Fundació Jaume BofillUniversitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)


We are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Debats d’Educació by giving the educational community the opportunity to air its views

Jordi Collet
Jordi Collet
Lecturer in educational sociology at the University of Vic

Lecturer in educational sociology at the University of Vic.

The three things I’ve learned

Families and school: what links for what education?

Constructing a physical and symbolic place for the school’s families

Mass schooling began in Europe with the desire to educate children in values, an idea of childhood, etc. very different from those of families and the community. So, from the very beginning, primary and secondary schools were not designed for or with families. This structural difficulty; this lack of initial recognition for families as a part of schools, is what today hampers many of the initiatives for improving relations between teachers and parents. That is why the first proposal is that teaching staffs should ask themselves the question “What physical and symbolic place should families have at our school?” And, based on this question on the space and the role parents should have when taking children to school and picking them up; in assessments; in school governance; in interviews, etc., they should rethink and change their relationships with families in practice. 


Increasing the quantity and quality of links with families

Research tells us that one of the characteristics necessary for academic success is for the school and everything associated with it to form part of “us” for children, young people and their families. For this to happen, the school needs to work to construct a good, extensive link with ALL its families. That means the challenge for teachers is to construct a quantitative and qualitative link vigorous and intense enough to allow the families furthest away from the “school culture” in particular to experience the fact that it forms part of “us”, and is not something alien or irrelevant. This link can be constructed from some non-teleological, empathetic interviews; from meetings designed for all families; from informal get-togethers aimed more at constructing a link than morally judging differences; from all families coming into the classrooms, and from the teachers and families mutually valuing one another’s work in educating children, etc.


Rethinking the centre to welcome ALL families

So that all families can find their place at the school and construct a good link with the teachers, the school needs to think about its relations with the wide diversity of modern families and put these thoughts into practice. So, the suggestion is to construct a school welcome plan making it possible to welcome all parents and construct a good link between teachers and all families. The plan would involve rethinking interviews, the website, communications, meetings, festivals, outings, homework, etc. so that all parents feel welcome and comfortable there and want to participate.

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