'n Fundamenteel–opvoedkundige presisering van ouer–onderwyserkontak
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After a study of the literature and the analysis of responses to a short, unstructured questionnaire it has emerged that parent-teacher contact is usually based more upon intuition than fundamental pedagogical research. The mistaken assumption that the teacher is seen as, at the most a supplementary parent, and not an independent, professionally trained teacher has jeopardized the professional status of the teacher. It has furthermore emerged from the study of the literature and the questionnaire that the following problem areas in connection with parent-teacher contact or resulting from deficient parent-teacher contact, have made this research relevant: • negative attitudes of parents and teachers as regards parent-teacher contact; • gaps in the communication between parents and teachers when they are in contact; • parents and teachers are uninformed about parent-teacher contact because of deficient or total lack of training or information as regards ways of making contact; • uncertainty about the nature, structure and the domain of competence of societal spheres (particularly that of the home and the school), and • less effective parent-teacher contact in the RSA, specifically at the highest statutory levels. This research problem and its identified relevancy has led to the formulation of the general aim, viz. that the prospect of a basic or fundamental pedagogical delineation about the nature of the contact between parent and teacher must be realized. Furthermore, those areas of contact which can lead to the establishment of clear points of departure and directives must be identified. According to these directives the teacher can look for professional contact with the parent, and the parent can cooperate with the teacher without compromising either the teacher's professional authority or the parent's sphere of competence. The (possible) achievement of the general aim depends on the assumption that three specific aims in particular be attained in this study, viz. to identify the areas in which parent-teacher contact can take place, to determine the fundamental nature of parent-teacher contact and the accompanying responsibility and duty of parents and teachers to make contact, and finally to try to indicate the implications of the delineation of parent-teacher contact at micro, meso and macro levels of education. To achieve the above mentioned aims several acknowledged research methods have been used. An extensive study of the literature had to be undertaken to indicate the relevancy of the subject of research, as well as to give historical and contemporary perspectives on parent-teacher contact as a phenomenon. The study of the literature has also contributed to the structuring of a theoretical model of society which, in its turn, can serve as a criterion for the evaluation of parent-teacher contact in the history of education and in other countries, as well as at micro, meso and macro levels of education. This method by which the historical facts are weighed and linked to a short, unstructured questionnaire has also served to prove the relevancy of the research. A theoretical model of society has been designed, using the method of historical problem analysis and the method of fundamental contemplation. The scientific contributions of various philosophers and pedagogues concerned with parent-teacher contact have had to be evaluated in a transcendental critical way to investigate the epistemological basis of a theoretical model of society. The comparative method has also been used to examine and evaluate parent-teacher contact in two overseas countries, the United States of America and West Germany, keeping the state of affairs as regards parent-teacher contact in South Africa in mind. The phenomenological-analytical method has served to analyse the phenomenon of parent-teacher contact in order to arrive at a fundamental pedagogical delineation of parent-teacher contact. These methods have been instrumental in obtaining particular results in a scientific way (constituting a specific programme of research). This programme of research comprises the following steps: • an exhaustive study of the literature; • the drafting, dispatching, reception and processing of the short, unstructured questionnaire and the answer to it; • the search for the contours of a theoretical model of society through the ages; • the structuring of a theoretical model of society for parent-teacher contact; • a phenomenological analysis of parent-teacher contact as a phenomenon; • the testing of parent-teacher contact in terms of the theoretical model of society in the history of education in South Africa and other countries; and • the critical assessment of parent-teacher contact at micro, meso and macro levels of education, using the theoretical model of society. On the whole the structure of the theses corresponds with the programme of research. In chapter one the problem, aim, relevancy, method, delimitation of field of study, definition of terms, programme of research and structure of research are given. The search for the contours of a theoretical model of society for parent-teacher contact through the ages is discussed in chapter two and the ensuing structure corresponds with the above mentioned programme of research. In chapter seven the research report is concluded with the findings, conclusions and recommendations. The results of the research indicate that three specific aims as well as the general aim have been reached. The first specific aim, in which the intention is to identify areas of contact between parents and teachers, is reached when it emerges that parents and teachers have contact with one another at a micro, meso and macro level of education. As regards the micro educational level the local school and all its activities, its control and management (i.e. the governing boards) at a local level and the local parentis associations and parent-teacher associations are included. Parent-teacher contact at a meso educational level comprises the contact between parents and teachers on an organized basis at a regional level (for example school and regional boards and the "Afrikaanse Ouervereniging vir Christelike Onderwys en Opvoeding" at a provincial level). At macro educational level the areas of contact have been identified as those instances where parents and teachers make contact at the highest (informal and