Date of Award

2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Dawn Butterworth

Abstract

Aboriginal parent and community participation in the education process has been identified as a priority for educators of Aboriginal children in Western Australia. The priority is one strategy aimed at addressing the inequity of student outcomes for Aboriginal children. This study set out to investigate the opinions of school staff and Aboriginal parents regarding the opportunity for, and value of Aboriginal parental involvement in the education process. Also, similarities and differences of opinion between school staff and parents were identified and discussed. The study employed qualitative methodology and included triangulation for internal validity. Semi-structured interview schedules were used to collect the data from participants who comprised school staff and parents of Aboriginal children from five metropolitan schools. It was found that participants agree that schools are making an effort to encourage Aboriginal parental involvement in the education process but that parental involvement at school is still limited. However, many school staff believed that Aboriginal families do not value or support the education process at home, while Aboriginal parents expressed their value of education and reported involvement to varying degrees, in their children's learning at home. Additionally, it was found that both school staff and parents value parental involvement at school. However, school staff value parental involvement that engages parents as agents of the school, while parents value involvement that allows them to monitor the safety and performance of their children at school. The findings of this study support the view that Aboriginal parents, not only wish to be involved, but are already involved in the education of their children. However, frequently involvement occurs in ways that are not recognised by school staff. Furthermore, Aboriginal parents can be empowered towards greater involvement when school staff acknowledge and accommodate the perspectives of Aboriginal parents. Recommendations are offered to assist schools in this endeavour.

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