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Examining parental involvement


Sarajevo, March 2009
Involvement in national
consultation - EU
Types of involvement EU
Pre-transition model

                                                       Regional/local   Regional/local
                                                        government       government

                                            School        School           School         School
                                           governing     governing        governing      governing
                                             body          body             body           body




Previous study (phase 1)
   Principals‟ perception:
     Parents‟      engagement in school life is contributing
       Educationalattainment of pupils
       School atmosphere

     Parents‟      involvement in school governance
       Limited efforts on school side
       Limited effectiveness of parents engagement in
        meaningful ways due to:
               Lack of parents‟ interest
               Lack of parents‟ time
               Lack of parents‟ communication skills
Complication 1.
   Two cultures, misunderstandings
Epstein‟s theory of parent

                 family-like school   school-like family
family, school
  learning at
    with the
Sheridan and Kratochwill‟s model of
family-school partnership

  Goals of                Partnership orientation                         Traditional orientation

family-school      Clear commitment to work together in
                                                                 Emphasizing the school role in promoting
 partnership:             order to promote child‟s
                      Frequent communication that is             Communication initiated primarily by the
 a. creating                   bidirectional                     school, infrequent and problem-centred
                  Appreciating the cultural differences and
  roles for          recognizing the importance of its           “One size fits all” – cultural difference is a
    family        contribution to creating positive learning       challenge that needs to be overcome
                 Appreciation of the significance of different
                                                                      Differences are seen as barriers
b. promoting
 continuity       Roles are clear, mutual, and supportive           Separate roles distance participants

 c. enhancing    Goals for students are mutually determined      Goals determined by school, sometimes
                                 and shared                               shared with parents
     of all        Plans are co-constructed, with agreed         Educational plans devised and delivered
                       upon roles for all participants                         by teachers
Sheridan and Kratochwill‟s model of
family-school partnership
                                             responsive, and
                            maintaining                        differences in
                              positive                         perspectives
                         relationship as a                         seen as
                               priority                          strengths

                                                                                commitment to

  collaborative,                               family-                                emphasis on
 and balanced                                  school                                outcomes and
                                                                                    goal attainment
  relationships                              partnership
Complication 2.
   Mutually exclusive expectations
   Parent-teacher roles/expectations

                                      KEY FINDINGS
                                               Teachers perceive their roles as very distinct
                                               from parents: Teachers are expected to
                                               organize the learning and to inform the
Parents develop “role constructions; family
                                               parents on the child‟s academic progress;
resources should be treated as forms of
                                               parents are responsible for child‟s social and
capital: human, social, and cultural capital
                                               emotional development; parents prefer formal
”(Diamond & Gomez, 2004).
                                               ways of communicating with teachers,
                                               („concrete and superficial relation with the
                                               teachers“) (Poulou & Matsagouras, 2007).
                                               Revised model of parental involvement
The attitudes parents have towards school      process suggest that there is a need for
are very important; teachers expect more       differentiating between home- and school-
from parents than parents are aware            based involvements (Green, Walker, Hoover-
(Deslandes & Rousseau, 2007)                   Dempsey & Sandler, 2007)
Complication 4.
   Parents differ
Who gets involved and why:
predictors of parental involvement
                                                      THE ABSENTEE
                                                  • Education: low/medium
               THE SUPPORTER
                                                • Characteristics: does not
          • Education: low/medium             consider him/herself suited to
Y     • Characteristics: satisfied and        make a contribution, may only
P      involved, prepared to help with      participate when asked explicitly,
     practical matters, willing to work,           moderately dissatisfied,
E         an excellent helping hand,             uninvolved. School has no
S           pleasant partner, active,        priority, leaves choice of school
          available on demand, has            up to chance, unapproachable
O                 sufficient time            • Key words: loner, quitter, no
F    • Key words: helpful, nice, solid,       contact with other parents, no
       friendly, creative, sympathetic,         friendship relations with the
P          joint thinker, harmonious,            school, uncommunicative,
A     supportive, enlightening, willing           wrestles with cultural gap
        to serve, naïve, well-adjusted         • Suited for: school support
E      • Suited for: lending a helping       network, can serve as a bridge
           hand, parent committees             to other absentee parents or
      • Not suited for: school board                  group of parents
                without training            • Not suited for: school board or
                                                 parent committees without
                   (Smit, Driessen, Sluiter & Sleegers, 2007)
Who gets involved and why:
predictors of parental involvement
                                                     THE CAREER-MAKER
               THE POLITICIAN                      • Education: medium/high
       • Education: medium/high                     • Characteristics: places
T     • Characteristics: desire to                     responsibility for child
Y      help make decisions, exert                     raising, child care, and
P      influence, and be involved;                   education on the school;
       satisfied as long as parent                       one-stop-shopping
      can participate in meetings;                 approach; satisfied as long
               critical consumer;                 as school takes on all tasks;
     extroverted; pays attention to               critical with regard to choice
O       „democratic‟ quality of the               of school; „school is for the
F               choice of school                              parents‟
P           • Key words: critical,                      • Key words: aloof,
A    precise, optimistic, desire to                businesslike, all take no
R             inspire, persuasive                               give
E       • Suited for: school board                • Suited for: school board,
N         • Not suited for: actual                   provided this fits his/her
T        conduct of helping-hand                          career prospects
S                    services                          • Not suited for: time
                                                     consuming helping-hand
                       (Smit, Driessen, Sluiter & Sleegers, services
Who gets involved and why:
predictors of parental involvement
                                                        THE SUPER PARENT
              THE TORMENTOR                               • Education: high
               • Education: high                       • Characteristics: feels
     • Characteristics: feel offended            responsible for child raising and
    and misunderstood as a result of                education together with the
Y                                                 school is willing to invest in the
P      the school‟s attitude and own
          educational experiences;                school relation; thinks critically
E    denounces errors on the part of                    along with the school;
S   the school as a critical consumer,                contributes good ideas; is
       is an unguided missile for the           prepared to utilize own networks;
        school team; is only satisfied          is satisfied when the school does
O                                                its best for own child and other
F       when the school cringes and
            takes responsibility for                           students
            suboptimal functioning                • Key words: loyal, ambitious,
P                                                   innovative, communicative,
A     • Key words:: know-it-all, cold,
           insensitive, aggressive,              inspiring, walking encyclopedia,
R       conflictual, fighter, theatrical,                       grows
E                   impatient                       • Suited for: thinking about
N        • Suited for: school board                 problems, finding solutions,
T                                                  handling crises, acquisition of
      • Not suited for: helping-hand                 funds, school board (chair)
        activities, parent committees
                                                    • Not suited for: supportive
                      (Smit, Driessen, Sluiter & Sleegers, 2007)
                                                            school network
   Who gets involved and why:
   predictors of parental involvement
                                        RELEVANT FINDINGS
                                                          Perceiving themselves as more efficient and seeing
                                                          their role closer to teachers promotes parental
Factors influencing parent involvement: parent
                                                          involvement; parents involvement depends on
efficacy regarding education, difficulty in making
                                                          parents perceptions of their beliefs and thoughts
ends meet and neighbourhood disorders
                                                          about themselves as parents – they need to believe
(Waanders, Mendez & Downer, 2007).
                                                          „they are able to make a difference“ (Georgiou,
                                                          Belonging to different groups and associations
                                                          subject a person to a set of expectations which
There‟s a significant lack of sense of policy control
                                                          results in these expectations getting „recursive“,
and the interest in community-based activities on
                                                          influencing the nature, patterns and intensity of
the local level, which may also explain why people
                                                          parent involvement; there are 3 main sources of
living in similar life and societal conditions may have
                                                          parental involvement: psychological motivators
not be too interested in participating in the decision-
                                                          promoting involvement, perceived invitations to
making process and policy issues regarding
                                                          involvement, parent‟s perceptions about life context
schooling (Markward et al., 2006).
                                                          elements that enable involvement (Hoover-
                                                          Dempsey, 2007).
    Who gets involved and why:
    exclusion patterns
                                             KEY FINDINGS
Minority and immigrant families might be under the       Teachers from special schools see the parents
risk of “becoming marginalized while being held          within a deficit model; parents‟ problems are seen
responsible for getting „involved‟; although the         as being the obstacles for both children‟s progress
parental involvement issues have arisen on a large       and cooperation with the school; parents
wave of discussions about the school                     cooperating with the teachers are identified as
democratization, it actually failed in recognizing the   caring, while - caring parents do not question the
potentially harmful implications for vulnerable          quality of teachers‟ work (Boutskou, 2007).
groups (Theodorou, 2007).

