Teacher education and family-school partnerships in different contexts

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Teacher education and family–school partnerships in different contexts

M. Willemse, I. Thompson, R. Vanderlinde, & T. Mutton


Collaboration with parents is widely regarded as important in the education of children and young people, yet teachers rarely feel sufficiently prepared for this task. Several studies indicate that initial teacher education (ITE) programmes struggle to address issues of family–school partnerships (FSP). Our purpose in this study was to assess whether national ITE frameworks in seven European countries enable or constrain effective FSP preparation for preservice teachers. Our data, drawn from document analysis and national surveys, suggests that, despite the importance officially attributed to FSP at both governmental and ITE institutional levels, no single country presents a satisfactory picture in terms of FSP provision within their ITE programmes or in the extent to which preservice teachers are prepared to deal with the issue. Regardless of the existence (or not) of a national curriculum and variations, both in terms of legally-required competences and the amount of attention given to FSP in ITE programmes, it appears that simply making FSP compulsory is not the solution. Nor do national frameworks, in themselves, really appear to shape and direct the provision offered. Essentially FSP preparation still seems to depend upon the proclivities and expertise of individual teacher educators.