Teachers need to build strong relationships with school stakeholders | BusinessMirror
A parent and community organizer shares some resources and great in a positive environment where we can all be teachers and learners. The value we, as teachers, place on learning and on knowledge is directly communicated to Assess the relations between your school and the community . This paper therefore presents how a relationship can be formed among the principal stakeholders – parents, teachers and community to foster.
Political aspects of school management and socio-cultural difference among the population require caution, as they are likely to induce partial participation or nonparticipation of the community at large. Community participation in school management will result in a long-term impact only if it involves a wide range of actors who can discuss and practice the possibilities of revisiting the definition of community and the way it should be.
There is no common definition of community and its function in education of developing countries. If there is a school within a walking distance for most people, school community is likely to overlap with the geographical community. However, this is hardly the case in many developing countries. When the locality is sparsely populated, a school community may cover a wide range of geographical communities. Also, when geographical communities are divided into different cultural, ethnic, or linguistic identity groups, a school community needs rigorous coordination over the language of instruction, school events, and the membership of the school management body e.
The locality may have several schools based on religion, language, and other cultural backgrounds, and people from the same geographic community may belong to different cultural and school communities. The context of community also influences its function. Community may promote social cohesion in school through various forms of collaboration within itself, but can exclude or be competitive with others over available resources. Such resources include public or private financial resource allocation to schools, assistance by donors, and access to natural resources such as water.
In more conceptual terms, there are geographical, cultural, and school or functional communities. Geographical community is a group of people who reside in the same geographical boundary. Finally, school community denotes a group of people who gather and work for the purpose of school management, regardless of their geographic location or cultural backgrounds.
School community may or may not include diversity in the socio-economic and cultural backgrounds of its members. This article assumes the functional community as the operational definition of community participation in school management.
For instance, the recent upsurge of decentralization devolved decision-making power to the community level in many developing countries. However, in some countries, the actual power devolved to the community is fairly limited due to scarce resources at the community level and high dependence on the guideline of usage of grants allocated to school by the government.
In other countries, where community participation has a long history of compensating for the weak management of government schools, communities are actively involved in hiring teachers themselves and contributing to school in various forms. In the latter case, monitoring attendance of students and teachers, construction of classrooms and pit latrine blocks, and financial contribution to scholarships for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are likely to be in the hands of community members.
With the recognition that there are a variety of ways of involvement of community in school management in developing countries, this article examines how and in what ways community has been involved in school management in the context of developing countries and how the existing studies have documented the phenomenon with reference to the actual challenges, constraints, and possibilities. The conclusion summarizes and suggests further studies on this theme. Who bears the cost of schooling is a primarily important question to ask, since the education policies and international discussion on the role of community often emphasize its benefit as a means to fill the financial gap left by the government.
In many developing countries, community, historically, has played an important role in educational provision. In sub-Sharan Africa SSAfor instance, community-based providers and faith-based organizations supported educational provisions even before independence, until the s and s when the governments in the region exerted their own influence on educational development.
During the period, some countries in the region declared primary education fee-free, resulting in a dramatic increase in the public education expenditure. Earlier attempts, however, to provide free education in SSA in the s, had failed to achieve the objective owing to ineffective institutions, reduced quality of education, high informal fees, and other costs of schooling Allison, ; Amutabi, ; Bray, ; Obasi, ; Prince, ; Sifuna, ; Somerset, The structural adjustment programs SAPs adopted in many poor countries in the s with the aim of overcoming the debt crisis, hampered school education with reduced government budgets and introduction of user fees for basic education, while private education expanded its presence in the provision of basic education.
In many developing countries, basic education had fees until the s or s, and the fees varied across schools. Parents bore not only the direct and indirect costs of schooling; they also contribute to school in the form of labor e. However, private education was not financially sustainable in some areas and was out of reach for children from poor households. Olembo indicates, for instance, that many community-financed school projects in Kenya were abandoned because of the lack of capacity.
Nevertheless, the re-introduction of fee abolition policies in many developing countries over the past 20 years did not stop the spread of private schools.
In this context, it is helpful to divide private schools into two groups: Thus, it is important to note that various intentions and demands for community participation in school management have led to different roles of community. Substitute, Complementary, and Critical Roles of Community Community can play the substitute, complementary, and critical roles in school management. Jamesexplained the phenomenon of high private expenditure on education in developing countries by the excess demand model James, This model describes the role of the private sector in satisfying excess demand and filling in the gap, relative to the size of the age cohort, created by inadequate capacity of the public sector.