Agreement between school employees, students and their parents that the parental involvement and
presence in schools needs to be more significant although it is not prioritized the same way; parents lack
information and school assistance on how to support learning of their children; parent-teacher relations are
burdened by dissatisfaction, frustrations and “readiness to quit and disengage”; the expectations of the
other side are very high (Polovina, 2007).
Complication 5.
   Teachers matter but…
   Teacher‟s practices of parental
                                       KEY FINDINGS

Three underlying factors characterizing the
                                                  Strategies for boosting parent participation
strategies teachers use for facilitating parent
                                                  are formed around a few key points:
involvement at the classroom level:
                                                  •development of a vision of parental
• informing the parents on student
performance and problems,
                                                  •expansion of the visibility and
• providing the information and
                                                  approachability of the school team via the
recommendations on increasing the
                                                  creation of contact moments,
involvement in academics,
                                                  •attention to the concerns of parents,
•providing the connections with health and
                                                  •connection to what parents find interesting,
community institutions;
                                                  •an eye for the quality of the communication
                                                  between school and parents,
the more often the teachers simply reach for
                                                  •stimulation of creativity and initiative,
parents, the more often parents from all
                                                  •giving parents time to learn something from
socioeconomic groups tend to put some
                                                  the school team (Smit, Driessen, Sluiter and
effort in engaging in the school life
                                                  Sleegers, 2007)
(Seitsinger, Felner, Brand & Burns, 2008).
Complication 6.
   Trust   conflict
  Parents‟ trust

                              RELEVANT FINDINGS
 Parents‟ trust varies by factors that
affect the opportunities for parents to
make discernments about the
                                              Partnerships need to be adapted to
trustworthiness of the school;
differences in organizational               fit: specific conditions of family,
characteristics of school lead to           demographics, student
variation in parent-school trust; most of   developmental needs, school
the inter-school variability can be         structures, community resources
explained by the parents‟ sense of          (Benson, 1999).
influence; systematic steps taken by the
school in order to enhance the parent
influence result in more trust (Adams,
Forsyth & Mitchell, 2009)
 Between cooperation and conflict: teacher
 and parent perceptions of parental

The origin of unsatisfactory teacher-parent communication is perceived to lie within the school who
should initiate the collaboration being more responsive to parental and children‟s needs (Lawson, 2003)
What can we expect?

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