Promising Practices for Meaningful Family Engagement

Researchers: Carly Robson Gilchrist, Pamela Sawatzky and Amber Thompson
October 2020

As three researchers, each from distinct rural communities, we will seek to establish and communicate a host of possible practices that are central to engaging families to support student learning. Our project proposal asks, “What practices offer possibilities for the meaningful engagement of parents?” and seeks as well to understand “What are the critical elements of these practices that contribute to success?” Knowing our learning will be deeply affected by not only the positive experiences that we have alongside the families we work with, we will also unpack “Which practices were less successful and why? What can we learn from this?” 

We will collect a variety of artifacts, such as photographs, videos, interviews, family focus group conversation transcripts, as well as our own teacher reflections, to document our journey. This collection of our own lived experiences with family engagment will be used to compile and reflect a coherent narrative of both the practices that we found to be successful, but also those that proved challenging for us. Using video as a medium, we will honour our stories in a way that is both powerful and accessible for our colleagues. It is our hope that teachers in both rural and urban centres will have a window into our understanding of the possibilities to create authentic family engagement opportunities.