Научная статья на тему 'Family-School Communication: The Key Features at the Current Stage'

Family-School Communication: The Key Features at the Current Stage Текст научной статьи по специальности «Науки об образовании»

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school / family–school communication / parental involvement / educational policy.

Аннотация научной статьи по наукам об образовании, автор научной работы — Kristina Lyubitskaya, Marta Shakarova

number of foreign studies in family–school relationships have shown that effective parent–school communication is a crucial factor of parental school involvement, which, in its turn, has a positive impact on the whole schooling process. In Russia, there is little empirical data on the communication between parents and schools. The article describes the findings of an exploratory research that involved school administrators and parents of students at different levels of school education (elementary, middle and high school) in a megalopolis of the Central Federal District. Interviews with parents and school representatives as well as parent questionnaire results are used to describe the most popular ways in which parents communicate with schools, the main problems they encounter in such communication, and the degree of parental involvement in school life. Direct contact with teachers is found to be the most efficient channel of parent–school communication. Parents see the main communication problems in disagreement about instruction and education issues and in the disengagement of schools or individual teachers. These problems become more acute in middle and high school. On the whole, the existing level of parental involvement in school is measured as low in this study.

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Текст научной работы на тему «Family-School Communication: The Key Features at the Current Stage»

Family-School Communication:

The Key Features at the Current Stage

K. A. Lyubitskaya, M. A. Shakarova

Received in Kristina Lyubitskaya

March 2018 Research Assistant, Center for Modern Childhood Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics. Address: 20 Myasnitskaya St, 101000 Moscow, Russian Federation. Email: klyubitskaya@hse.ru Marta Shakarova

Candidate of Sciences in Psychology, Specialist, Center for the Prevention of Religious and Ethnic Extremism in Educational Organizations of the Russian Federation, Moscow Pedagogical State University. Address: 2 Kibalchicha St, 129164 Moscow, Russian Federation. Email: mshakarova@bk.ru

Abstract. A number of foreign studies in family-school relationships have shown that effective parent-school communication is a crucial factor of parental school involvement, which, in its turn, has a positive impact on the whole schooling process. In Russia, there is little empirical data on the communication between parents and schools. The article describes the findings of an exploratory research that involved school ad-

ministrators and parents of students at different levels of school education (elementary, middle and high school) in a megalopolis of the Central Federal District. Interviews with parents and school representatives as well as parent questionnaire results are used to describe the most popular ways in which parents communicate with schools, the main problems they encounter in such communication, and the degree of parental involvement in school life. Direct contact with teachers is found to be the most efficient channel of parent-school communication. Parents see the main communication problems in disagreement about instruction and education issues and in the disengagement of schools or individual teachers. These problems become more acute in middle and high school. On the whole, the existing level of parental involvement in school is measured as low in this study.

Keywords school, family-school communication, parental involvement, educational policy.

DOI: 10.17323/1814-9545-2018-3-196-215

1. Family-school communication as a condition for parental involvement in the education process

The family-school communication has been actively studied in many countries in recent decades. Good communication between school and family is an important condition for high parental involvement in school life [Loudova, Havigerova, Haviger, 2015], which contributes to students' academic achievements, positively influences the behavior of children in the classroom—their motivation, self-esteem and the child's interest in education—and positively affects the process of teaching, contributing to better understanding between parents and

children [Epstein 1983; Grolnick, Kurowski, Gurland 1999; Hill, Taylor 2004; Hoover-Dempsey, Ice, Whitaker 2010; Pomerantz, Moorman, Litwack 2007; Wilder 2014]. The concept of "parental involvement in the educational process" includes various types of actions and behaviors of parents that are directly or indirectly related to the education of their children. Parents can demonstrate involvement at home: for example, listening to the child reading out loud or observing the child working on his or her homework. Parents can also demonstrate involvement in school [Antypkina, 2017] by visiting parent training sessions and parent-teacher meetings. Parental involvement in the education of their children is also defined as "communication of the family with the school and with their children to promote academic success" [Hill, Taylor 2004]. There is an emphasis on finding and developing effective communication channels and tools with families of students in educational institutions in many countries.

