The message embedded in the name of our network is that parents are part of education. If we follow Theodore Brameld’s saying that education is power, we should see parents as sharing and shaping its force. The ERNAPE conference, to be held in Gdańsk, will be devoted to exploring the multiple meanings of parental engagement, power and empowerment.
This broad issue has a complex nature that needs to be examined. On the one hand, we should see parents as citizens whose engagement is crucial in acts of direct democracy: from their “voting with feet” while they make decisions concerning the choice of educational institutions, to their sustained work in social movements and organizations like Our Cities—Our Schools, Sanctuary Schools, Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, etc. This points to the complex relations between private lives and political activism. As schools have become subject to controversial policies, like those connected to urban marketing or gentrification and school closures, being a parent shows its political face in a direct way probably unknown to previous generations.
One should speak, in this context, of new ways of understanding parental experiences. Not only are the notions of struggle, success or defeat linked to the parent—child relations, concerning issues of upbringing, support or care, being a parent in the time when schools are sites of political struggles the results of which affect the education of children, parental defeat or success gain a political dimension as well. Many researchers have recently recognized this problem; in the context of neoliberal urbanism, for example Pauline Lipman [High Stakes Education (…) 2004; The new political economy of urban education (…) 2011].
There are histories and narratives of spectacular success, as well as those of anger and disappointment to be shared, and we hope to reflect on them and to learn from them during the meeting in Gdańsk. There are sustainable local community schools emerging as the result of parental engagement and self-organization; there are schools that, owing to the engagement of parents in their close cooperation with teachers, local activists and municipalities, truly become shared spaces where one does not have to teach about democracy but where democracy is enacted and experienced. We do not expect or wish to see such complex experiences being told as idyllic and easy, but nor as utterly hopeless; that they are dichotomized between triumph and despair. Following Gert Biesta [Becoming public (…) 2012; The Rediscovery of Teaching, 2017], one may say that all meaningful education implies some interruption, that it involves friction, or collision with otherness. In a sense, meaningful education shares this feature with democracy, which is unthinkable without conflict.
- Contributors may want to address any of the following thematic areas but are not restricted to these:
- Power in parenting: parents’ ways of empowering children, schools, education, communities and their democracies
- The family, school and community modi co-vivendi
- Parental involvement, community engagement and parents’ engagement: classic and new paradigms
- Parental Involvement and Inclusion
- Parents, culture and education (contemporary versions of parenting, “good” parent discourses, and modes of “parents in education”; parents as active or passive social and cultural agents; parents in media discourses and in other public arenas; etc.)
- The equity issues in/and/or through home-school-community relations
- Parent(s) nowadays: portraying the dynamic construct in the various frames of different environments, cultures, politics, ideologies, etc.
- Parental engagement today: what for and why?
- The varieties of the contemporary parent engagement
- “The end of public school” and the ways parents face it / act in it / change it (school closures, privatization, etc.)
- Parental grass-root movements, democracy and education (discourse, dialogue and politics of interruption)
You are warmly invited to participate in this conference and submit an abstract for a paper, a symposium, or a poster. The submission of abstracts is between 10 September 2018 – 24th February 2019.
Faculty of Education
Department of Arts, Open Communities and Adult Education
University of Malta
Professor Carmel Borg is a former head of department and dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Malta. He lectures at the University of Malta and internationally, as honorary visiting professor, in curriculum studies, critical pedagogy, sociology and politics of education, and community and adult education. He has presented locally and internationally, often as keynote speaker, and published extensively in several languages around the foregoing issues. Professor Borg is a public intellectual and community activist, promoting education as a liberatory experience. He is the Director of the MRER Project and Chairperson of the National Observatory for Living with Dignity, a research entity within the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society. Professor Borg is the editor of the Malta Review of Education Research (MRER) and of the Education Research Monograph Series (ERMS). He is also associate editor and reviewer of several other peer-reviewed, international journals. His latest book (co-edited with Michael Grech) is entitled The Pedagogy Politics and Philosophy of Peace: Interrogating Peace and Peace Making, published by Bloomsbury in 2017. Professor Borg is also a poet and an author of children's literature.
