Introduction: Family and community involvement in children’s schooling is widely recognized as one of the most important aspect of school life. Unfortunately, the problem of parental (mis)behaviors ranks at the top or near the top of many teacher stress surveys (Sakharov & Farber, 1983). According to Emerson (1995), a challenging behavior may be defined as “a culturally abnormal behavior(s) of such intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person is likely to be placed in serious risk”. Continual exposure to challenging behaviours can seriously deplete teachers’ emotional and physical resource, leading to impulsivity, rigidity, or feelings of anger (Van der Wolf & Everaert, 2005). Negative reactions to family and community involvement, as results of awkward parent-teacher interaction, can undermine organizational efforts devoted to increase parental participation. The research project: In 2007, as a part of a larger international comparative research conducted in collaboration with the Hogeschool (Utrecht, NL), a sample of in-service Italian teachers was asked to answer a questionnaire about teacher stress. The questionnaire was composed by open-ended questions and closed questions (likert scales) which refer to the frequency of certain parental problem-behaviors, and the subsequent perceived impact on stress. Items derive from Selingman’s theoretical typology (2000) and subsequent work (Van der Wolf & Everaert, 2005) and result in a six-type model of challenging behaviours, i.e., “Excessive worry”, “Unsatisfaction”, “Lack of cooperation”, “Overprotection”, “Lack of involvement”, “Litigious”. The first two open-ended questions “Describe the behavior of the most difficult parent you have to deal with inthe current school year” and “Why is this behavior the most difficult for you?” have been already taken into consideration in an another paper (Castelli, Addimando, Pepe, 2007). The present paper is mainly focused on in-depth qualitative analysis of the third open question: ”How, in general, do you handle this parent’s difficult behavior?”. We expected to find some differences in strategies used by teachers when dealing with parents’ participatory (mis)behaviors and parents’ non-participatory (mis)behaviors. Sample and methodology: Data were collected from March to July 2007 in a sample of primary and lower secondary teachers (N=1025).The majority of them (60%) work in lower secondary school (n=616). In primary schools, about 96% of teachers are female and 15% work with children with special educational needs (n= 60). Respondents were, on average, 42.9 years old (SD = 10, min = 22, max = 64), with 19.1 years of teaching experience (SD = 11.3, min = 1, max = 41) and 10.5 years of experience in their current workplace (SD = 9.5, min = 1, max = 37). In lower secondary schools, about of 80% of teachers are female, with a slightly lower percentage of special education teachers (n = 66). Respondent were on average 46.8 years old (SD = 8.5, min = 25, max = 63) with 20.4 years of teaching experience (SD = 10.7, min = 1, max = 40) and 10.2 years of experience in their present school (SD = 9.1, min = 1, max = 39). In the analysis, we chose to use some tools for computer-assisted textual analysis. In the first phase, we used a plain frequency count of occurrences and, in the second phase, a slightly more complex tool has been used, i.e. word co-occurrence analysis, with a subsequent treatment with algorithms of factor and cluster analysis Main results: A factor analysis performed using a six-type model of challenging behaviors on quantitative data clearly shows two factors, which respectively address two different parents’ perspectives in home-school relationships: participatory vs. non-participatory behaviors. Participatory (mis)behaviors include three subscales “Excessive worry”, “Unsatisfaction” and “Overprotection”. Non-participatory (mis)behaviours include “Lack of involvement”, “Lack of cooperation” and “Litigious”. Qualitative textual analysis shows that teachers adopt different strategies when dealing with different challenging parents. For instance, in case of excessive worry, teachers tend to manage parents’ anxiety by reassuring them. They report to adopt strategies marked by resoluteness and determination. On the contrary, in case of uninvolved parents, teachers try to involve them by asking them to be present, calling them or showing them availability. In this case strategies include searching help from colleagues and headmaster. As a general conclusion, we can state that teachers adopt individual strategies in dealing with participatory parent’s (mis)behaviors; on the contrary, when non-participatory parents’ (mis)behaviors occur, teachers tend to adopt more systemic and comprehensive strategies.

Castelli, S., Addimando, L., Pepe, A. (2008). Italian teachers' strategies for managing parents' (mis)behavior: a qualitative analysis. Intervento presentato a: International roundtable I-net, New York.

