnesses of teachers or shortage of Why shouldn’t schools use instruments derivedstaff (a nowadays common problem in Dutch from customer relationship management andschools), sufficient computers, a large and safe make clear that both parents and school have theirplayground and after-school care, so parents don’t own tasks and are each responsible for their ownhave to bother about the safety and well-being of part of the job? Parental involvement could thrivetheir children. by those instruments that stimulate loyalty and continuity in the relationship between parents,What offers should government and school focus pupils and school. Relationship-marketing ison, given the changing demands of parents in the based on what customers want, in this caseturbulent context of the contemporary society? parents with their wishes, capacities and skills.We assume as a premise that: An important part of the strategy is formed by the- An educational offer to parents made by desired content of the relationship between school government is directed by the question how it and parents. Does the schools want all parents to should be.(From a legislational point of view be their friends or do they settle for a few friends the government is responsible for the content and a lot of acquaintances? What is the content or of the educational offer); level of the bond between parents and school? Is- How the offer could be depends on the it professional, emotional or structural? What questions parents ask. ambitions do we cherish in developing parental involvement?Dialogues Whatever model is chosen, shared or dividedParents want to be asked about their wishes and responsibilities, parental involvement won’t workthey should be asked. The monologues of and is in fact useless when the school fails ingovernment and schools should be converted into providing good education.dialogues where parents are valued partners. The Because, let’s face it, that is what parents want:much talked about model of educational good education for their children. Perhaps theypartnership can only be achieved when want more, but surely not less!
  • 59. 48 A Bridge to the Future
  • 60. Relationships between parents and school in the CzechRepublicKateøina Emmerová & Milada RabušicováSignificance of parents for school life and its what role is ascribed to parents? What is expecteddevelopment is nowadays generally from them? In school documents and otheracknowledged in the Czech Republic. Although various initiatives answers to such questions arethis trend does not have as long a tradition as in not clear at all.most western European countries, it has achieved This is one of the reasons why we have started a 1its position in contemplation about the quality of three-year research project under the name ofthe school education and it has been keeping this The Role of Parents as Educational and Socialposition for a few past years. Partners of the School.In the field of changes and development of theeducational system the second half of the 1990s Roles of parentsin the Czech Republic is characterized more by We are interested in parents and the roles theyattempts at the inner change of the school than by play in the Czech educational system, parents ofthose at the structural change. As a matter of fact, children at the pre-primary, primary and lowerall the initiatives of the school policy in the few secondary level of education in particular. Wepast years aim at these inner changes or at least aim at parents as necessary designers ofthey mention this issue. The most prominent of upbringing and education of their own children,the initiatives is the Appeal to 10 Million for the although they partially delegate their role topreparation of the National Programme of school more or less compulsorily. We aim atDevelopment in Education from 1999-2000. The parents who in the imaginary triangle of theinner changes of school in cooperation with social relationships form another necessary apex apartpartners are considerably paid attention to in the from the child and the teacher. We aim at parentsNational Programme of Development of who with their opinions and attitudes, thoseEducation itself, which is also known as the unspoken and unexpressed as well, substantiallyWhite Book and which was worked out at the end influence the work of schools and school changesof 2000 after a public discussion. One of the facts in general and form a potentially very strongthat comes out as virtually undoubtable, from the political group.point of view of the principle of democratic From the analyses of the so far carried out studiesdecision-making and school management, is the on new conditions of the school developmentcall for the teacher involvement in the whole there is a fact coming out that there has not beenprocess of changes at school. Another point taken enough complex interest in the role ofwhich is not doubted is the principle of parents in the educational process in the Czechsubsidiarity and the principle of the general republic in the 1990s. There are works that focusrequirement of opening the process of changes on the pupil from the point of view of their skillsfrom below. These principles include the idea of and personal development, there are works thatthe teacher as the designer of the change. But are concerned with the teacher as the designer of
  • 61. 50 A Bridge to the Futurepedagogical changes, works that pay attention to gradual opening and cautious search for the waysthe school management and to the inner and outer of approaching the parents of their pupils’ andrelationships of the school, but what is still that ‘there were attempts and partial initiativesmissing is a work specific and complex at the from both sides but their effectiveness was to besame time that analyses the position of parents as doubted’ (Rabušicová, Pol, 1996). The publishededucational and social partners of the school. results of the research were positively replied toHowever, the Annual Report of the Czech School by many pedagogues and they were also citedInspection for 1996 - 1997, for example, points rather often. This fact justifies our idea that theout the building of the relationship between the pedagogical public considers this issue to beschool and the family and between the school and topical and necessary. This is also the reason whythe public as one of the main problems of the we would like to work on this issue further on andcontemporary school. develop it.Despite all the facts mentioned above, we do nottry to deal with this issue without any previous The trend of changes in the Czech educationalexperience. We may partially take into account system, which began in the 1990s, continues. Thevarious studies that were in the past years topic of parents in relation to school is still anconcentrated, for example, on the parental issue which is considered one of the headstones inpreparedness to the child’s entrance into school building good educational environment for(K•iš•anová, K•ová•ková, 2001), on the dialogue children. This is also the reason why we comebetween the family and the school (Janiš, 2001) back to this issue, from a different point of view,or on various suggestions for the cooperation after six years again. This year we have started abetween the school and the family (Krej•ová, three-year research project under the name of The2001). But primarily we draw from our own Role of Parents as Educational and Socialproject Social Change and Education in the Czech Partners of the School. Parents as educationalRepublic (Towards the Relationships between the partners of the school are defined as individuals 2School and the Family) which was finished in and groups entering relationships with the school1995. because they are interested in their children, their upbringing and education. Parents as socialRelationships and communications partners are defined as individuals and groupsIn this research we concentrated on the issue of entering relationships with the school becauserelationships and communication between the they are interested in the development of theschool and the family. The starting premise was school as an institution.rooted in considering the communication barrierbetween these two parties which was caused by The whole project was led by the attempt atthe lack of mutual trust and respect. During the understanding all potentialities, duties and rightsresearch we concentrated on the mutual of the parents as essential actors in the process ofperception of the two parties engaged (how they education of their own children in relation to theperceive each other), on their expectations, their school. The goal is to contribute to the answers toevaluation criteria (what criteria are involved in questions connected with the role of parents asthe parents’ judgment of the school quality, what educational and social partners of the school. Wecriteria are involved in the teachers’ judgment of are interested in the extend to which the realthe parental care) and on their shared activities. In situation in the position of parents in relation tothe conclusion we had to state that ‘the quality of the school is compatible with various theoreticalcommunication and co-operation between the sources and in what activities may support andschool and parents was not very satisfactory’, that develop parents’ position in schools. We are‘the schools nowadays were in the phase of interested in the question to what extend the
  • 62. A Bridge to the Future 51actual situation of the position of parents in 12. To what extend are parents influenced in theirrelation to the school corresponds to these and attitudes to school by reflection of theother theoretical sources. That is why we put the contemporary school in the media?following questions: The methodological frame of the project includes1. What role is ascribed to parents by schools the processing of the existing theoretical and how exactly is this role defined? framework about the role of parents in the2. To what extend can we talk about the educational system both from the Czech sources educational partnership and to what extend and from the abroad sources in particular. about the social partnership?3. Are there any differences in defining the role Next there will be the observation and analysis of of parents as educational and social partners the contemporary situation concerning the role of in the kindergarten and at the first and at the parents in the educational process in the second stage of the primary school? kindergartens and at the first and at the second4. What role do the parents ascribe to themselves stage of the primary schools. There will be used in relation to school? the whole set of methods of quantitative and5. Are there any differences in the way in which qualitative research: their own role is defined in relation to school - Content analysis of the school legislature, by parents of children in the kindergartens and school documents and the existing knowledge at the first and at the second stage of the about the role of parents in the educational primary schools? system in this country and in abroad6. Are there any differences in attitudes of (particularly in Britain, in the Scandinavian schools to parents and in attitudes of parents countries and in the Netherlands where is this to schools in the country and in urban issue rather traditional). agglomerations? Can such attitudes enrich one - Content analysis of the reflection of schools in another? the media taking the observed issue into7. What, from the point of view of parental account. participation in the school education, can - Questionnaire survey of a representative already existing projects focusing on sample of the Czech kindergartens and primary developing the communication with parents schools. Questionnaires will be given to and the public bring about to others? parents and school managers (if need be to8. Is it possible to think about school as a centre teachers). The questionnaires will also include for lifelong learning of adults: parents and the the same batteries of questions which will general public? enable the comparison of both views -9. Is it possible to think about school as a centre pedagogical and parental - of the observed for supporting the good work of the family? issue.10. What chance is a parent as an individual given - Individual and group interviews (using the of putting through their ideas about education method of ‘focus group’ - asking questions and against the school? How and to what extend recording the discussion in a group) with do individual parents use such chances? parents and pedagogues, with members of the11. What chance are parents as a group given of Union of Parents and also with members of putting through their ideas about education other associations of parents. against the school (and against other more - Case study of a selected school, if need be of powerful school institutions)? How and to more schools, taking the observed issue into what extend do parents use such chances? account (the identification of schools will result from the preceding questionnaire survey).
  • 63. 52 A Bridge to the FutureConclusion to one of these models in many legislativeDuring the first year we have been already formulations. The parental partnership which wemanaging the problem theoretically. We have consider the desirable model may only be foundbased it on studying the relevant works published in the White the Czech Republic and in abroad. We have We have also analyzed selected media taking intoprocessed inspirational models of the parental account the various ways of presentingrole in the educational systems in selected information about schools and the school system 3countries. We try to get a wider - complex and to the parents and the general public . The mediacontextual- view of the issue of parental context is not favorable to the school issues, andpartnership in relation to the school. This is the the teachers in particular, at all. Issues connectedreason why we now concentrate on two areas with the school system and education are rare andwhich, in our point of view, help create this kind their evaluation is mostly negative. The public,of context. It is the legislative framework that including the parents, has to find their way in theconstitutes the basis for potentialities and ways of generally negative reflection so that it is not anestablishing and developing partnership and it is obstacle for them in everyday communicationalso the media framework that influences input with their school partners, which doesn’t have toideas and expectations of parents who are to enter be easy.the relationships with the school.We have analyzed the Czech legislature taking Next year we are going to prepare and realize theinto account the parents’ position which is questionnaire survey and process the results.ascribed to them in laws and other legal After that we want to complete the obtaineddocuments. If we take into consideration the exact information by more sensitive qualitativecontent of the Czech legislature, we may divide it methods in selected schools - individual andinto two areas, namely educational partnership group interviews with parents and pedagogues.and social partnership. In the first case the In the third year of working on the project wepartnership nearly overlaps with a ‘customer intend to realize case studies of selected schoolsattitude’. Only in the second case, that of the and process the overall results of the partnership, there is possible support in the Hopefully, we will be able to present results oflegislature, namely in the school boards. On the our project at next ERNAPE conference and inother hand, we know that the school boards are such a way at least partially contribute tovery rare. No matter whether we regard the widening the range of knowledge about such anparents as problems, customers or partners of the important point, which the parents in relation toschool, we may always find a certain inclination the school certainly are, in the case of the Czech Republic in particular.Notes1 It is a research project supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (no. 406/01/1077).2 Jednalo se o projekt podporovaný Research Support Scheme of the Central European University Grant CEU/RSS No. 77/94.3 O výsledcích této fáze prezentovala Milada Rabušicová na konferenci ECER 2001 v Lille p•ísp•vek s názvem The Role of Parents as Educational and Social Partners of the School in the Czech Republic: Legislation and Media Analysis.
  • 64. A Bridge to the Future 53ReferencesJaniš, K.: Dialog: rodina a škola. In: Rodina a škola. Gaudeamus, Hradec Králové 2001.Krejèová, V.: Nám•ty na spolupráci mezi rodinou a školou. In: Rodina a škola. Gaudeamus, Hradec Králové 2001.Køiš•anová, L., Køováèková, B.: Rodièovská pøipravenost ke vstupu dítìte do školy. In: Rodina a škola. Gaudeamus, Hradec Králové 2001.Národní program rozvoje vzdìlávání v Èeské republice. Bílá kniha. MŠMT, Praha 2001.Pol, M., Rabušicová, M.: Rozvoj vztahù školy a rodiny: n•kolik zahranièních inspirací. In: Sborník prací Filozofické fakulty brnìnské univerzity. Øada pedagogická, U2. Brno 1997.Rabušicová,M: Influence of the Family on Educational Achievement. In: Sayer, J. (Editor): Developing Schools for Democracy in Europe, an example of Trans-European co-operation in education. Oxford Studies in Comparative Education, Volume 5(1), 1995, Triangle Books, United Kingdom.Rabušicová,M.: On Relationships between the School and the Family In: Sayer, J. (Editor): Developing Schools for Democracy in Europe, an example of trans-European co-operation in education. Oxford Studies in Comparative Education, Volume 5(1), 1995, Triangle Books, United Kingdom.Rabušicová, M., Pol, M: Vztahy školy a rodiny dnes: hledání cest k partnerství (1). Pedagogika, è. 1, 1996.Rabušicová, M., Pol, M: Vztahy školy a rodiny dnes: hledání cest k partnerství (2). Pedagogika, è. 2, 1996.Sayer, J., Williams, V. (Eds.): School and External Relations: Managing the New Partnerships. Cassel, London 1989.Výroèní zpráva ÈŠI za rok 1996 -97. ÈŠI.Výzva pro 10 miliónù k pøípravì Národního programu rozvoje vzdìlávání. MŠMT, Praha 1999, 2000.
  • 65. 54 A Bridge to the Future
  • 66. Culture differences in education: implications forparental involvement and educational policiesEddie Denessen, Geert Driessen, Frederik Smit & Peter SleegersParental involvement is one topic in an expanding partners. We will argue that insight in parents’list of components that research and practice cultural background is needed for educationalsuggested would improve schools and increase policies on parental involvement. First we willstudents’ success (Epstein & Sanders, 2000). As a present Epstein’s commonly used typology ofconsequence, more and more, the importance of a parental involvement in order to present a framefruitful co-operation between schools, the local of reference for discussing culture differences incommunity and the parents for children’s education in the context of parental involvement.development is emphasized (Smit, Moerel &Sleegers, 1999). Epstein’s typology of parental involvementIn the Handbook of the Sociology of Education The results of many studies and activities in2000, Epstein and Sanders discuss a theory in schools, in districts, and in states contributed towhich they state that three contexts - home, the development of a framework of six majorschool, and community – act as overlapping types of involvement that fall within thespheres of influence on children. Parental overlapping spheres of influence theory (cf.involvement is seen as an important factor for Epstein, 1992; 1995). Epstein (1992) hasstimulating a certain degree of congruence formulated a popular framework of six majorbetween school, home and community. types of involvement in a family/schoolCongruence between these three spheres of partnership.influence is said to be of importance forchildren’s development (Laosa, 1988). Type 1: Basic Obligations of Families. Families are responsible for providing for children’sIn this paper, we will focus on the relationship health and safety, developing parenting skills andbetween parents and schools. We will address child-rearing approaches that prepare children forissues of culture differences between parents school and that maintain healthy child(especially minority parents) and implications of development across grades, and building positivethese differences for parents’ educational home conditions that support learning andattitudes, which may lead to different types of behavior throughout the school years. Schoolsparental involvement. help families develop the knowledge and skillsAs will be shown, current approaches of parental they need to understand their children at eachinvolvement contain some assumptions for grade level through workshops at the school or inparent-school relations. One of these assumptions other locations and in other forms of parentis that parents and schools should act as partners education, training, and information education. In this paper, we will question thisassumption. Especially parents of minority Type 2: Basic Obligations of Schools. Thestudents see school more as experts than as schools are responsible for communicating with
  • 67. 56 A Bridge to the Futurefamilies about school programs and children’s programs, school site management teams, orprogress. Communications include the notices, other committees or school groups. Parents alsophone calls, visits, report cards, and conferences may become activists in independent advocacywith parents that most schools provide. Other groups in the community. Schools assist byinnovative communications include information training parents to be leaders and representativesto help families choose or change schools and to in decision-making skills and how tohelp families help students select curricula, communicate with all parents they represent, bycourses, special programs and activities, and including parents as true, not token, contributorsother opportunities at each grade level. Schools to school decisions and by providing informationvary in the forms and frequency of to community advocacy groups so that they maycommunications and greatly affect whether the knowledgeably address issues of schoolinformation sent home can be understood by all improvement.families. Schools strengthen partnerships byencouraging two-way communication. Type 6: Collaboration with Community Organizations. Schools collaborate withType 3: Involvement at School. Parents and other agencies, businesses, cultural organizations, andvolunteers who assist teachers, administrators, other groups to share responsibility for children’sand children are involved in classrooms or in education and future success. Collaborationother areas of the school, as are families who includes school programs that provide orcome to school to support student performances, coordinate children’s and families’ access tosports, or other events. Schools improve and vary community and support services, such as before-schedules so that more families are able to and after-school care, health services, culturalparticipate as volunteers and as audiences. events, and other programs. Schools vary in howSchools recruit and train volunteers so that they much they know about and draw on communityare helpful to teachers, students, and school resources to enhance and enrich the curriculumimprovement efforts at school and in other and other student experiences. Schools assistlocations. families with information on community resources that can help strengthen homeType 4: Involvement in Learning Activities at conditions and assist children’s learning andHome. Teachers request and guide parents to development.monitor and assist their own children at home.Teachers assist parents in how to interact with Four of the six Epstein categories are things thattheir children at home on learning activities that the families do, or are responsible for, either atare coordinated with the children’s classwork or home or at school. The two ‘at home’ typesthat advance or enrich learning. Schools enable (Types 1 and 4) concentrate on the child’s basicfamilies to understand how to help their children needs, creation of a positive environment, parent-at home by providing information on academic initiated learning activities and child-initiatedand other skills required of students to pass each requests for help. Types 3 and 5, ‘Support forgrade, with directions on how to monitor, School Programs and Activities’ and ‘Decisiondiscuss, and help with homework and practice Making, Governance, and Advocacy’ are the twoand reinforce needed skills. ‘at-school’ categories. Type 2, ‘The Basic Obligations of Schools,’ is one of two schoolType 5: Involvement in Decision Making, roles, and this type deals primarily withGovernance, and Advocacy. Parents and others in communications. The other school role,the community serve in participator roles in the ‘Collaborations and Exchanges with thePTA/PTO, Advisory Councils, Chapter 1 Community,’ refers to the partnership between
  • 68. A Bridge to the Future 57the school and the community. Despite a varying with almost 100% ethnic minority pupils put it:degree of role division concerning certain types of ‘This is an integral part of these parents’ cultureinvolvement (family, community or schools), a where there is a strict division betweenstrong notion of congruency between these three responsibilities: the family is the responsibility ofspheres is assumed for optimal parental the parents, the school of the teachers, and theinvolvement. Furthermore, it is often assumed street of the police’ (Driessen & Valkenberg,that parental involvement can improve school and 2000). This is, of course, a very generalistic view.students’ learning, when parents and schools acteffectively as partners in education. So, In a large-scale study by Driessen (2002) nearlyimproving the nature and quality of the 9000 parents of children at more than 600 Dutchrelationship between parents and schools is often schools answered a number of questionsconsidered an important factor to improve schools regarding their involvement. In Table 1 theas well as children’s development. This answers are presented broken down by ethnicassumption implies that parents are willing to group. In the Netherlands some 15% of the pupilsbecome partners in education and get involved in in primary education are of foreign descent. In theschools. big cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague and Utrecht, however, more than half ofSociocultural differences in parental the pupils are ethnic minorities, mainly Turks,involvement Surinamese, Moroccans and Antilleans. TheResearch shows that parents from lower classes questions refer to Basic Obligations of Schoolsand from ethnic minorities tend to be less (Type 2) and Involvement in Learning Activitiesinvolved in their child’s education (Lopez 2001; at Home (Type 4) as types of parentalChavkin, 1993). As a headteacher of a school involvement.Table 1 - Differences in parental involvement by ethnic group (in %) ethnic group Dutch Surinamese/ Turkish Moroccan total Eta p Antillean% frequently help with homework from 50 51 23 15 37 .33 .000mother% frequently help with homework from 22 31 27 11 22 .17 .009father% always attend parent meetings 73 67 50 49 60 .21 .000% talk with teacher more than twice a 26 38 42 31 34 .13 .001year% talk about school every day 82 74 51 51 66 .29 .000% long schooling important 29 63 62 68 55 .31 .000% school-appropriate behavior important 35 66 73 74 62 .33 .000The table shows considerable differences among often done by Dutch parents than by minoritythe four groups. With regard to helping the parents. The percentage Turkish and Moroccanchildren with their homework, this is much more parents who always attend parental meetings is
  • 69. 58 A Bridge to the Futuremuch lower than the percentages for the Dutch a considerable problem if they want to help theirand Surinamese or Antillean parents. With respect children. Therefore, the most many minorityto contact with the teacher, the differences among parents can do is stimulate their children in athe four ethnic groups are rather small. With general sense. This explains the differencesrespect to talking about school, however, regarding the concrete help with homework. Thisdifferences are again observed. This occurs also explains the differences in attending parentconsiderably less in the Turkish and Moroccan meetings: many Turkish and Moroccan parentsfamilies than in the other families. The findings are hardly able to understand what is beingwith regard to the importance attached to discussed at such meetings. The fact that Turkishattending school as long as possible are quite parents more often talk with teachers probablynoteworthy: While the three minority groups can be seen as a reaction to problems theirvirtually do not differ in this respect, the Dutch children have at school: Turkish pupils just haveparents score particularly low. Also with regard to more learning and behavioral problems. Inthe importance attached by parents to school- Turkish and Moroccan families school is a topicappropriate behavior (‘conformity’), no great that parents talk about considerably less than indifferences were observed among the three Dutch families. On the other hand, many more ofminority groups: They all consider school- them think long schooling is very important. Theappropriate behavior to be quite important. Dutch problem probably is that they have highparents, in contrast, attach considerably less expectations of schooling, but are not acquaintedimportance to such behavior. with the Dutch education system, lack the necessary information and social networks toA number of reasons can be given for these reach their goals (Ledoux, Deckers, De Bruijn &differences. First of all, many of the Turkish and Voncken, 1992). The last item in Table 1 gives anMoroccan parents have little or no education. indication of cultural differences in child rearingMost of them came from rural areas where there practices in the family and at school. Theoften were no schools or schooling was not percentages make it clear that especially Turkishconsidered to be important. In some instances and Moroccan parents attach great value toschooling was seen as something which was school-appropriate behavior, which stands forimposed by the central government and therefore ‘conformity’. Dutch parents, on the other hand,was viewed with distrust. In addition, given their are more oriented towards autonomy and self-occupations (mostly small farmers), schooling realization based on egalitarian principles (Pels,was not seen as a means of social mobility 2000). These principles are also the guidelines of(Coenen, 2001). For many of them this changed the Dutch education system. For many minorityafter they had migrated to the Netherlands and got parents these discrepancies between their familylow-paid jobs and had to perform dirty and and school pedagogics signify a serious dilemmaunskilled work. Minority parents wanted their (cf. Ogbu’s oppositional culture; Ogbu, 1994).children to have a better life than they had. Theyall wanted them to become doctors and lawyers So, one important reason to not get involved withand schooling was seen as a way to fulfill this schools, is the fact that parents’ educationaldream (Ledoux, Deckers, De Bruijn & Voncken, attitudes differ from the current pedagogical1992). There are, however a number of obstacles norms and values in Dutch schools. Apparently,which make it for most of them truly an parents and schools differ with respect to theirunrealistic dream. In addition to the fact that these educational attitudes. In western societies,parents had little or no education, they also have education policies nowadays enhance a stronglittle or no mastery of the Dutch language student-centered approach. The emphasis on(Driessen & Jungbluth, 1994). Both facts signify discipline and academic performance is lessened
  • 70. A Bridge to the Future 59in favor of emphasis on self-directed learning and Attitudes towards educationpersonal and social development in education The most common distinction encountered in(Chandler, 1999; Pels, 2000). research and theory on educational attitudes is theIn order to gain more insight in the degree of distinction between content-centered versuscongruency between family and school as spheres student-centered attitudes (Denessen, 1999).of influence, insight in educational attitudes of Content-centered attitudes emphasize theparents can be helpful. Moreover, attitudes preparation of students for a career in society,towards education incorporate conceptions of discipline and order within the classroom and thetypes of parental involvement. As Epstein school, the core subjects, achievement, and thesuggests, families and schools should act as attainment of the highest diploma possible. Thepartners in education. This partnership could be at accent is thus on the product of education.risk when parents differ with respect to their Student-centered attitudes emphasize theeducational attitudes. In the following section we formative task of the school, active participationwill address differences between parents’ of students within the classroom and the school,educational attitudes and implications of these the social and creative subjects, and bothdifferences in educational attitudes for parental independent and cooperative learning. The accentinvolvement. is thus on the educational process (see Table 2).Table 2 - The content and structural distribution of attitudes towards educationContent domain Content-centered attitudes Student-centered attitudesEducational goals Career-development Personal and social developmentPedagogical relation Discipline InvolvementInstructional emphasis Product ProcessThe attitudes towards education involving three content-centered parents tend to be (Denessen,different domains of content can thus be further 1999). Especially with regard to content-centereddescribed in terms of two dimensions: content- attitudes, differences between groups exist. Vancentered attitudes and student-centered attitudes. den Broek (2000) found the following differencesResearch has shown that the higher parents’ with respect to content-centered attitudes ofsocial class or level of education is, the less parents from three socioethnic groups (Table 3).Table 3 - Content-centered attitudes of parents. Mean scores of three socioethnic groups (scales rangefrom 1 to 5) Dutch Dutch Ethnic 2 Middle class Lower class minorities Eta N=158 N=287 N=27 Career-development 3.51 3.78 4.28 .07* Discipline 3.85 4.11 4.39 .10* Product 3.17 3.43 4.08 .12** p<.01
  • 71. 60 A Bridge to the FutureIn Table 3 it is shown that minority parents are He developed a four-dimensional model ofmore content-centered than middle-class parents. national culture differences, on the basis of aThese findings are consistent with other research large body of survey data about values ofon parents’ educational attitudes: people in over 50 countries around the world.‘Delpit (1986) reported that when she was a new These people worked in the local subsidiariesteacher, she tried to structure her classroom to be of a large multinational corporation: IBM.consistent with middle-class notions that reading They represented almost perfectly matchedis a fun, interactive process. However, herAfrican American students did not progress, and samples because they were similar in allshe was criticized by their parents, who wanted respects except nationality. From country totheir children to learn skills. As she became what country, differing answers were found onshe called more ‘traditional’ in her approach, the questions about relations to authority, theAfrican American youngsters progressed.’ relationship between the individual and society,(Sonnenschein, Brody & Munsterman, 1996, the individuals’ concept of masculinity andp.13). femininity and his or her ways of dealing with conflicts. The labels chosen for the dimensions ofTo interpret these differences in educational the model are as follows:attitudes in terms of implications for parental 1. Power distanceinvolvement, Hofstede’s theory of culture 2. Individualism versus Collectivismdifferences can be helpful (Hofstede, 1986; 3. Masculinity versus Femininity1991). In his research he elaborated on the effects 4. Uncertainty avoidance.of culture differences on educational attitudes and Based on the answers on several questions,the relationship between parents and schools. Hofstede created an index score for each of the four dimensions. In Table 4 we show the powerUnderstanding parent-school relationships: distance index (PDI), the individualism indexHofstede’s theory of culture differences (IDV), masculinity index (MAS) and theHofstede sees culture as the personal uncertainty avoidance index (UAI) of a selectiondevelopment of the members of a society, as a of 8 (groups of) countries of Hofstede’s study.mental programming: This selection was made out of the 50 countries of ‘The sources of one’s mental programs lie within Hofstede’s research in order to give a clearthe social environments in which one grew up and picture of the differences in various countries.collected one’s life experiences. Theprogramming starts within the family; it continues We will first explain the meanings of thesewithin the neighborhood, at school, in youth indeces:groups, at the work place, and in the living 1. PDI-scores inform us about dependencecommunity’ (Hofstede, 1991, p.4). A more relationships in a country. In small powercustomary term for Hofstede’s concept ‘mental distance countries there is limited dependenceprogram’ is: culture. ‘Culture is a collective of subordinates on bosses, and a preference forphenomenon, because it is at least partly shared consultation. The emotional distance betweenwith people who live or lived in the same them is relatively small. In large powerenvironment, which is where it was learned. It is distance countries there is a considerablethe collective programming of the mind which dependence of subordinates on bosses. Thedistinguishes the members of one group or higher the score, the bigger the power distancecategory of people from another’ (Hofstede, in that country1991, p.5).
  • 72. A Bridge to the Future 612. IDV-scores say something about the extent of supposed to be more modest, tender and integration into strong cohesive groups concerned with the quality of life). A lower (collectivism) or the extent to which people are score on masculinity means that a country is expected to look after themselves and their more feminine, which pertains to societies in immediate family (individualism). The higher which social gender roles overlap (i.e., both the score, the higher is the rate of men and women are supposed to be modest, individualism in this country. tender and concerned with the quality of life).3. MAS-scores inform us about 4. UAI- scores say something about the masculinity/femininity in a country. The uncertainty avoidance rate in a country. The higher the score on masculinity the stronger higher the score on UAI, the more members of social gender roles will be distinct (i.e. men are a culture feel threatened by uncertain or supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused unknown situations. on material success whereas women areTable 4 - Power distance, masculinity, individualism and uncertainty avoidance scores in 8 (groups of)countries (Hofstede, 1991) Power distance Individualism Masculinity Uncertainty (PDI) (IDV) (MAS) avoidance (UAI) USA 40 91 62 46 Sweden 31 71 5 29 Great Britain 35 89 66 35 The Netherlands 38 80 14 53 Italy 50 76 70 75 Spain 57 51 42 86 Turkey 66 37 45 85 Arab countries 80 38 53 68Lowest scores: PDI: 11, IDV: 6, MAS: 5, UAI: 8. Highest scores: PDI:104, MAS: 95, IDV:91, UAI: 112.Hofstede’s research shows that western countries lower social classes tend to be lower thancan be characterized by a lower degree of power individualism scores of higher social classes.distance, and a higher degree of individualism.With respect to masculinity and uncertainty Culture differences between countries are alsoavoidance, differences are not that clear. Hofstede reflected by differences in education. Hofstedealso found culture differences within western formulated educational aspects that are linked tocountries: power-distance scores of lower social the above mentioned four dimensions of culture.class-cultures tend to be higher than scores of In tables 5 and 6, we will focus on Hofstede’shigher social class-cultures. The opposite holds suggested differences in educational attitudesfor individualism scores: individualism scores of related to differences in power distance and individualism versus collectivism.
