Psychology & Society
Psychology & Society


Current Issue - May 2019

This Special Issue focuses on the relationships between three major institutional agents in the making of the educational garden—the school, the family, and the community. A number of crucial issues are addressed. First, it brings to the field of home-school-community relationships a systematic theoretical scheme. Secondly it gives us a comparative-cultural (India, Canada) glimpse into the histories of education as it has been used as a tool to conquer the minds of new—by force annexed—members of the society. Thirdly, it brings into the school-home-community relationships discourse the basic principles of dialogical science. These relationships are not merely general themes of discourse but can take very concrete forms—when parents join their children in jointly building models of boats, or when children are involved in re-designing travel routes. Fourthly the general model of Urie Bronfenbrenner that since 1970s has been used as a basis for looking at school in society is given careful analytic attention. Finally, we get a glimpse of innovative pedagogical practices that are oriented towards the parents—who may be brought to the school territory to join their children in joint construction efforts.



The Father who is the School
JAAN VALSINER

Education is a strange enterprise. It involves people who are dedicated to improve the humanity of the next generation by providing them knowledge, and social institutions which are set up to guarantee that the next generation is oriented towards the societal norms of the previous generations. In other termsthere will be no formal classes given in educational systems in any country, from kindergarten to university, on how to make revolutions in society. At the same time there is a consistent focusat least in wordson how to make children at all ages creative, innovative, and members of the constantly changing society. Education builds on the positive ethos of engineeringthe human beings who are being educated are made to be different from who they were before. They are cultivated. The school is a garden where cultivated crops are carefully nourished and the undesirable growth equally carefully weeded out. Yet in great difference from the agricultural image—the “harvested crops” (students finishing with educational certificates) are not up for consumption, but are expected to start cultivating further knowledge in different ways. Educating future knowledge makers is the goalteachers need to prepare the learners to go beyond them as a result of their teaching what is known to them. To teach WHAT-IS is in the process of educating new generations is oriented towards WHAT-MIGHT-BECOME in the future. Yet the educators do notand cannot in principle-- know what it is.

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Continuity and Discontinuity between the School and the Family in the Community: Bridging Conceptual and Epistemological Inquiries
DANY BOULANGER

This editorial presents and extends the papers of the authors in this Special Issue by situating them in a classificatory model (Boulanger, 2019) aimed at identifying the epistemological orientations of systemic continuity and discontinuity amidst school, family, and community. This classificatory activity enables nuancing the categories with regard the specific contributions of the authors. Institutional and political tendency to make the discontinuous continuous which signals a process leading to formsis highlighted.

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Provoking Social Changes in a Family-School Space of Activity
ELISA CATTARUZZA, ANTONIO IANNACCONE & FRANCESCO ARCIDIACONO

The aim of this paper is to show how family-school inter-contextual relationships can be analysed in terms of dynamic systems of interaction. By assuming the psychological notion of activity space,we intend to advance possible new theoretical and empirical reflections concerning the home-school relationships. Our goal is to provide useful ideas for promoting positive changes in the inter-contextual balance between school and family. By discussing some theoretical assumptions of sociocultural approaches in psychology, we account for a presentation of an action-research project designed to show how a particular space of joint activities, namely a socio- material workshop (atelier), produces relevant changes in relationships between children (pupils) and adults (parents and teachers). Implications and possible avenues are presented as further opportunities for provoking social changes in the family-school space of activity.

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Possible Worlds for Families in School
KATHY NAKAGAWA

Using two theories drawing on sociocultural frameworks—Holland et al.’s (1998) theory of self and identity and Rogoff’s (1990; 1995) theory of cultural apprenticeships in learningthis paper examines how family-school relationships may be studied in ways that open them up as “worlds of possibility” (Urrieta, 2007, p. 114). This offers an opportunity for examining how family-school relations may stimulate changes in the school environment while also considering how parentsidentity develops through engagement with the school. Conceiving of family-school relationships as a site of apprenticeship for children’s development further expands how the famil y-school relationship may be imagined.

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The Parental Representations about their Children First Literacy Acquisition: A Case Study in a Small Italian Town
ILARIA ZAZZERA, CLOTIDE PONTECORVO & FRANCESCO ARCIDIACONO

Within a socio-cultural approach (Cole, 1996), the issue of relationships between school and family has received attention from in different sections of educational psychology (cf. Marsico, Komatsu & Iannaccone, 2013). In this academic field, we want to provide a contribution to the further analysis of the boundary crossing between school and family spaces. In particular, the present paper focuses on the parental representations of children’s literacy acquisition during the first primary grade. The corpus of data consists of sixteen interviews with low and high social class parents living in a small town in Italy. The issues addressed in the interviews concern parental ideas about children’s literacy, the type of help they provide to children’s homework, and the use of school practices within the family context. The interviews are analysed through an inductive method within a socio-cultural perspective, in order to highlight how the issue of first literacy development is considered relevant particularly by parents who are not fully literate. The findings highlight the connection between positive parental representations of first primary grade school and literacy development. Participant parents agree that the main value of school education is to make acquaintances with very different people, and to develop good social skills.

