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Parental Participation in the Education of Female Students with Learning Difficulties: The Views of Saudi Elementary Teachers and Parents.
Date: 6 April 2020
University of Exeter
Doctor of Education in Special Needs and Inclusive Education.
This study contributes to knowledge of parental involvement in education in Saudi Arabia by focusing on teachers’ and parents’ conceptualisations, attitudes and practices of parental involvement in the education of female students with learning difficulties in elementary inclusive schools. The specific location of the research is Riyadh, ...
This study contributes to knowledge of parental involvement in education in Saudi Arabia by focusing on teachers’ and parents’ conceptualisations, attitudes and practices of parental involvement in the education of female students with learning difficulties in elementary inclusive schools. The specific location of the research is Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. Three specific objectives informed the research: (1) to obtain teachers’ and parents’ views on their conceptualisations and current practices of parent involvement, (2) to document and analyse teachers’ and parents’ views about the importance of parental involvement, roles, and responsibilities, and (3) to identify the obstacles to implementing effective parental involvement practices. In this study, I used Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological system theory to provide a framework for the development of the questionnaire, data collection, analysis, and discussion. Based on the pragmatic research paradigm, I utilised a mixed-methods design with a purposive sampling strategy to collect data from 110 teachers and 105 parents. The particular design chosen for this study was a sequential explanatory type which is also referred to as the QUAN-qual research model or the explanatory mixed-method design. The research approach involved the collection and analysis of survey data followed by the collection and analysis of interview data for integration. A close-ended questionnaire and a semi-structured interview for teachers and parents were employed to collect data. At the interview stage, 10 parents and 10 teachers from those who responded to the questionnaire were interviewed. The survey data were transferred from the hard copy material into SPSS version 26. The data analyses included descriptive statistic of mean, standard deviations and rankings of mean scores. In addition, factor analysis, t-test, and ANOVA were performed to test the cluster of responses and variabilities in the results pertaining to teachers and parents. Further, framework analysis serves as a pragmatic approach to the analysis of the interview data. The results indicated that parental involvement conceptualisation varied among participants. Key among their conceptualisations were: the connection between the members of the school’s community; the activities that teachers and parents participate in together; a two-way communication that helps to improve the education of students; and a contractual agreement between teachers and parents that involved trust, respectful relationship, and positive cooperation. In terms of parental involvement practices, almost all the teachers indicated that they did not involve parents in making decisions about their children’s education. More than half of the teachers indicated that they communicated to parents regularly to provide information about their children’s education. However, parents contend that teachers only communicated to them about their children’s academic problems and behavioural challenges. Regarding the availability of school-level policy on parental involvement, most teachers and parents agreed these policies did not exist. In the absence of policy to guide teachers, parental involvement practice was arbitrary, demonstrating a dissonance in practice. However, parents’ support for their daughters’ learning at home achieved the highest mean score. A major concern of parents was that school meetings were organised without consulting them which may implicate some barriers to parents’ involvement, but teachers claimed that parents’ attitudes reduced their interest in working with them. Further, some teachers alluded that their school responsibilities and lack of time made it impossible for them to involve parents. The majority of teachers affirmed that training them on how to work with parents might improve parental involvement. All parents claimed that positive and effective communication that incorporates respectful relationships can improve their relationships with teachers to participate in the education of their children with learning difficulties in inclusive elementary schools in Saudi Arabia. Based on these findings, I provided recommendations that may help in developing a contextually relevant parental involvement practice in Saudi Arabia.
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