Authentic Parent-Professional Partnership in Higher Education – From Theory to Practice.
In an earlier piece Borg and Mayo (2006) argued that in the present neo-liberal climate, parental involvement, promoted as 'active democratic citizenship', is to be interrogated, particularly in political contexts characterised by a minimalist state and the seemingly unstoppable march towards the privatisation of basic services. A fundamental step in the direction of reclaiming a moral imagination that hosts an authentic parent-professional partnership is based on the notion that human beings are in a continuous process of becoming, and that this process is communitarian, collective and organic rather than individualistic, competitive, hierarchical and fragmented. Within this framework, critically engaging the world and searching for multi-layered and rhizomic, possibilitarian encounters constitute two core activities in the process of becoming more human; a process that is transformative for the parents and for the institutions that engage in such processes because it welds collective reading of the world with ongoing communal action.
Critical engagement with the immediate ecology of parents as a fundamental process of communal emancipation is key to challenging the ‘culture of silence’ (Freire, 1996) that characterises traditional professional-parent relationships; a culture reproduced through hierarchical pedagogical engagements and fuelled by the privileging of professional esoteric knowledge.
The curricular experience of genuine communities of learning, where professionals and parents are concerned with mutuality provides ample opportunities for reflection, peer-tutoring, cooperative learning and action. Within such contexts, professionals and parents experience democracy and rediscover life beyond deficiency, consumption, performativity, competition, capital and the market place.
The keynote speech revisits the concept of parental-professional communities of learning as one form of authentic community action, with the view of promoting the concept as an opportunity for parents to engage in curriculum development in higher education. The presentation will provide insights into a newly-designed course for education professionals. The course was co-designed with parents and will be co-conducted with parents. The design of the course is meant to foreground parents as protagonists rather than token producers of knowledge. The course is also meant to help prospective professionals to do collaboration with parents in the most difficult of social and economic circumstances.
- Borg, C., and Mayo, P. (2006) Learning and Social Difference: Challenges for public education and critical pedagogy. Boulder, Colorado, USA: Paradigm Publishers.
- Freire, P. (1996) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Penguin Books.
Toward Inclusive Imaginaries of Belonging: Poland’s Parents and Schools on the Frontlines of the Struggle for Educational Equity and Justice
In this paper, I focus on the experiences and the role of parents in the transformation of Polish schools into inclusive educational settings. I will argue that the ideals of educational inclusion enforced through the UN and EU membership policies, hold the potential for perhaps the most radical change toward equity and social justice in the recent democratic history of Poland. Educational inclusion postulates the right of access to mainstream education for all children despite the variety of their needs and background. In Poland, this policy requires the recognition of diversity in the context of a country whose national imaginary (formed in the 20th century by the history of violent cleansings of difference during the Nazi and Soviet occupations) is dominated by concepts of uniformity of belonging and citizenship (Cervinkova 2016). While national leaders and majority of citizens in public opinion polls desire to maintain the country’s seemingly homogeneous character (e.g. by rejecting the EU quota system concerning the relocation of refugees), globalization processes advancing through EU policyscapes (such as the policy on educational inclusion) and material and ideational global flows (Appadurai 2006, Carney 2009), are making diversity a fact that can no longer be ignored. Schools are on the frontlines of the historical change: they must grapple with the need to find ways of working with children and youth of diverse background and experiences (children of immigrants, including returning Polish migrants, children with varied sexualities and gender identities, children with disabilities, etc.). Despite their declarative compliance, research shows that schools are generally poorly prepared for the dramatic change that full educational inclusion represents for the school community (Pogodzinska, 2013; Wagner, 2018), pointing at the widespread resistance of teachers, school leadership and parents of children without special needs to the challenges of inclusion (Kubicki, 2017; NIK, 2017; Zadrożny and Silny, 2015). The paper builds on the approach to schools as “primary sites for the creation of new political dispositions and identities” (Levinson, 2011, 290) and considers the parents’ fight for educational inclusion in the context of the larger struggle for inclusive national imaginary in post-1989 Poland.
