We hope you’re as excited as we are! We are one week from releasing the first episode of the School Interrupted podcast. Over the next 10 weeks, you will hear the voices of some truly incredible educators and parents as they dive into all things parent engagement. The core of this work is to make change in schools, to interrupt, to put something new in place of what we currently have. But our intention in all of this is to do it gently, to do it with love, with care, and with respect for children, parents, families, and educators. Together, we can change the school landscape. We can interrupt schoolcentric thinking and we can create familycentric education. Please enjoy our podcast series.
This podcast is funded by Debbie Pushor Engagement Group Inc.
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To learn more about Debbie Pushor Engagement Group Inc., click here.
Hi, I'm Debbie Pushor. Welcome to our podcast series, School Interrupted.
The word interruption means to break in on, to put something new in place of something else. You may have heard the announcement that comes on radio or television sometimes: "we interrupt this programming for this important message." So, what is it about school that we're working to interrupt? We are working to interrupt the schoolcentric nature, where schools are seen to be the place for kids and educators with big walls that keep parents out.
Schoolcentric is a term that was coined by Michael Lawson. And he says that it reflects a kind of a "hey parents, drop your kids and go, we've got this" kind of way of thinking. It privileges expert knowing and it asks parents to play a pretty marginalized role. Would you sign the agenda book? Would you come to parent-teacher conferences? Please help your child with homework.
So then if we want to interrupt schoolcentric thinking, what are we suggesting be put in its place? You are going to hear us talk about in this podcast series, a familycentric approach. In that approach, we see ourselves as educators walking alongside parents, to help them realize their lifelong hopes and dreams for their children. It recognizes that schooling and education are related but different. Education is a birth-to-forever process that parents and family members engage in with their children. schooling is just one piece of that picture.
A familycentric approach then acknowledges that parents also are holders of knowledge of children of teaching and learning. And it invites us as educators to get to know our families deeply so that we know who they are. We know what their hopes and dreams are. And we know what rich knowledge they hold. It invites us as educators to co-construct with parents some of the things that we often do ourselves, planning curriculum, and establishing policies, or practices or programs.
So just to be clear that when we're talking about a switch to familycentric thinking, we're not suggesting that we just flip the hierarchy around and have parents be in charge. We're asking us all to consider a side-by-side approach where parent knowledge is used alongside teacher knowledge as another source of knowing. So I'm the mom of three boys. And if you'd asked me about any one of my sons when they were in school, I could have told you about the books, they were reading their passions or interests, things like how maybe one of my boys listen best when he had things in his hands. Rather than being asked to be still. I could have told you about when their grandma died and how hard that was for our family. As a parent, I can share the history of our family, I can share with you our current context, and I can share with you the imagined future we hold for ourselves.
There's a quote that I found powerful in his book, engage every family, Steven Constantino opens by writing, "if we could successfully teach all children by ourselves, then it seems to me that we would have already done so." We know we can do better in educating our children. And so when we do that with parents, rather than apart from them, there are all kinds of rich new possibilities.
This podcast series School Interrupted, is comprised of 10 podcasts. You are going to hear from teachers in the province of Saskatchewan, who are really thinking about what it means to be familycentric. The educators are going to share with you their journeys with parent engagement, sometimes positioning themselves as teachers other times perhaps positioning themselves as parents, with their invited guests, they're going to talk about concepts and practices of parent engagement that they've taken up, what they're excited about what they're puzzling over, they're going to invite you into some new thinking.
So stand by, we interrupt your current notion of school Link to bring you some important messages. We're excited to propose some changes some new possibilities that create a new vision for school. This is School Interrupted.