“The Burden of Language”: Building the Educational Alliance with Foreign Families in Parent-Teacher Conferences
Keywords:Educational alliance, video-analysis, conversation analysis, parent-teacher confernces, non-native parents
Parent-teacher conferences (PTCs) are important institutional encounters to promote a constructive dialogue and alliance between the school and the family system. However, cooperation between parents and institutional actors is not always straightforward, especially in the case of foreign parents. Because of the unequal familiarity of the latter with the institutional frameworks and language resources needed to participate effectively in PTCs, foreign parents risk having less communicative resources to rely on in the joint construction of the interaction. In this paper we focus on eight PTCs with foreign parents, paying attention to occurrences where children's learning difficulties are linked by teachers to their language skills. Using a conversation analysis framework, we will observe how language issues are intertwined with cultural, identity, and moral aspects that need special attention in order to enhance and support the effective construction of educational alliances between schools and families.
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