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Families as Partners in Learning What does this mean Why does it matter? Why should we care? How do we do it?

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Presentation on theme: "Families as Partners in Learning What does this mean Why does it matter? Why should we care? How do we do it?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Families as Partners in Learning What does this mean Why does it matter? Why should we care? How do we do it?

2 A few definitions before we start Partnership Education / Learning Families

3 We need a change in focus: From 3 Families Students School/Teachers

4 We need a change in focus: To 4 Resources Services Child Political Social Cultural Economy Labour Markets

5 Where do we do most of our learning? 5 Source: Banks, J et al, 2007, Learning in & out of school in diverse environments

6 The research in unequivocal…Kids do better at school when parents are involved in their child’s schooling High performing schools have high levels of family and community involvement This holds equally true for ‘high poverty’ schools as it does for white, middle class schools In fact, family participation in education has been found to be twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socio-economic status –Greatest impact in areas of highest disadvantage –Holds true across ALL levels of education – all ages, all stages

7 Benefits for children & young people 7 Higher grades and test scores Higher self-esteem Improved social competence Concerns are sorted more quickly when parents have a positive relationship with staff Improved school graduation rates Increased enrolment in post secondary education

8 Benefits for families Their children do better at school and achieve more Families show more sensitivity to their children’s social, emotional and intellectual developmental needs Families are better able to help & encourage their children Use more complex language with their children and encourage their children to verbalize more Have more information about their children’s education Build their own confidence & skills Build trust in educational institutions

9 Benefits for schools Improved student achievement Families bring skills which complement the teacher’s skills & expertise Improved communication to and from families Improved community support –Increased public support for schools Families contribute their time which frees up teachers to do more with students Improved student behaviour Parents can give help & advice on how to reach other parents Improved teacher morale

10 7 key dimensions: A.Communicating B.Connecting learning at home and at school C.Building community and identity D.Recognising the role of the family E.Consultative decision-making F.Collaborating beyond the school G.Participating Family-School Partnerships Framework : What does it look like? Note: This framework builds on the work of Joyce Epstein and the National Network of Partnership Schools

11 Impact on student learning Connecting learning at home and at school has the greatest effect on student achievement This is often one of the hardest things for schools to do as teachers need to explicitly connect with families around curriculum/programs The challenge here is to broaden thinking beyond homework and families monitoring compliance with homework

12 Barriers to the formation of Partnerships: School perspective Belief systems Perception that families don’t understand the school, the education system, its constraints etc Perception that families don’t care about their children / don’t know how to parent and therefore are likely to add little (if any) value Lack of knowledge of the positive research findings on the part of schools & parents Little understanding of how to effectively engage with families and little preparation for this role Structural constraints Reporting and communication from a deficit model ie what’s not going well Language & cultural differences are not understood by schools and no strategies to involve ‘hard to engage’ families

13 What might get in the way of families partnering with schools? Believe an authoritarian Principal / teacher is to be valued so leave them to get on with the job Feel they have little to offer Concerns about their ability to help (time commitment required etc) Unsure of their role or what they have to offer Embarrassed about own education level / language abilities Feel unwelcome / intimidated / talked down to / not understood by the school or its parent organisations Teacher's assumptions of parental disinterest or inability to help with children's schooling Carry own baggage from their school years

14 What can families do? Use everyday opportunities to educate –It’s the little things we do everyday, not the occasional special, event, that are of most value Take an active interest in what’s going on at school - ask your children what they are learning Encourage your child to read – at all ages Show how you use maths and science in everyday applications

15 What else can families do? Be aware of the possibilities offered by technology Visit the school, classrooms, attend parent-teacher interviews, ask questions Show interest in your child’s homework and assignments Raise concerns early with the teacher Show that you value education Have high expectations of your child and your child’s school

16 What next – Establishing a Partnership Action Team Your school may choose to establish a Partnership Action Team (PAT), which reports directly to School Council or one of the School Council sub-committees. The PAT develops a Family-School Partnerships Program

17 For further information Education Regeneration & Community Partnerships Division, DEECD ( Family-School & Community Partnerships Bureau (www.

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