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  • Parental Involvement in Childhood Education

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  • Garry Hornby

    Parental Involvement in Childhood Education

    Building Effective School-Family Partnerships

  • Garry HornbyCollege of EducationUniversity of CanterburyPB 4800Christchurch 8140 New Zealandgarry.hornby@canterbury.ac.nz

    ISBN 978-1-4419-8378-7 e-ISBN 978-1-4419-8379-4DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-8379-4Springer New York Dordrecht Heidelberg London

    Library of Congress Control Number: 2011925654

    Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011All rights reserved. This work may not be translated or copied in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher (Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013, USA), except for brief excerpts in connection with reviews or scholarly analysis. Use in connection with any form of information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed is forbidden.The use in this publication of trade names, trademarks, service marks, and similar terms, even if they are not identified as such, is not to be taken as an expression of opinion as to whether or not they are subject to proprietary rights.

    Printed on acid-free paper

    Springer is part of Springer Science+Business Media (www.springer.com)

  • v

    Preface

    My aim of writing this book was to provide guidance to school and educational psychologists, and other relevant professionals who work with teachers and schools, on the development of effective practices for facilitating the involvement of parents in the education of their children.

    My interest in parental involvement in education emerged when I was teaching adolescents with moderate intellectual disabilities in a secondary school special class in New Zealand 35 years ago. I was advised by another special-class teacher to make home visits early in the school year to all the parents of children in my class. Making these visits helped me build constructive partnerships with most parents, which was of great benefit in teaching their children. However, there were a few parents I could not seem to get through to and so I became aware of not knowing enough about how to work effectively with parents. Later, when I went on to train and work as an educa-tional psychologist, I developed my interest in working with parents further. I began to lead parent education workshops with parents of children with behavioral difficulties and various types of disability and found this very valuable both for the parents and for my understanding of working with them. When I subsequently became a university lecturer and taught courses for trainee and practicing teachers, I have been sure to emphasize the importance of parental involvement and to include sessions on develop-ing the attitudes, knowledge, and skills for working with parents.

    After having the above experiences and those of parenting two boys as they have attended elementary, middle, and secondary school, I have come to believe that partnerships between schools and families are essential in providing the optimum education for children. I now consider that developing the relevant skills and knowledge needed for working effectively with parents is essential for all teachers and that developing comprehensive policies and effective practices for parental involvement is essential for all schools.

    In this book, I have drawn on these experiences to provide information for psychologists and other professionals who work with schools to help teachers develop the knowledge and skills essential for working effectively with parents and to help schools develop effective policies and practices for parental involve-ment. I believe that engaging psychologists in this task will help to ensure that the most effective procedures for parental involvement are used by schools to bring about the best possible personal, social, and academic outcomes for children.

  • vi Preface

    Chapter one provides a rationale for the importance of parental involvement and acknowledges the gap between the rhetoric on parental involvement and the reality of its typical practice in schools. The role of psychologists in promoting familyschool partnerships and facilitating the involvement of parents in their childrens education is considered. Common attitudes of professionals to working with parents are outlined and the attitudes, knowledge, and skills considered to be necessary for working effectively with parents are identified.

    Chapter two presents an explanatory model for understanding the various barriers to parental involvement that contribute to the gap between the rhetoric about it and the reality of its practice in schools. Factors related to children, parents and fami-lies, parentteacher relationships, and societal issues are discussed.

    Chapter three outlines various approaches to working with parents and presents a model to guide the practice of parental involvement that addresses parents needs and also their potential contributions. The model is also used to generate a checklist of questions that schools can employ to evaluate their practice of parental involve-ment to identify strengths and areas that need further development.

    Chapter four presents the findings of surveys of the practice of parent involve-ment in elementary schools in New Zealand, England, and Barbados. It highlights the wide diversity in the practice of parental involvement in the schools and identifies common weaknesses in provision for parental involvement in elementary schools.

    Chapter five presents the findings of surveys of the practice of parent involve-ment in middle and secondary schools in New Zealand, England, and Barbados. Once again, it highlights the wide diversity in parental involvement practices in these schools and identifies common gaps in provision.

    Chapter six discusses the strategies for communication with parents that were found useful in schools surveyed about their practice of parental involvement, as reported in Chaps. 4 and 5. These include informal contacts, parentteacher meetings, different forms of written communication, telephone contacts, home visits, and the use of new technological options such as school websites, e-mail, and text messaging.

    Chapter seven outlines the interpersonal skills needed to work effectively with parents, including listening, assertion, and counseling skills, as well as the group leadership skills needed to work with groups of parents.

    Chapter eight emphasizes the role that psychologists, and other professionals who work with parents, can play in initiatives to improve parental involvement in the education of their children. It presents an ecological analysis of the key compo-nents involved in improving parental involvement, which focuses on changes necessary at the levels of government, education system, school, and teacher.

  • vii

    Acknowledgments

    Chapter two is based on the article Barriers to Parental Involvement In Education: An Explanatory Model, by Garry Hornby and Rayleen Lafaele, published in Educational Review, 2011, 63(1), 3752, with permission.

    Chapter four is partly based on the article Parent Involvement in Rural Elementary Schools in New Zealand: A Survey, by Garry Hornby and Chrystal Witte, published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, 2010, 19(6), 771777, with permission.

    Chapter five is partly based on the article Parental Involvement in Secondary Schools in New Zealand: Implications for School Psychologists, by Garry Hornby and Chrystal Witte, published in School Psychology International, 2010, 31(5), 495508, with permission.

    I would like to thank the following: Chrystal Witte for being my indispensable research associate; John Everatt, Marcia Pilgrim, and David Mitchell for giving me feedback on drafts of the book; my mother-in-law for providing refuge during the time I was putting the book together; my two teenage sons for keeping me grounded in reality throughout the process of producing the book; and the University of Canterbury for providing funds to conduct the studies and present findings at vari-ous conferences as well as for providing time to write the book.

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  • ix

    About the Author

    Garry Hornby (BSc, BA, MA, Dip.Ed.Psych., Ph.D., CPsychol., FBPsS) is a professor of educational psychology in the College of Education at the University of Canter bury in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is a chartered educational and counseling psychologist, and fellow of the British Psychological Society.

    Professor Hornby was born in England and completed a degree in physics at the University of Leeds. His first job was as a counselor in a residential school for emotionally disturbed children in the USA. He then worked as a secondary school teacher in England and New Zealand. From there he went on teach a special class for children with moderate learning disabilities, and subsequently, trained and worked as an educational psychologist in Auckland. He worked as a teacher educator at the Auckland College of Education before returning to England to work as a lecturer and researcher at the Universities of Manchester and Hull for 15 years. He lectured for 2 years at the University of the West Indies in Barbados before moving to Christchurch, New Zealand, where he has been for 8 years. He is married to a Barbadian and has two secondary school age sons.

    His teaching and research is in the areas of educational psychology, special education, counseling, teacher education, and parental involvement in education. His previous publications include: Counseling in Child Disability (Chapman & Hall, 1994), Improving Parental Involvement (Cassell, 2000), Menta