Dr. Epstein has over one hundred fifty publications on family and community involvement including School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action, 4thEdition (Corwin Press, 2019), and a textbook for college courses for future teachers and administrators entitled School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Preparing Educators and Improving Schools, 2nd Edition (Westview Press, 2011). Dr. Epstein was named a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in 2009 and received the 2009 Elizabeth Cohen Award for Applied Research from AERA’s Sociology of Education Special Interest Group. Her current research focuses on how district and school leadership affects the quality of school-based programs of family and community engagement and results for students. In all of her work, she is interested in the connections of research, policy, and practice
Pent Up Power: How Can Policies on Partnerships be Implemented to Improve Schools, Engage All Parents, and Increase Student Success?
This presentation begins with a social fact: Children do better in school if their parents are engaged in their education. This fact, proven in decades of research, reveals two dramatic and unacceptable inequalities—unequal parental engagement and unequal student success. The confirmed finding poses critical questions about equity: How might all parents be engaged in their children’s education at school and at home? If they were, would more students succeed to their full potential?
There are many foci and components of family engagement, but one topic that concerns every parent every day is the happiness, health, well-being, and success of their own child. Official policies on family and community engagement are “on the books” in most countries, agencies, and schools. The policies tend to state that home, school, and community share responsibility for children’s education. Typically, policies set goals for a welcoming school climate, two-way communications between and among teachers, parents, and other partners in education, and working together on behalf of children. Too-often, however, official policies on family and community engagement are not enacted and, therefore, do not produce the intended results. Action steps are misunderstood; program development budgets are unfunded; leadership lags; old patterns of delayed action persist; and inequities abound. What to do?
This presentation will “unpack” the problem statement and identify the persistent inequities that must be addressed in new research—basic and applied. We will discuss lessons learned in over 30 years of research, fieldwork, and active networking on whether and how good policies can be implemented to improve schools, engage all families, and increase student success in school.
- Students’ and Higher Education stakeholders’ concepts of resilience in the context of innovation camps, Konst, T., Jagiello-Rusilowski, A., Dyskursy Młodych Andragogów, vol. 18 (2017)
- Drama for developing integrity in Higher Education, Jagiello-Rusilowski A., PALGRAVE COMMUNICATIONS, Humanities, Social Sciences, 3 (2017)
- Improvisation in revealing and developing hidden competences, INTED2016 Proceedings IATED Digital Library, Jagiello-Rusilowski, A. , INTED2016 Proceedings IATED Digital Library, 2125-2131 (2016)
- Developing Diversity-Related Competencies, Adam Jagiello-Rusilowski, in: Internationalizing Higher Education: Critical Collaborations across the Curriculum, (Lee, A., ed.) Springer, Boston/Rotterdam 2015
- Intercultural competencies of Polish and Kazakh teachers explored in their Facebook profiles, Jagiello-Rusilowski, Immanchiyev Z., Problemy Wczesnej Edukacji 1 (11), 56-68 (2015)
Parents as facilitators of educational resilience
In this interactive presentation the concept of educational resilience will be explored as the capacity for perseverance in learning under challenging conditions and the ability to predict a causal relationships of own and learning community efforts to prevent or capitalize on failure. The process of building resilience will be “experienced” dramatically by the audience and volunteer conference participants through 6 scenes about educational challenges or critical moments of learning. Each will offer insights into the role of parents in establishing and maintaining positive self-esteem of their children, reducing some risk factors, fostering key competencies and helping with children’s sense of cohesion, meaning, values and attitudes.
