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Critical Reflection Paper 1

Pacific Oaks College

Christopher Franz

HD 441 Team Building for Early Childhood Educators and Parents

Professor McGonagle

May 16, 2017


Introduction

Describe several disadvantages of parent/teacher partnerships.

"Don't judge a man til youve walked a mile in his shoes."

This week's reading made me rethink Bronfenbrenner's Model of Ecological

Development. (Wright, Kay, & Stegelin, 2007, pg. 14). Whenever I'd seen this theory

discussed in the past, I'd always believed that it implied each inner ring was

increasingly more important than the others. In today's increasingly self-centric

world, one seldom takes the time to think about what their neighbors may or may

not be going through. This kind of disconnect is commonplace in classrooms and on

campuses the world over. Therefore, I believe a revision of this model is in order.

Instead of housing smaller and smaller circles inside of one another, we should

begin to weave them together to form concentric circles around a shared vision

(something akin to a Venn diagram but, with many more rings). This will helps us

create the better learning environments to nurture child development. We all have a

role to play in a child's development. Rather than these rings being independent of

one another, we should work towards centering them around a common objective.

Analysis

What are some barriers to parent participation in any program?

If you ask most educators they'll point to a breakdown of parenting in the

home or a devaluation of education in general. But, this deflection does little to


rectify the problem. Educators 'see' the child but, they seldom 'see' the entire family

or the overall impact it's dynamic has on the individual child. Therefore, it's

imperative for us to reach out and attempt to understand the various stressors and

circumstances facing our children and their families. These are difficult times. The

number of families living below the poverty line continues to rise as they face even

greater economic uncertainty. This shift has forced many mother's back into the

workplace. Compounding these problems can be other social stressors, such as

divorce, separation, remarriage, or worse still, emotional, physical, sexual, or

substance abuse issues. These unfortunate situations prevent adults from spending

as much time with their children as other parents can. It may also account for a

child's sudden shift in a behavior or loss in attention span. Some parents may be

dealing with multiple challenges simultaneously (i.e. working multiple jobs for

barely enough pay, dependency, violence, and mental, or emotional abuse). If an

educator is NOT impacted by or aware of the issues going on in their students lives,

they may not understand the importance of or be equipped to navigate the

complexities of these family, school, and community partnerships. (2007) (Wright,

Kay, & Stegelin, 2007, pg. 16).

How can they be handled?

We should attempt to buffer parental interactions with compliments and

positive reinforcement. We may also ask if there's anything else "we" could be doing

to address their needs and better share the responsibility. Learning how to reframe

the narrative is essential. We can start by encouraging families to tell us their stories
and listen to their unique needs and preferences. Rather than simply telling them

that their child is acting out, we may ask them a series of open-ended questions

about their children and the influencers in their life. By learning what's important to

them we can let them know we've been listening and taking what they've said into

consideration what they've shared with us. From there on out, we can establish and

maintain a common ground and incorporate their preferences into future

conversations. Once we've established common ground and developed a friendly

rapport we can pull our collective resources and address challenging issues

together. A little kindness and compassion goes a long way. By adopting a broader

world view we can reconcile and reach the goals of our administrators in

accordance to the values of our parents.

Summary

What are several advantages of parent/teacher partnerships?

Describe concrete actions that are necessary in laying the foundation for a

successful parent-teacher partnership; include attitudes or ideas of teachers

that are conducive to forming partnerships with parents.

We have been taught to believe that the nucleus of the child is limited to the

flesh and blood of their immediate family. But, the Meso and Micro-systems need no

longer be mutually exclusive (Wright, Kay, & Stegelin, 2007, pg. 19 ). Time is limited

in today's economy. Parents sometimes work 2 and 3 different jobs just to make

ends meet. For many, the teacher will spend the majority of the day with their child,
guiding their habits and lives. These "families" may see their own kids like passing

ships in the night. Without developing care and concern for the everyday problems

facing our children and their families, we're essentially flying blind in any attempt to

bridge the communication gap between them and us. Instead, we should be circling

our collective wagons around the children in order to provide the best possible

environment for learning, growing, and success in society. In turn this will assist us

in developing stronger more resilient children, families, and an overall sense of

community.
References

Wright, Kay & Stegelin, Dolores & Hartle, Lynn, 1955- & Wright, Kay, 1952-. Building
school and community partnerships through parent involvement (2007). Building
family, school, and community partnerships (3rd ed). Pearson Merrill/Prentice Hall,
Upper Saddle River, N.J