Exploring understanding of school-based parental educational reponsibility : parents', teachers' and administrators' conceptions
Bertram, John Charles
This section presents an orderly synopsis of material presented in the current study. Conciseness and clarity are the principal aims of the resume. All work associated with this study is directly due to a long interest in secondary school daily life and interrelationships among 'parents’, children/students and school personnel. As well, this candidate is interested in ever-changing power relationships, socio-economically, among parents, children/students and school personnel (the state). Formal university Master-level work on the topic of relations between 'parents’ and public education in Quebec was accomplished by the writer between 1973 and 1978. The present study, with broadly-based concerns, examines one component of said interrelationships in relation to a single Quebec, English-language, public, secondary school. It is understood throughout the study that words like 'parent(s)’ and other words having this base are, in thought, in quotation marks because of a commonly-experienced immense variety of ordinary parent situations although, legally, it may be understood that, for any given child/student, a responsible adult 'parent’ may be, if required, indicated. Chapter One gives the title, Exploring understanding of school-based parental educational responsibility: Parents’, teachers’ and administrators’ conceptions and presents material leading a reader into understanding why such a study is undertaken. Certain word meanings are clarified, a research problem is explained and education as a public concern is explored. In a section on a possible rationale for the study, an attempt is made to suggest a necessity to comprehend significance of school-based parental educational responsibility because of the topic’s perceived basic significance. A prominent theme of all post-graduate work at this university, that of interrelationships among training, practice and research, is addressed in relationship to the study. Context of the research problem is explained. A research purpose is stated along with a principal research question, namely, How do parents, teachers and administrators conceive of the phenomenon of school-based parental educational responsibility? A section deals with a perceived significance for the study and a conclusion venturing recognition of an importance for school daily life of mutual comprehension of the research phenomenon by school stakeholders. Chapter Two is the literature review. Much of the beginning of the chapter is based on acknowledgement of the immense area of ongoing research of parent involvement in school-site daily life. Many theses continue to be written on innumerable topics associated with what is generally recognized as helpful parental involvement in school-site daily life. Added to this section is a section on current learned journal material on the area of parental school-site involvement. General works are then recognized in various fields of study of social relationships and general biology to show the breadth of the concern of parent-child relationships as a basis for later parent-child/student-school personnel interrelationships. A short section on legal background material is presented with a note that this is a vast field of its own, components of which may be recognized as having some bearing on practically all areas of parent, child/student, school personnel interrelationships. A short section outlining critical importance of the content of Quebec and other possible official literature on the topic of parental involvement is school life also appears. Delimitations of literature studied are ventured prior to a brief concluding section. Chapter Three commences more-focussed attention to this study in its explanation of methodology. An apology is offered on a decision to employ a qualitative methodology type with special attention to words like 'understanding’, 'discover’ and 'meaning’. In general, to be noted, is that data gathered and analysed may lead to formulation of general understanding and possible presentation of a hypothesis. With completion of the study in hand, a possible hypothesis may be that formulation of helpful school policies and practices regarding interrelationships among parents, children/students and school personnel is founded on school stakeholders’ mutual knowledge and comprehension of a school community’s conceptions of school-based parental educational responsibilities. Items of research significance, problem, question and method are successively treated with emphasis on research helpfulness offered through data gathered by in-depth interviews. Additional sections deal with sampling and pertinent factors of the research site. A section on analysis is then presented prior to a conclusion. Attention to a perceived exploratory nature of the present study is emphasised for useful appreciation of its possible significance. Chapters Four, Five and Six present material on analysis of data contributed through seven in-depth interviews involving nine interviewees. Interview questions are structured to hopefully provide responses relating to three successive time periods of interviewee lives: past (Chapter Four), present (Chapter Five), future (Chapter Six). Material of these three chapters provides analytical insight into data contributed leading to Chapter Seven’s analytical itemization of interview material. Chapter Four deals with interview material relating to interviewees’ present perceptions of past experiences with personal manifestation of school-based parental educational responsibilities. Of necessity, primary remarks concentrated generally on interviewee perceptions