Private schools driven by excess demand often offer low-cost and affordable education, while some suffer from low quality education when there is no competition with other public or private schools. The complementary role for community is to provide alternative education to the existing education system.
Contrary to the excess-demand model, the differentiated-demand model hypothesizes that the public education system is unable to meet the diverse demands of parents, especially for cognitive, religious, and linguistic education James, When the quality of public education is attractive enough to keep pupils from different socio-economic backgrounds, there may not be the high demand for private schooling.
In other words, the quality of public education determines the demand for high-quality education in private schools. There are also cases whereby cultural communities take initiative to operate non-formal schools for children and adults. Community organizations and non-governmental organizations NGOs offer adult literacy programs to target those who missed the opportunity of schooling due to poverty, war, conflicts, child labor, early marriage, and so on.
In such cases, community organizations take alternative pedagogical approaches to the public schools.
The program emphasizes the linkage between education and action, whereby the educational goal is not just to master systematic knowledge and skills offered in school, but also to empower learners to solve the problems in daily life. Let us look at educational evaluation as an example. The school-based learning assessments do not include the data on learning performance of those students who tend to be frequently absent from school or on unenrolled school-age children, thus providing a partial overview of learning output in school.
Such assessments are often collected and compiled at the central level after administering the assessment in schools without school-based analysis or feedback to draw some practical implications for further pedagogical and managerial strategies at the school level. Educational evaluation tends to be regarded as a professional and policy matter, managed by central government officials and professionals such as university professors and senior teachers, leaving out other stakeholders including parents, community members, and students as sole beneficiaries.
However, since the mids, civil society organizations have emerged that challenge the closed form of educational evaluation and decision-making process on quality of education. The Annual Status of Education Report ASER in India was the pioneer in this regard and conducted the learning assessment forchildren in 5, villages in all parts of India in Such household-based learning assessment did not aim only to assess learning achievement of school-age children but also to promote discussion on quality of education with a wide range of people at the community level for social change.
UWEZO, a civil society organization established in in East Africa, conducts a large-scale household-level learning assessment for the purpose of forming a civil society to take action with respect to the quality of basic education.
UWEZO conducts annual household-based Grade 2-level learning assessment in math and reading for children ages 6 to 16 years in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. UWEZO challenges the conventional norms that teachers and education specialists handle quality issues in education by opening up the forum to the public to raise multiple voices to school. Accountability Mechanisms for Education Service Delivery The role of community in school management attracted attention in the s, when the mainstream idea, that government is the sole actor to provide educational services, was challenged, and community-led alternative education programs were proposed as more relevant and effective for providing basic education.
Since the s, community has become the main actor of development, not the recipient, and participatory approaches in learning, such as Participatory Learning and Action PLAwere adopted. Many donor agencies shifted their targets of assistance to non-governmental organizations NGOs and civil society organizations CSOsaway from inefficient and corrupt governments. The critical role of community was further explored by the World Bankwhich provides an analytical framework of its accountability mechanism for the improvement of service delivery, as shown in Figure 1.
There are long and short routes of accountability for schools to account for their service to the beneficiaries. The long route of accountability is for the citizens to elect the political leaders who then formulate education policies to respond to the will of the voters and to direct and supervise schools to deliver the service demanded by the citizens. With a precondition that each institution could maintain autonomy, citizens as the clients of public service utilize votes to enhance the control of central and local governments over service delivery institutions and to oversee these institutions more effectively through the direct exercise of client power.
Accountability framework for school management. Nishimura, based on World Bankp. The short route of accountability is to increase client power, which is power to demand educational services that match client needs by directly raising voices and asking for explanation of schools on their services. The short route of accountability is ensured by forming a school management committee or school council that consists of representatives of parents and community members plus a head teacher to discuss the school plan and challenges facing the school to collaboratively improve quality of education.
In many developing countries, it is quite difficult to ensure the long route of accountability due to corruption and mismanagement on the part of politicians and government officials and unclear election processes. Thus, much attention is being paid to enhancing client power through the short route of accountability. There are numerous examples of using this short route of accountability.
These West African countries had low enrolment rates, high levels of poverty, and serious public financial constraints, altogether inducing the lack of classrooms and of parental understanding and cooperation for schooling. Teacher absenteeism and the lack of capacity of teachers resulted in learning crises in schools.
The Teacher's Role in Home/School Communication: Everybody Wins
The School for All Project aimed at functional school management committee SMC and adopted the minimum package of democratic election for the SMCs, participatory planning and implementation of school improvement plans, collaborative monitoring and evaluation of school activities, and accounting through community gathering.
