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Categorisations: From (un)supportive to (ir)responsible parents Hanne Knudsen Assistant professor Aarhus University School of Education (DPU), Emdrup.

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Presentation on theme: "Categorisations: From (un)supportive to (ir)responsible parents Hanne Knudsen Assistant professor Aarhus University School of Education (DPU), Emdrup."— Presentation transcript:

1 Categorisations: From (un)supportive to (ir)responsible parents Hanne Knudsen Assistant professor Aarhus University School of Education (DPU), Emdrup

2 What to expect from this paper Two pieces of recent conversations in Danish schools – where negotiations and categorisation is going on. Draws on analysis from my ph.d. thesis, Do we agree? Main points: –Important changes in accessible categories for both teachers, pupils and parents: From role to interaction –Important changes in definition of responsibility: From formal to personal responsibility –Important changes in how categorisation take place: From the teacher categorising parents as supportive or not to parents being invited to categorise themselves as more or less responsible

3 Categorisation 1: a school-home conversation Mathematics master, 3rd class: Ill start by praising you. Your support to Martin, his home work and school is really good. And he needs it (mum: yes). With you standing on the sideline, you make sure that he keeps order in his things. […] You are always nice and cheerful and in a good mood, you want action, and you are always happy. That is nice (mum: yes). You can be a little noisy, but you understand. You know that you should moderate and keep the noise down when you are told to. It is very important, Martin, that you concentrate your attention in the lessons. And that is your big problem or handicap. It is difficult for you to sit still for a long time.

4 CategoriesSupport discourse The good pupil Contributes to the lessons and to his/her own learning (does not disturb) In the conversation: keeps quite The professional teacher Is the expert - describes the pupils progress (is the expert in the conversation) Is the authority - keeps discipline and is able to make the child do as he/she is told Teaches Comprehends all children with sympathy The supportive parentSupports the school: - shows trust -makes sure that the child is at school on time, well fed, with things in order.

5 From 1950s and on: support discourse The parents can [through meetings] try to create a correct picture of their possibilities of supporting the teacher in his efforts to create the best conditions of the childrens life and work at school. (Teaching instructions, following the law of the folkeskole 1958, part 2: 118)

6 From 2000 and on: responsibility discourse Parenting programmes can be defined as mapped out processes with focus on the parents ability of filling in their role as parents. The purpose of this kind of programme is to strengthen parents ability and will to take their responsibility as parents. (law on strengthening parental responsibility 2006: 10)

7 The support discourse: from the 1950s SchoolChildHome/parent The responsibility discourse: from 2000 and on school family Learning space Two discourses in Denmark today

8 New forms of meeting New technologies to promote parental responsibility -Therapeutic techniques – where the family is invited to see itself as responsible and with potentiality for improvement -Games – where the family, the parents in a class or other gets an opportunity to reflect on themselves.

9 Categorisation 2: responsibility game Introduction among parents in groups: How did my child manage to start school? […] A father: Freja has had no problems starting school. Loved it from the first day. […] It should be mentioned that we are in a divorce situation, Dorthe and I. Freja knows everything about that, because we talk to her and tell her what is going to happen. We dont hide anything. So for the time being there has been no problems of any kind. And I dont think there is going to be any. A mother: One day when I came, just after you had left (father: yes), she was sitting in the sofa all by herself (father: yes). I said: But why are you sitting here? She was sorry because she was going loose her dog (father: thats true, thats true). So she was a little sad that day. And then it also came out that her mum and dad should be divorced. We talked a littel, and I was late for work […] Father: It is evident that it will always hurt when you have to loose your dog.

10 The father of Freja claims to be responsible and Freja to be happy. The mother claims that if we are commited to reality, we have to say that Freja is not all through happy. But in the situation it is not clear whether this is a game or not No formal responsibility, an undefined, openended personal responsibility No given roles which you can perform better or worse

11 CategoriesResponsibility discourse The responsible pupilTakes responsibility for his/her own learning The responsibility distributing teacher Distributes responsibility for learning to the pupil Keeps the parents to their responsibility Describes the pupil not only as pupil but as unique person The responsible parentTakes an undefined responsibility for turning the family into a learning environment, - and other things

12 Categorisations Support discourse Negotiations of who is to be categorised as professional teacher, good pupil, supportive parent is a negotiation of whether this person lives up to the general role with its formal duties: Person role Formal responsibility Responsibility discourse Negotiations of who is to be categorised as responsible is a negotiation on the spot, of what is responsible Roles are negotiated in each interaction Personal responsibility

13 Discussions of the responsibility discourse Who can take responsibility for the ways in which parents can take responsibility? Who can take responsibility for the parameters on which parents are judged? Is there any limits for the parents responsibility?

14 Further reading Knudsen, Hanne (2009): Har vi en aftale? (U)mulighedsbetingelser for mødet mellem folkeskole og familie. ("Do we agree? Conditions of (im)possibility of the meeting between school and family.) Ph.D. thesis, DPU. –Udkommer som bog på Nyt fra Samfundsvidenskaberne, januar/februar Knudsen, Hanne (2007): Parent management or Take care out there!. IJPE, vol. 1, number 0. (On categorisation of parents) McLure, Maggie and Barbara Walker (2003): Interrogating the discourse of home-school relations. In: MacLure, Maggie: Discourse in educational and social research. Buckingham, Philadelphia: Open University Press. (On negotiations in (traditional) school-home conversations) Staunæs, Dorthe, Juelskjær, Malou og Knudsen, Hanne (forthcoming/2009): Psy-ledelse. Nye former for (skole)ledelse set igennem tre optikker. Psyke & Logos: Dansk Psykologisk Forlag.

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