more formal-statutory) organized (government) level. The "Volkskongres vir Opvoeding en Onderwys" (1969) and the "Afrikaneronderwyskongres" (1982) are examples of informal areas of contact, and the national governing body of the "Afrikaanse Ouervereniging vir Christelike Opvoeding en Onderwys" of a formal body (acknowledged at a statutory level) which may act on behalf of parents at the highest government level. The second specific aim, the establishment of the fundamental nature of parent-teacher contact and the responsibility and duty of parents and teachers to make contact is also reached as the following findings indicate: • A consideration based on the principles of the nature and structure of marriage, the home and the school as societal spheres has indicated that the latter societal sphere does not exist in isolation, but that it is imbedded in a comprehensive structure of society in which these societal spheres are intertwined and dependent upon the cooperation of all. • A theoretical model of society has been designed to determine on the one hand how parent-teacher contact should occur to prevent the individual independence of home and school from being interfered with (the principle of sphere sovereignty), and on the other, to determine those areas of cooperation (the principle of sphere universality). • An important finding which has resulted from the design of the above mentioned theoretical model of society, is that the basic nature of purposeful parent-teacher contact is determined by the mutual acknowledgement of the spheres of competence of home and school. The sphere of the school is the development of the logical-analytical abilities of the pupils, and that of the home (including marriage) the loving (ethical) care of the children. Parents of the covenant, when in contact with the teachers of their children, should determine whether the educative schooling of their children corresponds with the life and world view of the home. The teachers, as partners of the parents, should regard education as a continuous action which should link up with the spirit and direction of education at home. • Parent-teacher contact in the history of White education in South Africa has been assessed by using the theoretical model of society, and it has been found that wherever parents have been denied their primary authority in education (i.e. where education is state-controlled), the basic nature of parent-teacher contact is fundamentally affected. Where parents alone want to support the school (for example the CNE in 1901-1906), parent-teacher contact is adversely affected, because the principle of sphere sovereignty is rejected. • Where the fundamental nature of parent-teacher contact is not carefully studied, understood and applied, all kinds of problems can emerge, amongst others unsatisfactory communication, weak partnerships and the wrong handling of children with problems as regards authority. • The typical individuality or essential nature and character of parent-teacher contact emerges clearly from the characteristic features of parent-teacher contact as a phenomenon. • Finally, as regards the fundamental nature of parent-teacher contact, it has been found that the delicate balance which must be kept between the acknowledgement of mutual spheres of competence on the one hand, and on the other the realisation that there are areas in which cooperation between parents and teachers is necessary, are determining factors for purposeful parent-teacher contact. The third specific aim, which is the intended indication of the significance of the specification of parent-teacher contact at micro, meso and macro levels of education, has been attained when it is indicated that parent-teacher contact features strongly at micro level; that particular problems which may emerge due to unsatisfactory parent-teacher contact can be identified, diagnosed and usually solved by means of the theoretical model of society. In the evaluation of instances of real parent-teacher contact-situations it has been found that the theoretical model of society provides a viable and empirically workable criterion for the evaluation of all the facets and problems of parent-teacher contact, because it is possible to indicate various shortcomings and possible solutions which may lead to purposeful parent-teacher contact. The attainment of the three specific aims has led to the above mentioned general aim being reached. • It is proposed that the theoretical model of society (by means of which parent-teacher contact can be established correctly according to specific principles) be introduced to students of education, parents, teachers and pedagogues as widely as possible, making use of publications, training and enrichment courses. In this way purposeful parent-teacher contact can be established in the RSA. The following research possibilities have also emerged from this study: • Extensive investigations are currently necessary to specify parent-teacher contact on a fundamental, educational basis as regards pre-primary, primary and tertiary education. • The fundamental educational delineation of parent-teacher contact on an informal and non-formal educational basis are separate fields of study which need specific research. • The results of more intensive investigations into parent-teacher contact in countries other than the United States of America and West Germany may be profitable for purposeful parent-teacher contact in South Africa. • Parent-teacher contact in Coloured, Indian and Black education demands separate research, particularly in the light of the present unrest in South Africa. • Supportive research on parent-teacher contact at macro educational level can result in better contact at a higher, formal, statutory level. • The negative attitudes experienced by parents and teachers as regards parent-teacher contact requires extensive empirical research. • Separate empirical studies can be undertaken to determine how parent-teacher contact can function more purposefully in practice. In conclusion it can be stated that parents, as the primary educators of their children, and teachers, as the secondary educators (concerned primarily with the development of the logical-analytical capabilities in correspondence with their other abilities and with the view of life of their parents) have to cooperate and make contact for the sake of the best total education of children to glorify God and their followmen and for the control of the whole cosmos.
- Education