Preservice teachers’ notions of families and schooling

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<ul><li><p>on 19</p><p>s</p><p>Chr</p><p>Wisc</p><p>d for</p><p>scribed as natural enemies (Waller, 1932), asworlds apart (Lightfoot, 1978), and as working</p><p>&amp; Williams, 1988; de Acosta, 1996; Morris &amp;Taylor, 1998; Shartrand, Weiss, Kreider, &amp; Lopez,</p><p>ARTICLE IN PRESSin overlapping spheres of inuence (Epstein, 1995). 1997). Given its importance and the inherenttensions in the relationship, scholars have spentmuch time trying to understand the nature of thehomeschool relationship, mostly with inserviceteachers. We found this work interesting, but it did</p><p>*Corresponding author. Tel.: +1-608-263-4600; fax: +1-</p><p>608-263-9992.</p><p>E-mail address: graue@education.wisc.edu (E. Graue).</p><p>0742-051X/$ - see front matter r 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.tatprogram about working with families, we surveyed students just beginning elementary and secondary teacher education</p><p>programs. Results of the survey indicate that teacher education students enter their professional preparation with</p><p>constructions of family and education that reect their own experience and that assume that families support teacher</p><p>work in the classroom. Out of these assumptions, prospective teachers develop strategies for interaction with families in</p><p>the future. These limited constructions and expectations of families constrain opportunities for support, knowledge,</p><p>and collaboration by holding parents at a distance. Thus, teacher education programs must provide opportunities for</p><p>students to expand their theoretical background while gaining experience working with families in a variety of settings.</p><p>r 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.</p><p>Keywords: Biography; Family; Family school relationship; Homeschool relationship; Parent involvement; Preservice teacher</p><p>education; Preservice teachers; Teacher knowledge</p><p>In the United States, many local, state andnational initiatives designed to promote qualityoutcomes for students focus on homeschoolrelationships (Cutler, 2000). Educators, policy-makers and the public generally endorse thepotential contribution this resource can make toeducation and to individual student achievement(National Education Goals Panel, 1998). Despitethis commitment, the relationship is fraught withtensions. Families and teachers have been de-</p><p>Stories of miscommunication, mistrust, andmissed opportunities are inevitable in the facultylounge, the parent group and the bus stop,illuminating the power that this potential resourcehas in the educational process.Even with the value placed on homeschool</p><p>relations and its tenuous nature, little attention ispaid in US teacher education programs to theprocess of building and maintaining relationshipswith parents and families (Broussard, 2000; ChavkinAlthough there is widespread support given to the idea of strong homeschool relations, little attention is paid to the</p><p>issue in teacher education programs. To understand the perspectives prospective teachers bring to their professionalTeaching and Teacher Educati</p><p>Preservice teachers notion</p><p>Elizabeth Graue*,</p><p>Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of</p><p>Received 25 May 2002; received in revise</p><p>Abstracte.2003.06.002(2003) 719735</p><p>of families and schooling</p><p>istopher P. Brown</p><p>onsin Madison, 225 N. Mills, Madison, WI 53726, USA</p><p>m 25 April 2003; accepted 23 June 2003</p></li><li><p>practices</p><p>teacher education programs.</p><p>research</p><p>has beenwhat is</p><p>tive in itcommitm</p><p>ARTICLE IN PRESS</p><p>d Tea7201. Forging links between home and school</p><p>The scholarship used to justify US policies tostrengthen the links between home and schooltypically focuses on the notion of parent involve-ment, which describes the various ways thatparents and schools can interact to promotelearning. Most representative of this genre ofinquiry is the work of Joyce Epstein and colleagueswho have developed a typology of six types ofparent involvement ranging from assistance withparenting to full partnered collaboration betweenhome and school (Epstein, 1995). This typologydescribes a wide range of involvement and it isexpected that communities would have somecombination of at least some of the types. Thevaried actions are described below:</p><p>Type 1 Parenting: Assistance with parentingskills, development, and educationalhome environments.