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Examining teacher - parent relationships in high and low socioeconomic communities : teacher and parent reports of communication, mutual support and satisfaction Nordby, Carla J.

Abstract

My study examined whether and how the relationship between parent and teacher corresponds to the socioeconomic status (SES) of the family or to the achievement level of their child in reading and writing. Relationship was defined in terms of communication, perceptions of mutual support and reported levels of satisfaction. The constructs were assessed through questionnaires and interviews with seven parent-teacher dyads. Each dyad represented a unique profile of student achievement (high or low), SES of the family (high or low), and parental involvement (high or minimal). Successful relationships were characterized as having clear communication, perceptions of helpful mutual support, and high levels of success. No clear patterns in the success of the relationships emerged from examination of the SES or achievement of the children; however, successful relationships were aligned with the teachers' ratings of parental involvement. Teachers included newsletters and log book messages in their methods of communicating with parents, while parents considered only two-way interactions as communicating with their child's teacher. Teachers in higher SES schools reported giving suggestions to parents to assist their children but the parents did not report hearing the suggestions; however, teachers in lower SES schools did not report giving suggestions to parents but parents reported hearing the suggestions. Home literacy activities varied across families in high versus low SES schools. Parents in higher SES schools reported a broader range of activities in their home that supported their children's literacy acquisition than their lower SES counterparts. Activities reported by low SES families were more task oriented while activities reported by higher SES families were more entertainment oriented and corresponded better with school activities.

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