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Parent Support Advisor/Family Support Worker: A way of developing partnership between school and home?
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Digital multiliteracies, integration, language and mutual cultural learning)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1730-5463
2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Parent Support Advisor: A way of developing partnership between school and home?

Research shows a strong relationship between parental involvement in children’s schooling and their academic achievement (Antony-Newman, 2019). These findings validate the task of the school to cooperate closely with parents. In 2019, a pre-school class to year 9 school appointed a parent support advisor (PSA) for the junior years to strengthen school-family relations and enhance conditions for children to succeed at school. In 2022, two more PSAs were appointed with a focus on years 4-6 and 7-9. A PSA supports an educational partnership between parents and school personnel through building trustful relationships with parents, boosting their confidence to manage challenges and guiding them towards other social service agencies if needed (Percy-Smith, 2011). 

This project’s goal is to investigate the role and effect of PSAs as a way of developing partnership between school and home. The aim is to generate knowledge about how schools can work successfully with parents for children’s best. How can parents’ potential to support their children’s learning processes, create pedagogically congruent environments at home and contribute to school teaching contexts be realized? How can a PSAs role be developed? 

The project is framed theoretically by the concepts of situated learning and legitimate peripheral participation (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Learning as situated casts learning as an integral aspect of participation in a social practice and foregrounds everyday events as rich sources of insight. Parents and teachers count as two legitimate participants in children’s education albeit with different perspectives, funds of knowledge and practices. Despite the rewards of participation, parents struggle with low self-efficacy regarding their parenting and often do not feel qualified to engage in their children’s schooling. 

In line with action research, this project’s focus emanates from a school’s developmental needs and builds on cooperation between university researchers and school practitioners. Methods of investigation include questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and workshops. 

A pilot study suggests that PSAs can extend the pedagogical reach of teachers (clarifying homework, encouraging parents to boost literacy at home) and contribute with their own qualities (empowering parents, liaising with other support agencies/services). Teachers disclosed that a PSA can go the extra mile with parents in ways teachers do not have the time to but that there is a risk that teachers leave their work with parents to the PSA. 

(Pre) schools increasingly digitalize their communication with parents. However, this practice can include some parents and exclude others depending on their life contexts and competence. While PSAs can challenge teachers to meet parents on their own communicative terms, they also provide digital support in terms of hands-on coaching. Since this task is geared to creating conditions for parental engagement in their children’s schooling, it is a critical dimension of a PSA’s role. 

References

Antony-Newman, Max (2019). “Parental involvement of immigrant parents: a meta- synthesis”. Educational Review, 71(3), 362-381.

Lave. Jean & Wenger, Etienne (1991). Situated learning. Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge University Press.

Percy-Smith, Barry (2011). Parent Support Advisors: A key link in integrated Child and Family Services. Konferenspaper presenterad vid UcLan.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023.
Keywords [en]
Family Support Worker, parents, school-home partnership, pedagogical congruence, school-parent communication
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-107232OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-107232DiVA, id: diva2:1784885
Conference
NERA 2023 ”Digitalization and Technologies in Education – Opportunities and Challenges”, Oslo, Norway, March 15-17, 2023
Available from: 2023-07-31 Created: 2023-07-31 Last updated: 2023-08-01Bibliographically approved

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St John, Oliver

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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