In the process of family-school communication, expectations about each other are not always clearly expressed [Glasgow, Whitney 2009; Kruger, Michalek 2011]. Communication can be a source of tension because of teachers being afraid of parental evaluation, their desire to maintain their professional autonomy, their personal lack of time and the lack of support from the principal [Grant, Ray 2013]. The stress experienced by the teacher in connection with parents can be caused by excessive and contradictory demands from parents and by the fact that teachers do not receive explicit nor sufficient recognition in return [van der Wolf, Everaert 2005]. The empowerment of parents exacerbates existing conflicts between teachers and parents, especially when parents are from privileged backgrounds, and their power as clients can affect the autonomy of teachers [Driscoll 1998]. During in-depth interviews, the teachers of Israeli urban primary schools admitted that although teachers were supportive of parental involvement, they confessed to feeling vulnerable under the increased influence of parents and their intrusion into their professional field [Addi-Raccah, Elyashiv-Arviv 2008]. Teachers try to keep well-educated parents at a distance in order to protect their professional autonomy [Baeck 2010].

In Russia, there is little empirical data on communication between parents and schools. Throughout the history of the development of Soviet and Russian education, there has been a transition from the school monopoly in issues regarding teaching and educating children to the importance of building productive communication with parents, and their involvement in the educational process [Mertsalo-va, Goshin 2015].

There is the principle of information openness of the school established in Art. 3 of the Federal Law No. 273-FZ "On Education in the Russian Federation". This postulates the need to ensure a two-sided information exchange between participants of the educational process. The reform of the educational system that has taken place in recent years necessitates the creation of new forms of communication

between the school and society, based on the principles of equality, dialogue and joint decision-making [Chernobay 2015].

In conditions of information "closeness" the school does not have the opportunity to discuss any vital problems with parents [Valdman 2013]. The ways to ensure information openness are the following: public report of the principal, webpages of educational organizations and management structures, managing councils, boards of trustees, databases, electronic journals and diaries, information platforms of regional educational authorities, and school and municipality rankings. However, there is no information about the degree to which the above listed practices contribute to building effective communication with parents [Kuzminov 2013]. Parents are not indifferent to the relationship with the teachers and administration of the school their children study in: they note the lack of opportunities for discussing important issues with the school representatives and pay attention to the school's "closeness" [Mertsalova, Goshin 2015].

New trends in parenting have led to the desire of some parents to actively participate in the school life of their child [Polivanova 2015]. The trend is particularly evident among well-educated parents in schools located in large cities. At the same time, a significant number of teachers believe that the family remains uninvolved in the child rearing process [Sobkin, Adamchuk 2016]. This contradiction is due to the high differentiation among parents in terms of their involvement in the educational process; however there are no effective methods of identification and providing differentiated requests of different groups of parents in the current work practices of educational organizations [Mertsalova, Goshin 2015].

Under these circumstances, the urgent need is to find and to build new ways and channels of family-school communication, which will contribute to the growth of parental involvement in the educational process.

While conducting the study, the following was investigated:

• which communication channels with the school are most common among parents and which one appears to be the most effective;

• what difficulties parents of students experience in communication with school;

• how actively parents are involved in school life.

2. Organization and There were two stages while conducting the empirical study: the qual-research methods itative research stage (semi-structured interview with parents of students, teachers and representatives of the school administration, N = 13) and the quantitative research stage (interviews with parents of students, N = 3576). The interviews allowed us to outline the main aspects of the issue and check the list of questions in the questionnaire. The main family-school communication tools and channels, the

key difficulties in communication and parental satisfaction with this process, as well as the degree of their involvement in school life were determined with the help of the interviews. Data collection took place in several districts of one of the megacities of Central Russia.

2.1. Organization and qualitative research methods

Interviews were conducted with teachers and parents of students studying at different levels of general education (primary, secondary and upper secondary school) in 2016. The main topics discussed in the interviews were the following: issues discussed with school representatives; communication tools and channels; the parental attitude towards different communication tools; the difficulties parents and school are faced with while communicating with each other; parental satisfaction level regarding the communication process with the school and ways to evaluate it. There were 13 interviews in total with an average duration of 30-40 minutes.

