Everyone has an opinion.

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Beliefs about schools

In 2018, The FrameWorks Institute interviewed approximately ten participants from the public, practitioners in the field of education, and both State and Federal policymakers in the USA. They found that each group held different beliefs about what is a family, a school, and what comprises a community.  They found three foundational models of schools and communities.  Built on these foundational models, there were three models of family, five different cultural models of schools, and the same number of models for communities. It is not surprising then that nine different models of what is meant by Family school and community engagement were held between the three groups.

Beliefs about Family, School, and community engagement

The Expert’s view of FAMILY, SCHOOL, AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT according to Pineau, L’Hôte, Davis, & Volmert, 2018, p. 10 & 11).

What is family, school, and community engagement?

• Family, school, and community engagement (FSCE) encompasses all the ways that adults interact to support children’s development, academic achievement, and long-term success.

• It centres on the ways that schools initiate and sustain positive, ongoing relationships with families and community organizations.

• Engagement should be relational, intentional, goal-oriented, and continuous.

• It must involve recognition of the positive contributions of everyone involved in children’s lives and be responsive to cultural differences.

Below is the breakdown of the opinions held on the eight different models of Family, school, and community engagement held by each of these groups.

Models of engagementPublicPractitionersPolicy makers
1. The care Transference- is the transfer of care between teachers, parents, and students. Teachers care if parents show they care.ÖÖ 
2. Repeat and reinforce- the family’s job is to repeat and reinforce academic lessons.ÖÖÖ
3. Learning is Compartmentalised- therefore, engagement is not important as kids learn different things in each place.ÖÖÖ
4. Crisis Management Cultural Model- engagement is to resolve crises that might occur -such as poor attendance.ÖNoNo
5. Engagement is personal- engagement depends on relationships between individuals, so is a personal thing.ÖÖ 
6. The Spectrum of Self-Management- the need for engagement depends on the age and independence of the child.ÖÖ 
7. The Modern world disconnects- The public blames phones and other electronic devices for the lack of effective communication between parents and children.ÖÖ to some extent-
but can be
overcome with
positive experiences with technology.
8. The Charismatic Leadership Professional- engagement is driven by the principal. ÖÖ
9. The cognitive hole of Community Engagement- the public and practitioners see the community as a collection of individuals who rarely discuss community engagement.ÖÖ 
Models of Parent engagement held by the public, practitioners, and policymakers.

It would be interesting to conduct this research in Australia. I suspect the research would lead to the same conclusions. It is not surprising then that there is not a common understanding of parent engagement in children’s learning and wellbeing in Australia or uptake by teachers in their pedagogical practice. The next article will cover how to frame the messages we give to build a more cohesive understanding of parent engagement in children’s learning and wellbeing, so we don’t miss out on the benefits.

If you would like more on this, here is a link to a recent seminar I did for ACSSO Australian Council for State Schools Association. Parents will find more information here.