  • 73. 62 A Bridge to the FutureTable 5 - Differences in teacher/student and student/student interaction related to the power distancedimension (Hofstede, 1986) Small power distance societies Large power distance societies • Stress on impersonal ‘truth’ which can in principal • Stress on personal ‘wisdom’ which is transferred in be obtained from any competent person the relationship with a particular teacher (guru) • A teacher should respect the independence of his/her • A teacher merits the respect of his/her students students • Student-centered education (premium on initiative) • Teacher-centered-education (premium on order) • Teacher expects students to initiate communication • Students expect teacher to initiate communication • Teacher expects students to find their own paths • Students expect teacher to outline paths to follow • Students may speak up spontaneously in class • Students speak up in class only when invited by the teacher • Students allowed to contradict or criticize teacher • Teacher is never contradicted nor publicly criticized • Effectiveness on learning related to amount of two- • Effectiveness of learning related to excellence of the way communication in class teacher • Outside class, teachers are treated as equals • Respect for teachers is also shown outside class • In teacher/student conflicts, parent are expected to • In teacher/student conflicts, parents are expected to side with the student side with the teacher • Younger teachers are more liked than older teachers • Older teachers are more respected than younger teachersTable 6 - Differences in teacher/student and student/student interaction related to the individualismversus collectivism dimension (Hofstede, 1986) Collectivist societies Individualist societies • Positive association in society with whatever is • Positive association in society with whatever is ‘ rooted in tradition new’ • The young should learn; adults cannot accept • One is never too old to learn; ‘permanent education’ student role • Students expect to learn how to do • Students expect to learn how to learn • Individual students will only speak up in small • Individual students will speak up in class in groups response to a general invitation by the teacher • Large classes split socially into smaller cohesive • Subgroupings in class vary from one situation to the subgroups based on particularistic criteria (e.g. next based on universalistic criteria (e.g. the task ‘at ethnic affiliation) hand’) • Formal harmony in learning situations should be • Confrontation in learning situations can be salutary; maintained at all times (T-groups are taboo) conflicts can be brought into the open • Neither the teacher nor any student should ever be • Face-consciousness is weak made to lose face • Education is a way of gaining prestige in one’s • Education is a way of improving one’s economic social environment and of joining a higher status worth and self-respect based on ability and group competence • Diploma certificates are important and displayed on • Diploma certificates have little symbolic value walls • Acquiring certificates, even through illegal means • Acquiring competence is more important than (cheating, corruption) is more important than acquiring certificates acquiring competence • Teachers are expected to give preferential treatment • Teacher are expected to be strictly impartial to some students (e.g. based on ethnic affiliation or on recommendation by an influential person
  • 74. A Bridge to the Future 63Referring to the results that minority parents have notions about how their children learn and whatrelatively strong content-centered attitudes and their children should learn. Thus, researchers andthe fact that these parents can be characterized by teachers alike must strive to understand thesea relatively high degree of power distance and beliefs and practices.’ From such ancollectivism, we can draw the preliminary understanding we can offer suggestions forconclusion that Epstein’s notion of partnership parents’ involvement, and we can tailor schoolbetween parents and schools can be endangered experiences to better reflect the diverse strengthsby existing culture differences. Minority parents and interests of the entering children.are likely to see teachers more as experts than aspartners. Their distance to school is rather high, When minority parents indeed are morecompared to middle class parents, who tend to be traditional than middle class and upper classless content-centered and to experience a lesser parents, schools might focus on their specificdegree of power distance and collectivism. cultural needs in order to bridge the gap between schools and families. Mutual understanding andThese culture differences in education should be accepting different cultures is a prerequisite forconsidered in discussions on parental successful parental involvement in schools. In ainvolvement. report on parental involvement of minority parents in the city of Utrecht (the Netherlands),Discussion: implications for schools and the Multicultural Institute Utrecht suggestedparents schools to:Research on parental involvement suggests that - better listen to minority parents and try toparents of lower social classes and ethnic develop an understanding for their specificminority parents seem less involved than middle needs;class parents. - develop a strong emphasis on content-centeredIn this paper, we focussed on culture difference education;that can be held accountable for these findings. - revalue a cognitive teaching approach‘Low involved parents’ can typically being (Multicultural Institute Utrecht, 2001).characterized by a more traditional culture inwhich role-divisions are quite clear: parents are Bridging the gap between schools and familiesresponsibility at home, teachers are responsible at does not imply a change of parent-behavior, asschool. These parents view teachers as experts in often stated (e.g. Lopez, 2001), but might alsoeducation at school. This expert-idea is not imply changing schools’ policies on parentalconsistent with a partnership-view of a parent- involvement. As many authors suggest, strongerschool community. This partnership-view is effort to realize two-way communicationespecially apt for middle-class parents, who (Epstein’s Type 2 involvement) is needed for aindeed often see teachers as partners in education. fruitful parent-school relationship. Instead of trying to search for creative ways to getSonnenschein, Brody and Munsterman (1996, p. marginalized parents involved in specific/pre-18) state that ‘Teachers need to understand the determined ways, schools should begin thecultural bases of different child-rearing practices. process of identifying ways to capitalize on howThey also need to understand that parents’ parents are already involved in their children’spractices may well reflect their explicit or implicit educational lives. Schools must make a positivebeliefs about child development. Although this is effort to recognize and validate the culture of thea fairly new area of research inquiry, the limited home in order to build better collaborativeevidence to date indicates that parents from relationships with parents.different sociocultural groups have different
  • 75. 64 A Bridge to the FutureIn this paper, we have tried to make a first The results of future research can foster ourcontribution in a rather unexplored field. We hope understanding of the beliefs and practices ofwe will stimulate and inspire other researchers. parents from different sociocultural backgrounds.ReferencesBroek, A. van den (2000). Preventing educational disadvantages through circuit model education: A study about the institutionalization and effects of the circuit model related to the Educational Pririy Policy in primary education [Achterstandbestrijding door circuitonderwijs: Een onderzoek naar de institutionalisering en effecten van het OVB-circuitmodel in het basisonderwijs]. Leuven: Garant.Chandler, L. (1999). Traditional Schools, Progressive Schools: Do parents have a choice? A case study of Ohio. Washington, DC;Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.Chavkin, N. F. (Ed.). (1993). Families and schools in a pluralistic society. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Coenen, L. (2001). ‘Word niet zoals wij!’ De veranderende betekenis van onderwijs bij Turkse gezinnen in Nederland. Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis.Denessen, E. (1999). Attitudes towards education: Content-centeredness and student-centeredness in the Netherlands [Opvattingen over onderwijs: Leerstofgerichtheid en leerlinggerichtheid in Nederland]. Leuven: Garant.Driessen, G. (2002). Ethnicity, forms of capital, and educational achievement. International Review of Education, 48(1).Driessen, G., & Jungbluth, P. (Eds.)(1994). Educational opportunities. Tackling ethnic, class and gender inequality through research. Münster/New York: Waxmann.Driessen, G., & Valkenberg, P. (2000). Islamic schools in the Netherlands: Compromising between identity and quality? British Journal of Religious Education, 23, (1), 15-26.Epstein, J. L. (1992). School and Family Partnerships, in M. C. Alkin (Ed). Encyclopedia of Educational Research (6th ed.), (pp. 1139-1151), New York: Macmillan.Epstein, J.L. & Connors, L. (1995). School and Family Partnerships in the Middle Grades, in B. Rutherford (Ed), Creating Family/School/Partnerships (pp. 137-165), Columbus, OH: National Middle School Association.Epstein, J.L., & Sanders, M. G. (2000). Connecting home, school, and community: New directions for social research, in M. T. Hallinan (Ed.), Handbook of the sociology of education (pp. 285-306). New York: Kluwer Academic.Hofstede, G. (1986). Cultural differences in teaching and learning. International Journal of Intercultural Relation,10(3), 193-221.Hofstede, G. (1991). Cultures and Organizations, Software of the mind. London: McGraw-Hill Book Company.Laosa, L. M. (1982). School, occupation, culture, and family: The impact of parental schooling on the parent-child relationship. Journal of Educational Psychology, 74(6), 791-827.Ledoux, G., Deckers, P., De Bruijn, E. & Voncken, E. (1992). Met het oog op de toekomst. Ideeën over onderwijs en arbeid van ouders en kinderen uit de doelgroepen van het Onderwijsvoorrangsbeleid. Amsterdam: SCO.Lopez, G.R. (2001). On whose terms? Understanding involvement through the eyes of migrant parents. Paper presented at the 2001 annual meeting of the AERA, Seatlle WA.Multicultural Institute Utrecht (2001). Kerndoelen van de Basisvorming ingekleurd. Utrecht: Multicultureel Instituut Utrecht.
  • 76. A Bridge to the Future 65Ogbu, J. (1994). Racial stratification and education in the United States: why inequality persists. Teachers College Record, 96, 264-298.Pels, T. (Ed.) (2000). Opvoeding en integratie. Een vergelijkende studie van recente onderzoeken naar gezinsopvoeding en de pedagogische afstemming tussen gezin en school. Assen: Van Gorcum.Smit, F., Moerel H., Sleegers P. (1999). Experiences with parent participation in the Netherlands. In F. Smit, H. Moerel, K. van der Wolf, P. Sleegers (Eds.): Building bridges between home and school, (pp. 37-42). Nijmegen/Amsterdam: ITS, KUN, Kohnstamm Instituut.Sonnenschein, S., Brody, G., & Munsterman, K. (1996). The influence of family beliefs and practices on children’s early reading development, in L. Baker, P. Afflerbach, & D. Reinking, Developing engaged readers in school and home communities (pp. 3-20). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • 77. 66 A Bridge to the Future
  • 78. The parental need for pluralistic primary education inthe NetherlandsJacques F.A. BrasterIntroduction - What is the parental need for attention withAccording to the Dutch Primary Education Act all respect to the plurality of society?primary schools in the Netherlands, both public - What is the actual attention that schools pay toand private, should take in consideration that this plurality?children are growing up in a multicultural society. - Are there in this respect differences betweenWithin these boundaries private schools, that like public and private-denominational schools?public schools are completely financed by the - Can the parental need for plurality in primaryState, are free to choose their educational goals. education be explained by their pedagogicalThe goals that public schools should achieve, values (conformity versus self-reliance, andhowever, are also specified in the Primary tolerance) and their social backgroundEducation Act. Public schools are supposed to (education, ethnicity, and religion)?pay active attention to the diversity of values insociety. Furthermore public schools are accessible Answersto all children of all social backgrounds and they The answers are summarized in five tables. Tableare governed by public authorities or more 1 shows that the items, that are supposed tospecifically by the Dutch municipalities. In a measure the parental need for attention withsociety that in the last decades has become more respect to the plurality of society, can be dividedpluralistic, especially because of the influx of into three groups:migrants from the former Dutch colonies, labor - Attention for social issues or social problemsmigration and people trying to get asylum, one (factor 1);would expect that the public schools are the - Attention for religious diversity (factor 2);dominant part of the educational system. It is not. - Attention for ethnic diversity (factor 3).At the moment two out of three schools areprivate and based on religious principles. Table 2 shows that parents especially want attention for ethnic and social issues. ReligiousParental needs matters are considered to be less important, whichWhat do parents want? What is their need for reflects the trend towards secularization, even inschools that pay attention to the diversity of the predominantly Catholic southern part of thesociety? This, and many other questions, are Netherlands. Table 2 also shows that the strongsubject of a research that is done in a big city in parental need for plurality is not completelythe south of the Netherlands. In this city about fulfilled by the schools.1.200 parents with children in the age group from Table 3 shows that the public school system pays0 through 12 years old have filled in a significantly more attention to ethnic diversityquestionnaire. On the basis of this data we will try than the Catholic school system. According toto answer the following questions: parents social problems are also more discussed
  • 79. 68 A Bridge to the Futurein public schools than in the Catholic ones, while pedagogical value. The table shows that self-no differences can be found between the two reliance as a pedagogical value is (as expected)systems with respect to attention for religious positively related with not belong to a religiondiversity. and having obtained a high educational level. Tolerance, however, is not related with theseLooking at the social composition of schools we parental background variables. Non-indigenousmust note that there are no differences with groups appear to put less stress on tolerance as arespect to ethnicity (table 4). However, there are pedagogical value than the dominant indigenousreligious differences. Non-religious parents group.appear to choose public schools and Catholicparents prefer Catholic schools. But the Table 5 also makes clear that the parental need fordifferences are not as big as they used to be in the attention with respect to social problems,past. Furthermore, it must be noted to public religious diversity and ethnic diversity must beschools are acceptable for quite a lot of parents explained by different configurations of factors.that consider themselves to be a member of a The need to speak in a primary school aboutreligious group. Finally, it must be mentioned that concrete social problems, for instance, is a matterparents with children on public schools have that seems important for the dominant indigenoushigher levels of education than one would expect group and for parents with a lower educationalfor a school that is accessible to all social groups. level. On the other side is the need for attentionThis can be explained by pointing to the minority with respect to ethnic diversity a matter thatposition of public schools in the mainly Catholic seems to be of relevance for non-religious, highersouth. educated and non-indigenous parents. The attention for ethnic diversity is also positivelyThe last table we will comment is table 5, in related with both sets of pedagogical values.which the parental need for attention paid to However, the explained variance for the attentionplurality is explained by social background and paid to plurality in primary education remainspedagogical values. The last concept is coined by rather low.sociologist Melvin Kohn. It is measured by wayof a principal component analysis in which two The analyses above raises the question to whatfactors were detected. One dimension represented extent schools must follow the demand of parentsthe classic difference between conformity and for a pluralistic education. It also raises theself-reliance, the other one could be named in question if the stress should be on the transfer ofterms of the stress parents put on tolerance as knowledge about societal diversity or the transmission of values?
  • 80. A bridge to the future 69Table 1 - Factor analysis of attention for plurality in primary education (extraction: generalized leastsquares; rotation: varimax; factor loadings > .30) Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3 Alcohol and drugs .757 Criminality and violence in the Netherlands .646 Abortion, euthanasia and suicide .581 Sexuality .484 Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc. .809 Differences between Western religions .791 Discrimination and racism .697 Problems of the Third World .560 Multicultural society in the Netherlands .514 Cronbachs alpha .72 .81 .66Table 2 - The attention for plurality in primary education: the need for attention and the actualattention in primary school as perceived by parents: mean scores (scale values: 0 - 10) Need for attention Actual attention in schools (N = 1153) (N = 699) Social problems 7,7 5,4 Religious diversity 5,8 5,0 Ethnic diversity 7,9 6,1Table 3 - The actual attention for plurality in public and catholic schools: mean scores (scale values: 0-10) Public schools Catholic schools Significance (N = 126) (N = 552) F-ratio Social problems 5.6 5.3 .041 Religious diversity 5.1 5.0 .318 Ethnic diversity 6.6 6.0 .000Table 4 - The social background of parents that have actually chosen for public and catholic schools(percentages) Public schools Catholic schools Significance (N = 153) (N = 518) Chi-square Non-indigenous 11% 10% .455 Non-religious 40% 19% .000 Third level education 57% 43% .009
  • 81. 70 A Bridge to the FutureTable 5 - Regression analysis of social background of the family, parental values and the need forattention for plurality in primary education (beta coefficients; p < .05) Parental value: Parental value: Attention for Attention for Attention for Self-reliance Tolerance social problems religious ethnic diversity diversity Non-religious .162 -.030 -.007 -.042 .109 Non-indigenous .003 -.102 -.073 .130 .063 Education level .397 -.029 -.189 .091 .071 Self-reliance -.037 .066 .096 Tolerance .020 .023 .075 R-squared .21 .01 .05 .03 .05
  • 82. Have minority parents a say in Dutch educationalopportunity policies?Paul JungbluthNetherlands’ equal opportunity policies: the upgrading of budgets for working class schoolshistorical shift in target groups resulted automatically in a more favourable pupil-Over the last quarter of a century the target teacher ratio at these schools as compared togroups of equal opportunity policies in the normal.Netherlands dramatically changed. Whereas As throughout the seventies and eighties theinitially the concept of working class children was proportion of non-white working class childrengenerally accepted as the best identifier for pupils rose, those pupils were in turn revalued in awith low educational opportunities, today mainly parallel way: instead of 1 they were counted forethnic concepts determine who is targeted and 1.9, resulting in even smaller classes in what werereceives extra budget. then called ‘black schools’. In just a few decadesIn the social-democrat tradition of educational traditional working class areas in majorequality policies during the seventies about 30 Netherlands’cities changed in colour, withpercent of the white population were then Moroccan and Turkish pupils or South-Americanperceived having poor educational opportunities pupils dominating in former working classas compared to national average. Parental social schools. The relative homogeneity in terms ofclass was the only, generally accepted clue to social class of these ethnic minoritiesidentify targeted ‘underprivileged’ pupils, with (outnumbering in certain city areas thelow parental educational level as an easy indicator ‘indigenous’ white population) resulted in a newof lower class identity. A general practice not to perspective on social inequality with ethnicitymix up with the kind of policies meant for pupils pushing aside class as the perceived basicat risk who suffer from learning disabilities (and category behind social inequality. The seriouswho were far less in numbers and who were accumulation of problems for non-white workingaddressed by other educational policies). No, class children resulted in a growing neglect of theregardless of actual performance and only based types of disadvantages white working class wereon figures about the correlation between class and suffering under. Instead of powerlessness andopportunity, about 30 percent of the population poverty the lack of Netherlands’ mother tonguewere granted extra school facilities in these so seemed to become the perceived factor behindcalled ‘educational priority policies’. The formula poor opportunities. Today first signs of ato grant schools under this priority policy was reconsideration about who is to be facilitated andeasy and convincing: given that a simple system to what extent come up; even school inspectorsof counting pupils normally is used to administer appear to explicitly advocate a reshuffling ofthe main school budgets, a revaluation of working educational policy budgets, somewhat more to theclass children in that counting system up to 1.25 benefit of white working class categories.instead of 1 resulted in relatively larger budgets Against this background one can easilyfor working class schools. In turn the relative understand that traditional public advocates of
  • 83. 72 A Bridge to the Futureworking class’ interests like social democrat direct concern of the national parliament whereasparties and trade unions no longer automatically in most other fields of educational policies mostwere perceived as the political representatives of schools are highly autonomous. Dutch traditionthe target groups in equal educational opportunity speaks of freedom of education with respect topolicies. As a matter of fact it became rare to find what schools actually do.any identifiable institution or organization For almost two decades this problematic structureadvocating interests of white working class resulted in repetitive discussions about thecategories in the field of education for more than apparent ineffectiveness of the priority policies:two decades, or even for any working class there was little to evaluate as positive, but thencategory at all regardless of colour. So what about there was little to take influence on, given thethe coloured working class pupils: who became traditional freedom of education especially intheir advocates in a situation where enormous non-state schools.budgets (up to one billion a year) were spent in Two possibly opposing modernization formulaseducational policies fighting for mainly their in public policies were than equally embraced:equal opportunities? That is the key question in deregulation and decentralization on the one handthis paper. and public effect accountancy on the other. Of course for political reasons they were presented asNetherlands’ equal opportunity policies: major complementary against all logic and experiences.shifts in political administration The result is now that the national parliamentBefore going into the above posed questions, let plays no longer a clear role with regard tous focus on major administrative characteristics educational priority policies, whereas local cityof the educational priority policies. The political boards are encouraged and even more than that toadministration in Netherlands’ education is rather demand all school boards within their reach, tocomplex. Although all schools are financed come to a local agreement about how to spend theequally on state budgets, only state schools fall priority budgets, how to evaluate ongoingunder direct responsibility of local city boards. programs and how to handle possible negativeCatholic, protestant and other ‘pillars in effects. At city level the pillarized schooleducation’ rule their own schools in relative structure now gets under stress as local boards areautonomy, be it apart from major finances. And, supposed to take control of the ways schoolsdifferent from what many would expect: all operationalize their contributions in prioritypillars almost equally serve a complete pallet of and ethnic groups, so all are equallyinvolved in priority policies, which count Minority parents and civic societyrelatively high on the main political agendas. One As described above, today minority pupilsmight say that especially in relation to the constitute the major category in terms of budgetimplications of priority policies the accepted and in terms of public interest when it comes totstructure of pillarization becomes critical in a equal opportunity policies. Together with that, thenumber of ways. administrative focus of such policies hasEver since the start of Dutch priority policies in descended from national level to that of cityeducation, the national parliament had a direct boards who find themselves obliged by law toline and responsibility in these policies. This can negotiate with a majority of regional autonomoussimply be illustrated by the fact that the law school boards in what is called ‘accordanceunderlying this policy implied a yearly report on oriented consultation’ about the actual variants ofthe evaluation of effects to be presented to the priority policies to choose: without accordance,members of parliament. In other words: the no more budget says the official penaltymatter of equal opportunities in education was a
  • 84. A Bridge to the Future 73Now a third factor completes the situation we are poorly represented so far. A situation that couldhere focussing on: exactly at city level where easily change, once it becomes clear thatdecisions should be made on how to actually educational opportunities of coloured workingdesign equal opportunity policies, most minority class children, at local level often outnumberingparents, often not in the possession of all others, are at steak.Netherlands nationality and so having to dowithout a right to vote at national level, are New rules of the game for minority parents?allowed to vote for city councils! At city level – Throughout the existence of equal opportunitydifferent form national - they have complete civil policies in the Netherlands an everlastingrights. discussion unfolds about who is to blame forA number of drastic political and educational inequality. Is it simply a matter of unequalchanges might occur as a consequence of this opportunities schools offer to pupils withremarkable crossing of different developments: different social and ethnic backgrounds? Or –minority pupils becoming the major target group equally simple - are parents from certain socialin terms of educational priority budgets, city and ethnic background to blame for not offeringboards in turn getting key roles in educational their children a rich and adequate developmentaladministration against a tradition of ‘educational environment, as a necessary precondition forfreedom’ and minority parents allowed right to schools to assure success to their children?vote for city boards. One of these changes, too Programs for intervention in families stimulatingvague yet to clearly comment on, is that in most mothers to handle their children more adequate,local situations the equilibrium underlying the reduction of allowances in case of parents notNetherlands pillar structure in education (between attending Dutch language courses, all these reflectstate schools versus a number of religiously the existing power relations between educationdefined autonomous school boarding unions) and minority parents. In some cases evenmight be lacking; in most local situations the contracts are made up in which parents shouldmosaic of pillorized schools differs sweepingly make promises about their effort to boost schoolfrom the national proportions. What has been performance of their children with schoolshandled at national level with prudency and threatening to stop their extra programs ifreservation, might become a clear object of otherwise. Little or no examples illustrate anopposite interests at local level. Whose schools opposite form of taking influence: minoritywill serve the different target groups of equal parents defining their demands towards schools,opportunity policies, who will receive what parts although that would reflect the idea behind basicof the budget, who determines criteria for effect educational concepts of (white) parentalevaluation, what to do with critical reports? How responsibility and handle the ultimate rule of penalties: no more Although the described new conditions still are tobudget for ineffective policies? And next to that: fresh to foretell definite new balances of power, itwho decides on the actual composition of school is clear that the political and juridical implicationsboards? Should they reflect the social and ethnic of a number of measures coming together in thecomposition as enrolled in the schools under their new city governed variant of educational priorityadministration? Who represents the targeted policies may arouse a number of crucialgroups if not the boards in question? developments. So far minority parents are poorlyAnd apart from the possible shifts in local organized in terms of taking political influence.balances of power amongst different school On the other hand they clearly overtake the Dutchboards, the new decision structure around working class parents in terms of motivation foreducational priority policies finally come together their children’s school success. Their expectationsin the city councils in which most minorities are towards educational opportunities for their
  • 85. 74 A Bridge to the Futurechildren is by far not as sceptical as that of allow minority parents far more than up till nowtraditional target categories for educational to oversee the implications of what happens topriority policies. their children and grab hold of the nationalUp till now the civic servants who in fact rule at budgets allowed to further their children’scity level the newly conceived local priority education. Question is not, whether they couldprograms have done so in a way one can hardly translate their than made up opinions intocriticise in this respect: evening meetings have political power and decisions, question is whetherbeen organized around towns to let minority such information will reach them in a proper wayparents have a say. In most cases they were and whether they will have opportunities topoorly frequented. Advisory school councils, politically organize themselves and in turn theirpartly representing parents, could allow minority white companions in deprivation.parents to take influence and here and there they One of the tasks at hand for researchers in thedo so indeed. field of educational policies is to developBut all this stands in sharp contrast to what seems strategies and formulas for informative feedbacklogic. If city councils want to handle educational that is both meaningful and will really reach thepriority policies seriously and effectively, they different target groups of educational opportunityhave to base those policies on a system of local policies and supply them with necessarymonitoring: monitoring not just of learning information to conquer their authorized positioneffects and school careers but also in terms of as a direct interest group towards a school systemsocial and ethnic segregation, of budget allocation holding up too often a false ideology of equaland so on. And such a system of monitoring has differentiate for different target groups,different town districs and ultimately schools. The Full report on ‘How to empower minority parentsway other but parallel decision procedures in in educational priority policies’ only available inlocal administration use to take is such that it will Dutch language.
  • 86. To see together. Visualization of meaning structures ininteraction processes between children and adults inFinlandRaili KärkkäinenIntroduction the first educators. Parental involvement in the thAt the 29 NFPF Congress in Stockholm in school allows children to continue familiarMarch 2001 educators agreed in the group of relationships and experiences in the schoolhome and school co-operation that parental curriculum and informs people at home about theinvolvement is crucial to children’s learning and knowledge explored at school. Dewey (1953)education (see also Bridge 2001, Henry 1996, emphasized the view of the child and the meaningKorpinen 1991, Ribom 1993, Crozier 2000) and of the home context in his traditional educationalnew, contextual and democratic methods are theories. He stressed common goals,valuable and needed. Home and school co- communication and constructing democraticoperation has not traditionally taken place in real community. He drew the model for interactionallearning situations but has mainly dealt with education in connection with nature, industrialinformation about arrangements of everyday life life, research and home. Dewey thought that itand varied in different schools and contexts. was futile to separate school from the life around it. He criticized schools for the incapability ofParental and grandparental involvement in two benefiting from the experiences coming out of thesmall school contexts are examined in this paper. school. In Dewey´s opinion the biggest problemThe first is an elementary school context with in schools was the separation from real life.three teachers and three grades in Saarenmaa andthe second is a pre-school context in the Despite Dewey´s thoughts, and the astonishmentcommunity of Konnevesi with about 3000 of many others, parental involvement has beeninhabitants. The aim of these interactional case defined educationally, socially and politicallystudies is to implement strategies that enable problematic in practice. Kuosmanen (1982) hasparents and grandparents to be more involved in noted that parents are not very eager to participatetheir children’s learning and provide a setting for in learning in the school context, because they dohermeneutical processes of understanding (see not have time for that. Similar to Kuosmanene.g. Habermas 1967) both in home contexts and Bridge (2001) notes that if parents are involved,in school. The purpose of the research is to they are more often engaged in managerial rolesprovide a model for co-operation and to improve than those directly connected with their children’spractices in school. learning. Managerial and financial roles are not democratic for parents living in differentParental Involvement in School Learning situations.The primary learning context for the child is thehome context and parents with close relatives as
  • 87. 76 A Bridge to the FuturePartnership in education could be based on shared the children and adults, photographs and focusedpurpose and mutual skills but in practice decision discussions with the adults.making, knowledge, and activities have beendetermined and shared by the authorities of the Research strategiesorganization. In practice parents have stayed in At first a joint meeting was held with the teachersthe background. In the fragmented postmodern in both case studies to clarify ideas about parentalworld opportunities for parents to have a dialogue involvement, curriculum practices and daily lifewith their children have become scarce and in school. The ideas were then discussed withpossibilities for children to learn in familiar, parents at the following joint meeting. Parentsrelevant and contextual ways have diminished. expressed some wishes which were noted in the following plans. In both cases the phenomenonThe interactional case study was first examined in school and then a letterCase study research examines closely one specific about it was sent home with the child. In the letterworking entity and focuses on understanding the the goals of the examination were presented andmeanings in it. It gives an insight into a setting, the adults were asked to discuss the phenomenonthe events in it and shows possible answers to and draw pictures concerning it together with thewhy questions. The case study is real and child in light of their own experiences, knowledgetherefore provides strong evidence in recorded and feelings. Small and large, thin and thickpractice. Action research compliments the case pieces of paper with drawings and writings werestudy. Action research is concerned with then brought back to school and discussed atimproving the practice in a working setting. It is a school together with the children and the teacher.practical activity that involves change to the The process then proceeded to connect thecurriculum in order to improve it. Bridge (2001) phenomenon in larger social connections and instresses that changed action in practice is the goals of the curriculum. Exhibitions ofdependent upon changed thinking and children’s, parents’ and grandparents’ works wereunderstanding and therefore is not a simple organized. At the end of the process meetingsproject, it needs a lot of reflection and reaction. were held together with parents and children, inAction research tries to push forth critical the latter case those focused discussions werethinking about values and in that way improve recorded as well as the verbal reflection of thepractices. teacher who was involved in the case research.This case study research is especially interested in Environmental project in Saarenmaathe interactional, educational functions of the The first co-operational project took place in anworking parts and the possibilities and findings of elementary-school in Saarenmaa in the Spring .the action. The research involves children, The interactive process lasted for five months andteachers, parents and grandparents working was integrated in environmental education andcollaboratively and reflectively. This action was carried out especially in art education thoughresearch shows that learning is not the plain text the main interest was focused in the environmentwritten in the document but is intertwined with in all education. The common educational goal incontemporary and past experiences of children art education was to awaken sensitivity inand adults. The hopes and plans for the future and meeting and perceiving environmentalthe contemporary feelings, thoughts and phenomena and through sensitivity to be able toknowledge are based on those experiences. In this change and improve own environmental actions.research qualitative data was gathered using Connections with home contexts were built upobservations and notes, drawings and writings of twice or even four times every month. Environmental examinations in school were
  • 88. A Bridge to the Future 77focused on the phenomena which situated near those pictured stories the children began to plan achildren’s everyday life; home, the way to school place for the growing and frightening Mörkö inand the surroundings of the school. The adults at school. Mörkö was ice-cold, so they wanted hishome were asked to discuss and draw pictures home to look frozen and collected material fortogether with the child concerning the same that. The children really liked to provide the trollphenomena in the light of what they remembered home with exciting details that could be used byof their own life in the same age as the child. The the troll educational ongoing of the process in schoolhad goals of the curriculum and visual meanings; The process of the Mörkö culminated when hecolors, shapes, textures and relationships in space grew a little, examined the environment and sawand time. (Autio-Hiltunen & Kärkkäinen 1995.) something that he was very frightened. Before touching upon fear more, the adults at home wereFeelings and moomins in Konnevesi asked to discuss and visualize together with theThe latest co-operational, art educational project child those fears they had as children and thetook place in a small preschool in Konnevesi just child’s current fears. Fearful feelings werebefore Christmas and lasted for one month. The examined and discussed at school and then thechildren in this project were about six years old. children imagined what Mörkö was afraid of. TheAt home they used to watch a popular animated large paintings that were made to hang in theTV-series about the life and adventures of windows were very imaginative and impressiveMoomin troll in the evening. All of the children and there were lots of them.seemed to be frightened and excited about an oddtroll called Mörkö in the series. So the process The process finished just before Christmas, so thewas planned on feelings and especially those last feeling that was examined was the longingfeelings which were experienced while looking at and waiting for Christmas. Adults at home werethe TV-animation. asked to tell and visualize together with the child Christmas stories that they remembered and plansThe process began with the excitement of birth. they had for the approaching Christmas. ThoseAt home adults were asked to tell stories and stories in the hands and minds childrendraw pictures together with the child about the constructed in school a picture book of Christmasbirth of a child and stories in which they in the Moomin world and planned and made threeremembered their own birth. The children brought overhead animations for the Christmas school the visualized stories. The processcontinued with discussing the messages together Work in this process was based on theand connecting the excitement of birth in the communication between children and adults inMoomin world. The odd and frightening Mörkö the home context. Actions at home were nottroll had also been a newborn baby and he had a directed technically or with art educational goals.mother who cared for him. The children used clay In the school context doing and learning was dealtand other materials to build and form baby Mörkö with visual targets; painting, drawing andand his necessities. constructing, big and small, light and dark, in front and behind, under and above, staying stillBaby Mörkö needed a place to live in, a home to and moving. Visual targets were not given asfeel comfortable in. Before beginning to plan the orders but like light flashes or fantasies forhome for the troll, the parents were asked to children to catch if they needed them in theirspeak about and visualize the home they had perceiving, imagining and learning process.when they were very young children. Based on
  • 89. 78 A Bridge to the FutureThe findings of the process of science as art or art as science; the detectedIn the two processes it was discovered that sketching in a holistic, conceptualized experienceparents and grandparents form a resource of of the factor, artefact, observer and theknowledge and power for children’s’ learning that environment.can be combined with the curriculum knowledge.Co-operation depended on gender so that mothers I picture the interactive, communicative learningmore often co-operated and communicated with process in the school and home context in thethe child at home than fathers and generally they following way:were mothers who participated in the focuseddiscussions. The visual method was useful, According to the picture the inside education thatalmost all of those parents who participated also takes place in the school and home contexts iswanted to draw pictures. Drawing pictures situated in a triangle. Education is situated in itsseemed to bring back to mind things and details private side, the side of the home. The privatethat had already been hidden aside for a long side (the side of the home) of education is rootedtime. The materials that were used for visualizing under the line of the earth or horizon and in theat home were rather simple, any paper and pen past. The common side (the side of the school)was used for drawing and writing the messages. opens up in the air searching for different types ofThe older the generation was, the less color they futuristical, social relationships. The educationalused. The colors that the children used at home spaces of school and home contexts arewere powerless compared with the colors used at intertwined in communicative interactions, whereschool; their quality seemed to be so weak that it common interests are examined on the bases ofwas difficult to build any strong effects with private and common meaning structures.them. Adults sometimes used the same ways tovisualize space and perspective as children did The magic of multicultural art educationand stress the emotionally important things like Art education has targets for a child’s individualthem. Some adults seemed to have left in their and social growth and tries to understand the selfcontemporary visualizations the ornamentations and to approve the other. In art educationof their youth. Children were very interested in multicultural phenomena are examined andthe pictures and stories of the adults. The parents analyzed. Art education seems to have meaning inand grandparents were eager to see the empowering the emotions and ethic feelings.exhibitions that were constructed from the works Based on Dewey’s (1934, 1953) ideas and Kolb’sof the participants. The participation of the parent (1984) thoughts concerning the importance ofat home seemed to influence the activity, interest experience in learning, art education has soughtand capabilities of the child in the school context problematic, procedural interactions whereto perceive the whole process better. prejudices, contextual sources of knowledge, interpretation, reflection and producing are takenScience and art into consideration. As a result of the process, anWhen I was planning the interactive, aware, considered and shared experience is to becommunicative and transparent postmodern found (see Räsänen 1998). It has its roots in theresearch project in the primary school context historical and aesthetic tradition but is eager toconnecting with home contexts, I based it on the find something surprisingly new. When trying tohermeneutical philosophy of education. fit different cultures together, it is crucial toAccording to it, learning occurs in complex develop models for interactions to haveinterpretative relationships, in communicative, possibilities to meet and to understand. All newcomprehending processes between generations and even strange materials and references may beand contexts. The view reminds me of the image used in the magic circle of art education.