2.2. Organization and quantitative research methods

The survey among parents was organized jointly with the school administration and took place in May-June 2017 in nine territorial educational complexes located in different parts of the city. The families of 2nd-10th grade students took part. The continuous nature of the survey allowed for providing an online or a printed questionnaire to family members of each student. Any member of the child's family could take part in the survey. In most cases, this was the mother of the child (89.7%), in 7.4% of cases—the father of the child, 1.8%—the grandmother of the child, the remaining cases—someone else from the family.

3. Research results While conducting the interviews with parents/representatives we were 3.1. Interviews with faced with two types of behavior. It was hard for one section of the par-parents (N=7) ents to answer the questions and to provide full information despite their interest in the conversation. It could be noted that this was their first time thinking about the family-school communication process and the difficulties they have with it.

Another portion of the parents participated in conversation actively because they were interested in the topic in general. Most of the interview questions about family-school communication addressed the issues the parents had problems with.

Parents usually contact the school regarding academic issues (academic success, homework etc.); organizational issues (medical certificates, documents, parent-teacher meetings, charitable activities etc.); additional education (clubs and trainings); their child's behavior and his or her communication with other children. Both parents and school may initiate the communication process. The three possible family-school communication models were singled out.

1. The school initiates the communication process. Parents show a passive attitude only responding to requests from an education-

al organization. Such types of answers are typical for parents of secondary and upper secondary school students. One mother of a 5th grade student said: "It is the school which initiates the communication. They call me when there is some trouble caused by my child".

2. Both parents and school initiate the communication process.

3. The parents initiate the communication process. This is mostly typical for primary school, probably due to the bigger parental involvement of those students who attend it. Parents complain about tension in communication with head teachers and also point to insufficient levels of communication with them: "The teacher welcomed students in the mornings at the beginning of the school year. While she was at the hall it was an opportunity to ask some questions. I tried to clarify the meaning of the notes she makes in the notebook. What do they mean? The assessment system is unclear. The teacher refused to explain anything, because it is the child who must do it...Then we couldn't meet her either in the morning or in the afternoon. Some parents tried to call her, to find out something, but she provided limited information" (mother of one 1st grade student).

The main family-school communication channels are the following: direct communication with the teacher; telephone conversations, SMS-messages, e-mail, messenger; records in the electronic diary; printed information sheets; receiving information through the parent committee; parent-teacher meetings. Parents prefer direct communication with the teacher—personal contact, contact by phone, or via e-mail. These are the channels providing opportunity for resolving the issues important for parents, because parent committees and parent-teacher meetings are dedicated to general issues. However, channels of direct communication are not always available, especially when a teacher is not open to communication: "teacher doesn't give their telephone number"; "teacher says, it is expensive to use SMS"; "teacher cannot connect Viber"; "teacher doesn't write e-mails"; "I want to contact PA-teacher, but I don't know how to do it". The electronic diary is not used by each parent: "I forgot my password, use my child's account to check the academic results"; "I do not check electronic diary, my child does it by himself". What was emphasized by parents is the fact that the electronic diary is a one-way communication channel: it is the information published by the school regarding notes, schedule, charitable actions, announcements etc.

The mobile applications are used the most and considered by the parents to be the most effective communication channel. Mobile apps are used to create chats to provide communication between parents and head teachers. There are lots of questions to discuss: learning activities, extracurricular activities, events organization etc. However, parents pointed out that there are teachers who don't use mobile apps.

School websites as communication channels are hardly used by parents. They just use them to gather information about the school they want their child to be enrolled in. As a result, an educational organization website doesn't affect the family-school communication process, whereas it could be one of the sources to increase the level of information openness. Information presented on websites is seen to be too general, which is why parents are not interested in it.

