Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Hsin Jen Chen

Institute of Education,
National Chung Cheng University,
168, University Road, Ming-Hsiung, Chia-Yi

Parent participation in decision-making in a Taiwanese primary school

The policy of parent representatives entering into school affairs committees, the so-called school governing bodies, has been introduced in 1999 in Taiwan, which would be significantly influenced on school decision-making. This study aimed to explore how teacher delegates collaborated with parent representatives on the school affairs committee in a Taiwanese elementary school through the lens of micropolitics. This project was basically of an qualitative approach, via individual interviews, and collecting written documents, in order to portray the reality of parent participation in school decision-making. This school was located in middle Taiwan, composed of 31 classes, about 1000 pupils and 50 staff. The duration for data gathering was 6 months based on intensive i! nterviews. In the matter of research subjects, 10 administrators (including the principal), 20 teaching staff and 5 parent representatives were included. Research findings reveal that parent participation in decision-making brought about dynamic conflicts with teacher delegates. Yet, teachers and administrators would like to collaborate with parent representatives in some issues.

Finally, parent representatives felt considerable limitations to school decision-making. In other words, the process of decision-making was dominated by teacher and administrative delegates so that parents felt excluded from involvement. This could correspond to what Ball (1987) calls “pseudo-participation”. On the whole, the relationships among school members and parent delegates at the investigated site seemed to be positive and optimistic, yet, the hidden conflicts might emerge. This study suggests that the lens of micropolitical perspective should be analyzed both in negative forms (i.e. co! nflict) of interpersonal relationships as well as in cooperati! ve ones (i.e. collaboration, collegial) within the school settings.


 PhD degree holder from Cambridge University UK in 2004.  Working as an associate professor in the Institute of Education at National Chung Cheng University Taiwan with subjects of Sociology of Education, Multicultural Education, Textbook Research, Gender and Education, Identity Politics and Education, and Cultural Studies. Also involved with two NSC research projects—Gender boundary and gender mobility in technology; Contextual Analysis of Issues in Curriculum Policy Formation and Implementation.