  • 90. A Bridge to the Future 79ReferencesAutio-Hiltunen, M. & Kärkkäinen, R. 1995. Enemmän keskustelua -kuvin. Ympäristökasvatuksellinen kevätlukukausi kodin ja koulun välisenä yhteistyönä kuvaamataidon keinoin toteutettuna Saarenmaan ala-asteen koulussa. Lopputyö. Taideteollinen korkeakoulu. Taidekasvatuksen osasto.Bridge, H. 2001. Increasing Parental Involvement in the Preschool Curriculum: what an action research case study revealed. International Journal of Early Years Education. Vol. 9, No 1. pp. 5-21.Crozier, G. 2000. Parents and Schools- partners or protagonists? Oakhill: Trentham Books.Dewey, J. 1934. Art as Experience. 9.impr. New York: Capricorn.Dewey, J. 1953. The School and Society. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press. thHabermas, J.1967. Theorie und Praxis. (4 revised edn, 1971.) Suhrkamp, Frankfurt; translated as Theory and Practice, Heinemann, London, 1974.Henry, M. 1996. Young children, parents and Professionals. London: Routledge.Kolb, D. 1984. Experimental Learning. Experience as a source of learning and development. Eaglewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, inc.Korpinen, E. 1991. Vanhemmat –opetuksen käyttämätön voimavara. Tutkimustuloksia koulun ja kodin yhteistyöstä peruskoulussa ja opetajankoulutuksessa. Jyväskylä. Jyväskylän yliopisto. Opettajankoulutuslaitos.Kuosmanen, S. 1982. Päiväkoti kunnan kulttuuritoiminnassa. Yhteistyökokeilu Hyvinkään Kenttäkadun päiväkodissa toimikautena 1977-1978. Päivähoidon kehittämisen työryhmä. P4. Mannerheimin lastensuojeluliitto.Ribom, L. 1993. Föräldraperspektiv på skolan – en analys från två håll. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Studies in Education, 51.Räsänen, M. 1998. Building Bridges –experimental art understanding and constructing self. University of Art and Design. Helsinki. Publication series of University of Art and Design. Helsinki. A 18. thNot printed resource: NFPF 29 Congress in Stockholm in March 2001.
  • 91. 80 A bridge to the future
  • 92. Developments in the position of parents in primaryand secondary education in the NetherlandsMiek Laemers & Frans BrekelmansIn this contribution, developments that have of the Council reads that in the sectors primaryoccurred in the Netherlands in the last three years and secondary education no improvements needconcerning the position of parents of education to be maid in the position of the participant. Theparticipants in primary and secondary schools, cabinet however disassociates slightly of this final 1will be examined. Relevant developments in conclusion: the coalition agreement of 1998 afterlegislation are described as well as jurisprudence all contained intentions of the cabinet to pay morein connection to the (legal) position of parents. In attention to the position of the participant byparticular will be paused at recent developments reinforcement of the authority of parents andaround the assumption of a ‘educational pupils in the school and the emphasizing of theagreement’, by which parents see possibilities to equal position of all parents, who should not becall on the school to fulfill their obligations. The excluded on basis of identity out of a council orpractice of publication of education results in the board of representative advisory. Thesemedia and the ‘quality card’ in secondary developments affect the position of the parents ineducation will come up (for discussion). Attention different ways: on one side they influence theirwill be spent at developments within the position as ‘joint-designers’ of education, on thegovernment policy, especially in the form of the other side on their position as consumers ofnote ‘Parents and school: reinforcement of education. 2partnership’. In the following, where not by the schools themselves performed measurement, evaluationIntroduction and publication of the quality is at stake, the lastThe government wishes to lend schools to an perspective will be emphasized.increasing degree autonomy, determining theireducation policy. Furthermore the legislator seeks Legal measuresa way between the concern of the government and Over the last few years various legal measuresthe schools’ own responsibilities. haven been taken that aim to improve the positionAlso the government wishes to bear in mind the of parents: the Quality law, the regulation ofrights and obligations of the participant or his participation in decision-making and participation 4legal representative (parent or guardian of a in the board of the (public) school.minor) and reckon with the part that theparticipant can have in the quality control. Quality law: school plan, school prospectusAgainst this background the government has and complaint procedureasked to be advised by the Advisory Council of The Scheveningen agreement on administrative 3Education about the position of the participant. renewal 1993-1994 contained worked outAn exploratory report has been published in July proposals for quality and information services to 51998 under the same title by the ministry of parents and pupils.Education, Culture and Science. The conclusion
  • 93. 82 A Bridge to the FutureThe Quality law, a consequence of this possibilities to call on the school to account for itsagreement, units the - in this agreement still functioning (article 14 Primary Education Act anddistinguished - internal quality care of the school article 24 b Secondary Education Act).and the external responsibility by introducing on In secondary school apply roughly speaking thethe first of august 1998 the school plan, the same rules as drawn up for primary educationschool prospectus and complaint procedure in concerning the school plan, the school prospectusprimary and secondary education. This law and the right of complaint. Separate mentioningobliges schools to - next to what schools already deserves the condition that the school prospectusdo on their own initiative in the way of supplying in secondary school has to give information oninformation by school magazines, open house and the results that the school has reached with pupils:information meetings - inform parents about the the percentage of pupils that moves on to a higherschool on prescribed subjects. There has been a grade or different kind of education, thestiff discussion over the introduction of the percentage of pupils that leaves the schoolQuality law: by the discussing of the bill was put without a certificate and the percentage of pupilsforward that the law may not infringe on the that passes the final exams (article 24a Secondaryfreedom of education, that the government should Education Act).confine to the necessary and that the principles ofjustice of proportionality and subsidiarity should School board and participation in decision-be regarded. makingThe school plan, that the school board determines Parents can take part in an administration of theat least once every four years, is the quality school for primary or secondary education. Theredocument of the school. The school plan contains are no legal regulations that lay down thefor instance the policy concerning the acceptance minimum number of administration seatsof sponsorship. The use of financial support can occupied by parents. An exception is beingcontribute to the upgrading of the quality of formed by the legal regulation that came intoeducation. Regarding this subject as well as force on February 1997 and that requires that atregarding the decision on the height of the least one third, but not a majority of the membersparental contribution, parents have recently got of a public corporation or foundation thatmore say in the matter. maintain public schools, is appointed on bindingThe school prospectus, that the school board recommendations of the parents of the pupils thatdetermines every year, contains for parents, are registered on the school or schools inguardians and pupils information on objectives, question.contents and methods (of working) of the school The Participation in decision-making Act 1992(article 14 Primary Education Act and article 24a provides with a regulation of shared participationSecondary Education Act). This information is council (parents and staff). This law makes itmeant for parents and guardians who already have possible to practice by right of approval and bya child in the school, but also for parents and right to be consulted concerning different aspectsguardians that consider registering their child at of education - among which the quality policy -that school. Here also has been determined by law and provides with a regulation to take a matter upabout which subjects the guide should contain with the arbitration board. Among other things forinformation. These subjects concern on one side the determination or alteration of the specific usethe responsibilities of the school concerning the of the funds that have been received from theeducational point of view and on the other side parents without the existence of a legalthe rights and obligations of the parents, obligation, does the competent authorities needguardians, pupils and school boards. The preceding approval of that part of thecomplaint procedure gives parents the participation council that was chosen out of and
  • 94. A Bridge to the Future 83by the parents or pupils (article 9 sub of the rule applies to divorced parents: only if a pupilParticipation in decision-making Act 1992). That has not yet reached the age of sixteen the legalmeans for example that a decision of the representatives can exercise the right ofcompetent authorities to reserve these funds to inspection of the by the school laid downtake an extra teacher into employment particulars.considering class-reduction and the thereto In principle both parents are the legallinked, expected quality improvement - as representatives. By divorce the parental rights aresometimes happened in the passed period - needs usually granted to both parents. Only in specialthe approval of the parents. Approval is also situations will be deviated.required on the point of settlement of the student The Lower House has also agreed to thestatutes. Recently the Lower House, after a introduction of using a number for everydiscussion for years on and started by the trade individual member in education. This number isunion the AOb, decided that in primary education similar to the National Insurance Number. Thethe participation council remains to exist, educational acts indicate to what purpose thesesecondary education, professional and adult numbers may be used and to whom they may beeducation will have a company council. supplied. Otherwise Protection personal particulars Act is practiced. Introduction isOtherwise does it seem that in the passed years anticipated for 2002 in secondary education andundiminished continuing administrative increase in 2004 for primary scale not to have led to an increase of influenceof parents on the factual decision-making. If that Publication of school achievements in themeans that - regarding the way in which media and the ‘Quality card’ in secondaryadministrative organization in mainlines looks educationlike - further rules must be agreed on is doubtful. The inspectorate has been collecting data onIn the last years a situation has occurred in performances of pupils on school level for the lastprimary and secondary education in which the few years. At the end of 1997 the newspapervariety is so big that it is hard to determine how ‘Trouw’ acquired these data (by a procedurethe local government can substantiate that for based on the Publicity of administration Act) andstaff and parents a realistic involvement in the published them in adapted form (namely afterschool will be possible. awarding marks per school) in the newspaper. This course of events has stepped up theProtection personal particulars Act discussion about the Quality card for secondaryNot an education act, but indeed of importance education to be issued by the inspectorate. Thefor the position of the parents is this new act, that Quality card is a document that holds quantitativeappeared on July 2000 in the Bulletin of Acts and specifications about the school, whereby is takencame into force on September 2001. This Act into account the student characteristics and theregulates the privacy and privacy protection and school characteristics.applies to all organizations in the Netherlands, so Quality cards were first published by theon schools too. In this law the protection of inspectorate at the beginning of the termpersonal particulars of pupils and parents is given 1998/1999, in the form of 16 regional guides andan explicit chance. In regard to all computerized sites on the Web. This card is meant for parents asprocessing of personal particulars a duty applies well as for schools. Parents and children into report to the Board of Protection personal secondary education can verify how the school ofparticulars. A personal particular is every their child performs. The card is also meant forparticular reducible on an individual (therefore parents, who have to choose a school for theirtoo for example a class photograph). A separate child in group 8 of a primary school. Among
  • 95. 84 A Bridge to the Futurehighly trained parents the familiarity with the purpose information from different sources,regional guide is better known than among under which the inspectorate, will be compiledparents with a lower education. and made mutually comparable.Only ten percent find the guide useful for the - There will be one national advisory center,selection of a school for their child; information where parents individually can call on formeetings and advertisement by mouth-to-mouth information and advice about matters thatadvertisement give more to hold on to. Forty affect their relation with the school. With thepercent of the parents is convinced of the cooperative national parents associations - atreliability of the specifications. They find more this moment especially active for members ofattention for less ‘hard’ criteria, like the parents councils and participation councils -atmosphere at school and student supervision, will be spoken about the set up and lay out ofimportant. the advisory center.Education policy Concerning the communication between parentsIn the coalition agreement and in the two and school a lot of material and expertise issuccessive policy letters by the education budget available. Distribution of material and exchangethe reinforcement of the position of the parents of expertise is however not common, by whichhas been announced. Building on recently there is a fragmentation in the supply. Asintroduced instruments like the school prospectus, announced in the memorandum ‘ To work withcomplaint procedure, Quality cards and public educational chances’ a publication will be madeinspection reports, new steps will be taken for in which schools can acquaint themselves withimprovement of information, communication and success and failure factors where it concerns theparticipation. The cabinet takes as a starting point relation with parents. Furthermore a parentsin the memorandum ‘Parents and school: campaign will start that means to involve moreReinforcement of partnership’, that parents are the parents of children in disadvantage situations,primarily responsible for the upbringing of a child in pre and early school education.and that the school has a specific responsibility The national pedagogical centers link up in theirfor the educational training of a child. For the activities for parents to this approach. Also indevelopment of a child it is important that parents training and continuing education of teachersand school understand each other well. It is a attention will be paid to the importance of a goodmatter of ‘partnership’, based on equality and communication between school and parents. Inmutual rights and obligations. Parents need to be connection to participation the cabinet hasinformed well about the quality of educational emphasized in the coalition agreement theinstitutes. This enables them to make a balanced importance of an equal position of all parents ofselection of a school and enter better equipped to the school admitted children, regardless of theirinto the dialogue with the school. That is why ideology. That is why it is suggested to lay downinformation facilities to parents will be improved by law that schools may not exclude parents - onas follows: grounds of ideology - out of the participation- The inspectorate will - within the framework of structure. With periodical evaluations will be the regular school supervision and the integral considered in how far this regulation will be of school supervision - also make reports that are influence in real terms on the admittance policy intended for parents. The comparability of schools. The opportunity of parents to practice between schools is in addition an important influence on the foundation of the school will be element. strengthened by the way of participation council- There will be a ‘quality site’ for parents with (or the future school council) will get a legal all relevant information about schools. For that approval right about a basic decision of the
  • 96. A Bridge to the Future 85competent authorities to alter the foundation (the interested may take note and take their advantage:so called color fading or discoloring). This legal they can determine if their child is going or willconsent right will replace the present right to be going to the right school. The element ofadvise. Besides that - as a reinforcement of the benchmarking in the report enables parents toinfluence of parents by participation - the power make their choice for a school in a comparableof initiative right of the parents section in the situation, one that succeeds better in realizingparticipation council, will be strengthened. This aspects of the definition of quality. Over what ishappens by declaring the arbitration regulation for measured by the inspectorate is however aparticipation applicable for initiative-proposals, discussion: on the one hand there are measurablethat are submitted by the parents section to the factors, on the other hand there are issues that areschool administration. On the pretext of ‘The more difficult to grasp, like the atmosphere atschool to the parents’ there has been pleaded for school and the way teachers and students treatthe possibility of parents to enforce change in the each of the school (the so called color Many parents will disagree with the inspectoratefading or discoloring) before. In the first Kok- in the respect of handling criteria to determine thecabinet this viewpoint was introduced in the quality of a school. When the legislator in the Actmemorandum ‘The identity of the school in a on educational supervision lays down that themultiform society’. The cabinet wanted to inspectorate has the task and the qualification tostrengthen the position of the parents in the develop an examination frame and that this willschool administration, a viewpoint that was later happen in consultation with parties concerned andconfirmed in cabinet statements. At that time was in a professional manner, than it is advisable toalready explicitly stated that parents may not be regard parents also as a party concerned. It shouldexcluded from administration or participation be mentioned that concrete developments alreadybodies on grounds of ideology. Maybe also by the show that the freedom to search for ‘the bestconstitutional impediment to intervene in the schools’ in practice can lead to a unwantedadministrational structure of private schools there division. An alarming phenomenon is for examplehas not been concretely acted upon these that autochthonous parents divert to schools withstatements. less foreign pupils. In 1999 questions were asked by a Lower House member at the state secretaryChanges within the educational supervision for Education, Culture and Science and theIn continuation on the policy document ‘Variety minister for Big Cities and integration policiesand Guarantee’ named ‘To a stimulating about ‘black’ schools and actions that should besupervision’ the minister formulates as one the taken to stop segregation. The questioner referredbasic assumptions of education: education is to an opinion poll, that showed that thirty percentprimarily there for parents and participants. of the parents would choose to send their childrenThe educational institutes must be positioned in to a ‘white’ school twelve kilometers further on insociety in a way that all parties, parents, stead of to a black school in the neighborhood,participants, teachers, management and which means a white flight. Overregistrations foradministration can realize their responsibilities. schools with a good reputation led to having toDrastic developments within the educational dictate admittance criteria by those schools (likesupervision occurred and still are occurring. The the criterion of the distance of the school to theinspectorate makes an evaluation report of every residence of the parents). Consequently parentsindividual school that, says the inspectorate, had to experience that they had to fall back onshould be as brief as possible and clearly written schools that where not on their priority list. Whenfor use of different target groups. The evaluation parents have chosen a school, they may then bereport is public, which means that parents who are confronted with the admittance policy of that
  • 97. 86 A Bridge to the Futureschool. Public schools are accessible for all The four day schoolweekchildren without distinction between religion or July 1999 the president of the Court inideology. Nevertheless public schools can refuse Amsterdam (AB 2000, 106) decided that thechildren on a few limited grounds, for example decision of an administration of a few schools forbecause the school is ‘full’ and educational public education whereby was determined that theconsiderations do not permit further grow. This pupils of elementary school starting the newsituation occurs frequently in big cities. Parents school year would have a day off every otherhave to fall back on a school of second, even third week was not against the law and neither againstchoice. Depending on the regional situation the motivation - and trust - principle. The relevantschools may pursue a more or less selective request of the parent was subsequently refused.policy, at the expense of certain groups ofstudents. In short: by use of the own policy space, Freedom of choice of schoolschools can lay down their own admittance policy In the judgment of the Council of State,and that policy may frustrate the choice of school department administrative jurisdiction, of Octoberof parents on the base of quality judgment by the 1999 was stated that there was no conflict withinspectorate. A matter that may also play a part in the right from parents to choose freely educationthe choice of a school ‘of superior quality’ are the regarding First Protocol, article 2 Europeancosts that are involved concerning the costs of Treaty for protection of the rights of mankind andtransportation to such a school. The legislation fundamental liberties (EVRM). It concerned theand jurisprudence concerning article 4 Primary refusal to grant a scholarship for the benefit ofEducation Act make compensation of traveling traveling costs to the Steiner school in B. Thisexpenses possible if objections exist against the refusal was based on the order, regulating thefoundation or the public character of nearby award of scholarships in the municipality H andsituated schools. Objections only against the on the guidelines that are employed at thequality of school situated nearby are however not execution of the Order. By the stipulation of thehonored. That means, that if parents let costs of studying one is supposed to go thethemselves be led by quality reports they will cheapest and closest institute, regardless of thehave to pay for the costs of transportation for their religious foundation and the educational systemchild to a school situated further on. In secondary of the institute. Traveling costs are noteducation a general regulation does not exist for compensated in regard to an education given in H,compensation of costs of student transportation. neither in regard to a comparable education givenOnly parents with the lowest income qualify for a in an institute outside H, which has been chosen(often not sufficient) subsidy based on the Act because of personal preference with regard to thesubsidy study expanses. religious foundation on of the system ofSummarizing it is conceivable that parents cannot education. The department is of the opinion thatrealize their ‘quality choice’ by the concrete offer the Order nor the guidelines are in conflict withof schools, the admittance policy and the costs or article 2 First Protocol at the EVRM. There is noother private considerations. question of denial of the possibility to follow the desired education at the Steiner School in B, soJurisprudence desired by the parents. The stipulation does notNext to developments in legislation and policy extend so far that the (lower) government, if shejudicial decisions in the past period are by local acts offers the possibility for granting adetermined for the developments in the position scholarship to follow secondary education, whereof parents and education participants. A selection it comes to a deliberate choice in a certainout of the colorful series of statements. direction, is held tot compensate traveling costs.
  • 98. A Bridge to the Future 87The department is furthermore with the court of plain indications that the quality of education atthe opinion that what the parent has pleaded the school of his child is unsatisfactory he can goconcerning the circumstances in which she finds to court. If this case on a large scale will beherself and the different education that is given at followed, has to be seen. Before a parent appealsthe Steiner school does not have to be a reason to to the court, other ways can be followed. A badlyenforcement of the so called hardship clause. functioning competent authority and a ditto management can be called on to account by theEducational agreement participation council. Also the internal complaintIn a judgment of the Court of Amsterdam in 1999 commission and the inspectorate can first beJ.O. 1999/83 (Schaapman), there has been stated called in, when it comes to realizing qualitativethat there was a question of shortcoming of the good education.competent authorities in legal obligation resultingfrom the articles 8 and 9 of the former Primary The freedom of the school to organize theEducation Act by the behavior of the director of education surpasses wish of parentsthe school. The judge confirmed the sentences of The presiding judge Amsterdam (July 29th 1999,the cantonal magistrate in the matter of the JO 1999, p. 136) dismissed the demand of apayment of compensation by the competent parent to have a pupil skip one group. Theauthorities to the parent because of costs of president took as a basic principle that the schoolputting her son tot the test and extra lessons given board has in principle the competence to organizeto her son. The case Schaapman has made clear the education as they wish. The rules thatthat parents based on existing educational defendant applies for skipping a class has to beagreements between them and competent respected by the prosecutors.authorities of the school can claim on qualitativegood education: the cantonal magistrate has put Admittance disabled pupil to a regularthe parent in the right, who called to account the elementary schoolmunicipality as competent authorities of the The department of administration of justice of theschool because of unsatisfactory fulfillment of the Council of State (July 26th 1999; the challengededucational agreement, and this decision has been judgment of the Court Haarlem July 21st wasconfirmed in a court of appeal. Never before in confirmed, J.O., 1999, p. 139) went into thejurisprudence has been determined that a refusal of admitting a multiple disabled pupil to acompetent authority is compelled to pay (public) elementary school. The departmentcompensation because of insufficient quality of decided that - taking into account the alreadyeducation. The court has assumed that for the existing high work pressure of the teachers - notschool exists an ‘effort agreement’, which means can be excluded that further increase of the workthat at least the teaching material should be dealt pressure shall have considerable negativewith that is included in the program. consequences for the other pupils. It cannot beThis duty to provide for has also been included in stated that Burgomaster and Aldermen byarticle 10 Primary Education Act, where is assessment of all involved interests could notdetermined that the competent authorities cares have come to their decision.for the quality of the education at school, whichmeans in any case: the execution of the school School responsible for safetyplan, in such a way that the legal and own In the verdict of the Court Utrecht (October 9thassignments will be realized. 2000, J.O. , 2001/1) was stated, that the negligentAs clearer assignments are appointed in the acting of swimming instructors and teachers,school plan parents can claim more fulfillment. because of which a pupil died, can be attributed toThis case makes clear that when a parent has the competent authorities.
  • 99. 88 A Bridge to the FutureThe swimming as part of the curriculum belongs direct measurement in those cases in which theto the ordinary school activities; the conduct of municipal interest percentage cannot bethe teachers falls therefore within the range of calculated or cannot be considered representative.influence of the competent authorities. This case This is moreover the case in new housingwith sad determination is supposed to lead to the developments where the population constructionnecessary consultation between school and considerably deviates from the municipality as aswimming pool concerning the safety of the whole.children, that are entrusted to them in the frame ofswimming as part of the curriculum. Finally The increasing independence of schools related toDirect measurement the freedom of education has led to legalDirect measurement is a method to probe the regulations that offer a frame for the qualitywishes of parents concerning the foundations of a policy of schools. Moreover a greaternew to establish school directly and can involvement for parents has been provided thanconsequently do more justice to these wishes, before. Generally speaking can be said thatthan the indirect method, that acts on by passing parents have at their disposal a maximum ofon the historically grown situation. Recognition information about the quality of the school.of direct meeting means also more direct The school prospectus and the school card fulfillinfluence of parents on the stock of schools. a function concerning the output of the school.About the article 75 Primary Education Act goes Because of the changing relations betweenthe verdict of the department of Administration of government and institutes, the position of theJustice of the Council of State (January 26th participant has also changed. The idea is - by1999, J.O. 1999/3, p. 59) This department states: lesser guidance of the government of educationaldirect measurement is a supplementary method to institutes - that the participant can perform as asubmitted prognosis as an indirect measurement ‘countervailing power’ towards the moregives insufficient details for the stipulation of the autonomous institutes. There will be judged thatdemand. A higher percentage of interest in a in real terms the strengthening of the position ofoutside of the input area situated district is not the participant is restricted in spite of the takenrelevant. The supplementary character of direct regulations. Just like other actors in themeasurement also came forward in the verdict of environment of the school who will be presentedthe department of administration of justice of the as a countervailing power, the educationalCouncil of State (January 28th 1999 , J.O. 1993/3, participant stands in a dependent position inp. 62; Two Islamic elementary schools in The relation to the school, which hinders itsHague). The department decided that has been functioning as countervailing power.chosen for the possibility to include data from
  • 100. A Bridge to the Future 89Notes1 There are also schools for ‘special’ education (speciaal onderwijs): children with learning difficulties or behavior problems who cannot be taught in ‘ordinary’ primary schools can attend a special school for primary education. Ordinary and special primary schools now work together so that as many children as possible can remain in ‘ordinary’ schools. This is actively promoted by the government under the slogan ‘going to school together’. In other words, special schools are intended only for those children who really cannot manage at an ordinary school, even with special help. There are also special schools for children with impaired hearing or vision, children with serious speech defects, physically disabled children, children who are chronically sick, children with serious learning difficulties, severely maladjusted children and children at school attached to pedagogical institutes (for children with psychological problems). Plans for the future: more and more children with disabilities are now going to their local school instead of a special school because their parents are keen for them to mix with non-disabled children. This means that they can go to a school near their home, in familiar surroundings, and be with friends. The current method of funding schools was not designed for this. A new system is therefore being planned, which will involve allocating children with disabilities a personal budget that travels with them (back-pack).2 Kamerstukken II 2000-2001, 27 680, nr. 1.3 The Advisory Council of Education (Onderwijsraad ) is the national advisory body that advises the government on the broad outline of educational policy and educational legislation. For more information see: Public-authority schools (openbare scholen): approximately one third of all children go to a public-authority school, i.e. a school governed by the municipal council or by a governing committee appointed by the council. Public-authority schools do not identify with a particular religion or outlook on life. They are open to children of all religions and beliefs. If parents would like their children to receive instruction in a particular faith or belief, this can be arranged. Private schools (bijzondere scholen): about two third of all children attend a private school. There are many different types of private schools. Most are Roman Catholic or Protestant, but there are also Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Humanist and Steiner schools as well as non-denominational private schools. Private schools are governed by an association (which parents can join) or a foundation.5 Schevenings akkoord: an agreement between the ministry for Education, Culture and Science and the local authorities and the association of private schools.
  • 101. 90 A Bridge to the FutureReferencesBerg, M.J.M. van den, Onderwijsbeleid op de evenwichtsbalk, Studie naar effecten van deregulering en autonomievergroting in het onderwijs. Paper voor de Onderwijsresearchdagen 2001 te Amsterdam.Bronneman-Helmers, H.M., Scholen onder druk; Op zoek naar de taak van de school in een veranderende samenleving, SCP Den Haag 1999.Dubelaar, J.M.V., Schadeclaim wegens onvoldoende kwaliteit van het onderwijs, in: NTOR 2/3-1998.M. Laemers, Beoordeling van schoolkwaliteit door de inspectie en de betekenis voor ouders. VOR- reeks 19, Haeghepoorte Den Haag 1999.M. Laemers, Schoolkeuzevrijheid. Veranderingen in betekenis en reikwijdte. Diss. Tandem Felix Ubbergen 1999.C.A.M. van Leest (deel I) en F.S.J. Riemersma, Toegankelijkheid in beleid en actualiteit, werkdocument. Den Haag: Onderwijsraad 1996.Vermeulen, B.P. en F.C.G. Smit, De veranderende positie van de ouders in het primair en voortgezet onderwijs in: NTOR 1998, p. 27-37.