Most often parents communicate with the head teacher, this mostly takes place in primary school. The relationship with the head teacher determines the whole nature of communication with the school at this educational level. Thus, the mother of a 5th grade student, noting the difference between primary school and the next educational levels, says: "The difference is that in primary school everything is subordinated to the head teacher, he or she is ruling there, like "the king of the mountain". In secondary school there are many teachers and many opinions, this greatly facilitates the process of interaction". The difficulties experienced by parents in communicating with the school, which are presented below, are largely related to communication problems with the head teacher.

Parent-teacher meetings are perceived by many parents as a formality. The issues discussed do not have any practical significance for them; meetings take place at an inconvenient time: "I perceive it as a formality. I attend to check in. If I need to know something about my child, I go directly to the teacher at another time" (mother of a 5th grade student). The preferences regarding the form of the meetings are different: someone prefers to discuss general issues first, and when the meeting is over to contact the teacher directly regarding their child. Others, on the contrary, would like to hear more specifics about their child, they are not satisfied with the general phrases.

Concerning the difficulties parents face in communicating with the school, the most emotional issue is the lack of contact, a tense relationship or conflict with the teacher (usually with the head teacher): "the communication vacuum between the teacher and the parent", "there is no contact with head teacher". This type of feedback comes mostly from parents of primary school students. Some parents emphasize that a bad relationship with the teacher during primary school is the reason for their limited contact with school during the next educational levels. The reasons parents see problems are as follows:

• Teacher's unwillingness to communicate: «doesn't want to interact», «teacher's readiness to communicate is 2-3 points out of 10»;

• Teacher doesn't pay attention to the child's distinctive features: «At first we had a very strict teacher. She set high standards and did not take into account personal characteristics. Two months later, the child began to have hysterics and sleep problems. We had to change the class" (a mother of a 5th grade student);

• Teacher requires parents to be involved in homework and to control the academic achievements, and parents do not want or are not ready to be involved in the learning process. There is also another situation: parents want to take part in their child's educational process, but teachers do not provide the required communication level.

Concerning the difficulties in communication with the school, parents also note that their opinion is not important and there is no qualified help from the school psychologist. The family-school communication process is also difficult because of the school security (it is impossible to go through the checkpoint without the passport). This system makes the school even more "closed" from the parents' points of view.

3.2. Interviews with teachers and school administration (N=6)

Almost all the surveyed principals and teachers emphasized that the organization of family-school communication depends on the school local conditions and the contingent of parents. These are the most common communication forms and channels with families:

• direct head teacher-parents communication;

• the activities of the managing councils;

• parent-teacher meetings. There are different forms of organization depending on the school.

• The most efficient forms of communication are the following:

• school meeting as an opportunity to directly contact different teachers besides discussing general issues;

• question and answer section on the school website;

• electronic school journal and electronic school diary;

• school internal information and education environment allowing staff, students and parents to unite school in a common interactive space;

• different school events involving children and their parents in joint

activities.

According to teachers and principals, parents show an interest in their children's educational activities mostly in primary school. After the 4th grade, parents are less interested in their children's academic achievements. Parents often come to principals to discuss the education conditions: food, security, material and technical equipment of the class, etc. A popular issue is also the relationship between classmates, which is often the reason for tension between parents themselves, and which may lead to a child's transfer to a new class.

School representatives emphasize that communication with parents does not cause any difficulties, if it is regular. There are problems in those schools, which do not comply with the rule: "The lack of communication with the school and teachers is the parents' problem"; "Schools seem to be open, but it is not common to communicate with

parents. There is no direct contact, and modern parents are not used to online communication, they need direct contact"; "It was necessary to build a certain communication model at different administration levels"; "Problems are connected with the format of local communication, there is expansions of the conflict rather than its solving. Much depends on behavior and reaction of the teacher, who directly interacts with the parents".

The school representatives see the causes of emerging problems in communication with families in the parental negative attitudes towards the school and its teachers formed by the media, as well as in the low customer orientation of the school administration, teachers, and their unwillingness to communicate.

Some educational organizations conduct special surveys in order to evaluate the parental satisfaction with the school communication process. Principals emphasize that the criterion of parental satisfaction is the reduction in the number of constructive complaints from parents.

