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ERIC Number: EJ1136337
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
Who's Doing the Talking? Teacher and Parent Experiences of Parent-Teacher Conferences
Lemmer, E. M.
South African Journal of Education, v32 n1 p83-96 Feb 2012
The most common form of direct communication between parents and teachers in schools worldwide is the parent-teacher conference. Purposeful parent-teacher conferences afford the teacher and the parent the opportunity to address a particular topic related to the child, such as academic progress and behaviour. However, teachers are seldom trained to interact with parents, and both parents and teachers often find such encounters stressful and ineffective. This paper investigates parent and teacher perspectives on the parent-teacher conference through a qualitative inquiry. This is framed by the contributions of ecological theorists to home-school communication and an overview of extant themes in the literature. In the present qualitative inquiry, teacher, parent and learner participants were selected by purposeful and snowball sampling and data were gathered by individual and focus group interviews, school visits and the perusal of written parent-teacher conference reports. The findings indicate that parent-teacher conferences are ritualised school events in all types of schools; parents and teachers' expectations of conferences are limited; teachers are not trained to conduct parent-teacher conferences; and conferences are overwhelmingly directed at problem solution. Parent-teacher conferences are characterised by a client orientation to parents, rather than a partnership orientation to home-school relations.
Descriptors: Parent Teacher Conferences, Qualitative Research, Focus Groups, Interviews, Parent Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes, Parent Teacher Cooperation, Interpersonal Communication, Interpersonal Competence, Interpersonal Relationship, Administrator Attitudes, Group Dynamics, Delivery Systems, Expectation
Education Association of South Africa. University of Pretoria, Centre for the Study of Resilience, Level 3, Groenkloof Student Centre, Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, George Storrar Road and Lleyds Street, Pretoria 0001, South Africa. Tel: +27-12-420-5798; Fax: +27-12-420-5511; Web site: http://www.sajournalofeducation.co.za/index.php/saje/index
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A