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In this paper, I respond to the following question: What processes and mechanisms explain these limits in how educators represent parental engagement? I do this by tackling educators’ representations of parents’ environments and engagement. I conceptualise representation with respect to categorisation and I describe how educators categorize parents living in poverty. Cutting parents’ environments, selecting certain aspects in the environment and representing certain zones as dense and others as sparse are the three mechanisms that I cover. In order to expand the notion of categorisation and the tension between fullness and emptiness, I present the concept of social representation from a systemic perspective and I refer to social representation dynamic as a tension between verbalism (emptiness) and ellipsis (fullness) in relation with my own theoretical work (Boulanger, 2016). Regarding my analysis of the discourse of teachers participating in a partnership program in Canada (Quebec), I situate this dynamic in school-family relationships in order to grasp teachers’ representations of parents.

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TOWARD A LESS SCHOOL-CENTERED PERSPECTIVE OF THE FAMILY ENGAGEMENT IN EDUCATION
FRANCESCO ARCIDIACONO

This paper is a commentary on Boulanger’s (2019) work entitled Social Representations of parental engagement in poor context: Empty parents and Full Teachers.” More particularly, my goal is to highlight some crucial aspects that are promoted by the author in order to move the view of the school-family- community partnerships toward a less school-centered perspective. Through a review of the analyses of representations and tensions between fullness and emptiness, the commentary aims to move forward the Boulanger’s (2019) claim and to consider the interactional space between school and family from an ethnographic point of view.

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The Becoming and Changing of Parenthood: Immigrant and Refugee Parents’ Narratives of Learning Different Parenting Practices
NOOMI MATTHIESEN

In an age where parenting has become a central concern for education and policy makers, there is an increased effort to ensure ‘good’ parenting practices amongst immigrant and refugee parents. The article argues that there is an uprise of interventions aimed at teaching new parenting practices to these parents, building on deficit assumptions. These interventions are critiqued from a poststructuralist perspective arguing that they build on a narrow school-centric and normative understanding of good parenting. However, it is pointed out, that this critique does not provide a way forward that allows for immigrant and refugee parents to transcend marginalization. The article draws on an analysis of empirical material from a parent-intervention project in a social housing community with a high density of ethnic minority families. The analysis investigates the narratives of how parents learn to do parenting differently. Drawing on social practice theory in general and situated learning theory in particular, the article argues that rather than attempting to change the knowledge of parents, home-family-community relationships can and should be strengthened through situated changes of practice that open up for new ways of social interaction and allow for changes in parenting practices that are experienced as meaningful by the parents.

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Dynamics of Intergenerational Relations in the Context of Migration – A Resource Perspective at the Intersection of Family and School
ISABELLE ALBERT

Educational attainment is key for societal integration and participation. In light of growing numbers of immigrants, the question of how school success of children with migrant background can be assured is of utmost importance, certainly for these children and their families but also for societal cohesion. Youngsters with migration background are an important resource for the future, also considering the ageing of many modern societies today. The article by Matthiesen (2019) deals with a well-known problem: migrant parents’ lacking school involvement. The acculturation situation might therefore constitute a disadvantage for children of these migrant families right from the start, especially if we assume that parental involvement has in general positive effects on their children’s school success, able to reduce behavioural problems and to foster academic achievement. The present commentary will deal with these and other questions that have been raised by Matthiesen’s (2019) article.

 

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Dialogical Transactions between Schools and Communities
BOB FECHO & JUDITH LYSAKER

Educational attainment is key for societal integration and participation. In light of growing numbers of immigrants, the question of how school success of children with migrant background can be assured is of utmost importance, certainly for these children and their families but also for societal cohesion. Youngsters with migration background are an important resource for the future, also considering the ageing of many modern societies today. The article by Matthiesen (2019) deals with a well-known problem: migrant parents’ lacking school involvement. The acculturation situation might therefore constitute a disadvantage for children of these migrant families right from the start, especially if we assume that parental involvement has in general positive effects on their children’s school success, able to reduce behavioural problems and to foster academic achievement. The present commentary will deal with these and other questions that have been raised by Matthiesen’s (2019) article.

 

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The exotopy (surplus of seeing) as a value in effective dialogical transactions between schools and communities
RAMON CERQUEIRA GOMES

This commentary aims to discuss the notion of dialogical transactions derived from transactional theory’s Rosenblatt about writing and reading, considering the role of the exotopy in this process. It is not a case of the text on one side and the reader on the other, but what the process of interpretation is according to what happens between them, the “whole situation” or transaction—where the meanings are constructed in dialog. The motivation is to discuss, metaphorically, the surplus of seeing as a value in effective dialogical transactions between schools and communities. From my perspective, dialogical transactions imply a consideration of the value that one has compared with another because one can exist only if the other can see him and this is possible due to the property that everyone has of seeing beyond themselves. What I can see in my position is not what another can see in others’ positions owing to semiotic, spatial, and time conditions in life of each one. Schools and communities will experience more profitable meetings to produce novelty and development if they have the attitude of valuing the world that the other sees.