Preliminary interviews made it possible to find out that the head teacher's direct work with parents constitutes the basis of family-school communication. The main problem in communicating with the school, as seen by parents, is the lack of communication with teachers. School representatives realize that most of the difficulties in interacting with parents are due to the format of their communication with the head teacher. When the communication is regular, many problems in communication are avoided.

3.3. The questionnaire The analysis of the questionnaire results indicates that, in general, par-results ents are satisfied with the school communication process:

• it is easy for them to contact the teachers of their children (85% of those who answered the question);

• teachers are attentive to their opinion (61%);

• parents discuss together with teachers their child's relationships with classmates (55%);

• teachers pay attention to a child's distinctive features during educational process, for instance his or her personal pace of work etc. (49%) and to child's mental condition and his or her personality during educational process (53%).

Parents and legal representatives of the child discuss with teachers their child's academic failures (69%, N = 3084), which means that they trust teachers and believe that they better understand the specifics of the teaching process, which directly affects their children (Figure 1). In this case, parents believe that teachers respect their views.

The correlation analysis of variables represented family-school communication level and parental involvement-at-home intensity identified the following patterns (Table 1).

Fig. 1. Agreement with the statement «Parents discuss together with teachers the academic achievements and failures of the child»

• the older the child, the less often parents think that teachers are attentive to their opinion;

• the older the child, the less often parents discuss with teachers the peculiarities of the child's relationship with his classmates;

• the more time family members jointly spend with the child during the workday, the more they discuss with teachers the peculiarities of the child's relationship with his classmates;

• the more free time the child has on his typical workday, the more likely his parents feel that their opinion is significant for teachers;

• the older the child, the less the child's academic achievements or failures are discussed with his teachers;

• the older the child, the less often the parents indicate that teachers take into account the child's mental condition and his or her personality during the educational process.

Parents of boys contact teachers more often than parents of girls regarding the issues of their child's school life (Table 2).

Family involvement in the child's education is measured by the number of visits to the various family-school communication platforms: class/group parental meetings, school meetings, parent conferences, as well as assistance on a voluntary basis (events management, excursions, interior and exterior renovation of the school etc.). Class/group parental meetings take place every school quarter; they are the most traditional way of involving parents in school life. School meetings (parent conferences) are held twice a year; not all parents take part in them, just the members of the class committees. At such

Table 1. Correlation analysis of variables representing family-school communication level and parental involvement-at-home intensity

What grade is the child in? How much free time does the child have during a typical workday in your opinion? How much time does the child spend alone at home during the workday (approx.)? How much time do family members jointly spend with the child during the workday (approx.)?

It is difficult for me to contact my child's teachers -0,063**

My child's teachers are attentive to my opinion -0,127** -0,063** 0,043*

We discuss together with teachers my child's relationships with classmates -0,168** -0,054** 0,069**

Parental opinion is not important for teachers 0,057** -0,069**

We discuss together with teachers my child's academic success or failure -0,117** -0,079** 0,071**

Teachers pay attention to my child's mental condition and his or her personality during the educational process -0,166** 0,071** -0,078** 0,075**

Teachers pay attention to my child's distinctive features during the educational process (personal pace of work etc.) -0,159** 0,077** -0,074** 0,078**

Please rate the frequency of your class meetings attendance -0,066** -0,050** 0,051**

Please rate the frequency of your school meetings/ parent conferences attendance 0,056**

Please rate the frequency of your assistance on a voluntary basis in support of the school (events management, excursions, interior and exterior renovation of the school etc.) -0,219** -0,044* -0,117** 0,120**

Significance level of correlation is ** 0,01; * 0,05 (bilateral).

meetings, general school issues are discussed, for example, parents are informed about innovations in the educational system. According to the results of the survey, the level of parental involvement in school life is not high (Table 3). As our study reveals, 52% of respondents have not provided assistance on a voluntary basis in support of the school. Although such forms as joint child-parent preparation for various school events contributes to strengthening family ties: parents are more aware of the interests and experiences of their children, and about what is happening in the school [Child Trends Data Bank, 2013].

