Preparing Preservice Teachers to Partner with Parents and Communities: An Analysis of College of Education Faculty Focus Groups

Flanigan, Carolyn B.
September 2007
School Community Journal;Fall/Winter2007, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p89
Academic Journal
At both state and federal levels, partnerships of schools, parents, and communities have become an educational priority. Are teacher education programs adequately preparing preservice teachers for these partnerships? Focus groups of College of Education (COE) faculty from five Illinois Professional Learner's Partnership universities were conducted to answer this question. This study is organized around key themes that emerged from the discussions: importance of including the topic in teacher preparation programs; difficulties with the topic regarding cultural issues; negative preservice teacher attitudes about parents; differences in parent involvement at elementary and secondary levels; mixed messages given to preservice teachers by experienced teachers; inadequacy of the traditional teacher preparation program and student teaching experience to provide students with enough parent and community partnering opportunities; and the necessity of stressing collaboration and communication in teacher education. The theme selections were based on how frequently they were mentioned by different participants. The focus group discussions generated rich data and offered participants the opportunity to share their concerns about the topic.


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