preservice teachers’ notions of families and schooling

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    scribed as natural enemies (Waller, 1932), asworlds apart (Lightfoot, 1978), and as working

    & Williams, 1988; de Acosta, 1996; Morris &Taylor, 1998; Shartrand, Weiss, Kreider, & Lopez,

    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

    *Corresponding author. Tel.: +1-608-263-4600; fax: +1-

    608-263-9992.

    E-mail address: graue@education.wisc.edu (E. Graue).

    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

    programs. Results of the survey indicate that teacher education students enter their professional preparation with

    constructions of family and education that reect their own experience and that assume that families support teacher

    work in the classroom. Out of these assumptions, prospective teachers develop strategies for interaction with families in

    the future. These limited constructions and expectations of families constrain opportunities for support, knowledge,

    and collaboration by holding parents at a distance. Thus, teacher education programs must provide opportunities for

    students to expand their theoretical background while gaining experience working with families in a variety of settings.

    r 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Keywords: Biography; Family; Family school relationship; Homeschool relationship; Parent involvement; Preservice teacher

    education; Preservice teachers; Teacher knowledge

    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-

    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

    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

    issue in teacher education programs. To understand the perspectives prospective teachers bring to their professionalTeaching and Teacher Educati

    Preservice teachers notion

    Elizabeth Graue*,

    Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of

    Received 25 May 2002; received in revise

    Abstracte.2003.06.002(2003) 719735

    of families and schooling

    istopher P. Brown

    onsin Madison, 225 N. Mills, Madison, WI 53726, USA

    m 25 April 2003; accepted 23 June 2003

  • practices

    teacher education programs.

    research

    has beenwhat is

    tive in itcommitm

    ARTICLE IN PRESS

    d Tea7201. Forging links between home and school

    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:

    Type 1 Parenting: Assistance with parentingskills, development, and educationalhome environments.

    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

    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, &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.

    Type 3 Volunteering: Coordinating recruitment,support, and scheduling of families towork at school or other locations tosupport student learning.

    Type 4 Learning at home: Developing activitiesto promote home-based learning.

    Type 5 Decision making: Involving families inschool decision making and governance.

    Type 6 Collaboration: Coordinating communityactors to support school programs andstudent learning.

    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 & Epstein, 1982; Dauber & 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 & Loven, 1992; Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1997).While the bulk of literature on parent involve-

    ment asserts positive outcomes, some scholars aremore skeptical about the adequacy of our knowl-edge ba

    cher Education 19 (2003) 719735s supporters. What this work does not

  • ARTICLE IN PRESS

    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

    cultural capital, the role of culture, ethnicity, andgender to illuminate the complex tensions ofhomeschool relations (Biklen, 1995; Brantlinger,2003; Graue, Kroeger, & 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-

    ment) are shaped by professional experiences andpersonal beliefs. Individuals come into theirprofessional education with cultural scripts thatshape interaction and meaning making (Biklen,1995; Goldstein & 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

    indication of the importance placed on particular