Italian teachers' strategies for managing parents' (mis)behavior: a qualitative analysis

CASTELLI, STEFANO;ADDIMANDO, LOREDANA;PEPE, ALESSANDRO
2008

Abstract

Introduction: Family and community involvement in children’s schooling is widely recognized as one of the most important aspect of school life. Unfortunately, the problem of parental (mis)behaviors ranks at the top or near the top of many teacher stress surveys (Sakharov & Farber, 1983). According to Emerson (1995), a challenging behavior may be defined as “a culturally abnormal behavior(s) of such intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person is likely to be placed in serious risk”. Continual exposure to challenging behaviours can seriously deplete teachers’ emotional and physical resource, leading to impulsivity, rigidity, or feelings of anger (Van der Wolf & Everaert, 2005). Negative reactions to family and community involvement, as results of awkward parent-teacher interaction, can undermine organizational efforts devoted to increase parental participation. The research project: In 2007, as a part of a larger international comparative research conducted in collaboration with the Hogeschool (Utrecht, NL), a sample of in-service Italian teachers was asked to answer a questionnaire about teacher stress. The questionnaire was composed by open-ended questions and closed questions (likert scales) which refer to the frequency of certain parental problem-behaviors, and the subsequent perceived impact on stress. Items derive from Selingman’s theoretical typology (2000) and subsequent work (Van der Wolf & Everaert, 2005) and result in a six-type model of challenging behaviours, i.e., “Excessive worry”, “Unsatisfaction”, “Lack of cooperation”, “Overprotection”, “Lack of involvement”, “Litigious”. The first two open-ended questions “Describe the behavior of the most difficult parent you have to deal with inthe current school year” and “Why is this behavior the most difficult for you?” have been already taken into consideration in an another paper (Castelli, Addimando, Pepe, 2007). The present paper is mainly focused on in-depth qualitative analysis of the third open question: ”How, in general, do you handle this parent’s difficult behavior?”. We expected to find some differences in strategies used by teachers when dealing with parents’ participatory (mis)behaviors and parents’ non-participatory (mis)behaviors. Sample and methodology: Data were collected from March to July 2007 in a sample of primary and lower secondary teachers (N=1025).The majority of them (60%) work in lower secondary school (n=616). In primary schools, about 96% of teachers are female and 15% work with children with special educational needs (n= 60). Respondents were, on average, 42.9 years old (SD = 10, min = 22, max = 64), with 19.1 years of teaching experience (SD = 11.3, min = 1, max = 41) and 10.5 years of experience in their current workplace (SD = 9.5, min = 1, max = 37). In lower secondary schools, about of 80% of teachers are female, with a slightly lower percentage of special education teachers (n = 66). Respondent were on average 46.8 years old (SD = 8.5, min = 25, max = 63) with 20.4 years of teaching experience (SD = 10.7, min = 1, max = 40) and 10.2 years of experience in their present school (SD = 9.1, min = 1, max = 39). In the analysis, we chose to use some tools for computer-assisted textual analysis. In the first phase, we used a plain frequency count of occurrences and, in the second phase, a slightly more complex tool has been used, i.e. word co-occurrence analysis, with a subsequent treatment with algorithms of factor and cluster analysis Main results: A factor analysis performed using a six-type model of challenging behaviors on quantitative data clearly shows two factors, which respectively address two different parents’ perspectives in home-school relationships: participatory vs. non-participatory behaviors. Participatory (mis)behaviors include three subscales “Excessive worry”, “Unsatisfaction” and “Overprotection”. Non-participatory (mis)behaviours include “Lack of involvement”, “Lack of cooperation” and “Litigious”. Qualitative textual analysis shows that teachers adopt different strategies when dealing with different challenging parents. For instance, in case of excessive worry, teachers tend to manage parents’ anxiety by reassuring them. They report to adopt strategies marked by resoluteness and determination. On the contrary, in case of uninvolved parents, teachers try to involve them by asking them to be present, calling them or showing them availability. In this case strategies include searching help from colleagues and headmaster. As a general conclusion, we can state that teachers adopt individual strategies in dealing with participatory parent’s (mis)behaviors; on the contrary, when non-participatory parents’ (mis)behaviors occur, teachers tend to adopt more systemic and comprehensive strategies.
paper
Scientifica
Teachers' stress, correspondence analysis, "challenging parents"
English
International roundtable I-net
http://www.csos.jhu.edu/p2000/pdf/final-inet-2008-small-program_revised.pdf
Castelli, S., Addimando, L., Pepe, A. (2008). Italian teachers' strategies for managing parents' (mis)behavior: a qualitative analysis. Intervento presentato a: International roundtable I-net, New York.
Castelli, S; Addimando, L; Pepe, A
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10281/4691
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