A Platform for Partnership: Preparing Student Teachers for Parent-Teacher Participation
If student teachers are not made aware of and are not given an opportunity to experience the fundamental connection between teachers and parents, their professional development during the training years is actually incomplete. Preparing student teachers for parent-teacher participation is, however, not a straightforward process. Getting student teachers involved in this unique relationship is challenging and can even be stressful for them. Student teachers should be equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge and strategies during their training years to be able to recognise and encourage the benefits of home-school participation (Van Wyk &Lemmer, 2009:14). Student teachers do not only need opportunities to prepare and present lessons during their teaching practice periods at schools. They also need learning experiences that would help them to encourage, promote and show consideration for parent involvement. Therefore, the specific aim of the research under review focuses on identifying possible learning opportunities for student teachers during their teaching practice at schools that will enable them to acquire the ability to respect, value and admire parent participation. This paper addresses the following research question: What challenges with regard to engaging student teachers in parent involvement do mentor teachers experience and what learning opportunities can be provided to student teachers to enable them to manage parent-teacher partnerships? In order to answer this question a qualitative research approach was used. Both the socio-constructivist learning and Lave and Wenger’s situated learning theory were used as theoretical frameworks. A maximum variation sampling technique was used to purposefully select 10 mentor teachers from functional urban schools as participants who viewed themselves as role models for student teachers. The findings suggest that practice should be viewed as activity embedded in theory. Findings also indicate that the preparation of student teachers for parent-teacher partnership demands systematic action and thoughtful, coordinated planning. The research concludes with suggestions for ways to provide learning opportunities for student teachers that could play a significant role in guiding and preparing them to respect and promote home-school partnership.
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Journal of Educational and Social Research ISSN 2239-978X(Print) ISSN 2240-0524(Online)
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