Volunteers will randomly chose one card from a deck of cards, with the highest card representing the most resilient student in a group. The group will behave in ways that reflect their characters’ perceived social support, self-efficacy beliefs and abilities to persevere through making meaning, hope, faith etc.. The drama participants will think about 10 hypothetical situations presented by the keynote speaker. In characters they will take one step forward, back or stay on their imagined continuum of education. The outcome of drama and sociometry will be discussed by the presenter and commented by the audience. Some good educational practices will be analyzed with example of research projects led by the presenter ( Art for Social Change, DICE, ARTPAD).
- Mathematics education, democracy and social justice, in. Educational challenges in the cultural space of the European Union .ed. by Sylwia Mrozowska, Tomasz Besta, Aleksandra Zgrundo, Gdansk 2013.
- Mathematics failures in girls and ethnic minorities in the perspective of questions about ideologies in education, Problemy Wczesnej Edukacji/ Issues in Early Education, 2013, no. 4, 15-31.
- Smartfon i tablet w dziecięcych rękach. Być dzieckiem, nastolatkiem i rodzicem w kulturze mobilnej [Smartphone and tablet in children’s hands. Being a child, being a parent in mobile culture], Gdańsk 2016: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Katedra.
- Dorastanie bezprzewodowe. Technologie mobilne i gender w rodzinnym polu socjalizacyjnym [Wireless adolescence: mobile technologies and gender in the arena of family socialization], Rocznik Lubuski, 2016, Vol. 42, 37-55.
- Is technology a magic wand? When tablets' affordances meet teaching practices: insights on didactic design, The New Educational Review, 2018, Vol. 51, no. 1, 78-90.
- Bougsiaa, H., Cackowska, M., Kopciewicz, L., Nowicki, T. (2016). Smartfon i tablet w dziecięcych rękach. Być dzieckiem, nastolatkiem i rodzicem w kulturze mobilnej [Smartphone and tablet in children’s hands. Being a child, being a parent in mobile culture], Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Katedra.
- Corsaro, W.A. (2015). The sociology of Childhood. California: Sage Publication.
- Hjorth, L., Burgess, J., Richardson, I. (2012). Studying Mobile Media: Cultural Technologies, Mobile Communication, and the iPhone, New York: Routledge.
- Plowman, L. (2015). Researching Young Children's Everyday Uses of Technology in the Family Home, Interacting with Computers Volume 27 (1): 36–46.
- Plowman, L., Stevenson, O., Stephen, C., McPake, J. (2012). Preschool children's learning with technology at home, Computers and Education, 59 (1) 30-37.
- Radesky, JS., Schumacher, J. Zuckerman, B. (2015). Mobile and interactive media use by young children: the good, the bad, and the unknown. Pediatrics.135,(1):1–3.
- Rakow, L., Navarro, P. (1993). Remote mothering and the parallel shift: Women meet the cellular phone, Critical Studies in Mass Communication, nr 10 (2): 144–157.
Mobile mothers, mobile children: mapping emergent learning practices in family cultures
I will present and discuss results of empirical research focused on children’s learning and socialization in digital culture which has become a part of their family culture.
In recent years, an increasing number of research studies explored the potential and the outcome of the use of mobile technology in socialization and education. These studies focused on learning efficiency, improvement of learning outcomes, and motivation. The research works approached technology as a “supplement” to the established learning practices used for the purposes of the traditional educational goals. Alternative type of research works explored the potential and implications of new tools and the new materiality for everyday teaching and learning practices, the transformation of pedagogy, and the shaping of new digital competences. My research is related to the last type of assumptions.
Family space determines the developmental, social, material, and economic aspects of children’s family life. It is in this space that children spend most of their time. Therefore, we could say that the digital culture is subordinated to ‘parental filtering’ and for this reason my work is mainly focused on family learning cultures understood as areas of practices organizing the children’s access to the mobile infrastructure and the new learning opportunities.
