Social-Cultural Perspective

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The strategy on Parent-School partnership refers to the collaboration between parent’s and school, to encourage and support students academically and emotionally, through teachers’ efforts to communicate with parent’s, as well as parent’s’ involvement in school-governance (Brandt, 1989). The partnership involve in the school includes interactions through individual communication booklets, regular newsletters and seminars conducted by the school for brief of overall programs and activities.

However, the school should also incorporate having parent’s to provide their valuable feedbacks on their concerns of the programs, and probably their recommendations for improvements. Such interactions not only brings forth the attachment feelings of parent’s toward the education system, it also nurtures the teachers’ bonding toward their schools, especially when they are able to gain a sense f satisfaction, helping out students’ with academic and social difficulties.

The advantages of this partnership includes, (1) allowing parent’s to reinforce their children’s academic learning at home, synchronizing the teachings between teachers and parent’s; (2) strengthening students’ links to positive adults role models, thus protecting them from deviant behavior and substance abuse (Finn, 1989); (3) enable schools to understand, support and cater to the family special needs such as providing financial supports through community services; and (4) creates opportunities and provides “solid grounds for bonding students more firmly to the schools” (Bergman, 1988) which, will eventually increase the education participation of students (Finn, 1989). Studies have also shown that students with parent’s actively involved in their education do better in school (Henderson 1987, Delegated Gaiting 1990). Although this partnership may be ideal to have, it can turn disastrous if students misunderstood the intent and assumed it as collaborations against them. This may result In students’ attachment Trot ten cocoons Instead, Owe to a lack AT trust.

Nevertheless, such partnerships must still be encouraged by introducing activities or all, and having a common understanding between the teachers, parent’s and most importantly, the students. Maintaining the partnership also poses difficulties. Singapore, in general, prefers not to getting actively involved with the schools. There is still a cultural mindset that academic responsibilities lies with the schools and meetings are only necessary when there are disciplinary or academic problems. This mindset thus creates a visionary illusion that students with parent’s in frequent meetings, with teachers and schools, are of the problematic kind, and exposing them to social and peer pressures.

Some teachers may also believe that “their professional status is in Jeopardy should the parent’s get involved in activities that are typically the teachers’ responsibilities” Joyce, 1986, p. 277). Such mindsets cannot be eliminated immediately but education and awareness will slowly turn the tables around. ENCOURAGING PARTICIPATION IN EXTRA-CURRICULUM ACTIVITIES (ACES) A place by itself has no attraction to a person unless there is something that the person can relate himself to. This sense of attachment can be inspired by creating opportunities for students, teachers and parent’s to discover their own sense of belonging through articulation of activities such as school camps, performances or even competitions.

Having every student involve in an ACE, such as a club or a sport, will enable them to cultivate an attachment feeling towards the school, and provide these students with a cause other than Just getting an education. Every key episode will compose a masterpiece in their minds and create an emotional link towards the education system. The importance of this strategy is highlighted when the “element of participating in an extra-curriculum activity (ACE) was often included in measuring students’ connectivity to schools” (Heather, 2004 p. 280). The advantage of participating in Aces circles around building a cohesive community. The recent Singapore High School Idol (a national teenager singing contest) has proven that even the whole school can unite to support their fellow schoolmates.

The students and teachers shared a common goal in wanting their respective schoolmates to win the contest, although contestants do not represent their schools. Clubs and societies also provide an avenue for students to mingle around and build relationships. Moody and Barman’s (1998) connectedness scale in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health on school attachment includes three main agreements; (1) The degree to which students feel close to people at school; (2) are happy to be at school; and (3) feel like a part of school. Clubs and societies will be able to provide the opportunities for the identification growth, especially in local context, where the slogan “Fun in school starts after lessons” came about.

It is imperative to facilitate coordination between strategies to push forth the attachment feeling towards the schools. The parent-school partnership could come Into play Dye naval parent’s encouraging tenet canceller to participate In Aces, wanly n turn cultivates their connection with the schools. Likewise, the Aces could also be organized to include and increase the exchanges and communications between the parent’s and school management. Sense of attachment and belonging is influential (Edwards, 1995), I. E. Students can be helped to develop that sense of attachment and belonging by having the teachers and parent’s who have that feeling around them.

EMPOWERMENT Empowerment is a sign of trust and respect towards a person, and giving that trust and respect to students in a supervised manner is an important key in developing heir relationship with the education system. Stone (1995) suggested that empowerment can be facilitated with methods such as giving students ownership, allowing decision making and being responsible for the decisions taken. The benefits towards empowerment is the “ability to nurture and build self-confidence in students” (Haynes, 1996), enabling them to be responsible and independent. It is crucial that teachers and parent’s collectively support the movement through their partnerships, to facilitate the build up of sediments of attachment.

Empowerment facilitation is also achieved in the school’s Aces, whereby teachers-in- hare of clubs and sports allow some flexibility in the governance and students play active roles in the planning and decision making processes. An example is the school band, which has a committee setup by senior students for its management. This organizational structure allows the school to establish yearly work plans for the band, yet empowering the students to administer the band on their own, working towards the set goals. A recent program called “DVD (Digital Video) Singapore” was also introduced to the students, where they learned the skills of filming and editing a video to produce a short film.

The empowerment given to the students to produce whatever topic they wanted, led them writing scripts and produced several documentaries, of which one was highlighted and aired on national television. These activities provide students with wonderful experiences which draws them closer to the school. The empowerment, however, must come with supervision to prevent straying of its purpose. Supervision in the form of having teachers stationed within the Aces as advisors will still be necessary, even at a steady state, as the students are nevertheless teenagers whom are young and inexperience and may act without the Hough of consequences. Parent’s can also be roped into the Aces as advisors, through their partnerships, and have an active role based on their expertise or experiences.

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