Partnership between Parents and School

Short description

In recent years, the cooperation between schools and parents (the term equally means legal guardians in the broadest sense) has increasingly – and due to the (temporary) school closures in the Corona pandemic very intensively – become the focus of both educational practice and educational research. The formally different fields of reference in the education and upbringing process of children and adolescents (model of “overlapping spheres”, Epstein, 2011; Paseka, 2011) blurred during the phases of home learning in the pandemic. Parents were suddenly much more involved in their children’s school teaching and learning processes and were challenged in their role as learning guides and motivating, structuring, providing devices and software and even assisting with technical problems (cf. among others ELAL studies by Porsch/Rübben/Porsch 2021). Against the background of the manifold challenges that families and school stakeholders have faced in the months of the pandemic (and will continue to face in the future), the importance of successful parent-school cooperation has become even clearer (Huber/Helm/Schneider, 2022, in print). The advantages of a close cooperation between parents and school include (cf. Huber et al., 2020, 2012) the establishment of more needs-oriented family support services, the increase of the positive influence potential of parents or the reduction of the negative influence potential, the support and relief of the work of teachers, networking among parents, and the improvement of the school programme and school climate.

Moreover, the efforts of educational policy and school practice to compensate for socio-economic disadvantage need parents as partners – not only, but particularly in crises (Keller/Luder/Paccaud/Pastore, 2020, with reference to Sacher, 2016, 2014, and Hertel, 2016). The shared task of all is to support the children and young people in a supportive learning environment and to balance heterogeneous perspectives. The focus of the planned research project lies on the concrete design of the cooperation between schools and parents.

Aim

The aim of the research project is to investigate types, intensities and determinants for a successful cooperation between schools and parents.

Research questions

The main questions are:

  • On which topics do schools and parents cooperate? (What)
  • In what form do schools and parents cooperate and to what intensity? (How)
  • To what benefit do schools and parents cooperate? (For what purpose)
  • Under what conditions do schools and parents cooperate? (Conditions)

By means of a survey, a multi-perspective comparison of opinions on the quality of school-parent cooperation between school actors (school management, teachers, other pedagogical staff) and parents will be carried out. The following dimensions of the quality of parent-school cooperation will be examined:

a) current situation (actual state): what does cooperation look like in practice?

b) ideal situation (target): what should cooperation look like? What are parents’ and school stakeholders’ mutual wishes and expectations regarding the nature of cooperation?

Factors and recommendations for a professional educational partnership will be derived from the analysis of the research findings, thus contributing to further developing the quality of work in school in promoting the educational processes of children and young people as a whole.

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