  • 102. Evaluation of the legal functions of the complaintsregulation in primary and secondary education in theNetherlandsJuliette VermaasIntroduction complaints committee’s method of working, theEducational legislation underwent a change on 1 IVA at Tilburg University has carried out anAugust 1998 with the introduction of the Quality evaluation study into the complaints regulation.Act. The aim of this act is to improve the qualityof education and to augment the involvement of This paper discusses the results of the evaluationparents and pupils in school matters. Part of this study into the complaints regulation. The centralQuality Act is a complaints regulation which question was to what extent the objectives of thegives parents, pupils, and staff the legal statutory regulation are being met in the currentopportunity to lodge complaints. In addition, the situation. Before this question is addressed inright of complaint has a valuable warning section 3, section 2 presents an overview of thefunction with regard to the quality of education. use that is made of the complaints regulation. The paper concludes with recommendations forThe enactment of the Quality Act meant that schools and national organizations to improve theschool boards were compelled to introduce a effectuation of the complaints regulation. Thecomplaints regulation and to establish a research design is concisely presented in thecomplaints committee or join a regional or appendix.national complaints committee. To support theschool boards, the national organizations for Complaints regulationparents, staff, school management and boards Which type of complaints regulation is oftenjointly drafted a model complaints regulation for used?primary and secondary education. In addition, the On the same date as the commencement of thenational governing bodies instituted a national Complaints regulation, the national organizationscomplaints committee for their members. for parents, staff, school management, and boards drafted the model complaints regulation. TheIn early 2000, a year and a half after the main difference between the statutory regulationcomplaints regulation was introduced, the and the model complaints regulation is that thenational complaints committees observed that model complaints regulation is moreboth parents and schools are often insufficiently comprehensive than the law: anyone involved inaware of the procedure and how to access the the school may complain or be charged. Incomplaints committee. To gain an understanding addition, the model complaints regulationof the ways in which school boards have prioritizes the role of the contact person or theimplemented statutory stipulations for a complaints officer. With regard to the nature ofcomplaints regulation and how they assess their the complaints, however, the model complaints
  • 103. 92 A Bridge to the Futureregulation is narrower than the law: only consequence, complaints committees receivecomplaints concerning concrete behavior or many minor complaints that could very well havedecisions (or the omission of behavior or been dealt with by the schools themselves.decisions) that have been lodged with the Most of the 96 complaints that were analyzedcommittee within a year will be dealt with. concerned the teacher’s or the school board’s course of action or improper administration (seeThe research shows that 70% of the respondents Figure 2). The phrase course of action coversemploy the model complaints regulation. All mental and physical intimidation or ill-treatment,complaints committees also make use of the irresponsible pedagogy, creation of an unsafemodel complaints regulation. Interviews did climate in the school, inadequate supervision, orshow, however, that schools and complaints misdiagnosis. The phrase impropercommittees interpret parts of the model administration covers complaints processing bycomplaints regulation in different ways. The main the school management or competent authorities,differences concern terms that are applied, attitude towards, or communication with, parents,proceedings during the hearing, and the role and quality of instruction, hygiene, or collection of thetasks of the complaints officer. parental contribution. The term promotion covers complaints concerning a pupil’s moving up to aWhich complaints committee have most schools higher form, exam results, and recommendationsjoined? regarding school type or secondary education.Out of the total respondents, 57% have joined a The sanction category covers complaints aboutnational complaints committee, 14% have joined sanctions against a pupil, such as suspension ora regional or provincial committee, and 22% have expulsion. Often, there is a combination ofinstated their own committees (see Figure 1). At complaints: the teacher has done somethingProtestant schools, the rank and file membership wrong, according to the parents; the schoolis the greatest; at Roman Catholic schools, it is management has not intervened; and thethe lowest. Schools with their own complaints competent authority has not taken the complaintcommittees are mainly found in the Roman seriously. The underlying problem with mostCatholic denomination and in secondary complaints is miscommunication between parentseducation. The main grounds for joining a and the school.national complaints committee include expense,expertise, and independence, though the national Out of the 96 complaints that were analyzed, one-complaints committees are also considered too third were judged (partially) valid and 40%slow and too formalistic in their handling of invalid. In addition, 10% of the complaints werecomplaints. The schools’ own or regional still in the process of being dealt with or werecommittees were chosen particularly for their deferred due to criminal investigation. Theefficiency, involvement in the school, or their less remaining complaints were inadmissible. Aformalistic attitude. complaint is declared inadmissible by the national complaints committees if it has expired (i.e., if itNumber and kind of complaints has not been filed within a year), if the complaintIn 1998 and 1999, the four national complaints is outside the school’s sphere of influence, if therecommittees processed a total of 200 complaints. is another possibility to express the complaintThis number was much higher than expected and (such as a procedure for lodging an objection), oreven increased in the school year 1999/2000. It if the behavior is not convincingly concrete.turns out that parents often lodge a complaintwithout the school’s intermediation or that Complaints are generally considered valid by theschools are too quick to refer parents. As a national complaints committees if they concern
  • 104. A Bridge to the Future 93matters of omission by the board or the school in their school helped to improve the quality ofmanagement, if the complaint has been education.incorrectly dealt with, or if the board or theschool management ‘had not been able to reach Interviews indicate that appeals to the complaintsthe decision concerned after serious committees generate a lot of tension, questions,consideration.’ Especially complaints against a and frustrations at schools: What about the pupil’scompetent authority or the school management interests? The parents push themselves to theare declared (partially) valid. Complaints fore. Is my performance being questioned? Howspecifically focusing on a teacher’s course of can the members of such a complaints committeeaction - particularly complaints concerning sexual say anything about the matter or about me?, etc.harassment or a teacher’s seizing a pupil roughly Some complaints also give rise to conflict or- are more often declared invalid. This is also the polarization among teachers, which affects thecase for complaints concerning a pupil’s atmosphere at the school. Yet, most schools thatpromotion. The arguments for invalidating were interviewed felt that the complaintscomplaints are insufficient evidence, no regulation made a positive contribution to thewitnesses, failure to make a reasonable case, the resolution of complaints. It forces schools to takedefendant having taken serious consideration, or complaints seriously. Because the procedure hasthe accusation having been refuted. been formalized, parents can take their complaints to the proper places. Moreover, schools that haveBesides passing judgement, the national had to deal with a complaint indicate that this hascomplaints committees often advise schools how made them more aware of the importance ofto prevent such complaints in future. Figure 3 sound communication with parents and a properpresents an overview of the prevailing kinds of complaints procedure.advice. Evaluation of the complaints committeeEvaluation of the complaints regulation The responses to the propositions show that three-Fifty per cent of the respondents were satisfied quarters of the respondents endorse thewith the complaints regulation. Of the schools importance of the complaints committee as athat have their own complaints committee, 60% component of the complaints regulation: they arewere even very satisfied with the complaints happy to be advised on complaints by anregulation. In primary education, the majority of independent body. Half of the respondents feelrespondents (50%) were dissatisfied with the that the complaints committee should not be openregulation, whereas the majority of the to just any kind of complaint, and 90% believerespondents in secondary education (62%) were that the complaints committee must be able tosatisfied. refer a complaint back to the school if the school has done nothing with the complaint. Three-The respondents were asked to assess the quarters of the respondents, moreover, feel thatcomplaints regulation by means of a number of the complaints committee should deploypropositions. Three-quarters of the respondents intermediation as an instrument to preventagreed with the proposition that the complaints escalation of complaints.regulation forces the school to take complaintsseriously. More than half believed the complaints Well over 50% of the respondents were satisfiedregulation is a fine way to resolve complaints or very satisfied on all scores with the service ofwithin the school. Nevertheless, only one-third of the complaints committee. Schools that have theirthe respondents felt that the complaints regulation own complaints committees are more satisfied with accessibility by phone, cooperation, and
  • 105. 94 A Bridge to the Futuretransparency of the procedure than schools that the secretary of education voiced the expectationhave joined a national, provincial, or regional that the complaints regulation will have acomplaints committee. The greatest minus of all stimulating effect on quality awareness incomplaints committees concerns the lengthy schools. From this point of view, a complaint ishandling procedures. ‘unrequested advice’ and the complaints regulation is a link in the quality policy to beThe complaints committee’s method of working followed by schools.was evaluated as good or very good by more thanhalf of the schools that have had to deal with a There is another reason why the introduction ofcomplaint. A positive extreme here is evaluations the complaints regulation is important. In theof the committee’s independence, which was period that the relevant memorandum wasevaluated as good or very good by three-quarters written, the Inspectorate of Education received aof all respondents. A negative extreme concerns total of approximately 3,000 complaints a year. Itthe total length of the procedure: only 40% appeared that, in many cases, the complainant hadevaluated this as good, and one-third qualified it not yet reported his complaint to the principal oras moderate to bad. Especially schools that have the competent authoritative body of the school intheir own complaints committees are very question. The undersecretary therefore hoped thatpositive about handling procedures. They a broadly publicized complaints regulation wouldparticularly praise rapidity and meticulousness. prevent complainants from directly applying to 2The experiences of schools that joined a national the Education Inspectorate in the future. Thecomplaints committee are less positive with purpose of the complaints regulation is that asregard to support and rapidity. many complaints as possible are solved at the school level. The right to complain must lead toHas the complaints regulation met the schools paying more attention to the way inobjectives of the law? which communication with parents and pupils isOriginal objective of the complaints regulation handled. It could thus contribute to the dialogueIn the Explanatory Memorandum of the Quality between the supplier (the school) and the used 1Act, the complaints regulation is considered to be (parent and pupil).the crowning piece of the regulation as concernsthe position of parents and pupils in the school The complaints regulation’s points ofcontext. Because of the introduction of the departurecomplaints regulation, parents and pupils can In order to realize the objectives of the complaintsformally lodge their complaint about a school. regulation, the regulation should meet certain requirements: it has to be a framework regulation,The complaints regulation is not only good for and not a nationwide, uniform regulation; that is,parents and pupils, it is also very important for it should be a low threshold arrangement, withoutschools themselves. Through the complaints limitations as to the type of complaint or theregulation, the school receives signals that can involvement of the it in improving education and the smoothrunning of the school. The responsibilities which Framework regulationschools bear as regards their functioning and the As concerns the type of regulation, the lawpossible consequences in case they do not explicitly opts for a framework regulation. Theperform well are the reason that schools have an undersecretary formulated it as follows: ‘It mustinterest in a careful handling of complaints by not be a ponderous regulation. In my opinion, itparents and pupils. In the above-mentioned must be as easy as possible. I am thinking of amemorandum on the quality policy in education, law that provides a complaints regulation and that
  • 106. A Bridge to the Future 95indicates where people can submit their with satisfactorily, can the complaints regulation 3complaints.’ be used. Given the wish to implement a lowThe implementation of the complaints regulation threshold arrangement, the idea is to install ais left to the discretion of the school, within the trusted person and their own or a regionalscope of the law. The reason for this is that a complaints commission that is close to the schoolnationwide, uniform regulation would not do to first receive the complaints.justice to the enormous diversity of situationswithin schools; a large school, for example, may The study shows that more than half of the 4need a different regime than a small school. The respondents (57%) have joined a nationalidea is that schools can make their own complaints commission. This development is atcomplaints regulation on the basis of some model right angles to the idea of a low thresholdcomplaints regulations. In addition, according to arrangement close to the school. The schoolsthe Explanatory Memorandum, the aim is ‘..., in a participating in the survey that opted for aspecific community as formed by a school, to national complaints commission mentioned theenable a tailor-made complaints regulation to be following reasons: the cost aspect, the expertise,formulated in close consultation between the and the preference for an independent 5various parties involved in this community.’ commission that is not linked to the school. These advantages of a national commission are balancedThe statutory regulation has indeed materialized by several disadvantages. The great number ofas nothing more than a framework regulation with complaints that are lodged with the nationalmany liberties for the competent authorities. complaints committees gives rise not only toHowever, this study shows that 70% of the further professionalization, but also to lengthyrespondents make use of the model complaints handling terms. The independence of the nationalregulation. This regulation gives clear guidelines complaints committees and the great distanceregarding the handling of complaints by schools from the schools entail that the nationaland by the complaints commission. The committees’ approach is rather legal and formal.advantage of the model regulation is that notevery school has a different regime. The No restrictions on subjects and involvement ofdisadvantage is that the ideal of ‘a regulation complainanttailored to the situation of a particular school’ has The statutory complaints regulation states that anot been realized. It also appears that the model complaint may concern behavior and decisions ofcomplaints regulation has stimulated the trend of the competent authorities or staff, includingmaking complaints into lawsuits by, among other discrimination, or the omission of behavior orthings, setting limitation periods. decisions by the competent authorities or staff. The law does not specify subjects about whichLow threshold arrangement complaints can be filed. According to theAs concerns the handling of complaints, the law Explanatory Memorandum accompanying thehas opted for a low threshold arrangement. The Quality Act, this was a conscious decision so asregulation must stimulate that as many complaints not to restrict the options of those involvedas possible are handled at school level. The great unnecessarily. The Act also keeps open themajority of cases on the daily routine in the possibility for a complaint to be filed by those notschool can be handled appropriately in directly involved in an incident at the school, alsoconsultation between parents, pupils, staff, and in case someone who is directly involved does notschool management. Only in the event that this is wish to lodge a complaint for whatever reason.not possible, because of the nature of the For example, an action against a pupil maycomplaint or if the complaint has not been dealt negatively impact the educational climate in a
  • 107. 96 A Bridge to the Futuregroup. According to the undersecretary, this will The respondents and schools that wereincrease the involvement of parents and pupils in interviewed do argue that the complaints 6the school. regulation has given rise to a legal or formal handling of complaints that might also have beenThis study shows that the first issue, i.e., not dealt with by the schools themselves. The legalrestricting subjects, has indeed been realized but function of the complaints regulation is especiallynot to the satisfaction of either the respondents or evident in the legal approach of the nationalthe schools that were interviewed. Because the complaints committees: the complaints committeecomplaints regulation does not specify proper has become the gateway to, or the substitute for,subjects for complaint, the schools feel that many the judge. All this is reinforced by the modelfutile complaints are being filed and that complaints regulation, which states thatmanageability is deteriorating for schools and complaints are inadmissible if they are filed onecomplaints committees alike. year after date or if they do not concern concrete behavior.The second issue, i.e., the possibility of complaintby those not directly involved, has not been The complaints regulation was also expected torealized. The model complaints regulation and the have a stimulating influence on quality awarenesscomplaints committees that were interviewed will at the school. It was to enable the school to pickonly consider complaints that emanate directly up signals that might be used to improvefrom the complainant. education and the running of the school. However, the research results show that theFunctions of the complaints regulation warning function that the complaints regulationThe objective of the statutory complaints was meant to have has not yet lived up to itsregulation can be stated in terms of three promise. Only one-third of the respondents feelfunctions of the right of complaint: that the complaints regulation has contributed to1. to offer a legal possibility to parents, pupils, improving the quality of education. The majority and staff to file complaints: the legal function; (47%) had no opinion on this matter. Schools2. to improve the quality of education at schools: themselves see little effect on the quality of the warning function; education and have taken few measures to prevent3. to improve communication between the complaints from arising in future. Too many school, the pupils, and the parents: the complaints are referred to the committee; communication function. complaints are considered a nuisance rather than an opportunity for quality improvement, thoughOf these three functions, the legal function of the some schools were actually aware of the warningcomplaints regulation has been realized most function the complaints regulation may have.noticeably. Parents have somewhere to go, andthis has a reassuring effect. The court is often too The communication function of the complaintsgreat and costly a move, whereas the complaints regulation has not come into its own yet either.regulation is a procedure that ought to be known Although three-quarters of the respondentsto everyone. Considering the large number of believe that the complaints regulation forces thecomplaints, there is a clear need for the school to take complaints seriously,complaints regulation, and parents, teachers, or miscommunication with parents remains thepupils know their way to the complaints number one cause of many complaints. Somecommittee with their complaints. schools that were interviewed did indicate how going through the procedure with the complaints committee has made them more aware of the
  • 108. A Bridge to the Future 97importance of communication with parents and significance of the complaint for improving thepupils and how much tension could have been quality of education at the school concerned isprevented if the complaint had been dealt with at disregarded.the school itself. 4. The financial arrangement: schools only receive financial compensation for joining aFinal evaluation of the legal functions of the complaints committee, but not for othercomplaints regulation aspects. This does not provide any incentive toIn terms of its functions, it would seem that the schools to prevent complaints from arising.current complaints regulation overemphasizes thelegal function at the expense of the warning and On the basis of the research results, the brochurecommunication functions. Judging by the large entitled The complaints regulation in primary andnumber of complaints that have been lodged with secondary education: Mirror or lightening rod?the complaints committee since the regulation presents recommendations to remove or mitigatewas introduced, the regulation has not yet the causes mentioned above and reinforce themanaged to bring about that complaints - warning and communication functions of theexcepting major complaints like sexual regulation. However, the legal function shouldharassment or violence - are resolved as much as not be lost sight of, which is not always easy, aspossible by the schools themselves. Apparently, the following dilemma demonstrates. A largethe regulation insufficiently encourages schools majority of the schools that were investigated feeland complaints committees to attach warning and there should be a mechanism to filter outcommunication functions to the right of insignificant complaints and that the complaintscomplaint. The research results point at the committee should be able to return a complaint tofollowing causes for this: the school if it has done nothing about it. This1. The attitude of the schools themselves: schools would benefit the warning and communication are often insufficiently aware of the functions of the complaints regulation. However, importance of the complaints regulation for bringing in the complaints committee only after quality care. For many schools, the complaints all courses open to the school have been taken is regulation is a paper tiger, which only comes diametrically opposed to the legal function of the to life when the school is confronted with a complaints regulation, which is to offer an complaint. Moreover, it appears that many accessible facility to parents and pupils. In schools are not sure how to handle complaints. improving complaints handling by schools and The complaints regulation cannot do much complaints committees, finding a balance about this. between the three functions of the right of2. The presence of the complaints committees: the complaint is of the utmost importance. complaints committees are considered as agencies where the school can shelve a Recommendations complaint: ‘If we get a complaint, we now Recommendations for schools have a complaints committee where it can be First, a school should try everything to solve the deposited.’ This is why schools fail to consider complaint. In this way, it their own responsibility to deal with possible escalation of the conflict can be complaints and to use them as instruments for prevented. From the moment a complaint is filed improving the quality of education. with3. The complaint committees’ legal method of a complaints committee, formal, often judicial working: because complaints are inadmissible and time-consuming steps, are taken. Moreover, if if they are filed a year after date or if the staff have to turn to a complaints committee, this behavior is not sufficiently concrete, the causes a lot of tension: an official body, at a
  • 109. 98 A Bridge to the Futuredistance, is now getting involved in the school’s - Appoint a mediator for the accused. In thisperformance and their own. The consequences of way, the balance is secured between theturning to a complaints committee are sometimes relevant interests.counter-productive when finding a solution; inpractice, the parties concerned prove to have Recommendations for complaints committees andincreasingly more opposing viewpoints. By first national organizationstrying to solve the complaint internally, the Recommendations which are needed with regardparties are more likely to solve it quickly and it to the work of the complaints committees relate towill cost less time for parents, managers, teachers, reducing the terms, exchanging experiencesand authorities as well as the complaints between complaints committees, makingcommittee. The relation between the parties procedures less formal and increasing theconcerned can be guarded more efficiently, since involvement of the national complaintsfewer people are involved and the talks are committees. Also, complaints committees can putinformal, so they are less emotionally charged. up barriers by means of mediation and referrals,Furthermore, the number of complaints filed with so that complaints are more often solved at athe complaints committee can decrease by dealing school level. In addition, national organizationswith the complaints at school. The additional such as the Ministry of Education, the boardeffect is that the time required to deal with organizations, and the parents’ organizationscomplaints by the complaints committee can should play an important part in improving thepossibly become shorter. ways in which complaints are dealt with. The research shows that schools and complaintsThe following tips can help to carefully deal with committees are of the opinion that they get toocomplaints at school: little money to deal with complaints. Schools areReport everything in writing. This gives parents compensated when they join a complaintsthe feeling that they are taken seriously and it committee, but they do not get money for theenables the board to evaluate everything after one preliminary stages. Therefore, schools are notyear. stimulated to prevent complaints. Apart from- See to it that professionals are available to cost, the formal position of complaints support and coach you on dealing with a committees should be taken into consideration: complaint. especially the position of the complaints- See to it that the official bodies in the school committee compared with other bodies, such as know what is going on, so that they can the school’s inspectorate and the Public adequately respond to parents’ questions. Prosecutor, is still too vague. The board- Appoint the right people as mediators; people organizations can play an important part in with authority, personality, and certain social providing boards, school management, and and communicative skills. mediators with information and training. Finally,- Offer sufficient training and support to the parents’ organizations could investigate how their mediator and contact person. members regard the effects of the complaints regulations.
  • 110. A Bridge to the Future 99Notes1 Kamerstuk 25459 no. 3, session 1996-1997.2 Kamerstuk 24248, 14 July 1995, session 1994-1995.3 Permanent Committee for Education, Science, and Cultural Affairs, memorandum discussion report, 2 October 1995.4 Kamerstuk 24248, 14 July 1995, session 1994-1995.5 Kamerstuk 25459 no. 3, session 1996-1997.6 Parliamentary Document 25459 no. 3, session 1996-1997.
  • 111. 100 A Bridge to the Future
  • 112. Section 2Schools’ perspectives on collaborationwith families and community
  • 113. 102 A Bridge to the Future
  • 114. Changing responsibilities between home and school.Consequences for the pedagogical professionality ofteachersCees A. Klaassen & Frederik SmitThe pedagogical task of the school is responsible for the education of the children,In the present social and educational debate on and by working together, all children will have apedagogy, the moral task of the school, and the better chance to be successful. In the partnerships,division of labor between home and school, it is the resources, or ‘energies’ of the variousoften stated that parents, teachers and other stakeholders are aligned so everyone is making asocializing agencies in the community have contribution to the common goal of learning.shared responsibility for the education of the However, for the ‘whole village’ to be involvedyounger generation. The development of values, requires a concerted, sustained, collaborativenorms and citizenship has been high on the effort. Family/school/community partnershipspolitical and education agendas in the recent past. don’t just happen. They need to be planned,It is currently expected that education contribute formed, and cultivated (Smit & Van Esch, 1993;to the necessary ‘restoration’ of values and norms Lueder 1998; Burke & Picus, 2001).in society by attending to moral education andcreating a good pedagogical school climate and School, family and community must form ateachers functioning as a moral role model. It is partnership. A parents-school-communitysometimes pointed out that teaching is more than partnership is a collaborative relationship betweensimply a profession, it is a calling (Hansen, 1995). parents, school and community designedPublications on the pedagogical assignment of the primarily to produce positive educational andschool clearly indicate that it is not only different social effects on the child, while being mutuallytasks to be performed but also the possession and beneficial to all other parties involved. Thepresentation of certain personality characteristics concept of these partnerships is more far-reachingand even visible ‘virtues’. They also point to the and complex than such interactions as home-fact that school, family and community should school relations. These kind of partnerships wherework together in nurturing and educating the we are talking about are more process based on ayoungsters. In the Netherlands the most important collaborative and helping attitude and beliefAdvise Committee of the Government has been system than a product. They are ‘environments’used, the African proverb, ‘It takes the whole for people to help each other. A parents-school-village to raise a child’, to bolster arguments for community partnership offers the parties involvedgreater cooperation between the families, school the opportunity to effectively play their individualand community. While overused, the proverb roles and fulfil their responsibilities (Epstein e.o.does express the intent of a 1997; Lueder, 1998). In the educational andfamily/school/community partnership’. The political debate on the moral or pedagogicalpartnerships are based on the notion that everyone function of education one can also hear another
  • 115. 104 A Bridge to the Futurepoint of view. For instance a school leader of a contrast, that schooling is an inherently moralhigh school in the Netherlands wrote in a regional activity and that children are constantly learningnewspaper that schools should stick to their main and expanding their social values at school.and primary task. He said: ‘a growing number of Through constant moral education, children learnparents disclaim too much responsibility for the how they are expected to act as students andnurturing of their children and ask the school to citizens. The pedagogical task is not reducedtake over this task. They can ask the school to within this approach to the learning of morals butteach their children a classical language, but they conceptualized more broadly and in keeping withthemselves must contribute to the learning of the original meaning of the word ‘pedagogical’.values and norms, Some time ago I had a This means the provision of help and guidance fordiscussion with parents who told me without young people on the way to adulthood and ablushing that they really did not have enough time proper role in society. This all occurs thus notto do that’. Obviously, there are also teachers who only in reaction to a societal concern about thedo not consider the pedagogical assignment to be blurring and decline of norms but also as a resultpart of their task. The statement ‘I am teacher and of a pedagogical concern for the guidance ofnot a therapist or a social worker’ clearly young people on their way to adulthood andillustrates this in a slightly exaggerated manner. adequate fulfillment of their role in society.In light of these considerations, it is the Greater attention in education to norms andpedagogical dimension of the professionality of values and the communication of values canteachers that is in need of extra attention. support and stimulate students in their more orEmpirically, relatively little is known about this. less permanent search, which is the formation ofIn the present article, the following questions will an identity. In addition to explicit attention tobe considered: What does the current pedagogical questions of identity and life meaning, theassignment mean for the opinions and task stimulation of social responsibility and care forperformance of teachers? How do they conceive each other can also be undertaken as part oftheir moral role? everyday school practice.The social processes as secularisation, In loco parentis: the teacher between home,individualization, value fragmentation, and the school and communityincreased multicultural character of many Child rearing is not limited to just the family. Insocieties constitute an important reason for the discussion of the pedagogical task of thedevoting greater attention to the moral school, considerable importance is attached to thedevelopment of the youngsters and tot the specific role of the teacher. The teacher isattunement of home, school and community expected to fulfil an exemplary function and(Klaassen, 1996). Parents and children, teachers represent numerous virtues (Tom, 1984).and students can no longer simply follow familiar Pedagogical thoughtfulness is an importantpaths; they are involved, rather, in negotiation characteristic of teacher professionalism (vanprocesses that require space for everyone’s Manen, 1991). In his book, The Call to Teachdefinition of the situation. Continual reflection (1995), David Hansen also assumes certainand discussion of norms and values have become virtues to be a necessity on the part of the teacher.a critical necessity for parents, teachers and To describe the ‘call to teach’, Hansen uses suchstudents. The general goal of education in this terms as ‘faith, moral imperative, integrity,respect is to instill the specific pedagogical civility, right, wrong, discipline, caring,guidance and points of concern pertaining to the empathy’. Parents and school must work togetherpersonal development and well-being of the to raise moral children. Parents should view thestudent. This educational approach assumes, in school as a partner in the tasks of child rearing
  • 116. A Bridge to the Future 105and education and, in fact, plenty is known about professionality should receive expression in theirhow and why parents get involved in their behavior. It is the goal of this paper to elaboratechildren’s education. Empirical research into on the empirical evidence of the opinions ofparticularly effective schools, for example, has teachers with regard to the parents-school-clearly shown parental involvement to create community partnership and their moral role.positive outcomes for the children. All of this hasfostered greater attention to the influence of The pedagogical professionality of elementaryparents and then in the areas of values and norms and high school teachersas well. In numerous publications, it is noted that The pedagogical assignment is considered anthe family has primary responsibility for the important component of the professionality of theinstillation of values and norms. Parents have the teacher both by parents and teachers. Underinalienable right and obligation to raise their professionality, the system of teacher opinions onchildren. The school and teachers have a derived just what constitutes qualitatively good teachingfunction or responsibility. They perform their task and how this should be realized is understood.for the parents. In order for parents and schools to These opinions relate to not only the primaryjointly influence the personal development and teaching process or the micro- level but alsomoral education of students, however, they encompass the meso- and macro-levels (Vanshould clearly be oriented in the same direction. Veen et al, 2001). A common assumption inBy this, we mean that a certain degree of teacher behavior studies is that teacher opinionsattunement and cooperation should exist for the have a strong influence upon teacher behaviorshared pedagogical enterprise to possibly (Clark & Peterson, 1986). Such content-relatedsucceed. Such cooperation or attunement can be and normative opinions regarding good teachingseen as not self-evident when one recognizes that not only steer the behavior of teachers but canparents and school can also oppose or neutralize also legitimize their behavior at times. What doeach other’s influence. Congruent operation and the teachers themselves think? This question canthe strengthening - per definition - of each other’s only be answered with empirical research. Ininfluence need not be the case. In many different studies over the past few years, we havediscussions of the moral task of the school, it is examined the opinions of teachers in this domain.simply not recognized that parents need not Both elementary and high school teachers haveconstitute a single like-minded group. In fact, one been studied. And in almost all of the researchcan rarely speak of ‘parents’ as single, reported here, a combination of quantitative and 1undifferentiated category (Munn, 1993). General qualitative research methods has been used . Thestatements and recommendations must often, results of a 1997 study of the degree ofthus, be refined when it comes to the social attunement between the school and the home withcharacteristics of the parents, different respect to the pedagogical assignment amongcircumstances, and specific schools. What is also Dutch parents and teachers showed parents andoften overlooked is the fact that opinions on the teachers to be of the opinion that the elementaryparent-school-community relation and the school teacher has a formative task in addition toresponsibilities of the various parties can vary a teaching task. Parents and teachers see theconsiderably. Nevertheless, almost everyone pedagogical assignment as an importantconsiders cooperation between parents, school component of the task of the elementary schooland community to be critical and research into the teacher, and the pedagogical assignment is not inprerequisites for effective cooperation is therefore conflict with the school as knowledge institute.called for. Research in the field of education for Elementary school teachers consider themselvesinstance could pay attention to the moral and not only professionals in the area of knowledgepedagogical professionality of teachers. This and skills but also in the domain of value
  • 117. 106 A Bridge to the Futureformation. These teachers are generally of the after 8 years so that they can go further. Oneopinion that they have a better perspective on the should connect up with the things that happen,development of children as a result of years of consider conflicts but not react to every conflictexperience than parents. The teachers, with: we have to talk about this.’ One teacher putthemselves, also consider themselves to be joint it as follows: ‘The basis lies at home. And at achild raisers. certain point, things come to an end at school;Parents and teachers are of the opinion that the cause you are the teacher and something has toteacher has a formative task in addition to a be learned. And I think that the learning is mostteaching task. Teachers are always viewed as important. You sometimes have groups offormative teachers. In the words of one teacher: children in which too much time goes into child-‘You cannot teach without attention to the rearing behaviors. And then you say: that’sformative aspect as well... Teachers who only enough, we’re going to do math ‘cause somethingteach have problems keeping order in the class.’ still has to be learned.’ A number of teachers stillConcerning the primary school teacher as moral think that their tasks have gradually shifted overrole model both teachers and parents agree that the course of time from teaching to the rearing ofteachers must provide a ‘good example’ by, for children. They point out that parents have lessinstance, sticking to agreements and observing the time than earlier for the rearing of their children.rules of etiquette. Both parents and teachers ‘I think that it is being shifted more and more toconsider it important that the teacher present the school, also by the parents. I sometimes seehim/herself as a ‘man of flesh and blood’ with that in the morning. Such a parent shoves herboth strengths and weaknesses. According to both child inside: he’s in a bad mood, have fun. Aparents and teachers, it is pedagogically desirable conflict has already occurred at home and that’sto show the ‘person’ behind the teacher. They how you start the day. I have troubles with this. Itwant to underscore the relevance of the person is simply shifting the problems that have not beenwho occupies the role. One parent says: ‘I didn’t talked out at home to the school. Parents simplyhire a robot. I want people to interact with my have no time for this.’children. They are, after all, at school for a verylarge part of the day.’ Collaboration is the In a qualitative study of 15 high school teachersconcept that underlies a parents-school- involving in-depth interviews we explored somecommunity partnership. The collaborative further details of the result of a precedingrelationships are formed on the assumption that quantitative research project. Some of theseeducation is a shared responsibility and that all teachers we interviewed had very explicitpartners are ‘equal’ players. ‘Equal’ in this case, opinions with regard to their pedagogicalmeans that each partner contributes in major ways assignment. I have always seen this as part of myto the success of young people, and that everyone task. I would almost say that it is almost alwayshas a say in determining the path to the common your main task. This has nothing to do with thegoal of learning (Lueder, 1998). That means subject matter in my eyes. Yeah, my job is tocreating two-way communications, enhancing teach, to interact with kids. According to alearning at home and at school, providing mutual different teacher: I think that the development ofsupport and making joint decisions. values and norms is equally important asMany parents and teachers are nevertheless of the conveying the relevant subject matter, it’s all partopinion that pure teaching is the most important of the package. The one is no more valuable thantask of the school and that the responsibility for the other, in the opinion of another teacher. Youchild rearing lies first and foremost with the try to make your students more complete peopleparents. ‘The teaching is still your primary task ... in any case, and this has to do with yourI want the children to have mastered that package particular subject. I mean, that’s what you are doing here in this school.