</p><p>Type 2 Communicating: Fostering home-to-coursework, what do teacher educators need toknow about the ideas prospective teachers bring intotheir education to support interactions with families?It is that question that prompted this study.In this paper, we describe the notions about</p><p>families and schooling held by a group ofpreservice teacher education students as they begintheir professional sequence at a large Midwesternpublic university in the United States. Viewingtheir beliefs as a baseline, we hope to understandhow our efforts to help prospective teachers workeffectively with families might be mediated by alifetime of experience of home and school. Webegin by briey reviewing the literatures related tothis topic. We examine work on parent involve-ment and homeschool interactions, the relation ofbelief and practice for educators, and the nature ofcurriculum content on homeschool relations inschool reltroubledess how to promote inclusive attitudes andamong preservice teachers. If the homeationship is so important, if it is typically aone that is little explored in professionalnot addrE. Graue, C.P. Brown / Teaching anschool and school-to-home communica- homes aes and educators. It is essentially norma-s framing of the problem reecting theents of schools as the authorities andprevalentof familiscriptive work on homeschool relationsvery effective in mapping the terrain ofit represents current practice withinassumptions of roles and responsibilitiesment andThe debetween beliefs about parent involve-the empirical evidence about its efcacy.driguez, &amp;large gapited (Mattingly, Prislin, McKenzie, Ro-Kayzar, 2002). This review points to ament givstudies cse. A recent review suggests that theoverstates the benets of parent involve-en the methodological weaknesses oftion about school programs and studentprogress.</p><p>Type 3 Volunteering: Coordinating recruitment,support, and scheduling of families towork at school or other locations tosupport student learning.</p><p>Type 4 Learning at home: Developing activitiesto promote home-based learning.</p><p>Type 5 Decision making: Involving families inschool decision making and governance.</p><p>Type 6 Collaboration: Coordinating communityactors to support school programs andstudent learning.</p><p>Surveys of teachers indicate that elementaryschools are more likely to have stronger positiveprograms of parent involvement than secondaryschools. Parent involvement is better predicted bythe types of involvement activities promoted byschool people than by family characteristics suchas family structure or socioeconomic status(Becker &amp; Epstein, 1982; Dauber &amp; Epstein,1993): Some researchers argue that increasingparent connections to school results in higheracademic achievement, improved attendance, andbetter grades for students, more positive attitudesfor parents and students, improved parent andteacher satisfaction, and reduced parental stereo-typing by teachers (Foster &amp; Loven, 1992; Hoover-Dempsey &amp; Sandler, 1997).While the bulk of literature on parent involve-</p><p>ment asserts positive outcomes, some scholars aremore skeptical about the adequacy of our knowl-edge ba</p><p>cher Education 19 (2003) 719735s supporters. What this work does not</p></li><li><p>ARTICLE IN PRESS</p><p>d Teaaddress is the way that social, political andeconomic forces shape interactions between parentsand teachers. For that, we must turn to scholarshipthat takes these forces as a central theme.Interpretive studies have utilized constructs like</p><p>cultural capital, the role of culture, ethnicity, andgender to illuminate the complex tensions ofhomeschool relations (Biklen, 1995; Brantlinger,2003; Graue, Kroeger, &amp; Prager, 2001; Heath,1983; Henry, 1996; Lareau, 1989; Lightfoot, 1978;Valdes, 1996). This genre of inquiry has shownthat homeschool relations are multidimensionalinteractions that are situated within the forces ofhistory, power, and culture. From an interpretiveperspective, interactions between families andeducators are theorized to illuminate the how ofthese relationships. This work, which is laborintensive and focused on small groups, moves usbeyond description of practice to the underlyingdynamics that catalyze relations. Interpretive studiesrarely nd their way into policy frameworks ofhomeschool relations because they are not seen astying directly to prescriptions for practice. Relatingthis to our interests, we did not nd in theinterpretive literature a critical look at how teacherscame to the beliefs they hold about parents.Teaching practices (including parental involve-</p><p>ment) are shaped by professional experiences andpersonal beliefs. Individuals come into theirprofessional education with cultural scripts thatshape interaction and meaning making (Biklen,1995; Goldstein &amp; Lake, 2000; Hollingsworth,1989; Kagan, 1992; van den Berg, 2002). Thesebeliefs, which provide a framework for appropria-tion of knowledge and values in professionaldevelopment, are quite stable and form thefoundation for the emerging professional identity.Images of education gure prominently in theformation of beliefs, shaped by notions of goodteachers, ideas of the self as teacher, and memoriesof self as student (Kagan, 1992; van den Berg,2002). We can better understand current practicesof homeschool relations by examining the beliefsheld by prospective teachers as they begin theirprofessional program.The content of teacher education programs is an</p><p>indication of the importance placed on particular</p><p>E. Graue, C.P. Brown / Teaching anissues and topics. Researchers have examined theattention paid to homeschool relations in teachereducation programsthis work is primarily con-cerned with what is not there, critiquing theconspicuous absence of attention to homeschoolrelations in most teacher education programs. In asample of US teacher education programs, Chav-kin