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Citation:Shartrand, A. M., Weiss, H. B., Kreider, H. M., & Lopez, M. E. (1997). New skills for new schools: Preparing teachers in family involvement. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project . ED414254.

This report defines a framework for teacher preparation in family involvement, including general family knowledge and involvement, home-school communication, family involvement in learning activities, families supporting schools, schools supporting families, and families as change agents. The findings of this in-depth study of teacher preparation in family involvement confirmed that teachers have a need for more direct experiences with families and communities, support for making school conditions conducive to family involvement, and opportunities to share successful experiences and outcomes with their colleagues. In the first research phase, researchers reviewed state teacher certification requirements and identified states that mandate teachers obtain skills and knowledge related to parent and family involvement. From this information, two teacher education programs from 22 states were selected for data collection on content and methods. For the final stage, researchers conducted case studies of selected programs. While the overall picture of teacher preparation in family involvement is dismal, isolated but promising teacher education programs do exist that expose students to hands-on experiences working with families. Researchers suggest that pre-service and in-service teachers should be provided ongoing training in family involvement. In-service training in particular will increase the likelihood that teachers will work with families. The field needs a national network to support model development, provide technical assistance, and serve as a clearinghouse for information. Evaluation on the effectiveness of programs that prepare teachers to work with families would also be beneficial. Policy guidelines that offer clear and comprehensive definitions of family involvement are needed. Researchers suggest that teacher preparation programs move toward experiential methods that will equip teachers with skills needed to create relationships with parents and students.

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