Parental Engagement is Good but …
I recently gave a short presentation on parental engagement, the title of which was ‘Parental Engagement is Good but …’ . The purpose of the presentation was to get delegates to consider the obstacles they might face in implementing parental engagement using online tools.
The discussion took place toward the end of the afternoon, which is not always a good time for a discussion as people are often looking to return home. There was, however, some insightful discussion and some good humour, which led to some interesting comments being made.
A key comment that was made is ‘what are we actually asking parents to engage with?’ Many delegates were content with the concept of online reporting but using online tools to engage parents was clearly going beyond just online reporting. Most delegates were happy with the notion of engaging parents to help with school functions, fund raising etc. but some had doubts as to the effectiveness of online tools to do this. Other delegates, however, felt that parental engagement should go beyond this and should try to engage parents more meaningfully in their child’s education.
There seemed to be an emergence of different levels or types of parental engagement;
Functional engagement- where parents are brought in to support events, raise funds, run Parent Teacher associations etc..
Pedagogic engagement – which seeks make parents feel more involved in the education and upbringing of their child,
Pastoral engagement – where parents could turn to the school or to agencies/staff associated with the school to help resolve family issues or personal issues affecting their child,
Community engagement – where other agencies (social, leisure, educational) could utilise the school facilities to reach engaged parents (and vice versa). Also where the school engages with members who are not yet parents or not yet parents of school-age learners.
A PDF of the presentation can be downloaded here – http://dougwoods.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Parental_Engagement.pdf