  • 118. A Bridge to the Future 107While teachers generally consider the pedagogical researchers emphasize the cooperation andassignment to be part of their task, they complementarities of schools and families, andemphasize different aspects. Some are very encourages communication and collaborationconscious of the fact that they transfer norms and between the two institutions (Deslandes, 2001). Avalues or, in any case, attempt to stimulate the school can provide the ‘open forum’ for learningdevelopment of these in their students. Others activities and become the place where theemphasize their task as the pedagogical guide of community can find a voice (Senge, 2000),students and student learning processes. The particularly where parents can be heard (McGilp,pedagogical and didactic aspects of their task are 2001)viewed as closely connected by a number of the Unfortunately, most teacher preparation programsinterviewed teachers). Teaching has everything to provide only limited training to teachers in how todo with values and norms. One teacher states that approach, educate and support parents andas the group gets smaller, the influence of community volunteers. Empowered and well-exemplary behavior gets larger and, in light of informed parents are often active supporters ofdevelopments towards more guided instruction, their school’s administration, working to helpthe influence of exemplary behavior will only solve problems, make policy, or raise additionalgrow. This teacher sees the normative aspect of funds for the school. When a student does notteaching as ‘almost the main task’. have a parents available to support his or her academic needs, community volunteers can beHow a teacher relates to individual students and instrumental in providing academic mentorschiptheir parents is critical for building a supportive and assistance. Community volunteers includeand nurturing environment fort students’ students form other grades, college students,academic success (Schmitt & Tracy, 1996). There community members, parents of children in otheris no doubt that the relation between parents and grade levels, and employees form localschools have changed the last ten years and have companies. To successfully use communityinfluenced commitment to the concept of a volunteers, it is important for a school to have a‘school that learns’ with parents. Inspired by the appropriate policies and procedures that supportecological model of Bronfenbrenner (1986) community volunteer programs (Smit & Van Esch, 1996; Burke & Picus, 2001).Note1 In the elementary school research project, the similarities and differences in the opinions of parents and teachers with regard to pedagogy and the division of child-rearing tasks across home and school were examined both quantitatively and qualitatively. A questionnaire was completed by 275 parents and 53 teachers in six elementary schools to inventory the opinions of parents and teachers with regard to pedagogical issues/objectives and the relations between parents and teachers; interviews were held with 48 parents and 36 teachers to gain greater insight into their respective viewpoints; and panel discussions were undertaken with parents and teachers to identify alternative solutions for the differences in opinion and child-rearing practices (see Klaassen & Leeferink, 1999). In the high school project a number of 452 teachers were approached by way of a written questionnaire (see Theunissen et al, 1998) and a selection of 15 teachers was invited to participate in a qualitative study involving in-depth interviews. In this paper we only present the results of the qualitative study (Klaassen et al, 1999).
  • 119. 108 A Bridge to the FutureReferencesBurke, M.A. & L. Picus (2001). Developing community-empowered schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Bronfenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context for human development : Research perspectives. Development Psychology, 22, 723-742.Clark, C. & P. Peterson (1986). Teachers’ Thought Processes. In: M.C. Wittrock (Ed.) Handbook on rd Research on Teaching (3 ed).( pp. 255-296) New York: Macmillan.Deslandes, R. (2001). A vision of home-school partnership: three complementary conceptual frameworks. International Conference. Collaboration between families, schools and communities. Rotterdam 22-23 November, 2001.Hansen, D. (1995). The Call to Teach. New York. Teachers College Press.Klaassen, C. (1996). Education and Citizenship in a Post-Welfare State, Curriculum, 17(2), pp. 62-74.Klaassen, C. & H. Leeferink (1999). Pedagogical attunement: parents, teachers and the pedagogical assignment of the school. In: F. Smit, H. Moerel, K. van der Wolf and P. Sleegers, Building bridges between home and school. Nijmegen. Institute for applied social sciences.Klaassen, C., M. Theunissen, K.van Veen, P. Sleegers (1999). Het is bijna je hoofdtaak. (It is almost your main task). University of Nijmegen, Department of Educational Sciences.Manen, M. van (1991). The Tact of Teaching: The Meaning of Pedagogical Thoughtfulness Albany, NY. Suny Press.Munn, P. (Ed.) (1993). Parents and Schools: Customers, Managers or Partners? London. Routledge.McGilp, E. J. (2001). Lifelong learning: schools and the parental contribution. International Conference. Collaboration between families, schools and communities. Rotterdam 22-23 November, 2001.Senge, P. (2000). Schools that Learn. London: Nicholas Brealey.Schmitt D.M. & Tracy, J.C., (1996). Gaining support for our school: strategies for community involvement. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Smit, F. & W. van Esch (1993), Parents in schools and school governing boards in the Netherlands. In: Parental involvement in education, F. Smit, W. van Esch & H. Walberg (Eds.). Nijmegen: ITS, 67- 74.Smit, F. & W. van Esch (1996), Current trends in partnerships between parents and schools in the Netherlands, International Journal of Educational Research, 25 (1), 67-73.Theunissen, M., T. Bergen, C. Hermans, C. Klaassen, P. Sleegers & K. van Veen (1998). Wat bezielt ons? [What inspires us?]. University of Nijmegen.Tom, A.R. (1984). Teaching as a Moral Craft. New York: Longmans.Veen, K. van, P. Sleegers, T. Bergen, C. Klaassen (2001). Professional orientations of secondary school teachers towards their work. Teaching and Teacher Education.17, p175-194.
  • 120. Home-school relationships in one Russian school.A case studyAndrea LaczikAbstract of Hungary and Russia. The study is closelyThis paper summarizes the preliminary results of linked with a Tempus Tacis Project. As a projecta study of home-school relations in Perm, Russia. member I had visited Perm, Russia twice before IThe study was closely linked with the Tempus started to investigate the relationships betweenTacis Project, which developed good working home and school. The Tempus Project allowedrelationships with the Perm State Pedagogical me to explore already existing links andUniversity (PSPU). These links opened the door relationships with the Perm State Pedagogicalto an investigation of home-school relationships, University and its ‘pilot’ schools. Duringan area of growing importance within education. previous visits to Perm, the Tempus pilot schoolsThis case study is the first part of an international introduced me to Russian schools, theircomparative study on home-school relationships organization, the circumstances they have to workin Russia and Hungary. This paper is focusing on in, staff and school life in general.Russia, and highlights the teacher’s perspectiveon home-school relationships. It offers some Focusexamples of the different fora and patterns of Looking at the issue of home-schoolinteraction between the home and the school in relationships, it seemed necessary to clarify itsone primary school in Perm. The study meaning within the given context. I was able toinvestigates the existing home-school use the contemporary debate in Russianrelationships and looks into modes of interaction publications to gain an initial understanding ofbetween the teacher and the parents. It points not the topic. Home-school relations, however, needonly to similarities in the thinking and practice of active involvement of all parties, which is why Iteachers but highlights differences in the intensity decided to investigate different angles on thisof communication. The paper focuses on issues subject. Interviews on parental choice expressed athat emerged during the preparation and variety of views on the issue. There seemed to beexecution of the study. It briefly examines a common understanding that teachers provide anmethodological issues of the research. This is important part within home-school relations. Ifollowed by the main part that deals with therefore was seeking to investigate teacher’steacher’s perspectives and activities in the field of perspectives and views on communicationhome-school relations. The paper concludes in between the home and the school. The followingpointing towards issues that will be pursued at a questions were used as a structural device tolater stage of the research project. guide the researcher through the process of investigation.Introduction - What is the understanding of home-schoolThe research was conducted as one part of a relationships from the teacher’s perspective?comparative study of home-school relationships
  • 121. 110 A Bridge to the Future- What are some of the examples of the different useful information about the culture, and about fora and patterns of interaction between the the Russian way of thinking. Using interpreters home and the school? raises questions as to the extent to whichThese questions reflect the main direction of the interpreters interfere with the process of theinterview schedule and influenced the selection of interview, but far more they drew attentiondocumentary sources for the study. Within the towards issues of professional language skillsfollowing, an overview of methodological issues versus contextual understanding of the interpreter.will be given. The schoolMethodology The school, which accommodated my researchLast year I spent two weeks in Perm to collect can be characterized as a ‘typical’ Russiandata focusing on home-school relationships in one primary school in Perm, yet with unique qualities.of the Tempus Tacis Pilot Schools investigating It is a state school with a non-selective admissionteachers’ perspectives on home-school policy for children between the ages of 6 and 10relationships and their practice concerning and as such does not charge tuition fees. Thecommunication with the family. As my research pupils come from different backgrounds, and theirhad an exploratory aim, a qualitative approach families differ in their financial situation, inand research design was developed to reflect this. parents’ schooling, in the family structure and soThe main data collection method was semi- on. The school caters for all abilities, includingstructured interviews, but as supplementary data classes for able children and compensatorysource I also used documentary evidence, classes for slow learners. The school has a highlyobservation and field notes (Yin, 1994). I qualified and committed teaching staff. They areinterviewed 14 out of 25 primary school class supported and advised by a social pedagogue andteachers, two psychologists, the social pedagogue psychologists, who, despite economic, social andand a deputy head. All of my interviewees were political difficulties in the last few years, havefemale and the interviews lasted between 25-40 stayed in the profession.minutes. The student body numbers 625 children in 25During interviewing an interpreter was present to classes. There are 48 teaching staff working in thehelp with the language although simultaneous school. They are all women except for three maletranslation was rarely done, as I have a good teachers. The teaching staff include the schoolpassive knowledge of Russian. The questions head, the deputy head for upbringing, the deputywere always asked in English allowing the head for educational methods, 24 class teachers,interpreter to translate, to avoid misunderstanding four retired teachers, school psychologists, thebut the answers were translated only in case of a aforementioned social pedagogue and specializedneed for clarification. The interpreters were teachers, for example for PE, IT and languagestudents of PSPU in their final year and studying teaching. Because of the high number of childrentranslation and interpretation skills as special and the limited size of the school, children go tointerest. Stress was put on discussing the aim of school in two shifts. Each shift has six 35-minutethe research with them and getting to know them lessons. The first starts at 8.30 a.m. and finishes atbefore they got engaged in the work. This was 12.55 p.m.; the afternoon shift lasts from 1.15 toessential in order to minimize possible 5.40 p.m.misunderstanding of educational jargon as well asintroducing them to the research in which they The school educates children for their first threewould play a vital role. In addition to helping or four years at school. Few of its classes follow awith the language the interpreters also provided four-year primary compensatory education
  • 122. A Bridge to the Future 111programme (traditional programme), the majority House of Culture nearby. For the school thisof classes work according to a three-year means providing different after-school activitiesdeveloping education programme. Most of the according to interest to occupy children duringclass teachers are involved in voluntary their free time. This puts the school underexperimental work led by PSPU academics. considerable pressure. For these reasons theWithin these initiatives teachers are free to school has built up good working relationshipsdevelop their own teaching programme in with outside agencies, for instance, with theaddition to the national curriculum. Teachers can swimming pool, puppet theatre, museums,choose to develop areas of special interest for hospitals, etc. The school itself commented ontheir class such as drama, health and art. At the this as a special feature, unusual in the Russiansame time the school has to deal with real context, suggesting that other schools do not havefinancial limitations. It must very often rely on to deal with this type of problem.the generosity of wealthy parents who offer theschool financial help in purchasing textbooks for This school was selected for the study, because alltheir children’s classes. As a result of the school’s the qualities described above paved the way to agood reputation and its programmes for successful research endeavor. Another importantdeveloping education, parents from other school element in choosing this school was that duringdistricts are interested in sending their children previous visits I already established goodthere. personal contacts with the school head and some of the school staff. This certainly helped whenSome of the school’s unique features made it gaining access, since I only had limited time foreasier for me to conduct the research. First, the the is one of the Tempus-Tacis (Technical AidProgramme) pilot schools. This means that apart Findingsfrom accommodating regular foreign visits, it The review of Russian periodicals such asallows and welcomes researchers and, where it Nachalnaja Shkola and Director Shkoli suggestedcan, makes the most of these. The school head a heightened awareness of effectiveand a few of the staff traveled to Western Europe communication on good home-schoolwithin the Tempus Project, where they visited relationships (Manisheva, 2000; Orlova, 1998;schools, LEAs and university departments. These Alexeeva, 1997). It seemed, therefore of interestvisits add to the good reputation of the school and to investigate the view of teachers as activethrough the experience gained abroad it has an participants on this issue. The research centeredimpact on teachers’ thinking and practice. around two main questions, answers to which areSecondly, the school built up a very close link investigated in turns.with Perm State Pedagogical University, itsteaching staff and researchers. The school and the What is the understanding of home-schoolmajority of the staff are involved in experimental relationships in School A from the teacher’swork stemming from the university. Thirdly, the perspective?school is located in a residential area close to the The interview questions on this issue targeted thecity center and offers easy access for national and class teachers’ practice and thinking, findings areinternational delegations to visit the school. This based on teachers’ reporting. Several teachershas also a positive effect on the allocation of described home-school relationships as a co-resources from the city council. Fourthly, within operation between the school and the family, asthe school’s catchment area there are no one teacher pointed out: ‘We have to workopportunities for children to attend clubs and together, the teacher, parents and pupils.’societies, e.g. there are no sports facilities and no Although this is a broad definition for the
  • 123. 112 A Bridge to the Futureterminology, it helps to identify relevant I am worried how much I will find a mutualexamples of home-school relationships. These agreement with the parents, how much we willinclude parental involvement in educational have common interest in the child’sissues, such as homework and grades; others are upbringing. To start with I feel fear but when Iconnected with free time or social activities, like get to know parents I feel lucky and even yearsschool trips or celebrations. A wide range of later I keep in touch with them.activities involve teachers, parents and children. Itis however, interesting to note that teachers have Parents are seen in different roles. During thedifferent attitudes and feelings about ways to interviews, the majority of teachers focused oninitiate and maintain the contact with the home. In parental assistance with homework. This functiongeneral they all felt it was important to involve was actively targeted by special meetings whereparents and to listen to them. They often praised teachers instructed parents in how to help theirthe advantage of a relaxed relationship with the children at home. Although parents are notparents that leads to a happier and better expected to help within the classroom, they areperforming child. Teachers emphasized that: encouraged to participate in certain curricular and social activities. In one instance I was able to If the child sees that his/her parents take part in observe a short lesson on dogs. As part of the school celebrations, different events, they get science lesson, two parents brought their dog into on well with the teacher; it is already a the classroom and talked about their daily routine pleasant experience. The children consider it and habits. as something good and it reduces the ‘gap’ between the child and the teacher. Parents are also encouraged to assist the class teacher, when it comes to organize social, cultural I think that parents should be interested not and sport events for the class. It, however, only in children’s learning […but also what is ] depends on the teacher’s style either to initiate or happening in the class. The child feels this and to comply with parents’ wishes to organize events his attitude to school gets better. themselves. While discussing parental involvement in classIt was often difficult to separate perspectives and activities, issues arose naturally, whichfeelings about home-school relationships. highlighted the complexity of the home-schoolAlthough teachers felt that it was essential to relationships teachers have to deal with.create a warm and friendly atmosphere, they also Comments made by teachers suggest theirpointed out that many qualities are needed to awareness of a growing gap between poor andachieve this goal. Some mentioned a lack of rich parents as reflected by changing socialprofessional training in this area at university and circumstances. These were mentioned by teachersemphasized that they had to rely on their own because they felt that these had an effect on theirpractical experience in communicating with everyday practice. Some teachers observed thatparents. Related to this issue were communication affluent parents tended to interact with parentsbarriers such as age, gender, and qualification. from the same background, thereby creating aThey were perceived as initial causes for social division within the class. Parents withproblems in dealing with parents. Many of the lower income were often described as overloadedinterviewed teachers admitted feeling anxiety with work and less able to devote sufficient timebefore meeting with a group of new parents. This to their children, as one teacher pointed outis exemplified in the following quote:
  • 124. A Bridge to the Future 113 Parents have got more problems - not with the one of this section deals with the interaction school but with life itself. Children have less during meetings of groups of parents and the class of parent care, have become less looked after. teacher; the second looks at examples of individual interaction between the home and theAs shown, the interviews provided me with school.information on the different levels of parentalinvolvement in the class’s matters, and also Examining the data, I found two fora, where thetouched on other issues, which have an effect on class teacher meets a group of parents to informthis relationship. It is important to note that or discuss whole-class-related issues, namelyteachers have different feelings about working parental committees and meetings.together with parents, which very much dependon their personality, teaching and personal A parental committee is set up in every class. It isexperience. But there are strong similarities in usually a strong group of parents organizing classtheir attitudes towards parents. Teachers showed celebrations, cultural programmes, class trips. Itsconsiderable interest in building up a good activity also includes involving parents who arerelationship with parents, enthusiasm in involving not very active. The committee has one leaderparents, and many of them valued the parents’ who co-ordinates the activities, involves otherinformation about their children. The collected parents and keeps close contact with the classdata strongly suggest that the teachers play a teacher. Although the parental committee’s mainleading role in the evolution of home-school activity is to organize out of school events forrelationships in this particular school. Most of the children and their families, it can also betime the teacher is the initiator of contact, trying responsible for handling the class budget. Allto involve parents in their children’s education class teachers from the school keep close contactand the class’s social life. Parents can initiate with the parental committee but their involvementactivities and changes, given that they offer help. varies from acknowledging and taking part in social, cultural events to offering ideas andIt has to be pointed out that these findings are actively taking part in the organization of theserestricted to the teachers of the school, leaving out events.other aspects of parental involvement within theschool. Very often the suggestions made by the parental committee and the class teacher are delivered andHaving discussed general issues of teacher’s discussed at the parental meeting by the wholeunderstanding of home-school relationships, I group of parents from the class. The agenda andnow move on to a more specific area. The aim of these meetings might be different in eachfollowing paragraphs illustrate and analyze the class and their frequency can be regulated by theinteraction between home and school as seen teacher as necessary.from the teachers’ perspectives. The guidingquestion here was as follows: Parental meetings are four times a year. These are the main meetings. But in the first year IWhat are some of the examples of the different organize it more often, if I have somefora and patterns of interaction between the home difficulties I can call a parental meeting. But Iand the school in School A? try not to bother parents. If I need a meeting I ask the children to inform their parents and weThe analysis of interviews and documents meet. They help me. I have a plan, I worksuggested a range of different types of interaction according to it. At the parental meetings webetween the class teachers and the parents. Part never talk about children’s upbringing. I talk
  • 125. 114 A Bridge to the Future about children to individual parents. In the following I will highlight modes of one to Children’s progress I also discuss only in one interaction between the teacher and the private. At parental meetings we talk about parents. Often class teachers would want to general issues. I invite the psychologist, I discuss personal issues with individual parents invite people who make presentations on what concerning achievement, learning difficulty, are better ways to help and bring up children. behavior. These meetings can take place in the How to develop memory, thinking - so I invite school or in children’s homes. Telephone people from outside. conversation is widely used to keep in touch with parents and to solve problems. All interviewedAs seen in the quote teachers sometimes call for a teachers had telephone at home and they do notmeeting if they deem it necessary. From mind if parents contact them with their problemsinterviews it emerges that teachers feel these in the evening. In certain situations parents aremeetings to be an effective way of transferring even encouraged to ring the class teacher at home.information to parents. It has to be pointed out Also teachers use the telephone to contactthat agenda and style always depend on the parents. If a parent has not got telephone at home,individual teacher. Most class teachers discuss the parent would be phoned at his/her work place.whole class related issues during these meetings, This practice seem to be generally accepted in thesuch as upcoming social events, visits to the as well as information concerning method The following quote demonstrates how oneof teaching, textbooks, achievements, changing teacher employed different methods ofdaily routine etc. Class teachers expressed communication when dealing with a problematicdifferent views on talking about individual situation:achievement, some felt it was acceptable tomention names in a positive context, others Well, if it is behavior - and there are suchrejected the idea of talking about individual cases as well -, if the problem is serious it’schildren at all. All interviewees seemed to better to go and see parents in their home. Iconsider very carefully the number and length of have a pupil, this child is completely out ofmeetings not wanting to put parents under control. He is intelligent and learning, butunnecessary pressure. As one teacher said: lacks self control. He had a tragedy in his life before he started school and this affected him I organize regular meetings once a month, very much. And this child on the first day, on which last between one and two hours. Not the 1st of September, beat everybody. I keep in 100 % attend. Because of different reasons. touch with the mother, we agreed that she It’s hard to find an appropriate time. would come and see me every week, we exchanged telephone numbers, she wouldMeetings and committees are but one pattern of come to see me and we tried to solve theinteraction between the teacher and the parents. problem.Another way of communicating with parents iswritten notes. All interviewed class teacher use It seems to be common that parents come to thethe school diary (‘dnivnik’) to send messages to school and approach the class teacher. At theparents. These messages have various purposes, beginning of the primary school children are seenthey can ask for money for a theatre visit, invite to the school and parents often take thisparents to meetings, inform about future events. opportunity to approach the class teacher; askingSome teachers expect parents to reply in this questions or discussing previous days happenings,diary or use it for general information flow behavior and learning issues. Most class teachersbetween teacher and parent. let the parents know when they are available for
  • 126. A Bridge to the Future 115discussion and when they can be approached Conclusionbefore or after the school day. This paper reports the first findings of a research project mainly with the intention to provideHome visits are a topic where teachers’ views information on the follow-up research endeavor.differ considerably. It depends on the class It gives an account of fieldwork undertaken inteacher’s style and personality. Very few amongst one primary school in Perm, Russia. It isthe interviewees conduct regular home visits. suggested that teachers and other school staffSome reject it completely and consider it as an consider home-school relationships as importantintrusion into privacy. These teachers find other and, consequently, they all spend a significantways to communicate with parents. Some amount of energy and time on improving theteachers allow for occasional home visits relationship between the home and the school. Itprovided there is a ‘good reason’, but recognize is also evident that some teachers find it easier tothe difficulty. work with parents than others. Teachers in this school seem to think very This can be inconvenient for the family similarly about home-school relationships. especially if they have problems - there is an According to teachers’ reporting changing social alcoholic in the family or they are in a difficult and economic - city’s, school’s, family’s - financial situation. I try to inform them if I circumstances introduce them to new professional want to go and go only to families where there challenges within this relationship. Teachers is a problem with the child. For example: I showed an open-minded attitude when dealing have a child in the class who could achieve with the new situations, although some expressed better then he does. I tried to ring the parents their wish to receive professional advice on issues but no success, so I visited them. Mum got related to working with parents. depressed, dad drinks. ... I try to help … Although the project was conducted as a single case study and the findings are not directlyIn conclusion, there is lively interaction between generalisable to other primary schools in thethe class teachers and parents in the school. They region, it offers information about the state ofboth initiate communication and discuss issues of home-school relationships with its complexitya personal character, the learning, behavior or and difficulty as teachers in the school see of the children. Teachers, like parents, Keeping this in mind and within the limitations ofhave their own preferences of using the written or this research project, the findings can, however,oral form of interaction, which differs from class contribute to an understanding of the culturalto class. Whereas clear similarities can be context and home-school relationships in Russia.detected in the ways class teachers interact with The research findings also offer orientation for athe parents, examining the teachers’ examples it planned international study. Not only do theyis also clear that every teacher uses different point towards methodological issues that have tomeans of communication in different situations. be considered, they furthermore offer aThe school diary (‘dnivnik’) is used daily, and it framework for the structured investigation ofis also supported by the school management. The teachers’ views on home-school relationships.telephone is generally considered as a quick and Another, and equally important, issue is the viewsefficient way to solve urgent problems, and both of parents. A preliminary investigation intothe teachers and parents use it. Personal meetings parental choice highlighted some interestingat school are initiated by either the teacher or the questions, which will be the subject of futureparent.
  • 127. 116 A Bridge to the Futureresearch. At this point, first impressions suggest demands and sources of information on a suitablethat parents in the school have relatively clear school for their children.ideas about their legal rights and clearly definedReferencesAlexeeva, L. (1997). (Parental Meetings: If they are necessary, for whom?) Director Shkoli, Vol. 29. No. 5. pp. 29-36.Manisheva, G.V. (2000). (Open Days for Parents.) Nachalnaja Shkola, No. 1. pp. 105-106.Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation: Education Act 1996. Ch. V. Para. 52.Orlova, T. (1998). (Entering into a difficult age.) Director Shkoli Vol. 36. no. 5. pp.70-74.Yin, R.K. (1994). Case Study Research, Design and Methods. Thousand Oak: Sage Publications.
  • 128. Lifelong learning:schools and the parental contribution in AustraliaJacqueline McGilpIntroduction School leaders must sensitively address lifelongSince lifelong learning is a central focus of learning perspectives and revisit the question,UNESCO projections, influences school How do we best involve parents in the learningdevelopment and the establishment of learning process of their children? School leaders must notcommunities and learning cities, and adds to only help parents but also the wider community ineducational debate on policy formation, the decisionmaking for the provision of lifelongcontribution of parents to children’s learning learning opportunities for children and families.needs to be further recognized, articulated and Schools can achieve more when they areactioned. Caldwell (1997: 244) in revisiting recognized as learning communities and areprojected future trends for education stated, ‘The ‘reenergising’, ‘reinvigorating’ and ‘remarketing’parent… in education will be claimed or role their structures and processes for learningreclaimed.’ provision in accordance with lifelong learning emphases (McGilp, 2001).The term, lifelong learning, needs muchdiscussion for definition. This is because it has While some teachers have lacked support andbeen associated mainly with economic training for the utilization of the parentaladvancement, and in many instances, with contribution (Senge, 2000) many others arelearning that takes place after compulsory years comfortable in achieving parental partnerships.of schooling. This interpretation is partly true. There are many instances of parents occupyingHowever, lifelong learning when defined through different roles in the formal learning of childrenfour pillars - learning to know, learning to do, (O’Donoghue and Dimmock, 1998). This islearning to live together and learning to be because of their professional knowledge, their(UNESCO, 1998) - aims for personal fulfillment, knowledge and skills attained without formalsocial inclusion and economic advancement for qualification, their enthusiasm and curiosity, andall (UNESCO, 1998). Shuping (2000) further sees their organizational skills (McGilp, 1994, 2001).lifelong learning as ‘a hope, a joy, a tool, a right, The parental contribution has also resulted froma responsibility and a challenge’ and Palamattan training programs offered by schools (McGilp,(2000) says its focus is to help us ‘dream what 1994, 2001). By contrast to the involved parents,life could be and make a masterpiece of it.’ others have regarded themselves asWithin these definitions one then sees the scope ‘educationless’ (Senge, 2000) and haveof the intent of lifelong learning. It is the basis for demonstrated ‘learned helplessness’ in regard tocreating a world vision for society. This can be assisting their children in formal learning offeredachieved partly through the formation of learning by schools. This can result when parents have notcommunities within cities, estates, towns and been given adequate information and assistance toregions (Longworth, 1996). help their children. When this occurs the parental
  • 129. 118 A Bridge to the Futurecontribution is developed from a deficit model experiences of children prior to schooland the role of parents, as prime educators, is experiences. Videotapes, showing preschool-agedoften overlooked (McGilp, 2001). Any parental children’s learning, were made by their respectiveprogram for partnerships must mean parent families. Taping took place at home, in theempowerment and family support (Senge, 2000). community and in preschool, undertaking normal everyday activities (Fleer and Williams-Kennedy,There is no doubt that life and parent 2001). ‘A major aim of this project was tocircumstances have changed - shifting urban provide indigenous families with an opportunitypopulations, fragmentation of families and to act as central agents, selecting those valueddifferent employment arrangements, increased cultural skills and knowledge exhibited by theirsocial problems, technological advancement, and young children’ (Fleer and Williams-Kennedy,increased parental interest in children’s learning 2001:52). ‘Each family selected from the hours ofexpectations (McGilp, 2001) - and these have video-tape those aspects of their child’s life whichinfluenced commitment to the concept of a best represented to non-indigenous people‘school that learns’ (Senge, 2000) with parents. A important aspects of being an indigenous child inschool can provide the ‘open forum’ for the Australia today’ (Fleer and Williams-Kennedy,monitoring and development of lifelong learning 2001:52). In discussion of the videotapes threeactivities and become the place where the guiding questions were explored: What cancommunity can find a voice (Senge, 2000), everyone see? What can only the family see?particularly where parents can be heard (McGilp, What can we no longer see because it is so much2001). a part of our lives? (Fleer and Williams-Kennedy, 2001:52).Successful studies Two major outcomes identified by Fleer andThe following three descriptions illustrate recent, Williams-Kennedy (2001:52) were:successful studies or programs for the parental - moving the discourse from parent participationcontribution for children’s lifelong learning in the to family partnerships; andAustralian context. They emphasize family - listening for the connections between people.partnerships in relation to understanding of For example, when assumptions about theindigenous communities, intervention programs primary caregiver in families by non-for positive relationships and particular means for indigenous teachers is made, these can lead tomaking a school ‘parent friendly’. The exclusion rather than participation by familyimportance of listening to and gaining shared members.meaning from these illustrations can assist the Who in the family is a significantongoing learning of teachers and parents. caregiver? Who introduces the child into the environment? The significantA study to determine the influence of the cultural caregiver may be a grandmother,context and content on children’s learning as seen aunt, or close relative other than theby indigenous people is described by Fleer and child’s birth parents. SometimesWilliams-Kennedy (2001). This research project older siblings look after the youngerwas undertaken by the Australia Early Childhood kids (Denise as cited by Fleer andAssociation and funded through the Williams-Kennedy, 2001: 53).Commonwealth Department of Education,Training and Youth Affairs. The researchers ‘Thinking about ‘family’ partnerships rather thaninvited indigenous preschool aged children and ‘parent’ participation is a mind set that is neededtheir families from different regions of Australia if schools are to be more inclusive of the voice ofto participate and sought to identify learning families’ (Fleer and Williams-Kennedy, 2001:53).
