Our main topic expands our understanding of equitable collaboration with families. Two frameworks are available to explore and then reflect using the questions below.
- What was interesting or new to you?
- What from these frameworks could be used in your classroom or school context?
- Where do social and emotional competencies show up within these frameworks, implicitly or directly?
- What barriers exist in your classroom or school to adopting an equity-focused, co-creation approach to parent engagement as described in these framework examples?
- How might those be overcome?
- What is one key insight or take away from the framework you explored?
Family and Community Engagement from a Parent’s Perspective
Our next topic looks at FCE from a parent’s perspective. In Soo Hong’s book on lessons learned from the Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s work in Boston, A Cord of Three Strands
, (2011) the author writes:
“There is a presumption that parents and teachers would be natural allies, but some family school interactions, particularly in low-income communities of color, suggest that the relationship is more adversarial. How and why does this conflict emerge? … The relationships between teachers and parents are also shaped by their perceptions of one another. Both parents and teachers share a quiet and deeply personal desire to be seen and heard for their interactions with children, but often instead feel misunderstood and under-appreciated. The struggle for legitimacy, power, and appreciation creates tangible distrust between teachers and parents and between families and schools leading each party to approach the other defensively. In an environment of distrust and misunderstanding, both teachers and parents fear criticism from one another; in response, both groups often isolate themselves.”
- What teacher beliefs does Choi perceive?
- How do SEL skills play a role in engaging successfully with families?
- What specific SEL skills are relevant to successfully adopting a culturally responsive approach to working with families?
- Consider your “belief system” about family engagement: What are your strengths in this area?
- Are there ways you could continue to explore your own mindset and beliefs about family engagement?
- What, in particular, would you like to continue to work on?
Leveraging the Knowledge and Experiences of Families and Community
Leveraging the knowledge and experiences of families and community members is essential to enriching the classroom curriculum in an inclusive and culturally sustaining and expansive way. Intentionally gathering and using information about families’ assets, experiences, and skills or funds of knowledge requires that educators develop their social and emotional skills and foster trusting relationships with families. Review the chart Funds of Knowledge
adapted from the work of Gonzalez, Moll, and Amanti (2005) by Bank Street College (on the second page of this linked document).
- What is one idea you want to try or learn more about?
6.2 Take It Deeper: Linking Family Engagement to Learning
Let’s deepen our understanding of Social and Emotional Learning with families and community. Here is a downloadable interactive pdf to help you.