|Citation:||Morris, V., Taylor, S., Knight, J., & Wasson, R. (1996). Preparing teachers to reach out to families and communities. Action in Teacher Education, 18(1), 10-22.|
This study explores how selected course experiences influence pre-service teachers' perceptions of their comfort and competence levels in planning and implementing family involvement. Both qualitative and quantitative data from this study appear to support the premises that coursework enhanced pre-service teachers' comfort and confidence levels in planning and implementing family involvement programs. Class experiences also enhanced their attitudes regarding parent collaboration with schools. Pre-service teachers completed parent interviews in which they role-played the part of the parents, developed a parent involvement notebook and a parent involvement plan for the school year, and planned and implemented a parent workshop. Thirty-one elementary education majors and one early childhood major were involved in the course and completed pre- and post self-assessments related to their ability to work with parents. Responses were rated on a Likert scale to determine whether respondents' perceptions changed as a result of participation. The qualitative data were analyzed for categories of students' constructs related to their comfort and confidence levels in planning and implementing parent involvement programs. The researchers suggest that course experiences focused on family involvement have the potential to equip future teachers with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to enable them to foster effective family involvement. Further study of the cohort pre-service teachersÕ parent involvement programs would provide greater information about the effects of selected course experiences in planning and implementing family involvement. Researchers wonder if similar results would occur if the class were more diverse, assignments were implemented in collaboration with in-service teachers, if plans were implemented in a wide variety of school settings with diverse populations, and practicum experiences included assignments with community agencies.
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