Parental engagement in primary schooling in Aotearoa New Zealand: A policy enactment case study
Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/15359
Parental engagement in education is a deceptively simple idea. Supported by theory and empirical evidence, it is promoted in educational policy in many countries, including Aotearoa New Zealand. Nevertheless, research demonstrates a gap between the rhetoric and the reality of parental engagement practice. The critiques of factors and barriers influencing the gap in practice do not adequately address how schools, as sites of policy enactment, deal with the multifaceted dimensions of parental engagement. This study aims to increase the knowledge and understanding of the reality of parental engagement, especially as it is enacted and experienced in an Aotearoa New Zealand school setting. It focuses on two less considered material contexts, built and digital space. The research involved a single bounded case in an English-medium (state-not integrated) primary school. It is possible to apply multiple methods within a policy enactment case study, making it ideal for examining parental engagement's contextual, creative, and negotiated enactment process. The study's findings identified several limiting factors in the enactment of parental engagement. Dominant neoliberal and other, more traditional subjectivities constrained parental engagement by restricting the type of opportunities offered and which parents were able to take them up. Built space was underestimated as a source of both constraint and possible support for parental engagement, whilst digital space has transformative potential. The study concludes that greater clarity and a shared purpose would support the improved positioning of parents, the evaluation and alignment of built space to enhance parental engagement, maximise the potential of digital technologies, and help guide teachers and schools in their enactment. The findings have implications for government, teacher education, and teacher professional development to help realise these benefits for parental engagement.
The University of Waikato
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