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Jong J. de, Leenders H., Monfrance M. and Haelermans C.: Building strong parent teacher relationships in primary education. The challenge of two-way communication

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Abstract
This study investigates how two-way communication works for teachers in different educational contexts, and how this applies to the different subjects teachers and parents talk about. Fifty-five in-depth interviews are carried out with teachers from special education schools, at-risk schools serving low SES-children, and mainstream primary education schools in the southern part of the Netherlands. The theoretical framework is based on Epstein’s Model of Parental Involvement. The results illustrate that (1) two-way communication is used the most in at-risk schools, (2) teachers find it difficult to involve parents in the decision-making process concerning special care for the child and therefore they do not sufficiently involve them within this process, and (3) teachers’ attitude towards parents are at best when it comes to difficult subjects. If one wants to strengthen parent teacher relationships in schools, teachers should not be afraid addressing difficult subjects or conflicts. On the contrary, the adequate attitudes that teachers expose in complex situations should best be transferred to the cooperation with parents generally.


Keywords: primary school teachers, inclusive education, social class, Netherlands

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