Table 2. Parent/another family member-teacher communication frequency regarding the issues of their child's school life depending on the child's gender (response rate,%)

Female Male

1-2 times a week 15 18

1-2 times a month 20 26

1-2 times a school quarter 26 26

1-2 times a semester 16 14

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Less often than once a semester 9 6

Not sure 14 10

Total (person) 1715 1630

Table 3. Frequency of different family-school communication platforms attended by parents since the beginning of the school year

Attendance of class meetings Attendance of school meetings/ parent conferences Assistance on a voluntary basis in support of the school (events management, excursions, interior and exterior renovation of the school etc.)

Total (person) 3376 3130 3031

I haven't participated / I haven't attended (response rate,%) 4 19 52

1-2 times (response rate,%) 38 51 33

3-4 times or more (response rate,%) 58 30 15

Such factors as family structure, car availability, the reading of foreign literature by the parents of the child, and the child having a separate room are not statistically related to the family-school communication frequency1. At the same time, a university degree, the gender of the child, and the socioeconomic status of the family are related to the communication frequency with the school and the parental involvement in the school life. The more family members with university

1 Based on chi-squared test for contingency tables. Significance level of chi-squared criteria is > 0,05.

Table 4. Parent-teacher communication frequency regarding the issues of their child's school life depending on the child's age (%)

Elementary school (1st-4th grades) Middle school (5th -7th grades) High school (8th -10th grades) Total

1-2 times a week 27 12 8 16

1-2 times a month 29 22 17 23

1-2 times a school quarter 20 28 30 26

1-2 times a semester 10 15 21 15

Less often than once a semester 4 9 10 8

Not sure 10 14 14 12

Total 100 100 100 100

degree, the more often the family provides assistance on a voluntary basis in support of the school.

There is a strong connection between the variables that reflect parental involvement-at- school, and the variables that depict parental involvement-at-home (the amount of time on a weekday that family members jointly spend with the child and the amount of time the child is without adult control): the older the child, the more time he or she spends without an adult at home and the less often the parents provide assistance on a voluntary basis in support of the school; the more time the parents spend with the child in joint activities on a weekday at home, the more often they provide assistance on a voluntary basis in support of the school. If the family is involved in the child's life at home, they will be also involved in school life.

As the child grows up, the family gradually "leaves" the school: less contacts with teachers, less involvement in school events, most parents of upper secondary school students have never provided voluntary support. In primary school there are 27% of parents or other family members, who communicate once or twice a week with someone from the school, most often with the head teacher, but in upper secondary school (8th-10th grades) there are only 8%, while in the secondary school there are 12%. Only 14% of the parents of primary school students answered that they communicate with teachers less often than once in six months or once or twice during the semester, whereas among groups of parents of 5th-7th grade-students and 8th-10th-grade-students these figures are 25% and 30%, respectively (Table 4).

The frequency of communication with the school is influenced by the university degree of parents: parents without a higher education often choose the answers that indicate a rare communication with the

Fig. 2. Family-school communication and parental involvement-at-school intensity depending on students' age

Note: "Response rate 4 and 5" and "Response rate 3" indicate the number of respondents who chose the response options that reflect the most agreement with the allegation.

com3_4&5 We discuss together with teachers my child's relationships with classmates (rate the statement on a scale of 1 to 5)

com5_4&5 We discuss together with teachers my child's academic success or failure (rate the statement on a scale of 1 to 5)

invl Please rate the frequency of your class meetings attendance (1 didn't take part, 2

one-two times, 3 three-four times and more) inv2 Please rate the frequency of your school meetings/ parent conferences attendance (1 didn't take part, 2 one-two times, 3 three-four times and more)

inv3 Please rate the frequency of your assistance on a voluntary basis in support of the school (events management, excursions, interior and exterior renovation of the school etc.) (1 didn't take part, 2 one-two times, 3 three-four times and more)

school, for example, "less often than once in six months", parents with higher education respond more often that they communicate with the school once or twice a week2.

