Foster positive and productive relationships with families and the community

 

An ecological systems perspective (Brofenbrenner,  1979) asserts that students are influenced by a number of systems from within and outside of school.  Two of the most important of these are the students family and the surrounding community.  In order for the schooling experience to be positive and productive effective relationships with families must be established.  Parents are a students first teachers (Department of Education and Training, 2004) and play an important role in their child’s education. 

During my prac experiences in secondary schools there have been limited opportunities to engage with student’s parents or care givers.  In situations where parents have been contacted about student’s behaviour in my classes, these interactions have been handled by my mentor teachers, in line with school policy.  On these occasions however, I have found the input of parents to be an essential element in resolving on-going issues.

As a registered teacher I would engage parents and care givers of my students through opportunities such as parent teacher interviews.  I would also aim to have opportunities for students to present their work to their families perhaps through organised presentation evenings (which would give working parents the opportunity to attend too).  I believe that some of the work I have seen students produce in classes is exceptional.  As a parent myself, I would love the opportunity to engage in my child’s work in this way. 

A letter of introduction sent home to parents and care givers at the beginning of term may also assist in forming productive relationships.  This letter would outline my background as a scientist and a teacher and invite families to actively participate in their children’s education through volunteering any skills or resources relevant to our topics of study.  In this way, the wider community may also be engaged if these skills or resources are based in the work lives of the parents or care givers. 

In my previous work and study life I have had experience in engaging in community groups.  My Masters research was centred in farming communities.  The project connected with farming communities in Lockyer Valley, Bundaberg and Biloela through field days, liaising with consultants and directly with growers. My research was  cross-disciplinary in nature and investigated experimentally non-traditional cropping methods while also being interested in the informal pedagogical processes by which growers ‘learn’ and distribute systems of knowledge.  The abstract for my dissertation is available here. I have many contacts within the local scientific community on which to draw in providing learning experiences for my students.