This literacy review aims to discuss why it is important for teachers to maintain responsive and reciprocal relationships with the parents and whānau of their students. The three articles that will be reviewed and synthesised are Collaborating with Parents/Caregivers and Whānau (Fraser, 2005), Successful Home-School Partnerships: Report to the Ministry of Education (Bull, Brooking & Campbell, 2008) and Strengthening Responsive and Reciprocal Relationships in a Whānau Tangata Centre: An action research project (Clarkin-Phillips & Carr, 2009). The review will focus specifically on the discussions about parent-teacher partnerships within said articles. The key findings within the literature will be examined and related to contemporary theorists. This review will also discuss why we need these partnerships, the child’s perspective on these relationships, the impact of the parent’s perspective on development and specific issues that may be encountered.
Rationale for Building Effective Relationships:
Fraser (2005) and Clarkin-Phillips & Carr (2009) discuss the many benefits of teacher-parent relationships for students, stating they include gains in health, well-being, educational achievement and increased long-term economic well-being and enthusiasm for learning.
Fraser (2005) explains that modern society allows families to potentially become isolated, due to the recent urbanization of Western society, leading to collaboration between parents, whānau and teachers being more important than ever before. This means that teachers need to relate to Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, as it is a reliable resource for teachers to see perspective of how children operate within a system and understand the influences on both the children and their families (Grant & Ray, 2010). Bull et al. (2008) identifies that there is an increased need for research on interventions that are designed to promote parental involvement. Epstein (1995) has developed a framework of six types of family involvement, which as described by Bull et al. (2008), is a useful tool for understanding how building these effective partnerships between the school, teachers, families/whānau and communities can be beneficial to the students learning. These six principles are the “overlapping spheres of influence” that acknowledge that the educators, parents and community members have an effect on the student and share responsibility for the student’s academic and social growth. Epstein’s work widely influences many schools across the United States of America (Grant & Ray, 2010).
Fraser (2005) examines the positives of effective parent-teacher partnerships and points out that collaboration with low socio-economic status and minority families allows for gains that can be exceptionally life enhancing and teachers themselves can learn from this by looking into Moll’s concept of social capital, the ‘funds of knowledge’ approach. The funds-of-knowledge approach allows teachers to...