Un/satisfactory encounters: communication, conflict and parent-school engagement

Article


Saltmarsh, Sue and McPherson, Amy. 2022. "Un/satisfactory encounters: communication, conflict and parent-school engagement." Critical Studies in Education. 63 (2), pp. 147-162. https://doi.org/10.1080/17508487.2019.1630459
Article Title

Un/satisfactory encounters: communication, conflict and parent-school engagement

ERA Journal ID20125
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsSaltmarsh, Sue and McPherson, Amy
Journal TitleCritical Studies in Education
Journal Citation63 (2), pp. 147-162
Number of Pages16
Year2022
ISSN0076-6275
1750-8487
1750-8495
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/17508487.2019.1630459
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17508487.2019.1630459
Abstract

The policy and educational ideal of parent-school engagement rests on assumptions about effective communication with parents about children’s educational progress and well-being. Yet communication between school and home varies, and can be a source of parental satisfaction and frustration. Here we consider perspectives of Australian parents whose encounters with schools – both satisfactory and unsatisfactory – are shaped by the everyday communicative practices and conflict management strategies of teachers and principals. Our findings show that a wide range of parents of children in Australian schools report similar experiences, concerns and frustrations. Informed by cultural and post-structural theory, we consider how approaches to communication and conflict are implicated in disciplining the family and keeping parents ‘in their place’ outside schooling’s structures of power. Participants in our research reveal the intensity of affective investments in education as a ‘high stakes’ endeavour. We argue that the rationality of education policy that is being embedded in the everyday social configurations of schools and their interaction with parents is predicated on the neoliberal project of producing the autonomous, self-governing individual. The communication practices used in disciplining the family by conscripting parents into this project, we suggest, is a significant contributor to un/satisfactory parent-school encounters.

KeywordsParent engagement; home-school communication; conflict; Michel de Certeau
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
Australian Catholic University
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https://research.usq.edu.au/item/z02q6/un-satisfactory-encounters-communication-conflict-and-parent-school-engagement

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