  • 130. A Bridge to the Future 119Fleer and Williams-Kennedy (2001:54) state relationships with their children, and to manage‘Active listening was important in the study. This misbehavior.involves not just hearing what is said, butwatching closely the non-verbal language and Triple P is a multilevel, prevention programproviding space and time for this communication which ‘aims to address severe behavioral,to take place. The families in this study spoke emotional and developmental problems inabout the need to make connections between children by intervening early and providingpeople and places and family’: parenting with the skills needed (McTaggart and Sometimes we don’t know the kid’s name, Sanders, 2001:61). The program does not solely but we all know the family - that’s so and target at-risk children or families. ‘Triple P is so, you don’t need the name, but you need promoted as a program for every family as a way the connection. But as a teacher you need of improving general parenting skills’ the name for the roll (Denise as cited by (McTaggart and Sanders, 2001:62). McTaggart Fleer and Williams-Kennedy, 2001:54). and Sanders (2001:61) state that the program involves:In the study Fleer and Williams-Kennedy (2001) - enhancing the knowledge of parents about thestress that connectedness is expected as a two- causes of children’s misbehavior;way process and teachers need to reciprocate and - providing skills on developing positiveshare their family connections and places of relationships with children (e.g. praise of goodorigin. ‘It is important in some indigenous behavior);communities for these protocols to be observed - providing skills on the consistent managementbefore any meaningful partnership can take place’ of misbehavior (e.g. planned ignoring, quiet(Fleer and Williams-Kennedy, 2001:54). This time, time out); andstudy illustrates how active listening by teachers - learning how to plan for and prevent futurecan help to reframe ‘traditional school- problems (e.g. how to take children on a longcommunity relations to be more culturally car trip).responsive, to interrupt the norms and to buildrelationships on Indigenous rather than western ‘The findings across a number of differentterms’ (Fleer and Williams-Kennedy, 2001:54). settings have demonstrated that Triple P produces predictable decreases in child behavior problems,While the previous description of a parental which are maintained well across time’; also it isinvolvement study relates to understanding of ‘an effective method of parent training’ (Sanders,indigenous communities, an emphasis for lifelong 1999 as cited by McTaggart and Sanders,learning according to the pillar of learning to live 2001:61).together (UNESCO, 1998) the followingdescription of the Triple P also emphasizes The Triple P Program is available at five levelsrelationships. The case is also situated within the (McTaggart and Sanders, 2001:61):pillars of learning to know and learning to do - Level 1 interventions involve the provision of(UNESCO, 1998). information to parents as a low cost intervention (such as getting children to doMcTaggart and Sanders (2001) describe The homework);Triple P- Positive Parenting Program as a - Level 2 interventions combine the use of thetransition to school strategy for the Australian above mentioned information with minimalcontext. They see the need for programs that aim professional support to families. For example,to equip parents with the skills to maintain good at this level teachers or guidance staff may provide;
  • 131. 120 A Bridge to the Future- Level 3 interventions provide families with the school hall twice a week, and parents involved more than just information but also active in various programs around the school’ (Tonkin, skills training on their specific concerns to 2001:61). complement the written material;- Level 4 interventions provide parents with A focus of VicParenting is that it locates parent skills training to assist them in managing support in schools. This normalizes parenting behavior of all family members in all support and help seeking, thus it enhances the situations; and school’s capacity to actively support parents in- Level 5 interventions provide assistance to developing parenting practices known to be families where the problem extends beyond the associated with optimal development of children. parent-child interaction. It influences the development of structures, policies and practices that promote parentExtending the Triple P is ‘Transition to School involvement and collaborative teacher-parentProject’. The program is designed to normalize relationships and strengthens communityparent training to promote the successful partnerships (Tonkin, 2001).transition of children to school and to reducedisruptive behavior problems in the school Vic-Parenting assisted Tonkin’s school to form aenvironment (McTaggart and Sanders, 2001). The steering committee for interpreting and realizingTransition to School Program has involved 25 the four emphases of the program. The schoolState Schools in Brisbane, Queensland, however, environment is now changed in many waysas yet findings are not available (McTaggart and (Tonkin, 2001). The school corridors areSanders, 2001). transformed into friendly meeting areas. Crèche support is provided by means of roster A third interesting parent venture in the timetabling for parent supervision. A three-way Australian context is the development of the conference reporting process is in operation. Skill Parent Friendly School Program. Tonkin and expert information sheets are sent to parents. (2001), as principal, describes the school Parents are frequent guest speakers and skill within her charge develops as it develops as demonstrators in classrooms. Also play groups a ‘VicParenting – Parent Friendly School’. have been established for parental support with The components of such include developing twice each week preschoolers and their parents a family friendly environment, establishing gathering to play, talk and share hospitality in the a resource service, providing parenting school facilities. The school also conducts a programs and training school personnel in resource centre and a library service for parent parent consultation. Tonkin (2001:63) says, borrowing operates, together with availability of ‘We were one of twenty three schools computer access to recommended websites. across the state involved in this trial. Our Parents have a designated news section on the story is similar to most schools but it is also school noticeboard where resources available in unique to us as all schools were left to plan the area are publicized. The school also offers their own changes.’ parenting programs on general topics to assist all parents of children (Tonkin, 2001).Prior to this decision to become a VicParenting ‘Conversations’ replace the title of parentingschool Tonkin (2001) described her school as courses to emphasize equality. ‘Every participantstrongly parent welcoming. ‘We had parents has something to offer, a point of view to beinvolved in classroom activities on a regular explored and to be listened to. A conversation isbasis, we had an active School Board, Parent and not about experts with all the answers, nor does itTeacher Association, a play group or two using imply that it is for ‘bad parents only’ (Tonkin,
  • 132. A Bridge to the Future 1212001:65). ‘It is friendly, welcoming and inclusive. refine school policies and guiding principles, toA first conversation takes place in the morning invite engagement through larger teams, tosession and the repeat in the evening. This takes develop representative committees at the localinto consideration working parents and provides level, to use a broad range of people on sub-opportunities for both parents to attend’ (Tonkin, committees; to replace controlled activity with2001:65). The conversations are lead by a experimentation; and, to provide shared learningparenting support person from Centacare (a opportunities and additional learningprovider of services for parents), not by the opportunities for whole families (Chapman andschool. The VicParenting initiative also supports Aspin, 1997 as cited by McGilp, 2001). Thesethe skill development of teachers to ‘a level of strategies help to increase awareness andawareness and competency when parents ask for connectedness between parents and teachers insupport or advice’ (Tonkin, 2001:65). the learning community.The VicParenting program has assisted Tonkin Making parents equal with teachers in the choice(2001) to make a school ‘family friendly’ and to and direction of the educational experiences andinvite parents to be more active at whatever level activities being offered to and determined forthey can in the school. The school reciprocates their children (Senge, 2000) is one definition ofthis support by offering parent support. While it is partnership. It is certainly a challenging one.acknowledged that many schools do similar Partnerships with parents can assist children tothings to those described by Tonkin (2001) the take control of their lives, can increaseVicParenting initiative has supplied the foci for communication of high expectations, and helpthe decisionmaking for improved liaison and children to work for their future. Parents andpartnership with parents. Tonkin (2001:64) states, teachers can assist the reversal of a less‘From the moment of inquiry we are there to meaningful lifestyle in which some children’ssupport parents in the marvelous job they do in families are caught. Partnerships between parentsraising children.’ and teachers can lead to them providing a mutual support system for lifelong learning. This meansAs communities of learning develop and schools parents need to know and understand innovationsprovide opportunities such as the three described in content and current changes in approaches toin the Australian context, teachers will be further teaching and learning (Senge, 2000). Parents needcalled upon to assist parents in considering to gain understanding and competence in formallifelong learning opportunities for children’s learning in order to assist their children at schooldevelopment. The call is not for preoccupation (Senge, 2000). Parents might need to undertakewith changing parents’ attitudes or selling our courses to be familiar with recent developmentsapproaches to lifelong learning, rather, it is one of in learning. A crucial component for partnershiplistening and understanding children’s learning development is active co-operation betweenfrom the parents’ perspectives. Teachers must teachers and parents.inquire from parents and welcome inquiries fromparents (McGilp, 2001). It is through listening Promotion of lifelong learningand dialogue that lifelong learning for children Ten principles for the promotion of lifelongwill be better understood and activated (McGilp, learning through active cooperation between2001). teachers and parents are: - Recognition that the family has equalSome means for the promotion of parental importance with the school as a place wherepartnerships have been identified: to revisit and lifelong learning can be instituted and protracted;
  • 133. 122 A Bridge to the Future- Clarification of conditions on a school’s experiences for children rather than perhaps openness and accessibility to other groups of concentrating on early specialization which seem people; to feature strongly today because of unpredictable- Modeling of lifelong learning by schools; employment opportunities (McGilp, 2001).- Development of greater lifelong learning opportunities offered by school communities; The following means, some of which are- Generation of different agendas of time and identifiable in the three specific foci for conditions for lifelong learning; advancing the parental contribution in the- Utilization of the school as a ‘one-stop shop’ Australian context - family partnership in where people could go and identify things they indigenous communities and the Triple P and the might want to learn about or courses; VicParenting programs - are worth revisiting for- Enhancement of teachers’ and parents’ efficacy they are reminders and assistance for leaders in through the development of lifelong learning promoting lifelong learning and partnerships with opportunities for both; parents:- Acknowledgement of present boundaries and - declaring the vision for lifelong learning by moving beyond these to a school being a UNESCO (1998); community resource; - promoting values for lifelong learning-trust,- Acceptance of help, advice and resources from openness, honesty, integrity; cultural, ethnic and religious organizations in - encouraging ownership of lifelong learning and the community that themselves have a strong practice (McGilp, 1999, 1997); part to play in promoting lifelong learning; and - journeying with others (Kouzes and Posner,- Enrichment of community life by networks of 1999) in the lifelong learning process; lifelong learning. - exploring, discovering and actioning leadership (Adapted from Senge, 2000 and Chapman and opportunity (Binney and Williams, 1997) and Aspin, 1997 as cited by McGilp, 2001). developing leaders (Conger, 1999) through liberating the leader in each lifelong learner;While some of these principles mean the - activating continual regeneration, renewedrevisiting of existing emphases, consideration of commitment and consequent ownership of thenew means for advancement in parental parental contribution (Fullan, 2000);partnerships is essential. Perhaps the answer to - facilitating roles for parents to be opportunists,different means of operation is dependent on the advocates, partners, communicators andleadership portrayed. Leadership styles for the motivators in lifelong learning for children;promotion of lifelong learning and for the further - allocating time for reflection and scrutiny ofdevelopment of the parental contribution are practice (Koch,1999; Kouzes and Posner,those that are based on a service philosophy, 1999) for lifelong learning.invitational approaches and collaborativeagreements (McGilp, 2001). However, this means Conclusionthat leaders must be aware of parental expertise In this time of emphasis on lifelong learning, it isand challenges and work towards synergy in important to share understanding of lifelongpartnerships which will give children a sound learning and the actioning of studies and projectsgrounding in lifelong learning. Isolated which enhance its realization. Many of theseexperiences of learning can be ‘jigsawed’ into demonstrate the building of parental partnershipsintegrated, lifelong learning through partnerships with schools. However, these are dependent onwith parents (McGilp, 2001). One of the the demonstration of goodwill and perseverancechallenges for school leaders today is to by both teachers and parents. Schools developingemphasize the value of lifelong learning as learning communities can assist understanding
  • 134. A Bridge to the Future 123of lifelong learning and provision of different be proactive and lead the actioning of the lifelearning opportunities; also the development of dimension of learning.parental partnerships. Teachers and parents mustReferencesAustralian National Commission for UNESCO (1998). Learning: The treasure within. Australian National Commission for UNESCO.Binney, G., & Williams, C. (1997). Learning into the future. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.Caldwell, B. (1997). Global trends and expectations of further reforms of schools. In B. Davis and L. Ellison. School leadership for the 21st Century. London: Routledge.Chapman, D. A. & Aspin. D. N. The school, the community and lifelong learning. London: Cassell.Conger, R. N. (1999). Building leaders. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Fleer, M.and Williams-Kennedy,D. (2001). Looking in and not seeing yourself mirrored back: Investigations of some Indigenous family views on education. Curriculum Perspectives. 21(3), pp. 52-54.Fullan, M. (2000). The three stories of educational reform. http//www.pdkintl. org/kappan/kful/ooo4.htmKoch, R. (1999). Moses on leadership. Oxford: Capstone Publishing.Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (1999). Encouraging the heart: A leader’s guide to rewarding and st recognizing (1 ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Longworth, N. (1998). European lifelong learning initiative., N. (1999). Making lifelong learning work: Learning Cities for a learning century. London: Kogan Page.McGilp, E. J. (2001). Lifelong Learning: Leadership for Parent Partnerships. Curriculum Perspectives. 21(3), 65-67.McGilp, E. J. (2000). What is valued? Family involvement in building the learning community. 10 International Roundtable on School, Family and Community Partnerships. New Orleans, 24 April, 2000.McGilp, E. J. (1999). Ownership of Catholic leadership: Inspiring the stakeholders for the new millennium. Interlogue. 10 (1).McGilp, E. J. (1997). Educational leadership: the concept of outstanding practitioners encouraging and inspiring others. Leadership in Catholic education 2000 and beyond. Commissioned by National Catholic Education Commission.McGilp, E. J. (1994). Parents teaching in schools. The Best of SET. New Zealand Council for Educational Research and Australian Council for Educational Research.McGilp, E. J. & Michael, M. (1994). The Home-school connection. Armidale: Eleanor Curtain.McTaggart, P. and Sanders, M.R. (2001). The Triple P - Positive Parenting Program as a transition to School Strategy. Curriculum Perspectives. 21(3), pp. 60-62.O’Donogue, T and Dimmock, C. (1998). School Restructuring: International Perspectives. London: Kogan Page.Palamattam, (2000). Presentation. International Conference on Lifelong Learning, International and Comparative Education Research Institute, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China. October 15- 19.
  • 135. 124 A Bridge to the FutureSanders, M. R. (1999). Triple P-Positive Parenting Program: Towards an empirically validated multilevel parenting and family support strategy for the prevention of behaviour and emotional problems in children. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 2(2), pp. 71-90.Senge, P. (2000). Schools that Learn. London: Nicholas Brealey.Shuping, (2000) Presentation. International Conference on Lifelong Learning, International and Comparative Education Research Institute, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China. October 15- 19.Tonkin, F. (2001). ‘Becoming a Parent/ Family Friendly School’. Curriculum Perspectives. 21(3), pp 63-65.
  • 136. Increasing social capital: teachers aboutschool-family-community partnershipsResults of a study on the orientations of American and Polish teachersMaria MendelThe progress of human civilization is going potential partners and it appears most significantthrough partner relationships between school, in the creation of partnerships through the 3family, and community. I mean the progress that everyday activities .is visualized in the skills of people to organize In order to prove the statements above athemselves, e.g., make the groups and solve the comparative study of the orientations ofproblems together on a basis of the individual American and Polish prospective teachers wereabilities that are increased in a supportive group. conducted in December 2000 and February 2001.The idea of people organizing themselves is not ‘Orientation’ is meant here as a generalized, notnew in the social sciences. Since late 80’s it is necessarily fully recognized by the subject, set ofperceived (after sociology of the economical beliefs, values, attitudes, and behavioraldevelopment) as a concept of social capital. tendencies - the term used after Marek 4Basing on an analogy between material and Ziolkowski .human capital - tools and people who are The research goals are based on the idea ofeducated to use them for better results, social critical reflection about the experiences of thecapital concerns the features of social others due to the need of improving our ownorganization such as social networks, norms, performance. The Americans are the others here. 1credence, and trust . Their achievement on the educational partnershipResearchers link school, family, and community is extraordinarily extensive and interesting. Thispartnerships with the importance of social capital. confirms the author’s study at the Center onAs Joyce L. Epstein stated ‘Social capital is School, Family, and Community Partnerships,increased when well-designed partnerships Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, in the fallenable families, educators, students, and others in of the year 2000. Following this study the book 5the community to interact in productive ways. was completed and published in September 2001 .Social capital may be spent, invested, or In addition to the study report the volume consistreinvested in social contacts or in activities that of many contemporary American concepts onassist students’ learning and development, community, especially multicultural educationstrengthen families, improve schools, or enrich and school, family, and community partnerships, 2communities’ . In line with this view we may say that may become inspiring for Polish readers.that teachers become the key figures in increasingsocial capital. Their approach to the issue of In a frame of this text I will present brieflyschool-family-community collaboration methodological points and findings, in whichinfluences the quality of relationships between most significant conclusions concerning
  • 137. 126 A Bridge to the Futureprospective tendencies on increasing social not linguistic, ‘under-language’ code of 6capital will be distinguished . communication. This appeared useful in a cross- culture study. Visual metaphor that is based onMethodological points well-known cultural icons (logos of TV channels,The problem of the study may be presented as covers of popular magazines) as a way offollowing questions: communication became more „readable’, than 7- How are prospective teachers of American and English in our global and foremost visual culture . Polish schools oriented about their future Apart from the questionnaire, environmental collaboration with parents? observation, analyses of the documents- What are the constellations of their beliefs, (description of the courses, student’s guides, etc.), values, attitudes, and behaviors concerning this and teachers’ interviews the researcher endowed part of social reality? These constellations with empirical data. could be perceived as a matrix of knowledge The students’ metaphors and written statements and thinking about school, family, and were analyzed in semiotic way, with careful community partnerships. approach to meaningful text. Structure of the- Are the maps of prospective teachers’ analyses resembles the elements of a poster that is orientations overlapping? Are there more the result of problem solving through discussion, 8 similarities than differences, which will be which is called metaplan (big plan-poster) . This perceived in independence to the academic was a three-part structure: learning systems, presented in the involved 1. How is it now? The present state of reality countries? concerning school, family, and community- Which aspects of their orientations will appear collaboration. The analyzed component of the useful to build partnerships in the time of orientation: KNOWLEDGE. The categories of transformation, post-totalitarian Polish reality? data that were analyzed in this section: rights- How to use research findings in a process of and responsibilities of parents, teachers, and preparation of teachers to active home, school, community members about the education of and community partnerships? children; stereotypes of parental role inFrom the aims and questions stated in the above, schooling; own experiences concerning school,this is educational, comparative study in the field family, and community collaboration.of community education. 2. How should it be? Future (Ideal). The analyzed The American part of this research was component of the orientation: VALUES,conducted in collaboration with Dr. Deanna BELIEFS. The categories of data that wereEvans-Schilling from California State University, analyzed in this section: ideal state and a rankFresno. Two 20-people groups of the students of of school, family, and communitythe last year at school from Fresno and Gdansk collaboration; spheres of school life, in which(University of Gdansk) were involved in this the influence of parents should be limitedqualitative study, in which the questionnaire that (forbidden spheres).used the Likert’s scale and visual metaphors (see: 3. Why it is not exactly how it should be? Futureappendix) appeared as most significant (Perspectives). The analyzed component of theimplementation. The open questions and orientation: ESTIMATION, BEHAVIORALdescription’s requests mostly make up this TENDENCIES. The categories of data thatquestionnaire as an instrument of discourse were analyzed in this section: estimation of theanalysis in semiotic way. Metaphorical part of the own preparation for collaboration with parentsquestionnaire played important role concerning and community; readiness of partnership collaboration.
  • 138. A Bridge to the Future 127Table 1 - A Map of Prospective Teachers’ Orientation HOW IS IT ? Present Knowledge about reality USA PL Professionalism Professionalism Political tendency • Ally • Autonomous teacher Mission • Expert of partnerships • Legislative frame of activities HOW SHOULD IT BE? Future (Ideal) Values, beliefs USA PL Unity Teacher Happiness Child Multiculturalism Relationships Political tendency Information Information Mission Prestige Professionalism Professionalism Prestige • Knowledge • Ally who operates on • Autonomous teacher • University education • Partnership behalf of the others • Legislative frame of (ethos) • Expert of partnerships activities (parent = • Law (status) (parent = best nurturer) trouble) • Partnership (order) S/F/C collaboration S/F/C collaboration = positive value = positive value WHY IT IS NOT EXACTLY THAT IT SHOULD BE? Future (Perspectives) Estimation, behavioral tendencies USA PL Political tendency Mission Consolidated • Good preparation • Weak preparation Doubtful professionalism • Strong disposition for Strong disposition for professionalism collaboration collaboration • potential claim to • potential claim to expert expert knowledge knowledge • apparent partner • limited collaboration in a relationships law frame (subordination) (subordination)
  • 139. 128 A Bridge to the FutureFindings Polish students’ views present the mission, inIn the final section of the analyses that followed which - one could say: well-educated peoplethe structure above, the map was made of (teachers) have a lot of work to do changing theprospective teachers’ orientations about corrupted world, e.g.,collaboration between school, family, andcommunity. This map might be read like a big Present: Discovery - interesting programs,poster or entire picture that present the beautiful pictures, the ways that everything isorientations of American and Polish students presented and commented. FUTURE: National Geographic - a variety of topics that are preparedHow is it? and realized by educated people [quest.18PL].Entire tendencies in a perception of realityMost distinguishing tendency in the students’ Present: animal Planet - Life and animalperception of a part of reality that concerns customs. Society =a herd. FUTURE: Nationalschool, family, and community collaboration is Geographic - beautiful pictures, colored,feeling of mission - in Poland, and political everything is in its own place. All should betendency - in the United States. It is adequately ordered [quest.14PL].represented in the metaphors. In the statementsthat were written as a supplement of visual In a mission approach of Polish students themetaphors by American students, political layer modern ethos of teachers’ work was recognized.usually is presented, e.g., as an interpretation of It is fine in a postmodern era; it is still alivesocietal stratification: although our world has radically changed. Ethos is understood here as a deep structure that is notPresent: National Geographic - The community directly observable in individual declarations andand school is ethnically diverse. Depending on actions as well as in social habits and the statethe parent involvement, it is also diverse legal system. Social structure is apparent due to[quest.7US]. people behaviors, ethos must be read from 10 people’s hearts . Ethos of teachers’ mission thatOr - as a kind of generalized critical description is showed in the orientations of Polish studentsof reality: resembles the structures that were created in a former system (subordination as immanentPresent: Life - This magazine has easy to read, feature of it). However, its roots are connectedscratch the surface articles about current events. with the Enlightenment striving to the Truth,The issues are important to some people, not all. power of Reason, etc.It is a way people get information. America doesnot like to read, so there are lots of pictures. They Similarly, the strong tendency in generalizedare usually human-interest stories without much orientation of students of both groups issubstance [quest.2US]. emphasized by the professionalism of teachers. To sum up, we may state that AmericanIt is worthwhile to notice that political tendency professionalism means being an ally of the milieuin American students’ metaphors does not mean where the students came from; Polish - keepingan inclination to compete and win a power. As autonomous position that is independent from theJoanna Rutkowiak wrote this kind of policy in local community. What are the particularhuman mentality is a rule of thinking about understandings of teaching profession in theeducation, a disposition to perceiving everyday context of school, family, and communitylife in a perspective of relationships between relationships will be expressed in further 9institutions of state, law, and society . analyses.
  • 140. A Bridge to the Future 129Stereotypes of parent’s roleMost spectacularly the frequency of perception parents as a trouble and as best nurturer appeared in astudy. Parent as a trouble 7 6 5 4 frequen. 3 USA 2 PL 1 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 scale Parent as best nurturer 6 5 4 frequen. 3 USA 2 PL 1 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 scaleRights and Responsibilities In American group this right was also stronglyTalking about the rights of parents, teachers, the emphasized but teacher’s role was preciselylocal community and their responsibilities described as an ally, who discuss student’s schoolstudents clearly divide spheres of influence with a performance with parents focusing on everyone’stendency to seeing parents as experts in moral privacy. Teacher teaches critical thinking andeducation and teaching good behavior. strives to extend the idea of lifelong learning in Parents have a right ‘to meddle with teacher’s accordance to local standards. He or she expectsways of moral education’ [PL] but it is not that local community will defense school interest.allowed for them ‘to comment the teacher’s In that context political tendency of Americandidactic methods’ [PL]. Polish teacher in order to students is presented again.keeping his or her autonomy teaches with no Some of Polish students grasped the relationshipcomments, no feedback of self-work. among teachers and community in the same way. They perceived teacher’s role as an ally, just only
  • 141. 130 A Bridge to the Futurein that relationship. However, the significant on one hand they expressed parents right to beseparation of Polish teachers and parents was responsible for their children, children at school,evident. Teachers developed modern narration as well, and on the other hand they made parents’(ethos), in which laws were strongly expressed. influence schooling extremely narrow keepingAll partners have to respect children rights and them far from teaching (also management ofparents foremost must be responsible about school, family, and community partnerships) thatschool attendance of their children. Teachers might be recognized as a sphere of the onlyshould estimate students’ progress with fair teachers’ influence. It has to be treated as a denialapproach, increase virtues, and transfer of a core, essential importance of partnershipknowledge in accordance to curricula, etc. Most although that term was often quoted in students’Polish students (85%) perceive ‘parent, as a statements. American students’ approach totrouble’ as something common. American group parents seeing as best nurturer a definition ofdid not rather see this role in reality (no teachers appeared as the best in teaching (and inindications on the right side of a scale). management of school, family, and communityNobody likes trouble and wants to cease it. Some partnerships) - the experts. In that rhetoric, introuble demands something to be done, a problem which parents are marginalized, also discursiveshould be solved by somebody. Polish group sees practice was identified.parents like a problem for themselves. They feelthey have to do something with them, more likely How should it be?to master them. Polish students’ position that was Values as components of students’ orientationsrecognized in the analyses was a position above were analyzed through description of ideal stateparents, in unequal relationship that cannot be of school, family, and community partnerships.identified as partnership. Teacher, who feels This was spectacularly shown in metaphoricalprofessional in the way that was presented earlier, statements but also in an opposition to the ideal,who sees not parent but a real problem will e.g., by indication of the spheres of school life, inprobably use a procedure of control, which parents’ influence should be forbiddenmanipulation, and management that is called (situations when ideal is collapsed due to parental‘practice of repartition’ in Michel Foucault involvement). 11writings . Thus a discourse becomes uncovered.In this parents are the objects of discursive Majority of American students did not see thosepractice. spheres (60% US). Most Polish students saw them (only 45% stated that those spheres do notParent, as the best nurturer is a distinguished role exist) and described them emphasizing protectionin American perception. In Polish group it was of teacher’s autonomy. Teaching methods,also noticed but not such precisely as a common didactic programs, issue of students’ estimation,way of perceiving the role of parents at school. In etc. were indicated most often.every analysis American students presented a Professional discourse is increased in this valuetendency of putting parents’ activities into frame and in students’ beliefs that lead to conclusion ofof moral education and teaching behavioral skills. high appreciation for the teacher’s competenceThey used peculiar rhetoric, in which partnership legitimized by an academic diploma.became a label of dominant role of teacher in arelationship with parent. Their easy-going Present: Scientific American - too difficult forapproach to term ‘partnership’ and practice that laymen; teachers know schooling but parents docharacterizes school, family, and community not do so then, they do not interfere with this.partnerships shows very comfortable position of FUTURE: National Geographic - I thinkteachers, who know how to do partnerships. And collaboration has to be increased in the future.
  • 142. A Bridge to the Future 131There is a lot of work to do in order to have good Children grow up with the TV and preferachievements [quest.4PL]. watching cartoons to being engaged in active learning. FUTURE: Discovery - The DiscoveryOne could ask: who has a lot of work to do? Of Channel explores new ideas and informs thecourse a teacher is that person, who feels a public about why things work and provides widemission of correction of the bad world. Other range of knowledge. Children and parents will beexample clearly indicates that tendency: open to new ideas and be open to receive a great deal of information [M.M.’s underline] [quest.Present: Cartoon Network - interesting, human- 6US].oriented cartoons. Collaboration begins but it isstill in the diapers...[quest.9PL] In the Polish group an important role oflike a child, who needs upbringing, permanent information in the ideal state of school, family,control, and protection by adults (people with a and community collaboration was also noticedhigher position). but the students were concentrated on teacher qualification, character of relationships, and childAmerican students estimated current state of well-being.collaboration also negatively and saw a need ofgetting rid of the confusion. In their thinking Present: MTV - plenty of information. Todaysuggestion was uncovered to do that by striving to world is ‘jagged’, it is characterized by pluralitya happy, multicultural unity of school, family, and of information [M.M.’s underline] (...), lack ofcommunity in contemporary society of adaptation ability, and finding one’s own place.information technologies. FUTURE: Life, BBC (Prime) - it concerns the things that are familiar and directed to a childPresent: Outside Magazine - says ‘Wild one’. [M.M.’s underline] and child’s needs (!)Girl on a bike, somewhat out of control. I feel that [quest.17PL].school-home-community collaboration is in astate of disarray right now, nobody is 100% sure Central place of character of relationship andabout their part. FUTURE: National Geographic emphasis of the positions of partners in Polish- peaceful night sky with fireworks. There will be students’ orientation are adequately expressed ina celebration due to the peaceful unity [M.M.’s a group of metaphors that were built on anunderline] of home-school-community ‘Animal Planet’s logo. The analyses of them[quest.20US]. resemble socio-biological studies, in which human culture is considered on a basis ofFuture: Reader’s Digest - The woman on the analogies to animal world. This also adequatelyfront cover was smiling so I assumed she was represents the mission and professional discoursehappy. I think everyone will be happy [M.M.’s that was mentioned above.underline] in the home, school, and communitycollaboration [quest.12US]. Present: Animal Planet - (...) everyone fights inPresent: CNN - News reporting. Teachers create order to survive and wants to win a positionnewsletters. [M.M.’s underline] of dominant male in a herd.Future: BBC - More multicultural [M.M.’s Future: Canal+ - (...) everyone can findunderline] [quest.1US]. something for himself. Everyone should find his own place. First of all there has to be a will forPresent: Cartoon Network - the Cartoon Network collaboration. Everyone should be what appeals to the children - providing a [quest.13PL].variety of unrealistic and colorful programs.
