A Socially Critical Approach to Community and Parental Engagement: A Matter of Professional Ethics

  • John SmythEmail author


This chapter explores what the idea of community engagement might mean with regard to schools, or more particularly to teachers, parents, students and the wider community. Specifically, Smyth engages with the question of ‘Whose interests are being served in schooling?’ which leads him to suggest how ‘a more expansive, deeper, more socially just, and activist view of community engagement’ might develop if parental involvement in education beyond concerns for their own children were to come about. For this to happen, Smyth argues, parents would have to be considered in public discourse less as ‘consumers’ of education and more as ‘citizens’ acting for the collective betterment of society. Smyth explores this private/public distinction in some detail in order to establish that the broader collective and participatory ethic he espouses could, through an expanded notion of parental involvement, bring qualities he locates in working class culture into educational discourse and local experience. This chapter challenges readers to draw on working class values to confront the disturbing ‘blindness’ within the institutional structuring of schooling which fails to engage with the differential experiences of privilege and alienation accompanying social class.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education, Federation University AustraliaUniversity DriveMount HelenAustralia
  2. 2.Huddersfield Centre for Research in Education and SocietyUniversity of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK

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