ERIC Number: ED394696
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr-17
Reference Count: N/A
Parents' Perspectives on Teaching and Learning: Implications for Changing Curriculum and Classroom Practice.
Dodd, Anne Wescott
Noting the importance of including parents in school change, this descriptive study investigates parents' beliefs about teaching and learning high school English. Twenty-five parents of high school students enrolled in an untracked interdisciplinary English course were interviewed. Participants were shown photographs of different classrooms and asked to comment on the most conducive learning environment. Subjects were also asked what should be included in the English curriculum and what they considered to be the best learning strategies for students. Data revealed that, in general, parents' perspectives are complex and idiosyncratic. Parents believed that reading and writing should form the core of the high school English program and that students would learn best if actively involved in the learning process. Subjects held opposing views about the inclusion of certain curricula (such as the classics), the value of English as an interdisciplinary course, and whether students could learn best in a heterogeneously- or homogeneously-grouped class. Other differences pertained to inclusion of certain authors, such as Shakespeare, use of various teaching methods, and whether curriculum and methods should be differentiated to suit the needs and interests of specific students. The basis by which parents explained their preferences and the criteria they used to evaluate practices were also assessed. Parents' opposition to some innovative classroom practices was often due to their misunderstanding of a practice or its implementation, rather than because it conflicted with their basic beliefs about teaching and learning. The results of the study suggest that educators need to include parents more directly in the change process and view them as potential learners rather than critics. (BAC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Curriculum Choice; Curriculum Emphases; Parent Interview
Note: Paper presented at the International Roundtable Center on Families, Schools, and Children's Learning (San Francisco, CA, April 17, 1995).