  • 143. 132 A Bridge to the FutureThe rank of school, family, and community parents that expects them to be only the bestcollaboration in a scale was estimated as a very nurturers, and relaxed attitude towards school,high. There was no significant difference among family, and community partnerships (e.g., use ofgroups involved in a study. Therefore we may say professional terms concerning thisthat collaboration is a value in the orientations of interdisciplinary issue, acronyms: S/F/C,both American and Polish students. drawings that illustrated partner’s relationships, etc.) predict a claim to expert knowledge andWhy it is not exactly what it should be? increasing of a discourse. In other words,There is an interesting situation, in which - on one discursive practice by American students may behand both groups involved in a study presented based on perception of parents’ role (besthigh disposition for future collaboration with nurturer) and their beliefs concerning the expert-parents and communities (on a scale: 90% knowledge about child’s education or school,frequency of answers ‘very much’). And on the family, and community partnerships that wereother hand, the self-estimation of students’ created through the university studies. They werepreparation for school, family, and community critically oriented and consisted of several topicscollaboration looks much more optimistic in the that were directly concerned with theAmerican group (on a scale: 90% frequency of partnerships’ issue.answers ‘very much’) than in the Polish (answersharmonically extended from point 2 to 9). Therefore reflection is moving to the importance of academic studies due to their role in aThinking about the Polish group it is hard to say professional discourse that was uncovered in mythat such a situation is comfortable. Their feeling analyses.of professionalism in school, family, and The analyzed orientations match the models of 13community partnerships is likely less obvious and pre-service training by Joanna Rutkowiak .more doubtful. No university courses concerned Scientific model seems to be adequate with adirectly the issue of partnerships, only some of character of Polish training that was discovered inthem included it in their contents. However, it a study. On a basis of the Enlightenment narrationalways depended on academic teacher’s decision. this assumes significant meaning of transmissionAlthough Polish students are hesitant about their and accommodation of knowledge. Teacher’sacademic preparation they do not feel worse. responsibility about what he or she is doing atTheir position that is indicated by university school keeps the outer character becausediploma and Polish law endows them with a scientific truth (academically legitimized) is morefeeling of power and high proficiency instead of important than own experiences or everyday-good preparation. This might be a kind of observations. The hints of science justifycompensation due to a lack of adequate teacher’s way of work. From that, the ‘academic’preparation. Furthermore, this could partially professionalism strongly emphasized by Polishexplain a reason why teachers in Poland prefer students (role of teacher ethos and diploma thatlimited parents’ involvement and escape to the legitimizes power of science) and continuinglaws if their relationships with parents are not defense of teacher’s autonomy with extended 12fully satisfactory . The students who participated laws’ argumentation (when academic status quoin this study might do so. becomes not strong enough in a collision withAmerican disposition on the area of school, reality) find the explanation. This predicts thefamily, and community collaboration seems to be extension of discursive practice, in which thecomplicated though they are highly optimistic in university as a speaker and beneficent oftheir estimation of self-preparation and ready to discourse makes a reproduction of privileges andbegin collaboration very soon. Their approach to marginalizations.
  • 144. A Bridge to the Future 133Model of ‘Practice of thinking’ seems to be field of school, family, and communityappropriate for the orientations of American partnerships, and thus they feel responsible,students. This includes a presumption about the independent, and powerful (experts onunity of thinking and action, in which the effort of partnerships). Critically oriented pre-serviceunderstanding the world around plays most training trained the experts, who keep narrowimportant role. Teacher organizes educational view and loose the ability for entire perception ofwork on w basis of own reflection created in a reality. Finally, both the university and theprocess of understanding. Teacher’s responsibility students become the speakers and beneficent of ais a natural consequence of such a procedure. discourse that reminds a hegemony, in whichThat model is rooted in a critical philosophy, striving to make unequal relationships common iswhich plenty of aspects we may find in widely noticed.contemporary tendencies in American higher 14education . ‘Practice of thinking’ is likely a The orientations of American and Polish studentspractice of the students involved in a study. that were described through the above analysesForemost it is confirmed in their political provoke the conclusions about a need of changesapproach to the issues concerning school, family, in pre-service training in order to limit orand community partnerships. This is spectacularly eliminate the procedures of professionalseen also in the features of an ally that were discourse.represented in students’ orientations. However, Following maps grasp that discourse in generalbesides that model American students are obvious and indicate some challenges addressed toabout their preparation for prospective work on a particular actors on that scene (Map 1, 2).Map no. 1 - Map of a context - professional discourse in the orientations of American and Polishstudents. PROFESSIONAL DISCOURSE Rhetoric of professionalism / competence Exclusive claim to the knowledge in a range of school, family, and community collaboration Practice of limited parents and community’s involvementDISCOURSE OF PARTNERSHIPS (USA)Rhetoric of partnershipsExclusive claim to the expert-knowledge(specialization on a domain of school, family,and community partnerships)Practice of limited parents’ and community’s involvement (parent = best nurturer) PROFESSIONAL DISCOURSE - TEACHER ETHOS (PL) Rhetoric of professionalism (teacher ethos, prestige of law) Exclusive claim to the expert knowledge (a competence legitimized by the academic education and legislative status of teacher) Practice of limited parents’ and community’s involvement (parent = a trouble)
  • 145. 134 A Bridge to the FutureMap no.2 - Map of a discursive formations followed from the analysis of the orientations of Americanand Polish students Agent Discourse Position Pre-disposition Disposition / Advice transposition University Partnerships - Freedom, equality, Challenge of Changing social Independence of reform, democracy current social reality defining and social capital reality redefining the social world. Holistic education, focus on human being Student Partnerships - Professionalism Feeling of comfort Claim to expert- UnderstandingU happy unity of on a range of(high self- knowledge on a school, family, school, family, estimation) basis of successful (emphatic and community and community education in a approach toS partnerships range of school, human being) (expert of family, andA partnerships) community partnerships Parents / Representation Object Marginalization Resistance Voice Community (passivity, (out-going from struggle) role of best nurturer, access to every sphere of school life) University Partnerships - Ethos, Mission Changing social Critical thinking reform, Mission, reality (anticipation and democratization of Generosity social activism; social life education based on emancipation and innovations) Student Autonomy Professionalism of Feeling of Claim to expert- UnderstandingP of teacher teacher doubtful knowledge on a professionalism basis of ethos of teacher’s work (knowledge ofL school, family, and legislative and community status (legitimized partnerships, by diploma and critical laws) competence, emphatic) Parents / Representation Object Marginalization Resistance Voice Community (passivity, (out-going from struggle) role of a trouble, access to every sphere of school life)* Structure of a map is inspired by: Szkudlarek, T. (1997): Democracy in Poland and the Throes of School Reform: Between Modern Dreams and Post-modern Politics, [In:] Democratic Discipline, Democratic Lives: Educating Citizens for a Changing World, Conference Materials, May 12-14, 1997. Loughborough, UK, p.72
  • 146. A Bridge to the Future 135Most significant observation is that in both of making improving the world by revision andgroups subordinate position of parents and permanent correction into expected forms. Thecommunities appeared. Prospective teachers’ lack of the expert-knowledge on school, family,dispositions to work with them and built and community partnerships (there are no coursespartnerships are rooted in their approach to on this topic) is compensated for by the emphasispartners from dominant place. It potentially will on legislative issues and position of teacher that islead parents and community members to guaranteed by law.resistance and strategies of defense in the It appeared that both groups involved in the studyrelationships with school and teachers. are potential agents of the discursive practice inNext map presents those positions and the field of school, family, and communitymeaningful advice for the all agents of partnerships.professional discourse that was uncovered Due to this conclusion the models of higherthrough the analyses of the orientations of education in the United States and in Poland wereprospective teachers. identified and compared. Polish Enlightenment ‘scientific model of teachers’ education’, andFinal conclusion more critical American model that is rooted inThese maps are overlapping in several items but ‘practice of thinking’, they both need the changemostly they are indicating different basis of and should be redesigned into the models ofdiscourse that takes place in both countries. This obtaining the interpretative abilities ofis the professional discourse with twofold prospective teachers (e.g. teachers who believe inexplanation. ‘learner-person first’ as American researchers 15In the U.S. the proficiency that is grounded in advocate for ).students’ thinking may lead to the realm of power They should continually learn, define andin the area of school, family, and community redefine the world locating themselves inpartnerships, especially through the role of between, not in the position above students,teacher as an expert. parents, and community partners. This is the onlyPolish professionalism of prospective teachers way that real school, family, and communityoriginates from the ethos of teachers’ service for partnerships are built in order to student’s successthe society. This focuses on the feeling of mission and increasing social capital.Notes1 See: Putnam, D. (1995): Bowling Alone. Journal of Democracy, no.1; Coleman, J.S. (1988): Social capital in the creation of human capital. Journal of Sociology, American Edition, no. 94.2 Epstein, J.L., Sanders, M.G. (2000): Connecting Home, School, and Community: New Directions for Social Research [in] Handbook of the Sociology of Education. Edited by Maureen T. Hallinan, Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers, New York - Boston - Dordrecht - London - Moscow, pp. 287-288.3 See: Mendel, M. (1998): Rodzice i szkola: Jak uczestniczyc w edukacji dzieci? [Parents and the School: How to Participate in the Education of Children?], Wydawnictwo Adam Marszalek, Torun.4 Ziolkowski, M. (1990): Orientacje indywidualne a system spoleczny [Individual orientations and social system] (In:) Orientacje spoleczne jako element mentalnosci [Social orientation as an element of mentality], J.Reykowski, M.Ziolkowski (Eds.), Wydawnictwo NAKOM, Poznan.5 Mendel, M. (2001): Edukacja spoleczna. Partnerstwo rodziny, szkoly i gminy w perspektywie amerykanskiej [Community Education: Family, School, and Community Partnerships in an American Perspective], Wydawnictwo Adam Marszalek, Torun.6 Research on this project has been sponsored by Polish Committee of Academic Research, grant No. KBN 0396/H01/2000/18.
  • 147. 136 A Bridge to the Future7 The problem of visual culture is interesingly discussed in: Szkudlarek, T. (1999): Media i edukacja. Szkic z filozofii i pedagogiki dystansu [Media and Education: A Draft on Philosophy and Pedagogy of Distance]. Wydawnictwo Impuls, Krakow.8 Metaplan is a popular method of productive discussion, in which everyone has a chance to participate by use of every way that is individually prefered. In a final part of discussion the poster - written version of a discussion (from its begining to the ending conclusions) is completed. This method is recently common in a human resources management.9 Odmiany myslenia o edukacji [Versions of Thinking about the Education] (1995) J.Rutkowiak [Ed.], Wydawnictwo Impuls, Krakow, pp. 39-40.10 Kurczewski, J. (1998): Rozwazania nad struktura spolecznej emancypacji [Reflections on the structure of social emancipation], Studia Socjologiczne [Sociological Studies], no. 2 (149), p.84.11 Foucault, M. (1977): Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Penguin Press, London.12 See: empirical studies reported in, e.g.: Segiet, W. (1999): Rodzice i nauczyciele: wzajemne stosunki i reprezentacje [Parents and Teachers: Mutual Relationships and Representations], Wydawnictwo Ksiazka i Wiedza, Warszawa - Poznan; Mendel, M. (1998): Parents and the Schools...op. cit. (2000): Partnerstwo rodziny, szkoly i gminy [Family,School, and Community Partnerships], Wydawnictwo Adam Marszalek, Torun.13 Learning from the Outsider: European Perspectives of the Educational Collaboration (1997) J.Rutkowiak (Ed.), Wydawnictwo Impuls, Krakow, pp. 25-28.14 The analysis of several academic handbooks in a comparison to the analysis of the contents of university courses confirm the statement in the above. See, e.g.: Bennett deMarrais, K., LeCompte, M.D. (1999): The Way Schools Work. A Sociological Analysis of Education. Third Edition. Longman, New York-Reading, Massachusetts- Menlo Park, California-Harlow, England-Don Mills, Ontario-Sydney-Mexico City-Madrid-Amsterdam; Wink, J. (1997): Critical Pedagogy: Notes from the Real World, Longman, New York-Reading, Massachusetts-Menlo Park, California-Harlow, England-Don Mills, Ontario-Sydney-Mexico City-Madrid-Amsterdam.15 Stuart, C., Thurlow, D. (2000): Making It Their Own: Preservice Teachers’ Experiences, Beliefs, and Classroom Practices, Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 51, no. 2.
  • 148. Parents as a problem?Sean NeillAcknowledgements difficult parents, reducing the currentThe data analysed in this paper derive from a confrontational ethos in accountability is likely tosurvey financed by the National Union of be more difficult.Teachers in the United Kingdom (Neill 2001b).The support of the Union and its members, who Introductionfilled in the questionnaire in their own time and in Current concern about the incidence of high-levelmany cases paid for the return postage disruption in schools, which has even led teachersthemselves, is gratefully acknowledged. Nothing experienced in South African townships to advisein this paper, including the quoted opinions of their colleagues to avoid working in Britainindividual members of the Union, should be (Braid & MacGregor 2001) led to theconsidered to represent the official viewpoint of commissioning by the National Union ofthe Union, which gave complete academic Teachers to a survey of the level of unacceptablefreedom in the reporting and analysis of the data. behaviour experienced by members of the UnionThe Union may, however, agree with some of the in a representative range of local authorities. Theopinions expressed. survey covered lower-level disruption to lessons as well as high-level disruption verging on theParents as a problem? criminal such as drug use and dealing, threats ofAbstract violence and the possession of offensive weapons.A survey of views on unacceptable behaviour by One aspect of the survey was the incidence of2575 teachers included threats from parents and threats by third parties including parents to pupilsother third parties; these constituted a relatively and staff, the extreme manifestation of a range ofinfrequent but serious problem to teachers. reported incidents where parents supported theirWritten-in comments indicated that some parents children against the mandate of their school. Thiscontributed to a range of routine disruptive reflects the general emphasis by politicians on thebehaviours by supporting their children against rights of consumers while increasing the demandsthe school when confrontation arose. Structural on producers, in this case parents and teachersmodelling indicated that the more serious (Labour Party 2001). While there are manyproblems, including conflict with parents, were examples of productive cooperation betweendue more to social background factors impacting teachers and parents, for example parenton the school than effective within-support to governors contributing their expertise to theirteachers. Within-school support was more school (e.g. Troman & Woods 2001) the politicalimportant in ameliorating routine disruption, but emphasis on consumerism in education tends, asmany respondents felt that demands for external Torman & Woods point out, to set consumersaccountability took up senior management time (parents, on behalf of their children) againstand attention, and inhibited management from producers (teachers). While this is unlikely to be agiving effective support. While government decisive influence on the majority of parents, itinitiatives are now supporting schools against could tend to encourage those who are truculent
  • 149. 138 A Bridge to the Futureof disaffected from education. During the course composition of the teaching force in general, andof the survey the Government started consultation shows strong similarities to a survey of NUTon enforcing the duties of parents in respect of members on performance management, carriedhigh-level disruptive children (DfEE 2001a, out a month before with a similarly sized sampleMorris 2001); the problem of lower-level but in a similar geographical spread of authoritiesmore frequent disruption to lessons currently (Neill 2001a). The current sample contains aremains unaddressed. Problems with parents were slightly higher proportion of respondents whoamong a range of types of ‘unacceptable would be likely to report misbehaviour than thebehaviour’ included in a survey of teachers in performance management sample; it is thereforeEngland and Wales, analysed for the National likely that non-respondents would have beenUnion of Teachers by the University of Warwick. working in schools with fewer problems thanIn this paper we look specifically at this area of respondents. However a proportion ofconcern. respondents reported, in their completion of the closed-response questions, in written-inThe sample comments, or both, that they had encountered noQuestionnaires were sent out to 17188 teachers problems in their schools. The strong similarity inresident in 13 local education authorities (LEAs) the distribution of respondent types across the twoselected to give a geographical and social spread. surveys, which were investigating very differentThe areas included large towns with a mix of topics, confirms the representativeness of theaffluent and deprived areas (Bournemouth); cities sample for this survey, and incidentally of thewith industrial and deprived inner-city areas sample for the performance management survey.(Bristol, Cardiff, Islington [Inner London], Leeds, Respondents were asked to indicate their mainLeicester, Middlesborough Tameside), counties responsibility; where several were indicated theincluding a mix of rural areas and large most senior was chosen. Over half the sampletowns/cities (East Sussex, Nottinghamshire); and were classroom teachers, with about a tenth beingpredominantly rural counties, though with aras of middle management and curriculum co-deprivation in some rural and town areas ordinators; other groups constituted 2-4%. The(Norfolk, Northumberland, and Pembrokeshire). ‘unidentified other’ group (about 8%) includedA total of 2575 (15.0%) questionnaires were supply teachers and key stage co-ordinators inreturned in time to be used in the analysis. A few primary schools. Distribution between localteachers, who worked in adjacent authorities to authorities generally reflected authority size. Halfthose where they lived, or in private schools, the respondents worked in schools with 20% ofreported on these. pupils or below on the special educational needsAs in other similar surveys, two thirds of (SEN) register, three-quarters 30% or below andrespondents were 40 or over; more than two less than 10% of schools (including the specialthirds were female. Most were highly schools) above 50%. Similar but higherexperienced; over half had 16 years experience or proportions were eligible for free school mealsmore. Four-fifths were full-time; of the remainder (the commonly used measure of poverty in thetwo-thirds were part-time and one-third supply. United Kingdom, but an unreliable one as take-upThe great majority (nearly 90%) worked in of free school meals is voluntary) - half with 25%primary and secondary schools, with slightly or below eligible, three-quarters 45% or below,more in secondary schools; around 4% worked in and 10% with above 60% eligible.under-5s and special schools respectively, andabout 1% in pupil referral units and as LEA Methodscentrally employed teachers respectively. This The questionnaire contained three sections ofdistribution of respondents reflects the closed questions and seven boxes for written-in
  • 150. A Bridge to the Future 139open-ended comments. The closed questions, Variables which loaded onto more than one factorwhich were drawn up in consultation between the were included only on the factor for which theyNational Union of Teachers and the University of loaded highest. These variables were thenWarwick, covered biographical details on correlated with each other and with theindividual respondents; four questions on their biographical variables as a guide to an appropriateschools; two series of questions, on behaviour model structure. The data for the factors andproblems witnessed by respondents, and problems biographical variables was then transferred topersonally experienced by respondents, and EQS and the model was built up to reflect thequestions on training, support, and the role of likely causal links. See model page 147.non-teaching staff and LEAs. Finally respondentswere asked if behaviour had worsened since they Threats from parents and pupilsstarted teaching. It was stressed that respondents Respondents were asked how often they cameshould complete the questionnaire anonymously across problems on a four-point scale - everyand that written-in comments were voluntary. year, term, month or week? The questions wereQuestionnaires were distributed to NUT members framed in this very specific form to limitin the selected local authorities and there was no subjectivity in the responses. Responses werereminder letter. ‘Split-half’ reliability assessments recoded 1-5, with 5 representing weeklywere performed by entering the data into the incidence, and 1 representing no report of aanalysis in three sections as questionnaires were problem. (As respondents were not specificallyachieved, and comparing the responses of the asked if a problem was not encountered, ‘nosections. There were no educationally significant report’ cannot, strictly, be taken as indicating thatdifferences between the data for the three a problem did not occur, though somesections, indicating both the overall reliability of respondents wrote in to specify that problemsthe data, and that early returns, which might have which were not ticked did not occur in theirbeen expected to be from more aggrieved teachers school). We may group unacceptable behavioursor union activists, did not differ from those of into two broad groups; behaviours with a mode oflater respondents, whose attitude might have been 5 (equivalent to weekly), and behaviours with aexpected to be more relaxed. mode of 1 (equivalent to occurring infrequently,Most of the analysis was conducting using the and not at all in some schools). Within these twopackage SPSS for Windows version 8 (SPSS Inc., broad groups the means allow us to make finer1997); structural modeling used the package EQS discriminations.(Bentler 1995, Byrne 1994). Questions were Problems with parents fell into the ‘infrequent’recoded to give a pattern by which high frequency group, experienced on average between once andof unacceptable behaviour was coded high, and a several times a year, comprised threats to pupilshigh incidence of mitigating factors was also of third-party violence, as well as bullying,coded high, so that there would be negative damage to property, abuse / insult to the teachercorrelations between the presence of high levels personally, and other actual or threatenedof unacceptable behaviour and the presence of, incidents. The most serious subgroup of problemsfor example, in-school support. - including threats of violence by parents as wellAs the first stage in the modeling process, the as being pushed or touched by pupils, threats ofresponses to the proposals were grouped using violence to teachers by pupils, offensive weapons,factor analysis with Kaiser’s varimax rotation. possession of drugs and, especially, traffic inNew variables corresponding to the factors drugs - were infrequent, and the majority ofrevealed were constructed by calculating the respondents had not experienced them.mean of the variables loading on each factor.
  • 151. 140 A Bridge to the FutureThese less frequent misbehaviours may be violence indirectly by third parties e.g. parentscompared with the ‘weekly’ group, the first [threats by parents] are even more serious thansubgroup includes five types of misbehaviour in those from pupils, and nearly a tenth (7.9%) oflessons (interruptions, answering back, disruption, respondents reported experiencing them moreoffensive language, and refusal to work) which than annually - that is termly, or for some,nevertheless made the day-to-day business of monthly or weekly. However three-quarters ofteaching virtually impossible for some respondents (75.8%) did not report encounteringrespondents. The second subgroup (conduct threats of physical violence - though verbal abuseviolations, dress code violations, threats of pupil- or insult, not covered by this question, are alsopupil violence, and defiance) represent rather potentially unsettling. of physical violencemore serious threats to the rule structure of Threats directly by pupils were not experiencedschools, which are encountered weekly by by nearly two-thirds of respondents (65.5%); theybetween a half and a third of all respondents. were a weekly (4.6%) or monthly (4.9%)There is therefore a roughly inverse relation occurrence for a twentieth of respondentsbetween the seriousness of behaviour problems respectively. However a quarter of respondentsand their frequency. (25.0% total) encountered threats infrequently (termly or annually); and a situation where violentResponses about individual unacceptable threats are a regular experience for a tenth ofbehaviours teachers should give rise to concern.Threats from third parties (from written-in A concern, here and elsewhere was the presencecomments, usually parents, less often former of children who could not cope with ordinarypupils) were much less frequent than threats of classroom life, sometimes due to inclusionpupil-pupil violence, being experienced by rather policies. Even small numbers of such childrenmore than half the respondents (52.7%), but, like could have a disproportionate effect and in somethreatened pupil-pupil violence, where it did cases teachers felt parents contributed to theoccur it appeared relatively frequently, with difficulties they experienced with these pupils;approaching a third of respondents experiencingthese threats weekly (16.1%) or monthly (14.5%); - All the above incidents are from one pupil onlyit was less frequent for these threats to be an who is a totally disruptive influence bothoccasional (termly or annual) occurrence. Threats emotionally and academically to the otherto pupils of physical violence directly by pupils children in my class. On one occasion both the[Pupil-pupil violence] were by far the most parent and child were emotionally disruptive infrequent of the serious problems witnessed by the class and the Head told me to go into therespondents, with five-sixths (83.2%) of library with my class. This child seemsrespondents reporting it and approaching half inappropriately placed in a mainstream school.(43.4%) experiencing it on a weekly basis, with a (Primary, female, 40-9)further fifth (19.3%) experiencing it monthly. A - We have a tightly structured discipline policyclimate of threatened pupil-pupil violence is but barriers are constantly pushed by 25% oftherefore part of the routine working environment pupils and 5-10% of parents / carers. (Primaryfor the majority of teachers. Though threats from headteacher, male, 50-9)third parties to pupils occur less frequently thandirect threats by other pupils, this is balanced by A third of respondents (33.9%) felt they had a lottheir greater seriousness in creating a general of support from management in dealing withclimate of violence. problem behaviour as a whole; over half (59.9%)Turning to discipline problems personally felt they received some. Many respondentsexperienced by respondents, threats of physical thought that heads and other senior management
  • 152. A Bridge to the Future 141were distracted from giving proper support by too - I have had verbal abuse from parents but,much orientation to the demands of children or thankfully, personally, not physical - 3parents, or by administration and bureaucracy; colleagues have. (Primary, female, 50-9)- Willing to supervise children removed from - We have telephone connections in all classroom & to contact parents. Unwilling to classrooms for immediate response. Every class exclude. Children returned to classroom after has a LSA for 1/2 day minimum. All incidents violent incidents. (Primary, female, 29-39) are followed up and pupils excluded à parents- Theoretically our head is an experienced involved à apologise. (Primary, male, 40-9) practitioner in EBD - realistically the head is an - Pupil threw a hard sweet at the back of my expert in the paper war. (Centrally employed head. Investigated - suspended. Pupil brought teacher, male, 50-9) in with mother. Met me to apologise.If you were a victim of an assault did you feel the (Secondary, female, 29-39)support the school gave you was excellent /reasonable / poor / non-existent? [Support after Very few respondents (2.1%) felt that localassault] education authorities (LEAs) had been veryOver a quarter of respondents (27.4%) answered supportive helping the school address pupilthis question; written-in comments indicated that behaviour; an eighth (13.1%) felt they had beensome respondents who had not suffered assaults fairly supportive. A third of respondents werefelt lucky not to have, or that while they undecided, and over half (50.3%) felt that theypersonally had not, colleagues in their school had. had been not very or not at all supportive. TheA fifth (20.3%) of the respondents who did written-in comments indicated that LEA supportanswer felt they had received excellent support, had been slow or inadequate, and that thewith over a third (38.3%) feeling it was authority tended to support disruptive childrenreasonable. However nearly a third (29.4%) felt rather than staff or cooperative children;support had been poor and a sixth (12.1%) that it - We had many exclusions 2 years ago. None athad been non-existent. Comments about present. The ‘Haven’ is used by very disruptivecolleagues’ experience suggested similar pupils, supervised by non-teaching staff withproportions, but could not be quantified exactly. no special training as such. They are at timesIn many cases respondents thought there had been with the children on their own. This I findlittle effective support or sympathy, again often unacceptable. Two adults are on sick leave.because of maintaining enrolment or as a result of Parents object that ‘good’ children do not useoutside pressure, though there were reports of the special facilities in the ‘Haven’. I agree.excellent support: (Primary, female, 50-9, East Sussex.)- There appears to be a reluctance to take up - Outside agencies do not know what to suggest cases, particularly for supply, out of fear of with children who are too young to reason with, backlash from parents or having to substantiate draw up agreements with etc. We are trying to the case to parents who are invariably hostile. compensate for poor parenting skills. (Under- (Primary supply, male, 50-9) 5s, female, 40-9)- The management are frightened to death of - Help needed with parents / pupils who are having to discipline any pupil severely (i.e. persistently misbehaving. Schools need to feel expel or suspend or involve parents very empowered. Parents need to be identified by much). The consequence is constant school and then lea help given. (Primary, inappropriate behaviour, even here. I decided to female, 40-9, threats of violence from parents leave this school as of July 2001. (Independent marked as ‘major problem area’) secondary school, male, 40-9)
  • 153. 142 A Bridge to the FutureApproaching two-thirds of respondents (59.5%) shaking a child violently. This was not pursued.felt that behaviour had become very much worse (Primary, female, 40-9)since they started teaching; together with those - I feel children now have such disgustingwho felt there had been a fairly marked behaviour as they are the product of bad parentsdeterioration, this meant that over four-fifths of of bad parents. There is no respect, the childrenrespondents (80.3%) felt there had been a do not want to accept any rules or boundariesdeterioration. A tenth (9.5%), often young as they have not been brought up that wayteachers who felt unable to comment owing to because their parents weren’t either. Theytheir limited experience, were undecided; a resent authority even in Nursery and theirsimilar proportion felt that there had been little or parents are even more resentful. They areno deterioration (10.2% total). Many found probably more badly behaved than the children.parental attitudes a major part of the problem, (Primary, female, 29-39)raising issues both with the sanctions available to - I am very concerned about the vulnerability ofteachers and teachers’ own security; staff regarding allegations by pupils & parents.- Please help - we do have a very good I feel the whole system works on the principle behavioural policy but how do we cope with of guilty until proved innocent and a legacy of abusive and violent parents - ?!*!* There are suspicion. (Primary, female, 40-9) too many entrances to our school, adults, - Not pupils - but parental expectations i.e. not youths & parents come & go as they please! taking any responsibility, just accusations - no We need direction from the L.E.A. (Primary trust - too much compensation culture. Some middle management, male, 40-9) parents need attention more than kids: we are a- Fights parent / parent - termly. (Primary, handy scapegoat for them to ‘shout’ at. female, 50-9) (Primary, female, 29-39)- More evidence of parents on drugs / alcohol - Parents are more argumentative and abuse. (Primary, female, 29-39) unsupportive, and more and more I am hearing- Many parents believe and side with their children telling me and other staff how their children against the school and have very weak parents feel school / teachers / education is crap systems of discipline themselves. The children - so why should the kids do what we want? know we are powerless and take advantage. (Primary, female, 29-39) (Primary, female, 50-9)- The main difficulties occur when parent(s) are Some respondents felt that the problems were challenging the school and look at us as the exacerbated by the emphasis on ‘consumers’ enemy. (Primary, female, 50-9) rights’ by politicians, OFSTED and the media- It feels that pupils think the rules do not apply over the last decade; to them personally. Their parents are largely - The attitude of parents is usually to say they responsible for breaking the dress code, and can’t cope and pass the problem on to teachers feel that it’s their right to do so. (Primary, and the school. It’s a problem for society as a female, 29-39) whole, not just schools. (Primary, male, 60+)- A lot of poor pupil behaviour in our school is - Parents are encouraged to point the finger of condoned by parents and also is a direct result blame at schools if their children do not behave of instructions parents give their children e.g. if well or do well at school. The status of teaching they get into trouble in class they must walk out is low because the Government and the Media of the lesson and phone home! (Secondary, are always saying we are underachieving. female, 40-9) (Primary, male, 50-9)- Experienced mumbled threats of suing from - As HT of an inner city primary school I feel parents and I had one unfounded accusation of that pupil behaviour, parental refusal to accept
  • 154. A Bridge to the Future 143 responsibility, LEA avoidance of school Responses of individual groups difficulties and a government policy of blame Older (50+) teachers were less likely to report a the schools / teacher is leading to a situation range of problems, including threats of third-party where teaching and learning in ‘tough’ schools violence to pupils, and, threats by parents. will be almost impossible in the near future. However, the general lack of marked differences (Primary, male, 50-9) related to experience is striking (and contrary to- Much of the behaviour arises from the low expectations at the time the survey was designed), status conferred on the teaching profession by in contrast to the effect of age. It appears that late low pay and damaging remarks from OFSTED, entrants to the profession make up by their life Woodhead, etc. Putnam’s prizes do nothing to experience for their lack of teaching experience, restore public confidence in the professionalism or that pupils judge experience from age and act of teachers. If the profession was respected, accordingly. Full-time teachers were more likely young people would aspire to join it. than part-time or supply teachers to have (Secondary, male, 40-9) encountered threats of third-party violence to- Pupil behaviour reflects a meaner, nastier, more pupils. Supply teachers received more threats selfish society… Either go for the free market and from pupils and parents. This suggest that the don’t expect schools to have to cater for parents more marginal position of supply staff resulted in who choose not to raise their children properly them encountering more serious threats to the or start reminding parents they too have actual conduct of their lessons (there were no responsibilities. [I’ve worked in the Sudan so I differences between types of staff for the most am NOT blaming poverty!] (Secondary male, frequent lower-level problems) but otherwise full- 40-9) time teachers, as the permanent staff, encountered the more serious problems. Middle management,Some schools (and some individual teachers) had heads of year, curriculum co-ordinators and thebeen able to sidestep the problem by removing leadership group encountered threats of third-themselves from contact with difficult children, party violence more often; again these were thebut there also remained a number of teachers teachers who were most likely to have to take(especially those working in specialist units for responsibility for dealing with problem outsiders.difficult children) who felt that not enough There were highly significant differences betweenallowance was made by adults for troubled phases, with almost all behavioural problemschildren; significantly more frequent in secondary schools.- Ultimately, as a Vol. Aided R.C. school, However there was no significant difference parents are advised to find another school - we between phases in threat of violence from parents. then have a place available which sometimes Pupil-pupil threatened violence and third-party goes straight to a ‘nice’ pupil from the school threatened violence was more frequent in cities, that received our rogue. (Secondary, female, and less likely to be reported in rural counties and 50-9) private schools. The same pattern applied to- Schools seem to wish to remain bastions of threats from pupils and threats from parents, academic life. Children today can be very though there was some variation in the local troubled by their home circumstances. Teachers authority areas where particular problems were may not be the best people to offer support. We most severe. Overall, the pattern is consistent need to look at much more play therapy, with a priori expectations. counselling and help for troubled children. (Centrally employed teacher, female, 50-9)
