Title of the Symposium: School Drop-Out Prevention: Investigating Teachers and Family Factors Involved. Its Implications for Partnership
Chair: Dr. Raquel-Amaya Martínez-González (raquelamaya_arroba_gmail.com) University of Oviedo, Spain
Discussant: Dr. Loizos Symeou (L.Symeou_arroba_euc.ac.cy) European University Cyprus
Abstract of the entire Symposium: The increasing personal and social cost of dropping out of school is stimulating educational decision-makers to look for educational measures to prevent it (European Commission Directorate General for Education & Culture, 2005; National Research Council, 2001). Researchers remark that early interventions before middle school and high school, are the most powerful strategies to prevent students from dropping out because this phenomenon is the result of a long-term process of disengaging from school (Marcon, 1999). These interventions should take into account at least two outstanding factors which might have a worth impact in preventing dropping out (Horvat, Weininger, & Lareau, 2003): home environment and family dynamics and schooling conditions -school organization, teaching practices & beliefs, school climate, etc.-. Croninger & Lee (2001) and Lee & Burkam (2003) claimed that positive relationships with their teachers reduce the students’ probability to drop out of school. In this way, promoting caring school climates together with collaborative programmes with parents, can result in preventing school failure (Henderson, 1987; Simon, 2004) and controlling the likelihood of dropping out. Thus, school-family partnerships sounds imperative.
In this symposium four papers will address the above issues from different perspectives. Dr. Rodríguez-Ruiz, Dr. Álvarez-Blanco & Dr. Martínez-González (University of Oviedo, Spain) will focus on identifying differences in family dynamics regarding children who were and who were not at risk of dropping out in the same school, thus trying to point key parenting issues. Dr. Ceballos-Vacas, Dr. Triana-Pérez, Dr. Rodríguez-Hernández & Dr. Pérez-Marrero (University of La Laguna, Spain) will explore preservice teachers' beliefs about the extend that children's personal and school adjustment is influenced by their family structure. The expected associated prejudices and its implications for teachers preservice training are discussed. Dr. Martínez-González, Dr. Iglesias-García and Dr. Pérez-Herrero (University of Oviedo, Spain) will consider fathers' involvement in their childrens' education to stress their key role in enhancing their children's academic progress, thus preventing dropout. The challenges fathers face in this regard will be explored as well as potential differences with mothers' involvement. To finish with, Ms. Francesca Rauchi & Ms. Montse Daviu (Catalonia Students' Parents' Federation- Federació d’Associacions de Pares i Mares d’Alumnes de Catalunya-FaPac.) together with Dr. Martínez-González (University of Oviedo, Spain) will introduce the main characteristics of an European project aimed at reinforcing interaction between practices, research and policy with the purpose of extending the current participation of the families in the schools and promoting school-family-community partneship for educational success and prevention of children's school failure and dropping out.
Papers within the Symposium
Dropping out of high school in Spain: Identifying Family Indicators
Beatriz Rodríguez-Ruiz (bearodriguezruiz_arroba_gmail.com), Lucía Álvarez-Blanco y Raquel-Amaya Martínez-González (University of Oviedo)
Abstract: The transition to high school is significant in the decision of students to drop out of school. The phenomenon of teenagers’ dropping out of high school before completion is a social challenge (Coleman, 1988) because, as Becker (1993) suggested, societies cannot afford to lose human capital and potential productive citizens. Among the many factors associated with dropping out of high school before completion, family dynamics were identified by research as an important matter (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004).
The objective of this paper is to identify key family issues related to this phenomenon by comparing academic attitudes and expectations of 37 families whose children were at risk of dropping out and those of other 37 families with children attending the same school who were not at risk. To collect data, the Family-School Partnership Questionnaire by Christenson, Lam and Sinclair adapted by Martínez-González to the Spanish context (1992) was used.
The results from t-test comparisons showed a broad range of differences in the perceptions and practices of both groups of families. The findings illustrate it is essential to provide families with pupils at risk, with facilities, support and training for enhancing their children’s development and school success through everyday family practices.
Fathers' Involvement In Their Children's Education
Raquel-Amaya Martínez-González (raquelamaya_arroba_gmail.com), Mª Teresa Iglesias-García y Mª del Henar Pérez-Herrero (University of Oviedo)
Abstract: Traditionally, fathers and mothers played a differential role regarding children’s education, being the collaboration between families and schools mainly performed by mothers. The gendered distribution of family responsibilities was recognized by the Committee of Experts on Children and Families (CS-EF) of the Council of Europe (Day, 2006), when trying to support effective parenting in European countries.
Thus, the objective of this research is to analyze fathers’ perceptions of their involvement in their children's education in order to identify potential factors which both facilitate and make it difficult for fathers to be actively involved in their children’s school and education. To gather information, a questionnaire on school-family partnership to be answered to on a four-point Likert scale as well as open questions was applied to a random sample of 2.203 Spanish fathers with children from 0-18 years old.
Results show that most fathers in the sample help their children daily with homework and would like to learn effective ways to do so. This involvement is more frequent with children in primary school than in compulsory secondary school. Conclusions and practical implications for school-family partnership will be discussed.
The European Xarxa Clau Project to Enhance Families For Educational Success
Raquel-Amaya Martínez-González (University of Oviedo), Francesca Rauchi y Montse Daviu (Catalonia Students' Parents' Federation- Federació d’Associacions de Pares i Mares d’Alumnes de Catalunya-FaPac)
Abstract: The project EUXarxaClau has as its main objective to foster inclusion in education to enable quality learning and to prevent dropout and promote participation in society. It aims at promoting a network of organizations to accompany, follow and train families in Successful Educational Actions (SEA).
The EUXarxaClau consortium is composed of entities from the Member States that represents the territorial diversity of Europe (i.e. South, East, West and Central Europe) with different experiences, profiles and specific expertise that secure the aims of the project, as well to produce relevant and high quality project results.The added value of this project starts from the cooperation between the European consortium.
The expected results are to disseminate to European students’ families and European parents Associations the scientific evidences that lead to educational success (SEA) supported by the European Commission, to train families in SEA and to provide families and the rest of educational community with participation tools in the educational environment to create a network of families to achieve educational success.