Reading ourselves against the grain: starting points for parental engagement with newly arrived families

Kendall, Alex and Puttick, Mary-Rose (2020) Reading ourselves against the grain: starting points for parental engagement with newly arrived families. Practice: Contemporary Issues in Practitioner Education, 2 (1). pp. 33-49. ISSN 2578-3866

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In this paper we bring together research literature on parental engagement and refugees and parental engagement to open up novel conversations about schools’ work with newly arrived families in the context of a moment of mass forced migration to communities and their schools across the European Union. This work was undertaken as part of the Open School Doors (OSD) project, a two-year Erasmus funded project involving researchers and teachers from Austria, Germany, Greece and the UK in collaboration with a pan-European parents association (EPA) that aimed to develop resources for teachers and schools working to include and support newly arrived young people and their families. We use the term ‘newly arrived’ as an inclusive term, taking account of families from both forced and more-established migration contexts as well as families from diverse Roma communities. This review identified the theoretical and contextual issues that framed OSD. Our review of the literature found that existing models of parental engagement neglect the complexity of social identity markers for newly arrived families and their inter-section with a UK teaching practice framed by white-ness and ‘post’-colonialism. Through this review we problematize
ideas of socio-cultural neutrality in home-school interactions. and draw attention to disparities in actions and outcomes for different agents (teachers, young people, parents) which have potential impacts for newly arrived and refugee families. Through this we foreground a multi-layered, intersectional approach to parental engagement. Our hybrid thinking mobilises new insights on parental engagement that demands de-othering of refugee families and reading ‘teacher-selves’ against the grain. Our review contributes recommendations for primary and secondary education, including starting points for reflection, review and practice development for teachers and school leaders.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
13 January 2020Accepted
28 February 2020Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: newly arrived families, parental engagement, home-school interactions, reflexivity, intersectionality, postcolonialism
Subjects: CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-01 - education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE)
Depositing User: Alexandra Kendall
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2020 10:27
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 17:02

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