Adopting critical–radical educational theories, it is easy to get under an illusion that technology privatised on the family ground is a powerful learning tool and that home-based ‘digital education’ is able to equip children with better competences than the culturally-lagging Polish school, especially that modern technologies are extensions of human senses and flexibly fit into the natural cognitive practices. Mobile technologies involve a promise of unlimited access to the entire world, which the children may have ‘at their fingertips’. Can the new material conditions for learning be a challenge to the traditional, transmissive model of learning dominating in Polish schools? Can tablet technology give rise to conflicts between traditional and emergent learning practices? Can technology ‘shake’ the non-democratic structure of Polish school?
Her interdisciplinary research focuses on race, class, and political economy of urban education, particularly the inter-relationship of education policy and urban restructuring and radical social transformation. Pauline is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and policy reports.
Her book, The New Political Economy of Urban Education: Neoliberalism, Race, and the Right to the City (Routledge, 2011), argues that education is integral to neoliberal economic and spatial urban restructuring and its class and race inequalities and exclusions as well as to the potential for a new, radically democratic economic and political social order.
Her previous books, High Stakes Education and Race, Class and Power in School Restructuring, received American Education Studies Association, Critics Choice Awards.
In 2011, she received the American Education Research Association Distinguished Contribution to Social Contexts in Education Research, Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013 she was elected a lifetime member of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
An activist scholar, Pauline Lipman is also active in community campaigns for equitable and just education. As a core member of Teachers for Social Justice, she has been involved in struggles against school closings and education privatization and for an elected school board, sustainable community schools, and racial justice in education in Chicago, in coalition with community organizations, parents, and the Chicago Teachers Union.
Parents as protagonists for a just educational and social order: What is at stake in a moment of deep social crises, xenophobia, and authoritarianism?
This paper argues that education is co-constitutive of the neoliberal economic-political order and its crises and is a critical site for resistance to neoliberalism, racism, reactionary nationalism, and xenophobia. I begin with the stakes of the present moment: the conjuncture of profound economic, political, social, and ecological crises and resurgence of blatantly xenophobic, white supremacist, nationalist, anti-democratic agendas, on one hand, and new resistances, solidarities, social imaginaries and emerging counter-hegemonic programs, on the other. I trace this polarized moment to the protracted structural crisis of capitalism, the consequences of globalized neoliberalism, and legacies of colonialism, white supremacy, ethnic hatreds and xenophobia that variously permeate our societies.
Neoliberal logics of capital accumulation and anti-democratic governance (intertwined, in the U.S., with white supremacy) have driven the economic and spatial restructuring of cities and profound economic, social, and spatial inequalities. I have argued that, in the U.S., urban education policies are co-constitutive of neoliberal urban restructuring, (Lipman, 2011), the shrinking and commodification of the social state, and racialized/spatialized politics of disposability, visited particularly on African Americans (Lipman, 2015). Undermining critical thought and democratic participation in schools is also central to neoliberalism’s anti-democratic political project. In this moment, public education is a locus of the crises of the neoliberal order, including the crisis of social reproduction (Fraser, 2016), and the municipal state’s attempt to discipline the public through fiscal austerity (Peck, 2012), subordinating the lives of “surplus people” to fiscal solvency and subjecting them to intensified state violence (Pulido, 2016) and “organized abandonment” (Gilmore, 2008). These practices have given rise to an education justice movement, with parents as key actors. Led by people of color, opposition to closing and privatizing public schools and education budget cuts is unsettling neoliberal hegemony. I draw on the campaign for Sustainable Community Schools in Chicago to argue for parents (with community members, educators, and students) as authors of critical, humanizing education visions and practices of social solidarity and contend that parent protagonism necessitates penetrating the roots of the crisis and joining with democratic social movements for a just alternative to the existing social order.
- Fraser, N. (2016). Contradictions of Capital and Care. New Left Review, pp.99-117.
