Community and Family

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    • 00:01

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Community and Family]In this Community and Family tutorial,I'm going to be focusing on school, home,family partnerships. [Jonathan Cohen, AdjunctProfessor in Psychology and Education, Teachers College,Columbia Univeristy] And I'm goingto be talking about three big ideas.

    • 00:23

      First, how schools really do need the help and the supportof families and the larger community.[Importance of family and community support]Second, I'm going to be summarizingthe range of ways schools can partner with familymembers and people in the larger community.[Partnership opportunities] And finally, I'mgoing to be talking about the powerand the excitement of engaging studentsto be co-learners and co-leaders in this effort.

    • 00:50

      [Power and excitement of engagement][The importance of community and family]Schools really need the help of families and the largercommunity.Schools can't do it alone.When teachers, for example, are teaching childrenabout conflict resolution and that if wehave a fight, if our feelings are hurt, that it's notOK to be physical, but on the other hand,a mom or a dad at home is saying,hit first and talk later, that's an obvious but tragicallycommon and real example of how the school and the familycan inadvertently undermine learning.

    • 01:27

      When school leaders help family members, parents and guardians,as well as community members and leaders,to understand what are they focusing on and whyand invite parents and guardians, as well as communitymembers and leaders, to support their efforts,that's something that so powerfully supports the child.

    • 01:53

      Because the child is then gettinga similar message and support from multiple sectorsof their life.There are a range of ways that schools can partnerwith families in the community.Joyce Epstein from John Hopkins is an international expertin this area, and she's outlined six different waysthat schools can partner with families and the largercommunity.

    • 02:21

      [Partnerships between family and community] And the first threeare parenting, volunteering, and communicating.In other words, the schools can provide invaluable supportto parents about, what does it mean to be a helpful parent?

    • 02:42

      All parents have moments when theywant to scream bloody murder becauseof what their child is doing.That's a totally understandable reaction,but it's also an unhelpful reaction.In fact, we have a tremendous amount of knowledgeabout what it means to be a connected, loving parent,including how to deal with our moments of frustration.

    • 03:07

      In fact, school leaders have a tremendous amountof information, and guidelines, suggestions,that we can and need to communicate to parents about,how can we be the best parent that we want to be?As simple as it sounds, a second incredibly important waythat schools can partner with parents is to communicate,and that communication needs to be a two-way street.

    • 03:37

      Schools need to let parents and, hopefullyto some extent, the community, know, what are we doing?Because the more family members particularly, but alsocommunity members, know what studentsare learning and working on, the morethey're going to be able to support their children.And parents can and need to communicate to the schoolwhen something important has happened in their child's life.

    • 04:03

      This could be something as simple but incrediblymeaningful as a pet dying, or certainly a grandparent dying.Naturally, if the teacher, if the school knows about this,they're going to be able to be empathic and supportivein a way that if they didn't know, they can't be.Supporting parents being volunteers in schoolis another very powerful way of building a bridge between homeand the school.

    • 04:31

      There's so many different ways that parentscan help in school.And when children see their parents,whether it's reading to little onesor helping with a given campaign,it makes children feel, my parents care about school.And when kids feel, my parents careabout school, that contributes to themcaring even more themselves.

    • 04:56

      And the last three ways that schoolscan partner with families, as well as the larger schoolcommunity, is learning at home, decision-making,and collaborating with the larger school community.Learning at home refers to, how can parents and guardiansmost helpfully support children doing their homework?

    • 05:20

      This is another really important area where teachers and parentsneed to be partners.There are helpful ways and there are unhelpful waysthat we, as moms and dads, can support and structureour children doing homework.I'm not going to go into this in detailboth because of time, but also because there are simple, rigidrules about this.

    • 05:47

      It varies depending on how old the child isand what kind of homework that they're doing,but this is certainly always a terribly important topicthat parents and guardians, on the one hand,and educators need to be talking about.Decision-making is another terribly important realmwhere ideally parents and educators are partners.

    • 06:15

      There's more and more research that'semerging that how people make decisions, how people cope,may be the single most important psychosocial variable thatshapes our whole lives.If you want to read more about this,George Vaillant at the Harvard Medical Schoolis the father of the largest longitudinal studiesin the world, and this is the major empirical findingthat emerged from several seven-year longitudinalstudies.

    • 06:51

      Well, schools are making decisions all the timeabout what's going to happen, and parents can and shouldbe partners with schools.Even though the principal is, in some ways, the dictator,principals are not elected.Good headmasters and principals runschools in democratically-informed ways.

    • 07:12

      And they need the input from parents and guardiansin making decisions that are going to color and shape schoollife in general and what's happening in your child'sclassroom in particular.[School partnership] Schools also have the opportunityto partner with members and leadersfrom the larger school community.

    • 07:36

      The school really does need the help and supportof the whole village.For example, schools around the worldare experimenting more and more buildinga bridge between academic study on the one hand and communityservice on the other hand.This is often called service learning.Service learning, for example, allows a high school studentwho may be learning about the biology of water in a biologyclass to become involved with a community service projectcleaning up a local river.

    • 08:11

      We know now from a growing body of researchthat this can be so exciting for students, so engagingto feel that they're actually makinga difference in their local community.It makes what could be a very dry studyof the biology of water somethingthat's much more exciting, real, and relevant.

    • 08:35

      Well, naturally, that's all about a partnershipbetween teachers within the schooland people in the larger community.In America, my understanding is that the major way that schoolstry to partner with the larger communityis that they request money from the larger community.

    • 08:56

      There's nothing wrong with that.Schools need additional financial resources always.But that's only one of so many different waysthat schools can potentially create exciting and meaningfulpartnerships with the larger community thatsupports student learning.In the last few years, we've discoveredthat one of the most exciting waysto create meaningful school-community partnershipsis to engage and empower middle and high school studentsto take a very short survey, a community scale,out into 15 sectors of the larger schoolcommunity from the faith-based world to local lawenforcement, local media, radio, televisionstations, local civic and political leaders,even people in old age homes, and a variety of other sectorsof the larger community and to have kids ask community membersand leaders two sets of very simple questions.

    • 10:06

      First, to ask community members and leaders how do theyfeel about the current state of our school-communitypartnership.And secondly, and in many ways most importantly,to ask community members and leaders if they would liketo learn about our school's improvement goals,and would they be willing to help?

    • 10:28

      [Key points-- The importance of community and family,Partnerships between family and community, School partnership]In this Community and Family tutorial,I've focused on school, home, community partnerships.And I've talked about how the school really does needthe help of the whole village.That's not just a trite African saying.It's a profound truth.

    • 10:50

      I've also summarized the six major ways schools can, and areto a greater or lesser extent, partneringwith parents and guardians, as well as the larger schoolcommunity.And finally, I've talked about the power and the excitementof engaging students as co-leadersin school-community partnerships thatcan make a world of difference.

    • 11:17


Community and Family

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This film examines the importance of community, family, and school partnership.

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Community and Family

This film examines the importance of community, family, and school partnership.

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