As the league table debate simmers, I’ve been giving thought to how we build greater levels of understanding about student achievement between schools and communities; especially parent communities. This way we build a culture of trust and enquiry.
I believe that all too often our definition of a school community is predicated on the notion of teachers as expert and parents as carers. This places parents at the periphery of the school learning experience as if it were something quite distinct from the learning taking place within the home. Too often parents defer to the “expert” the teacher because they feel that he teacher always knows best.
Our goal has to bridge the gap between what we know about schooling based on contemporary theory and exemplar practice and what parents know about schooling.
For me, part of the process of school accountability and performance relies on feedback from students and parents. Too often though we dismiss negative feedback – depriving ourselves of a valuable tool for seeking broader engagement, gaining trust and finding new and effective strategies for learning.
I have referred to schools in the UK that, like Reggio-Emilia exist and thrive as an eco-system, a global village where everyone whether it is the cook, parent or teacher has something value to contribute to education.
A quote to ponder from Carina Rinaldi, executive consultant for Reggio Children:
…the school-family is practised not only as an individual relationship between parent and teacher, and certainly not as a relationship of subordination in which the teacher tells the parent what he or she should do, what is right or mistaken.
Rather it is a common journey for building together – parents and teachers – values and ways of educating in contemporary society, inside and outside school.
We have a responsibility therefore to join the parents into the same learning journey that their kids are experiencing. We have exciting new ways to do so