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ERIC Number: EJ779269
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 9
Abstractor: Author
ISSN: ISSN-0268-2141
Mothers, Gender and Inclusion in the Context of Home-School Relations
Cole, Barbara
Support for Learning, v22 n4 p165-173 Nov 2007
The last twenty years have seen the proliferation of policies calling for the development of home-school relations and home-school partnerships, for it is argued that it is important for the educational success of all children that parents and professionals share aims, values and responsibilities. The dominant discourse around home-school relations refers to "parents" as partners, maintaining that their voices are important and should be heard along with those of professionals. This is also held to be the case where children are categorized as "having special educational needs" and a number of policies require that "parents" are consulted wherever possible. However, this paper maintains that, despite this rhetoric, there is a boundary between home and school; between the professional, public space of school and the private, personal space of home, which reflects the power relations between public professionals and private parents. It maintains that the use of the gender neutral term "parent" masks the gendered reality of "parenting", making it easier for professionals to marginalize the individual voices of personal experience. The paper draws on research that suggests that the term "parent" hides the fact that mothers are the ones generally perceived as having responsibility for their children and their relationship with school. It contends that the use of the term "parent", in de-gendering the contribution of the mother, negates the voice of personal experience and prioritizes the professional and expert voice. The lack of experiential knowledge is seen as especially important when children and their families are perceived as "different"; for example, disabled children and children labelled as having special educational needs (SEN). The corollary to this argument is, of course, that while the term "parent" negates the voices of mothers, it also negates the voices of fathers, despite research that strongly suggests the importance of their different but significantcontribution in the lives of their children.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A