and Williams (1988) found that only 4% ofteacher educators reported a self-standing coursein parental involvement in their programs andonly about 1/3 taught even a single class period onthe topic. Family friendly language was found invery few mission statements in a representativesample of teacher education programs, with earlychildhood programs being more likely to includeattention to parents, family, and community thanother teacher education programs (Broussard,2000). Most students in teacher preparationprograms do not feel adequately prepared tofacilitate interactions with families (Foster &amp;Loven, 1992; McBride, 1991; Tichenor, 1997,1998). Without content knowledge focused onfamily school relationships, prospective teachersmust rely on what they already know, which islikely to mirror their own experience (Morris &amp;Taylor, 1998).What we know from the literatures cited is that</p><p>homeschool relations are diverse in their contentand focus, that they are shaped by social andcultural factors, that the practice of teaching isbased on teacher biography and beliefs about theroles of schools, and that teacher educationprograms largely ignore the issue of families ineducation in their curricula. With this knowledgein mind, we developed a study that describes thebeliefs preservice teachers hold at the start of theirprofessional programs. Recognizing that theybring a lifetime of experience to their professionaldevelopment, we wondered how this foundation ofbiography and belief is activated in a teachereducation program. The project posed the follow-ing questions:</p><p>1. What memories do prospective teachers hold oftheir own familys school involvement?</p><p>2. How do they conceptualize the knowledge androles of parents and teachers in education?</p><p>3. How do they anticipate that they will involve</p><p>cher Education 19 (2003) 719735 721families in their own teaching?</p></li><li><p>2. Methods</p><p>We took up this project for multiple purposes.Empirically, we hoped to describe how teachereducation students just entering a professionalprogram thought about homeschool relations tobetter understand the practices in todays schools.Instructionally, our goal was to make our curri-</p><p>2.1. Participants</p><p>ARTICLE IN PRESS</p><p>E. Graue, C.P. Brown / Teaching and Teacher Education 19 (2003) 719735722culum more responsive to the experiences andbeliefs of our students. With a commitment tosupporting more equitable relationships betweenparents and teachers, we wanted to help prospec-tive teachers see parents as collaborators ineducation who had much to contribute. To dothis we needed to develop a baseline for theirknowledge, experience and beliefs; the surveyreported here provides this baseline.1 With thesedual goals we designed a study that wouldprovide descriptive examination of incomingteacher education students conceptions of homeschool relations, balancing attention to the largenumbers of students in our programs with thecomplex challenge of understanding belief andexperience.We recognize the limitations and resources</p><p>provided in a short survey of a midsize group ofstudents. The aggregate nature of survey researchmisses the nuances interpretive work can examine.But at the same time, the survey provides awindow on the beliefs and memories of approxi-mately 130 students as they begin their teachereducation programs. This glimpse into the toolsfor understanding they bring to their professionalprogram might be thought of as a snapshot in timethat gives information to us locally to help us planstrategies of instruction. But is also a snapshotthat is of value to broader audiences interested inunderstanding homeschool relations.</p><p>1This survey is part of a broader project examining students</p><p>development of beliefs about homeschool relations during a</p><p>teacher education program. This broader project includes</p><p>surveys across the ve semesters of their professional programs,</p><p>analyses of course syllabi, interviews with instructors and</p><p>interviews with a small sample of prospective teachers as they</p><p>make their way through the program. We report only theresults of the rst semester survey in this paper.Participants in the study were 130 newlyadmitted undergraduate teacher education stu-dents at a large public university in the Mid-western United States in the fall of 2001.The teacher education programs admit studentsin their junior year who have completed atleast two years of general studies in theuniversity. We surveyed 75 students in theelementary program and 55 students inthe secondary program during a core course inthe rst month of their professional sequence. Wechose this time so that we could assess theirperspectives before they experienced course con-tent in the program. We explained that participa-tion was voluntary and that the informationgenerated would be used to guide the teachereducation program and for research purposes.</p><p>2.2. Instrument</p><p>The survey,2 developed by the rst author, isdesigned to assess the beliefs, memories, andproposed practices of prospective teachers toilluminate the social and cultural understandingstea...</p></li></ul>

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