  • 155. 144 A Bridge to the FutureAn explanatory model of the responses unacceptable behaviour; their own characteristics,Structural modelling, as its name implies, gives such as age and seniority; characteristics of thean overall picture of the structure of the schools they teach in, such as age-range taughtrelationships between all the categories covered and proportion of pupils receiving free schoolin a questionnaire; the advantage of this approach meals; and features of school and LEAis that it can make allowances for complex management, such as training and support.interactions between categories. In this case, forexample, female teachers are concentrated in Building the structural modelprimary schools, which have better support The model required ‘frequent disruptivesystems; structural modelling can indicate which behaviour’ to be separated from the other three,of these three inter-related influences is in fact more serious, types of unacceptable behaviourrelated to differences in unacceptable behaviour. (threats and incidents, violence to pupils, andThe large number of questions on different types drugs and weapons). Both types of disruptiveof unacceptable behaviour and on support behaviour were related to pupil characteristicsavailable to teachers were grouped into factors to (only the percentages on the special educationalgive a more manageable model. needs register and receiving free school meals hadThe factor analysis showed four clearly defined a significant effect, the effects of pupils withfactors, reflecting behaviours of different levels of English as an additional language and livingfrequency and seriousness. The two aspects of outside the catchment area being negligible), andparental threat load onto different factors. The to the support available to teachers and pupilssecond factor may be termed ‘threats and (support from senior management to teachersincidents’. It included threats of violence by experiencing behaviour problems, teachers’ viewspupils, pushing and touching, threats of violence being taken into account in policy formulation,by third parties such as parents, and serious support for pupils with behaviour problems,incidents. All of these are liable to be highly support from the LEA), but the proportionatedisturbing to teachers. The third factor can be effects were different, though the two types weredescribed as ‘violence to pupils’, including closely related. Pupil characteristics had a quitethreatened violence from third parties, and from strong effect on the more serious types ofother pupils. These incidents differ from those in behaviour, including conflict with parents, andthe second factor because threats of pupil-pupil the effect of support was weaker than that of pupilviolence, especially, are much more frequent. The characteristics. Frequent disruption was veryfirst factor, and the one accounting for most strongly related to support, but inversely - goodvariables, may be termed ‘frequently support was related to fewer problems. The effectencountered’ unacceptable behaviour. It of pupil characteristics was less than half ascontained what may be regarded as the routine strong as that of support. In other words, for thebehaviours which nowadays disrupt school life - more serious problems, support, though stillinterruptions, answering back, disruption to beneficial, was over-ridden by the effect of thelessons, refusal to work, offensive language, problems pupils brought into the school fromdefiance, conduct violations, dress code outside, but for frequent disruption support couldviolations, abuse / insult, bullying and damage to make a significant difference. The relative effectproperty. Finally, the fourth factor, ‘drugs and of influences from inside and outside the school isweapons’ includes traffic in drugs, possession of discussed more fully below.drugs and possession of offensive weapons - Support was strongly related to age-range, beingamong the most serious, but rarest, incidents. rated lower in secondary schools than primaryThere are three types of independent variables and under-5s schools. Women reported betterwhich could affect teachers’ experience of support than men, but this was related to the
  • 156. A Bridge to the Future 145higher proportion of women in the primary sector; who are deciding to get out of the professionthe direct effect was negligible. In other words while they still have the opportunity to develop aprimary schools offer better support to their career in a more pleasant working environment.teachers, irrespective of sex, than secondary This pattern is consistent with other surveys ofschools, though this may of course be due to the teacher stress (e.g. Troman & Woods 2001).mainly female staff of primary schools. Pupil It is clear from the comments of manycharacteristics were also more favourable in respondents that problems were not confined toprimary than secondary schools; this could be a ‘difficult’ inner-city areas but extended to ‘quiet’cause or effect of the better support available in rural locations - but that in both types of areaprimary schools (see model page 147). within-school factors, especially the attitude of senior management, could be critical in theDiscussion effectiveness of school discipline policies. To anIt would be easy to claim that the survey extent, as is apparent from the written-inexaggerates the seriousness of the overall comments, the attitude of senior managementproblems - some respondents encountered very depends on individual personalities and resultsfew problems, though this could result either from from decisions taken on appointments at schooltheir decision to move to more privileged schools level, but there are also important factors due toor to their school ‘unloading’ difficult children on policy impositions. Firstly, there is the burden ofto other schools which would not be able to refuse bureaucracy, the subject of a previous N.U.T.them, due to their under-recruitment. We should survey (Neill 1999); senior staff are forced, oralso note the comments of a few respondents that decide, to spend time on paperwork rather thana survey of this type tends to encourage actually managing the school. This emphasis isrespondents to complain about a situation which encouraged by the emphasis on accountabilitythey might otherwise have tolerated without and performance indicators such as reducing thecomment. However several points suggest that the number of exclusions and the promotion ofsurvey has external validity. First, as noted above inclusion policies. Many comments indicate thatin the discussion of the sample, the distribution of senior managers are reluctant to act to excludethe sample is closely similar to that of a survey of difficult pupils, or are under pressure not to do so,performance management (Neill 2001a) - which and that, where there is no effective support atalso produced positive comments (supporting the school or L.E.A. level (often because of financialperformance management policy initiative). This constraints) middle management and classroomsuggests that neither survey is drawing only on teachers are left to deal with the resultingthe opinions of hostile and disaffected teachers. problems. This reflects in increasing concern withThe possibility remains that these samples are accountability headteachers feel to a range ofboth biased towards teachers with negative external stakeholders, including parents(Osbornopinions. However the current difficulties in et. al. 2000), accentuated by the general emphasisrecruiting and retaining teachers provide an by politicians on the rights of parents asobjective back-up to the written-in comments consumers on behalf of their children (Laboursuggesting that pupil behaviour is a major reason Party 2001). However it is questionable whetherfor teachers leaving the profession. Two age- this approach is appropriate for a public servicegroups must cause particular concern - like education, where attendance is compulsoryexperienced middle-management teachers, who, and producers (teachers) are increasinglyas is apparent from the written-in comments, reluctant to join the profession or stay in post.carry much of the burden in practice for dealing This issue is now being addressed by thewith difficult behaviour, and younger teachers government (Morris 2001, DfEE 2001) but it
  • 157. 146 A Bridge to the Futureremains to be seen whether this will lead to an demonstrations of performance at the cost ofalteration in the balance between parents and actual effectiveness in school management. Whileteachers, as there is already a range of legislation the behaviours covered by ‘frequent disruption’which could be used against parents and others do not directly involve parents, they are critical towho harass teachers (DfEE 2001) but seldom is. the effective functioning of schools as educational institutions and therefore to the educationalThe structural model shows that the relative effectiveness which parents could reasonablyimportance of these effects differs between demand.‘frequent disruption’ - the relatively low-level Both the structural model and written-indisruption to lessons and other school activities comments indicated that the more serious types ofwhich most respondents experienced on a weekly unacceptable behaviour were often due tobasis and which they felt interfered with the relatively small numbers of children and parents -education of the ‘silent majority’ of cooperative written-in comments indicating that such childrenchildren - and more serious types of disruption. were often indifferent to any of the available sanctions which the school could exercise and‘Frequent disruption’ related more strongly to that the lack of support available at local authorityeffective support in school than to the educational level meant that schools were having to deal with(special needs) and social (free school meals) children for whom they had no effective copingproblems children brought to school. strategy. The current initiatives to increase theRespondents’ written-in comments indicated that sanctions available to teachers (DfEE 2001a,b)effective support and collegiality was critical - may, if carried through, have a desirable effect insome comments indicated that schools in difficult increasing the sanctions available and could haveareas could be effective and supportive a knock-on increasing the acceptance of teachers’institutions to work in, while others complained authority in respect of the lower-level ‘frequentof a lack of support even though the area was not disruption’. The importance of reducing botha deprived one - evidence from this survey and types is evident from the written-in comments byelsewhere indicated that difficulties existed even teachers who are planning to leave the ‘leafy’ rural and suburban areas. This suggests It is not surprising that some teachers who havethat evidence for accountability can interfere with suffered assaults become disenchanted and intendthe actual effective functioning of schools; it may to move to jobs where they are not at risk in thisalso be that the current demands for senior staff to way; but it is also evident that low-levelshow accountability may discourage effective disruption wears teachers down and leads to themdisciplinarians from taking on these posts (cf. abandoning teaching. The pervasive problem ofTroman & Woods 2001). Some respondents lack of respect for teachers among pupils andindicated that they had previously held senior parents seems likely to be the more difficult of thepositions and had now moved to less demanding two issues to solve in a climate where deferencepositions. To reduce ‘frequent disruption’ it may towards institutions and their representatives inbe necessary to make more careful selection of general has decreased (Troman & Woods 2001),appointments, where possible, at local level, and, and as some respondents pointed out, this is aat policy level, to reduce the bureaucratic pressure problem for society as a whole.on senior staff which favours paper
  • 158. A Bridge to the Future 147
  • 159. 148 A Bridge to the FutureReferencesBentler,P.M. (1995). EQS Structural Equations Manual. Encino,CA: Multivariate Software,Inc.Byrne,B. (1994). Structural Modelling with EQS and EQS/Windows. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.DfEE (2001a). Consultation on extending the use of Parenting Orders., London: DfEE; Party (2001). Ambitions for Britain: Labour’s manifesto 2001. London: Labour Party;,E. (2001). New measures will tackle violent pupils and parents and help promote good behaviour. London: DfEE;,M., McNess,E., Broadfoot,P., Pollard,A. & Triggs,P. (2000). What Teachers Do: changing policy and practice in primary education.London: Continuum.Neill,S.R.St.J. (2001a). Performance Management and Threshold Assessment. Report to the National Union 0f Teachers: Teacher Development, Research & Dissemination Unit, Institute of Education, University of Warwick.Neill,S.R.St.J. (2001b). Unacceptable Pupil Behaviour. Report to the National Union 0f Teachers: Teacher Development, Research & Dissemination Unit, Institute of Education, University of WarwickSPSS Inc. (1997). Statistical Package for the Social Sciences for Windows, version 8.0.0Troman,G. & Woods,P. (2001). Primary Teachers’ Stress. London: Routledge Falmer.
  • 160. Working with challenging parents within theframework of inclusive educationKees van der Wolf & Tanja van Beukering‘Regular schools with this inclusive giving some recommendations for workingorientation are the most effective means of with challenging parents.combating discriminatory attitudes, creatingwelcoming communities, building and Inclusion versus integrationinclusive society and achieving education for Inclusion as a concept is fairly new. Its originsall; moreover, they provide an effective lie in its use approximately a decade ago ineducation to the majority of children and the USA. (Ferguson, 1997). Since then it hasimprove the efficiency and ultimately the cost- become one of the key features of discussioneffectiveness of the entire education system.’ in the literature of Special Needs Education.(Article 2, Salamanca Statement) Sebba & Sachdev (1997) make distinctions between inclusive and integrative education.The movement toward total inclusion ofspecial needs children into regular classrooms Inclusive education describes the process bywill require teachers to cope with increasingly which a school attempts to respond to alldiverse groups of students and parents. As the pupils as individuals by reconsidering anddiversity (and severity) of student restructuring its curricular organization andcharacteristics increase, it can be expected that provision and allocating resources tothe frequency and intensity of student-teacher enhance equality of opportunity. Throughen of parent-teacher incompatibility will also this process, the school builds its capacityincrease. It is important to provide a method to accept all pupils from the localfor quantifying the compatibility or community who wish to attend and, in soincompatibility between teacher, parent and doing, reduces the need to exclude pupils.child, as well as to develop some practicalideas to cope with challenging parents of This stresses the whole-school nature of thechildren with special educational needs. concept and the demands of reconfiguringIn this article we firstly consider the concepts regular schooling. The building of anof inclusion and integration. Further we inclusive school community is to reconstructdiscuss the Salamanca-statement and some whole-school provision, not the provision forrecommendable policies regarding inclusion. special needs students only.Then we take a look at some results fromstudies on teacher problems and stress in Integration, on the other hand, is usuallyteachers, related to ‘difficult children’ and applied to groups of students with exceptionaltheir parents. We finish by analyzing some needs having access and placement in aschool-family-interaction problems and by mainstream or regular school setting. This does not emphasize the restructuring of the
  • 161. 150 A Bridge to the Futurewhole teaching/learning and other processes; - develop demonstration projects and encouragerather it recognizes the need for individual exchanges with countries having experienceprogrammes for these students. As Sebba and with inclusive schools;Sachdev (1999) note: - establish decentralized and participatory mechanisms for planning, monitoring and The organization and curricular provision evaluating educational provision for children for the rest of the school population remains and adults with special education needs; essentially the same as it was prior to the - encourage and facilitate t he participation of ‘integrated’ pupils arrival. parents, communities and organization of persons with disabilities in the planning andSalamanca decision making processes concerningSalamanca and governmental initiatives provision for special educational needs;In 1994 representatives of 88 national - invest greater effort in early identification andgovernments and 25 international intervention strategies, as well as in vocationalorganizations concerned with education met in aspects of inclusive education;Salamanca, Spain, under the auspices of - ensure that, in the context of a systemicUNESCO. In the Salamanca Statement and change, teacher education programmes, bothFramework on Special Needs Education pre-service and in-service, address the(Porter, 1997) five principles of children’s provision of special needs education inrights are mentioned: inclusive schools.‘We believe and proclaim that:- every child has a fundamental right to The accompanying ‘framework for action’ education, and must be given the opportunity noticed that realizing the goal of successful to achieve and maintain an acceptable level of education of children with special educational learning; needs (SEN) is not the task of Ministries of- every child has unique characteristics, interests, Education alone. It requires the co-operation of abilities and learning needs; families, and the mobilization of the community- education systems should be designed and as a whole, and voluntary organizations. educational programmes implemented to take So, the ‘Salamanca-framework’ observes that the into account the wide diversity of these education of children with special educational characteristics and needs; needs is a shared task of parents and- those with special educational needs must have professionals. A positive attitude on the part of access to regular schools which should parents favors school and social integration. accommodate them within a child centered Parents need support in order to assume the role pedagogy capable of meeting these needs (..)’. of a parent of a child with special needs. A co-operative, supportive partnershipGovernments were advised to: between school administrators, teachers and- give the highest policy and budgetary priority parents should be developed and parents to improve their education systems to enable regarded as active partners in decision- them to include all children regardless of making. Parents should be encouraged to individual differences or difficulties; participate in educational activities at home- adopt as a matter of law or policy the principle and at school (where they could observe of inclusive education, enrolling all children in effective techniques and learn how to organize regular schools, unless there are compelling extra-curricular activities), as well as in the reasons for doing otherwise; supervision and support of their children’s learning.
  • 162. A Bridge to the Future 151Barriers to collaboration - general societal cynicism about the role ofEducators, parents, policy-makers and teachersresearchers generally agree that parentinvolvement is very important. Interactional problems with students andHowever, according to Henderson, parents have been shown to be significant andMarburger, & Ooms (1986), there are several universal teaching stressors. The Index ofbarriers that limit a fruitful cooperation. Teaching Stress (Greene, Abidin & Kmetz,Parents believe that teachers teach too much 1997) was developed under the assumptionby rote, parent-teacher conferences are routine that that the level of a teacher’s distressand unproductive, teachers send home only regarding the specific behaviors of a givenbad news, teachers do not follow through on student is not merely a reflection of thewhat they say they will do, they do not frequency of the behaviors.welcome interactions with parents, and they In their study each teacher was asked tocare more about discipline than about respond to the items twice: once for a currentteaching. Teachers, on the other side, believe student of their choosing with ‘behavioral orthat parents are not interested in school, they emotional problems’ (i.e., ‘behaviorallydo not show up when asked, they promise but challenging students’) and once for thedo not follow through, they only pretend to seventh student on their class roster (referredunderstand what teachers are trying to to hereafter as ‘comparison students’).accomplish, and they worry too much about In part A (Teacher Response to Studenthow other kids are doing. Behaviors) teachers rated (on a 5-point Likert-The diverse and sometimes contradictory scale) the degree to which they found 47demands placed upon teachers, over extended problematic behaviors to be stressful orperiods of time, lead to stress in teachers. frustrating as applied to each student beingTeachers are often confronted with high rated. In responding to each item, the teachersdemands and low rewards. Each day brings its were asked to degree to which the behaviorsquota of problems, from students who lack the were felt to be stressful or frustrating inmotivation for learning to parents who are interactions with each student.critical. In an extensive piece of research In part B (Teacher Perceptions ofconducted by Brown & Ralph (1992) the Interactions/Self-Efficacy), teachers werefindings indicated that the relationship with asked to rate 43 statements (on a 5-pointparents and the wider community emerged as Likert scale), which explored (a) theiran important work-related stress-factor. The perceptions of the impact of the student uponaspects named were as follows: the teacher and the teaching process, (b) their- parental pressure to achieve good results sense of efficacy and satisfaction in working- anxiety over test and examination results with the student, and (c) the nature of their- the threat of performance management systems interactions with other adults involved with- additional work demands outside the normal the student (e.g., the student’s parents). school hours, which could lead to conflict with This part of the questionnaire, it was family and friends theorized, would tap teachers’ perceptions of- poor status and pay the effect of the student on the teaching- biased media coverage process, learning environment, and the- being obliged to accommodate unrealistic teachers’ sense of satisfaction and efficacy. expectations
  • 163. 152 A Bridge to the FutureReplicating the Greene, Abidin & Kmetz- employed in elementary school settings withresearch, after translating the items into children from low income groups.Dutch, we asked 60 Amsterdam-teachers tofill in the questionnaire. They were primarily Here we present the results regarding the ‘frustration with parents’-scale.Figure 1 - ‘Frustration with parents’ 3 problem 2,5 compar. 2 1,5 1 0,5 0 1 2 3 4 51 = parents do not seem concerned by child’s behavior2 = unable to agree with parents re: handling child3 = interacting with parents is frustrating4 = I feel harassed by parents of child5 = Parents call to tell me they are unhappy iIn the pilot-study we found that ‘frustration approach permits examination of the degree towith parents’ foremost is influenced by factors which the style of behaving of parents islike lack of concern on the part of the parents, incompatible with the expectations, demandsnot getting agreement re handling the child and other characteristics of a given teacher.and a frustrating interaction with the parents. Working with challenging parentsObviously, it is not very common that parents By focusing on aspects of the teaching processcall the school to complain. Teachers don’t that are distressing to teachers-in this part ofoften feel harassed by parents. our study, the relation with parents-this kindThis part of the research focuses on the impact of research may prove useful as a gauge ofof parents of ‘problem-students’ on the student-parent-teacher compatibility. Butteaching process and teachers’ self-efficacy, there are other salient results.perceptions of support, and satisfaction from Seligman (2000) concluded that teachers viewteaching. The information obtained via this parents more negatively than parents perceive
  • 164. A Bridge to the Future 153 teachers. He therefore emphasizes that - perceive that teachers consider them to‘problem parents’ can also take a ‘problem- be a burden and as a consequence avoidposition’ because of a conflicting interaction schoolbetween the two parties (teacher and parent),caused by impropriate and unprofessional Advisable teacher behavior/attitudesteacher behavior. - attract and welcome parents, don’tHowever, he gives some interesting ideas with frighten themrespect to working with challenging parents. - remain optimistic and realisticSeligman distinguishes 11 types of - don’t try to thrust reality to parentstroublesome parent behavior. He describes when they are not prepared to accept itsome indicators, backgrounds and relevant - make the parents feel welcometeacher-reactions. We here summarize his - understand, not challenge, the fact thatanalyses and recommendations. parents are very preoccupied with demanding jobs, etc.1. Hostile parents - don’t pressure parents to have more - have angry feelings towards the teacher, frequent contacts with the school the school, or the curriculum - write a conveying interest in meeting - accuse teacher of failing to cope with or with the parent teach the child - occasionally phone the parents - (sometimes) have negative experiences - keep trying to get contact! with other professionals 3. Perfectionistic (or excessively worried) Advisable teacher behavior/attitudes parents - avoid responding in a hostile or - are overly involved with the defensive way development of the child - the skill of listening is a powerful and - express dismay to the child and the positive response teacher when tasks are accomplished in - understand that parent behavior reflects a less than perfect way both anger and hurt - the child develops a negative attitude - give your observations in an objective, toward schoolwork because of the noncontentious way criticism he receives whenever his performance falls below his parents’2. Uncooperative parents standard - parents are preoccupied with family or work-related problems Advisable teacher behavior/attitudes - avoidance may be the parent’s way to - don’t try (in advance) to work toward a keep anxiety about the problems the relaxation of the parents’ unrealistically child has at a manageable level high standard - are emotionally challenged or otherwise - describe in clear and understandable impaired terms the nature of the child’s learning - are still denying or having difficulty problem, his limitations, and his coming to terms with their child’s potential disability - explain that children react differently to - because of their modest education some pressure parents are concerned to contact school - mention that praise and support is potent source of motivation
  • 165. 154 A Bridge to the Future - avoid to indicate that the parent is at responsibilities for decisions and course fault for the child’s performance of action4. Professional parents Advisable teacher behavior/attitudes - consciously or unconsciously use their - excessively dependent parents are knowledge in a controlling or frightened; don’t heighten their anxiety condescending way by turning away from them, gradually - are sophisticated at manipulating the wean them away from their dependency system - reinforce their decisions and actions - sometimes annoy teachers by letting - be careful, you can easily be seduced them feel that their knowledge about into a relationship with someone who school, teaching, or educating children has strong dependency needs. with disabilities give them license to be very critical to the teacher and the 6. Overly helpful parents curriculum - excessively helpful parents are motivated by their need to be useful - a Advisable teacher behavior/attitudes need that may be developed in their past - when receiving unsolicited advice from - parents may have developed over professional parents weigh the advice to functioning tendencies because of, for determine its merit and don’t cast it instance, chronic illness in the family or automatically aside an parent who was demanding. - involve the parent in your classroom if you believe that the parent can function Advisable teacher behavior/attitudes collaboratively - communicate, in a sensitive and positive - try to continue the dialogue so that way, that only a limited amount of feelings and perceptions of both parties assistance is needed become clear - try to reduce the amount of time spent - remember always that you are a trained by the parent specialist in teaching children, whereas the 7. Overprotective parents parent may be a specialist in another - anxious about their child’s welfare field. (academic progress, concerns around protection against physical and5. Dependent parents psychological harm) - ask questions about virtually every - fearful attitude about most things aspect of the child’ s life and enlist the - due to feelings of guilt (because of the help of the teacher in both minor and disability of the child), overprotecting major matters the child - will solicit the teacher’s opinions instead of risking her own; they rarely Advisable teacher behavior/attitudes take the opportunity to engage in - suggest more realistic, growth independent thinking and subsequent promoting practices responsibility - reinforce child initiated independent - generally cooperate with the teacher, actions although only when the teacher assumes
  • 166. A Bridge to the Future 155 - suggest activities that facilitate - don’t seek professional help because of independent thinking and living the stigma attached to doing so.8. Neglectful parents Advisable teacher behavior/attitudes - are preoccupied with other family - know your professional limitations, but members or problems show concern about the parents - (sometimes) rejecting the child because - make a distinction about whether the of the disability or because he is not parent needs someone to be supportive, wanted or someone who is trained to provide - neglect may be the consequence of a psychotherapy lifestyle (e.g., alcoholism, drugs abuse) - make the parents aware that their - mistakenly equate neglect with problems appear to need psychological independence attention and that you are not - compound lack of cooperation with the professionally prepared to be of school by not providing the child with assistance the essential emotional ingredients - if a referral is indicated, don’t make - (sometimes) lack of parental skills, personal recommendations other than an combined with immaturity agency, hospital or professional society. Advisable teacher behavior/attitudes 10. Fighting parents - (in severe cases) inform the school - argue with each other during social worker or principal conferences - demonstrate concern with the child both - the arguments may be the consequence verbally, and (when appropriate) of having partial information or physically (a hug or pat on the back) information that is perceived differently - set up situations in the classroom in which the child is included in group Advisable teacher behavior/attitudes activities and sometimes assumes a - void taking sites position of leadership - don’t act like a marriage counselor - continue attempts to engage the parents - try not get involved in heated arguments - avoid blaming the parent for the child’s - try to discriminate between expression problem of major problems, minor - (in case of withholding of food, disagreements, and diverse styles of adequate shelter, clothes) use a more interpersonal interactions direct approach - (if possible) let parents benefit from 11. Involved-uninvolved parents training and education in parenting - fail to carry out agreed-upon courses of skills action - want to be helpful and cooperative, but9. Parents as clients they find it difficult to initiate action - seek help for themselves from their decided upon child’s teacher, because she is - actually feel that home activities fall physically available within the scope of the classroom - are confused by the array of titles of - parents think that they cannot professional assistants (psychologist, adequately perform the tasks agreed psychiatrist, social worker, etc.) upon
  • 167. 156 A Bridge to the Future Advisable teacher behavior/attitudes Inclusion of special needs children into regular - be sure that that own frustration and classrooms will require teachers to cope with anger not become an impediment to increasingly diverse groups of students and effective communication parents. - don’t blame the parents for the slow We discuss several factors that challenge teacher development of the child functioning and effective home-school relations - don’t point out the discrepancy between in inclusive schools. Further, we give some what parents said they would do and results of a pilot-study aimed at quantifying and what they actually do understanding teacher stress and problems in - explain how additional help at home is teacher-student-parent-interactions. We finish by particularly important for children with giving some recommendations for working with disabilities so called ‘problem-parents’. - never pressure parents to work with Though we should be careful not characterizing their child at home. parents of SEN-children with negative labels, it can be helpful to describe ‘good practice’ inEpilogue working with parents of ‘problem children’.Inclusivity concerns not only visions of a It is important to be aware of causal factorstechnical and social nature, but also a balance that influence teacher’s perceptions, ‘..becausebetween demands of individual children’s and only through such understanding will teachersparents’ needs and teachers’ and school-quality. be in a better position to appraise parents’In this chapter we discuss the inclusion- behavior accurately’ (Seligman, 2000, p. 227).movement, highly influenced by the 1994 Both parents and teachers may need supportSalamanca-conference, and related policy- and encouragement in learning to workrecommendations. together as equal partners.Note1 Data collection carried out by my student Monique Brown.ReferencesBrown, M. & Ralph, S. (1992). Towards the identification of stress in teachers. Research in Education, 48, 103-110.Dunham, J. & Varma, V. (1998). Stress in teachers. London: Whurr Publishers.Ferguson, D.L. (1997). How systematic are our systematic reforms? In Implementing Inclusive Education, OECD Proceedings (pp. 49-55). Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Centre for Educational Research and InnovationGreene, R.W., Abidin, R.R. & Kmetz, C. (1997). The Index of Teaching Stress: A Measure of Student- Teacher Compatibility. Journal of School Psychology, 35, 3, 239-259.Henderson, A.T., Marburger, C.L., & Ooms, T. (1986). Beyond the bake sale: An educator’s guide to working with parents. Washington, DC: National Committee for Citizens in Education.Sebba, J. & Sachdev, D. (1997). What works in inclusive education? Ilford: Barnardo’s.Seligman, M. (2000). Conducting Effective Conferences with Parents of Children with Disabilities. New York/London: The Guilford Press.
  • 168. Teachers, power relativism and partnershipPirjo NuutinenBackground and objectives and to take responsibility. This is not anThe project ‘What teachers think about their unexpected finding, because power relations arepower’ was started in cooperation with student constructed in everyday social settings andteachers in 1995 with semi-structured interviews teachers make their decisions in unique situationsamong 22 kindergarten and comprehensive in which also other parties influence onschool teachers in Finland. We were interested in proceeding of the process, where using powerteachers’ power thinking after realizing that takes place. However, we do not know very muchordinary teachers themselves rarely participated about teachers’ different dispositions in thisin discussions which dealt with education, power respect. The aim of this article is to shed light onand teacherhood. In our first interviews we the issues, what kind of attitudes Finnishwanted to know kindergarten and comprehensive school teachers- how teachers conceive power and its meaning have towards power in general philosophical in human existence, meaning and how their attitudes are related to- what they think about their professional their ideas about partnership and using power. autonomy, and- what they think about using power in their About the methodology work with children and youth. Teachers´ attitudes towards power in a general,After that, several substudies including three abstract meaning, were measured in surveys withsurveys have been carried out (see Appendix 1). the semantic differential (Osgood 1969), which is a quantitative scale technique using oppositeOne of the most important theoretical problems of attributes describing the object of attitudethe project is how to describe teachers’ (example next page). This method implies similarintellectual orientations to power in general and difficulties than the Likert technique discussed,to use of power in educating young people. On for example, by Ronkainen (1999) and Toivonenthe basis of the material collected in the project it & Haavio (1969; see also Edwards 1957).is obvious, that there is no special consistent ways Toivonen and Haavio (1969) made threeof power thinking shared by all teachers. successive surveys, which were similar except forAlthough on certain issues, as in assessing the verbal formulations for don’t know’ ordecision makers and administrators, a great ‘cannot say’ - options and compared the results.majority of teachers seem to agree with each They found out that the results of the factorother (see Nuutinen 1997a , 1997b, 1999), there analyses of these three surveys were different,appear, behind the official and quite consistent although nothing had been changed except theeducational framework, in teachers’ practical verbal formulation of one option. Ronkainenthinking, ideological differences, implying even criticizes social researches for not payingconflicting ideas and, among other things, quite attention to different possible meanings ofunexpected interpretations, for example, of small ‘cannot say’ -type answers and for treating themchildren’s and youth’s abilities to make decisions as quite useless nonclasses. Ronkainen mentions
  • 169. 158 A Bridge to the Futurethat Likert - type techniques compel respondents can be influential strategies (‘The Silentto make choices between simplistic black or Majority’) or a way of self - protection.white options and do not leave room for a morereflective and complicated thinking (1999, 168). In 1995 the teachers were requested in semi-In the context of power research different verbal structured interviews to describe their attitudesformulations for ‘cannot say’ -options and towards power by asking whether it was a goodinterpretations given to these formulations by or a bad thing. The analysis of the semi-structuredresearchers and respondents, can be related to a material suggested that there were a few teacherswider context of the power behavior. For who thought that whether power was a good orexample, making classifications and classifying a bad thing, depended on who uses it, with whatas such imply use of power (Deschamps 1982 ). morality and with what results (Nuutinen 1997).The decision to answer and choose one of the This point was first noticed in surveys (1996 -given options can be related to a wider conscious 97), in which teachers’ attitudes towards powerintention to influenc