- Gilmore, R. W. (2008). Forgotten places and the seeds of grassroots planning. In C. R. Hale, Ed. Engaging contradictions: Theory, politics, methods of activist scholarship, pp.31-61. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Lipman, P. (2011). The new political economy of urban education: Neoliberalism, race, and the right to the city. New York: Routledge.
- Lipman, P. (2015). Accumulation by dispossession: Closing schools and state abandonment of communities of color. In B. Picower & E. Mayorga, What’s Race Got To Do With It: How current school reform policy maintains racial inequality. Peter Lang Publishers.
- Peck, J. (2012). Austerity urbanism: American cities under extreme economy. City, 16, 626-655.
- Pulido, L. (2016). Flint, Environmental Racism, and Racial Capitalism. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 27(3), pp. 1-16.
Department of Education, Practice and Society
UCL Institute of Education
University College London
Judith Suissa is Professor of Philosophy of Education at UCL Institute of Education, London. Her research interests include anarchist theory, utopian theory, radical educational traditions, critical philosophy of race, and parent-child relationships.
Suissa, J. (2006). Anarchism and Education; A Philosophical Perspective. Abingdon: Routledge
Suissa, J., & Ramaekers, S. (2012). The Claims of Parenting: reasons, responsibility and society. Contemporary philosophies and theories in education. Dordrecht: Springer.
Suissa, J. (2006). “Untangling the mother knot; some thoughts on parents, children and philosophers of education”. Ethics and Education, 1 (1), 65-77
Suissa, J. (2010). “How Comprehensive is Your Conception of the Good? Liberal Parents, Difference, and the Common School”. Educational Theory, 60 (5), 587-600
Ramaekers, S., & Suissa, J. (2012). “What all parents need to know? exploring the hidden normativity of the language of developmental psychology in parenting”. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 46 (3), 352-369
Suissa, J. (2013). “Tiger mothers and praise junkies : children, praise and the reactive attitudes”. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 47 (1), 1-19
Suissa, J. (2014). “Tough Love and Character Education; Reflections on Some Contemporary Notions of Good Parenting”. Pedagogical Culture, 1, 115-131
Suissa, J. (2015). “Character Education and the Disappearance of the Political”,. Ethics and Education, 10 (1).
Suissa, J. (2019). “Anarchist Education”. In C. Levy, M. Adams (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Anarchism. Switzerland: Palgrave MacMillan
Children, parents, and non-parents: To whom does the future belong?
In this paper, I will look at how different narratives about "the future", and about who has a "claim to" or a "stake in" the future are intertwined in complex ways with underlying political ideas and imaginaries. This paper is based on my recent collaborative work with my colleague Rachel Rosen, at UCL.
I will begin by exploring some popular political discourses that position "childless leaders" as unfit to hold political office, in contrast to leaders who, as parents, are seen as having a stake in the future of society that renders them more trustworthy. These discourses raise questions about the relationship between (non)parenthood, childhood and claims to the future, which in turn lead to a discussion of the assumptions underpinning our social and political values and institutions, as well as assumptions about children, adults, and the different and often conflicting subject positions they occupy within contemporary societies. Whilst certain subject positions may be popularly understood to have a particular claim to the future (e.g. the child as the embodiment of the future or the parent adult who raises a child to carry their family interests into the future), such claims may imply undercutting other agents’ claims to the future. Uncovering the conceptual and evaluative underpinnings of these discourses reveals complex and often contradictory ideas about the degree to which “the future” is or is not a collective project of our own making, and about which voices play a role in imagining and shaping it. At the same time, tying our stakes in the future to generational continuity of the family revolves on the individualistic assumption that our only stake in the future is for our own kin-based and self-serving interests.
I will draw on utopian theory in suggesting some different possible ways of conceptualising a more collective - and maybe a more disruptive - notion of intergenerational relations and the future, as a political project towards social justice and public good.