SCHOOL-FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS AS A LEVER OF ACADEMIC SUCCESS: A CONTRIBUTION TO TEACHERS’ PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
1 Catholic University of Portugal, Centre for Philosophical and Humanistic Studies (PORTUGAL)
2 Agrupamento de Escolas de Canelas, Vila Nova de Gaia (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Based on the ecological systems theory, the school-family relationships can be conceived of mesosystems. There are various mesosystems dynamics, which impact children’s and youths’ academic behaviors, learning, and achievement. The literature has suggested that school-family relationships featured by empathy and cultural respect seem to facilitate students’ academic achievement and prosocial behaviors. On the contrary, school-family relationships featured by instability, tension, and conflict seem to generate rupture and avoidance, thus increasing the likelihood of students’ academic difficulties, behavioral problems and early school dropout. Worldwide social-political discussions have been claiming for the co-responsibility of schools, families and communities for students’ academic adjustment and development. However, local efforts are still needed to overcome barriers (e.g., mutual judgments), and to optimize the potential of school-family relationships as levers of students’ academic success and holistic development. Educational psychologists can help strengthen school-family relationships and community partnerships toward this joint mission, using strategies such as training experiences and other initiatives supporting teachers’ professional development. This work describes the construction, implementation and evaluation of a training experience on school-family relationships conducted with teachers. Twenty-five teachers (12 preschool and elementary-school teachers, 13 middle-school and high-school teachers) participated in a 50-hour training course during the school year 2019/20. The course occurred at a public training center in the north of Portugal, shifting from in-person to online sessions due to the covid19. This course aimed at raising awareness for the political and ecological framework of school-family relationships, supporting the identification of barriers to school-family relationships and opportunities to optimize them, and fostering communication and social-emotional skills facilitative of school-family partnerships. Besides teachers’ autonomous work, group sessions were implemented for contents’ exposition, role-play, case studies, and joint reflections. Based on teachers’ appreciations, the training course afforded them the possibility to conceive families as partners, increase attention to families’ uniqueness, and improve communication skills. Opportunities to keep covering school-family relationships in teachers’ training and opportunities for professional development are discussed.
Keywords: School-family relationships, mesosystem, educational psychology, professional development of teachers.