 

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Expanding the Context of Pedagogical Activity to the Surrounding Communities
ANTTI RAJALA

Connecting learning across school and out-of-school contexts is a growing concern in educational research and practice. In this paper, I present and discuss two pedagogical principles for expanding the context of pedagogical activity by connecting it to the students’ lives and communities. The pedagogical principles discussed in this paper are a) connecting pedagogical activity to activity systems and expert communities outside school and b) harnessing students’ productive deviations from a given pedagogical design. The argument foregrounds the distinction between the extension and expansion of the context of pedagogical activity. The context of pedagogical activity is expanded when the interaction with the outside world qualitatively changes the activity. I draw upon a sociocultural and holistic conceptualization of pedagogy that considers pedagogy as cultural intervention in human development that occurs in encounters between students’ and teachers’ activities, situated in the cultural, historical, and institutional contexts of school and beyond. In the concluding section, I discuss a sketch for a new pedagogy based on the pedagogical principles elaborated in this paper.

 

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School-Community Relations among Indian Communities
NANDITA CHAUDHARY

As a continent, India has an ancient history. However, as a nation in the modern sense, the departure of British colonial rule in 1947 was a starting point for the new nation. The tradition of education and learning among the Hindus was provided in residential gurukuls2 to young boys who were sent by the family to live with, serve and learn from a guru in ancient times. Some gurukuls are still around today, but these are few in number. Among institutions of higher learning, Nalanda (in Northern India) University, founded in 5th century BCE has had a glorious past. The arrival of the British all but destroyed the conventional educational system in India. With the advent of missionaries, Western schooling became an instrument of the putative conversion of the natives to a 'civilized' way of life. These trends have had serious and long-standing impact on the relationship between the school and the community. In this paper, we discuss both the emergence of as well as the transformations of school-community relationships in India to better understand the larger socio- political influences on the educational system in India.

 

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Imperialism and Education: A History of the Colonial Rule in India and Canada
DANIEL MOREAU

This paper addresses the question of school-community relation through a historical analysis of the colonial past of India and Canada. Following a critical pedagogy perspective, this analysis shed light on the power relation shaped throughout history, between Western political elites and Aboriginal populations. It shows that both countries share a common historical pattern ascribed to the implementation of the colonial rule, which contributed to the emergence of caste-like minorities. In Canada, interventions in education were the expression of imperialist policies that took place by the beginning of the French regime in the seventeenth century and extended by the British government. Economic impetus in the ninetieth century hasten the institutionalization of caste-like amongst Aboriginals, since the control of resource and territory was made easier through the creation of “Indian reserves” and the educative work of Christian missionaries.

 

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Bronfenbrenner’s Model as a Basis for Compensatory Intervention in School-Family Relationship: Exploring Metatheoretical Foundations
DANY BOULANGER

In this paper, I present the foundations of compensatory intervention in the relationship between the school and the family in poverty-related context. To do this, I analysis the metatheoretical foundations of Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological model which is the main basis for the models and typologies of parental engagement and school-family-community partnership. In relation with Pepper’s (1942) work on world views, I particularly display the configuration of metatheories in Bronfenbrenner by insisting on its mechanistic orientations and I apply this to compensatory intervention amidst the school and the family in poverty-related context.

 

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Dialogicality as a Basis for Development
MARIA ELISA MOLINA

The present article addresses the critique of Boulanger to the ecological model of Bronfrenbrenner applied to the implementation of educational and social strategies with school-family relationships in the context of cultural differences. The theoretical Model is review from a perspective of Cultural Psychology focussing of the weak aspects of its formulation and the need to further elaborations in the context of new contributions from dialogical perspectives and 4th cybernetic. The main critique of a mechanistic and normative understanding of social processes is discussed addressing the concepts of participation, intervention and observation from an irreversible temporality and a dialogical epistemology. The theoretical approach of cultural psychology looks at these processes as being part of an inclusive relation of co-transformation rather from a compensatory logic. Additionally a systemic approach appears to be appropriate to use for the analysis related with processes, contexts and contents. The model cannot explain the development-promoting tension and the systemic relation between different levels of the ecosystem and leaves unanswered the question about cultural diversity or differentiation. In the face of the question about the dialogue of the different levels of the ecosystem, the conceptual framework proposed addresses the encounter between different cultures pointing to novelty, the agency and the participation of all the instances involved in diversity and the permanent transformation of standards.that have been raised by Matthiesen’s (2019) article.

 

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Making the Additive Non-Additive amidst School and Family in the Community: Avenues for Dialogicality in Irreversible Time
DANY BOULANGER

This conclusion pushes further analyzes the editorial’s emphasis on the educational agents to make the discontinuous (school-family discontinuity) continuous (school-family continuity). It entails reinforcing the boundary between school and family in the community through creating blockings preventing boundary-crossing. I deepen the analysis of this process by resorting to how authors in this Special Issue respond to such blockings. To go with many authors’ emphasis on school-family-community dialogicality while situating space (these systems) in irreversible time, I also propose some tracks for a model of school-family dialogicality in irreversible time.

 

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