Separate the person from the problem. Don't allow "adult agendas" or clashing egos to impact on your decisions. Never hesitate to use "trial periods". If you will be trying a new approach, inform the parent that you will be evaluating the child's response on an ongoing basis to determine the effectiveness and viability of the strategy.
Don't be overly judgmental You may find yourself dealing with a family whose attitudes, values and dynamics are at variance with yours. As a professional, you should respect that family's "culture" even if you are not in agreement with it.
A young teacher was conferencing with a set of parents. The father was quite domineering and tended to "cut off" his wife whenever she attempted to make a comment. The teacher scolded the Dad and told him to "allow your wife to get a word in". The teacher was quite proud of her actions.
She shouldn't have been. As a professional, you may not like the dynamic within a child's family but you must respect it. In my opinion, the teacher was unprofessional. Further, I would imagine that this interaction had a negative, long-term impact upon her relationship and collaboration with that family.
Special educators must be particularly aware of cultural differences and traditions. For example, families of Asian and Hispanic origin are often "ashamed" of their child's disability and may blame themselves for the problem.
- 2.2. Teachers and their relationships with pupils and parents
- Teachers Are Community Members—Not Just Instructors
- Community Participation in School Management in Developing Countries
Parents who are not English speaking may have difficulty recognizing the severity of a child's academic problems because — relative to other family members — the child may seem quite facile at language. Each of these stages has unique opportunities, strategies, responsibilities and pitfalls.
The Beginning Stage requires the teacher to establish her credibility as a competent and confident professional. She must set the tone for ongoing collaboration and outline the specific goals, roles and responsibilities of each member of the new partnership. The Maintenance Stage requires the teacher to use ongoing conferencing and communication to continue and enhance the partnership.
The Ending Stage brings appropriate closure to the partnership by creative and effective and well-planned transition to the next step in the child's academic progression.
The teacher must provide the family with encouragement as they face this new step. The final stage is a particular difficulty for special educators. Parents often develop a dependency on a teacher and are reluctant to end the relationship. You must communicate to the parent that you will communicate closely with the child's next teacher and that you will be involved in the transition.
Assure her that the child will be "in good hands". Don't attempt to defend the indefensible There may come a situation where you, a colleague or "the system" makes a mistake. Considering the myriad responsibilities that we all have, such situations are pretty much inevitable. Even Willie Mays dropped an easy fly ball once in a while. Do not become defensive or argumentative when faced with such a situation.
Do not attempt to construct a defense with a series of excuses or rationales. This approach only serves to anger the parent and weakens the partnership. Merely apologize for the error and express your regret for the situation. Outline steps that will be taken to prevent a re-occurrence.
Even the most upset parent will generally respond well to this approach.
Teachers need to build strong relationships with school stakeholders
Sincere apologies are not a reflection of weakness or incompetence. Rather, they reflect strength and confidence. Her mom is named Amanda. Therefore, your relationship with Amanda is based solely on her role as Jessica's mom. But Amanda has other roles in her life beyond being Jessica's mom. She's also a wife, a daughter, a sister, an in-law, a neighbor, a friend, an employee, etc.
UNICEF - Teachers Talking
Each of these roles requires Amanda's time and attention. Perhaps her mom is chronically ill, her job is at peak season, she is re-doing her kitchen and her dog died this morning.
These situations impact significantly on her. Being Jessica's mom is not her solitary responsibility albeit it is a very important one. Be mindful of this when Amanda fails to immediately return your phone call, forget to come to the scheduled classroom conference or is not able to make brownies for the Bake Sale.
Give her a break! Do keep the "balance of power" equitable In any effective, functioning partnerships, the power is shared equally and appropriately. The parents are well versed in their child's long-term developmental history physical, medical and socialhis interests and affinities and his lifestyle. The teacher has knowledge of teaching and assessment strategies, school policies and procedures and the child's school performance.
Share this knowledge and perspective in a collaborative manner. According to Special Education Law, this partnership is mandated. Do create a parent-friendly and welcoming environment in your classroom and throughout the school building Ask the principal to post "Welcome to our School" signs, as well as maps and clear instructions and directions. Some schools have even created "Parent Waiting Rooms" for parent visitors with coffee, soft drinks and a parent lending library.
Schools have initiated bi-monthly "Family Nights" where student families and staff families gather for a potluck supper, entertainment or a movie.
Other creative ideas include school wide mural projects, community gardens, family litter patrols, playground construction projects and family talent shows.
Faculty attendance at such events should be strongly encouraged. Many teachers publish their classroom newsletter via email. Beware, however, that a "digital divide" exists in many American communities and some parents may not have access to electronic mail or the Internet.