of their parents’ demonstration of components of school-based parental educational responsibilities, such remarks generally preceded data material on interviewees’ personal experience of their past school-based parental educational responsibilities. Setting forth of salient points made by each interviewee is followed by an analytical commentary giving rise to recurring regularity revelations as well as noting differences among remarks made. Categories of 'reliance of households upon the relevant education institution sorting out meaningful achievement goals in many areas of life’ and 'conceptual uniqueness of each domestic arrangement/household and its core values’ are selected as pertinent in discussion of most prominent points made by interviewees regarding their individual perceptions of past experience of school-based parental educational responsibilities. Chapter Five, focussed on present perception of interviewees of their present demonstration of school-based parental educational responsibilities, deals with considerably more data than that offered for the previous chapter’s remarks. Design of this chapter relies on a three-part division of questions and responses referring to the present. For each division is presented basic data ideas followed by analytical remarks and categorizations. For the first division of this chapter, categories suggested are the same as those outlined in the previous chapter although two subcategories are suggested for the second one, namely, ’acknowledgement of a broad, firmly-held, multi-faceted involvement reluctance regarding collective school-based parental educational responsibilities with uneasy, hesitant acceptance of decisions made by official and other school-based groups formed thereby’ and ’domestically-felt, school-originated, unresolved problems bespeaking home-to-school communications gaps’. Regarding the second division of this chapter, the descriptive category suggested as pertinent is identical to that of the first subcategory quoted in the previous sentence. Categorization respecting the third and final subdivision of data regarding the present involves the first category presented in chapter four. Material of this chapter is, in a sense, of most help for a reader to comprehend the chief aim of the study, namely to understand how school stakeholders conceive of present performance of school-based parental educational responsibilities and what such responsibilities may involve. Chapter Six deals with the most important points made by interviewees and analysis thereof, regarding interviewees’ present perception of possible personal future demonstration of school-based parental educational responsibilities. Primary observation of data contributed for this interview part would indicate slim willingness and even ability to make helpful remarks regarding what might helpfully take place in the future. Analysis followed by an attempt at categorization yielded a repetition of the category, ’reliance of households upon the relevant education institution sorting out meaningful achievement goals in many areas of life’. It appears, in general, that broad-based vision of significance and possible dimensions of a comprehensive school-based parental educational responsibility is hazily present and probably not much contemplated by school stakeholders. Chapter Seven deals with analytical itemization of components of school-based parental educational responsibilities discussed by interviewees. Items are analytically subdivided with the primary exploratory research purpose in mind. Note is taken of items specified by parents, teachers and an administrator respectively and of items common among all interview data. A reader will understand an absence of relationship between mention of any and all items and any possible actual performance. Following appear items related to components of school-based parental educational responsibility discussed by interviewees in a sense of interviewee perception of their embeddedness in forms of obstacles to be overcome or problem situations seeking helpful responses to effective carrying-out of particular school-based parental educational responsibilities. In Chapter Seven, descriptive analysis charts, research significance charts and summary charts are employed in setting out details for both major sections of the chapter. In this way, a reader may gain a sense of the numbers of components of possible school-based parental educational responsibilities actually mentioned through in-depth interviews and of the scale of challenges to better understanding of interviewee perceptions, conceptions and actual, effective manifestation of said responsibilities. The chapter closes with an extensive conclusion. Chapter Eight, a summary and discussion, forms this study’s concluding chapter. Part of the chapter is devoted to considerations of literature studied in preparation for gathering data for research purposes. Certain research hesitations because of perceptible assumptions in literature studied as sources and roots of gaps, like assumptions of parent concern and capability, school personnel expectations regarding parental educational responsibility and school personnel knowledge of parental educational expectations are discussed. Six theoretical sub-implications respecting general theoretical implications of this study in relation to Quebec official document are presented. A brief explanation of unanticipated findings is offered. As well, implications of the current study regarding research, training and practice precede a conclusion for the study. Within the conclusion, a possible hypothesis for future use is suggested as a possible connection between the current study and possible future work related to the study’s theme.