The parent-teacher relationship as partnership: a conceptual analysis
Keywords:Partnership, Schooling, Parents, Families, Teachers, Schools, Rodgers' concept analysis
Parent involvement has substantial benefits for the family and the school. From a Christian perspective parent involvement is essential to ensure that the child’s formal education is in harmony with Christian principles. In spite of the endorsement of the importance of parent involvement by educationists, the concept of a parentteacher partnership is not fully understood. The purpose of this paper is to define and clarify the parent-teacher relationship expressed as a partnership using concept analysis with particular reference to the implications for the Christian teacher and parent. Rodgers’ systematic approach to concept analysis was adopted as an appropriate tool to analyse the complex, multifaceted parentteacher partnership. An electronic search of interdisciplinary databases comprising English-only journal articles published in the fields of education, including the sub-disciplines of religious, theological and Christian education, sociology, family studies and psychology for the period 1995 to 2010 was carried out. The keyword “partnership” occurring only in the title, combined with “parent”, was used to produce a final sample obtained by simple random sampling. Authors’ use of the concept “parent-teacher partnership” was discussed according to defining attributes, antecedents, consequences, context, related terms and implications for practice, inductively derived from the citations analysed. Findings are that the teacher-parent partnership evolved in the context of the democratisation of education. Its antecedent is a school-initiated outreach to parents to establish partnerships enacted in diverse activities aimed at the child’s wellbeing. Partnership attributes are identified according to partner, relationship, activity and resource characteristics. The direct consequence of partnership is the enable ment of parent and teacher to contribute optimally to the child’s development. Common related terms identified in the literature are only partially effective in describing the parent-teacher partnership. It was found that the concept of parent-teacher partnership is in harmony with Christian principles and teachers and parents with a Christian commitment have a responsibility to realise strong partnerships as described through the concept analysis, with a view to the child’s education. Thus, the clarification of the concept of the parent-teacher partnership can contribute to the improvement of school practice based on more precise research in the field of home-school relations.
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