The discursive (re)construction of parents in school texts
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This paper explores the familiar issue of parental (non-)involvement in schools. More specifically, it examines the language of selected texts in one school context and finds initially that the roles of parents are not discursively constructed in these texts as their being involved in the school. Rather, a close reading of the texts' discourse displays parents as the deficit half of a contrastive pair (parents vs the school). The issue of parental involvement at this school, first highlighted in a survey analysis as significant, gains a complementary and extended interpretation through the application of discourse analysis to interviews with the school leaders and a section of the school's web page. Further analysis of interview data referring to the implementation of activities designed to increase parental involvement highlights movement towards the discursive reconstruction of parents as standard relational pairs with school leaders. The findings highlight the importance of the use of discourse analysis as a tool for understanding and implementing change in school culture.
Language and Education
© 2005 Multilingual Matters & Channel View Publications. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. This article has been published in Language and Education and is available online please use hypertext links.