Vol. 22:1 (1999) ► pp.43–60
What makes partnership valid? Home-school communication and parent-school partnerships
Recent work in literacy has emphasised the partnership between parents and schools in furthering children’s literacy development. This paper discusses the nature of this partnership in late primary school and early secondary school learning in Australia and the ways in which information is communicated between the partners. It is argued that, while schools devote a lot of attention to communicating with parents, this communication does not typically become true dialogue. Instead, the communication is always monodirectional with the school communicating messages to parents, but rarely receiving (or attending to) messages from parents. As such, parents come to be viewed by the schools as junior partners in their children’s literacy development and the school view of partnership focuses on moving parents into the school’s framework. At the same time some parents do not see the partnership in the same way as the school and instead locate responsibility for developing basic skills with the school. Attempts to include parents may then be seen as getting parents to do the school’s work. The study concludes that in current practice there is not actual partnership between school and home in the group investigated.