2 "More often" means the existence of a positive local interconnection, that is, the probability of finding the collectively combination of features is statistically significantly higher than in the condition of their independence; "Less often" means the existence of a negative local interconnection, that is, the probability of finding the collectively combination of features is statistically significantly lower than in the condition of their independence. It is deter-

Figure 2 shows the dynamics of involvement of students' parents in school life and family-school communication, namely, the degree of parental satisfaction with communication with the school.

Indicators of involvement in the education of children, as well as communication with the school, are highest among parents of 2nd grade students, and then these indicators begin to decline. Peaks of parental school involvement in the process of education are due to the transitional stages in the education of their children: this is the 4th class, i. e. the end of primary school and the transition to secondary school, and the 9th grade because of the passing of the General State Examinations (OGE), the choice between leaving school and continuing schooling. At the same time, communication with the school, namely, the parental satisfaction with it, has been steadily declining since the 2nd grade.

4. Conclusions The most common and effective communication channels with the school, as seen by parents, are direct contact with the teacher and communication through a phone call or e-mail. The other communication channels (a school diary, an electronic school journal, a school website, class and school meetings) are more suitable for sending and receiving formal information. The openness of the school, as seen by parents, is first and foremost the willingness of the teacher to communicate. Thus, the many forms of openness and communication channels provided by the school are less attractive to parents than traditional face-to-face conversation. This conversation is necessary for parents first of all if there is a problem or difficulty; in such a situation the initiative comes from the parents as they are looking for the fastest and most traditional way to establish contact, which is usually a phone call.

In the process of family-school communication there are difficulties due to the clash of opinions and positions of parents and teachers. If earlier it was the school, which was an expert on all issues related to education and the child rearing process, today the level of education of parents is growing, they are familiar with the literature on education, and modern parents have the opportunity to find a reference group (model) in matters regarding rearing and the education of their children using the Internet. Parental expectations for the educational organization are formed based on received information, and they note that the school does not always take into account the child's personality.

Parents believe that teachers only pay attention to a child's distinctive features during the educational process in primary school. It

mined based on the value of the adjusted balance; the interconnection is significant at 95% with the remaining value of > 11,65 |.

can be assumed that there are several factors to form this point of view. First, the family itself is much more attentive to the child in primary school. Secondly, the primary school period is a time of much higher parental involvement in the school life, and the academic success of primary school students is traditionally higher. With the child's transition to secondary school, parental involvement in the education of their children declines. Also the student's academic achievements are getting worse and there are problems due to the physical changes in the child. These objective difficulties of education are "naturally" connected with the school. This is the important moment for the school and the family not to stop the communication process, in order to find and eliminate the child's problems.

Communication barriers include the unwillingness of some teachers to communicate, as well as the fact that the school is not always attentive to parental opinion. From our perspective, the barriers described by the parents are psychological. In part, they can be explained by the negative attitudes of parents towards the school and a lack of confidence in it caused also by the media. Communication with the school, according to parents, is complicated because of the school security.

The indicators of parental involvement in the educational process, obtained in our study, turned out to be rather low. The low interest of parents is evidenced by the low attendance of parent-teacher meetings and various events organized by the school. Parents are not always satisfied with the way the school organizes and conducts parent-teacher meetings, conferences, holidays, excursions, etc. Using traditional forms of communication with families, the school needs to find out the range of issues that really concern parents, and to seek the most appropriate forms of conducting parent-teacher meetings, conferences, holidays and school competitions. There is a need to take into account the great variability in the preferences of parents: they are no longer satisfied with the general approach of the school regarding communication with children and their families.

The answers gathered while conducting the interviews and questionnaire were very contradictory. This means that the organization of communication requires additional efforts on the part of educational organizations. The parental demand of school is increasing. Such a traditional communication platform as the parent-teacher meeting is no longer a suitable method for parental involvement in the educational process in secondary and upper secondary schools.

Therefore, there is a challenging issue for school to maintain family involvement in the education of children during secondary and upper secondary school, and to find communication channels that will increase the level of family involvement in the school life of their children. This is a new issue for the school, in fact this is a question not only about new communication channels but also about educating parents on the specifics of modern school education.

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