Parental participation in schooling: example from the film, 'Take the Lead'

Essay by michellynetteCollege, UndergraduateA-, March 2008

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Socially just schooling aims to offer every student an education of equality regardless of factors such as ethnicity, gender or social class. Often however, achieving social justice in schools can be complex when considering what lies outside classroom-control: a student's home environment and the level of their parents' participation. The film Take the Lead illustrates through two characters how schooling can be experienced differently by those from differing backgrounds. Rock, an African American young man comes from a lower social class with parents who appear to be completely uninvolved in his education at his local predominantly-black state school, whereas Caitlin is a white young lady who appears to be from a highly privileged social position and whose mother is concerned and involved in her progress at her Dancing Academy. Pierre Dulaine is a teacher who instructs at the Dancing Academy and additionally decides to take on a detention class at Rock's school.

Both Rock and Caitlin attend, Caitlin voluntarily. Although the film predominately looks at issues of social class, it will not be the focus of this analysis. The aim here is not to link social status with levels of parental participation and ultimately student success, but to argue the need for teachers and parents to create consistent messages about learning through supportive environments in and outside of school. This paper will look at why parental participation and consistent learning environments are important for a student's education; how environments are constructed, with examples and assessment of Delaine's teaching practices and school curriculum; what the potential barriers are that stop parents becoming involved in their child's education, and what educators can do to further levels of parental participation in student learning.

The home environment is hugely influential for children; before they even encounter a teacher their parents have equipped...