Schools, Parents and Communities — Building New Futures Through Research and Innovation
22 years have passed since the establishment of the European Research Network About Parents in Education, and ERNAPE is celebrating its 10th biannual conference in 2015. While such anniversaries often trigger the need to contemplate over the years that have passed and the accomplishments that have been made, the ERNAPE-ARCTIC aspires to be more forward than backward looking and to focus on future accomplishments within the field of research on schools, parents and communities. In a Europe still struggling in the aftermaths of the economic crisis that hit in the fall of 2008, the nations of Europe call upon the educational system to solve their problems. With frequent assessments, international comparisons of education outcome measures and supra-national education markets, the pressure is on for local schools, principals and school administrators and individual teachers. How do parents and communities fit into this picture – and how should we as researchers respond to these challenges, now and in the future?
Main focal points
The forward-looking profile of ERNAPE-ARCTIC is reflected in the two main focal points of the conference. Firstly, ERNAPE-ARCTIC will have a special focus on children. The child and its learning processes is the ultimate rational for our research endeavors on parents in education, and in the school-parent-student triangle discussions on children’s agency are called for. Also, as kindergartens and preschool services are becoming more and more a part of the formal educational system, an increased focus on the youngest children becomes important. So is a focus on parents’ and communities’ roles in the institutionalized socialization and teaching arenas these institutions represent.
Secondly, ERNAPE-ARCTIC will have a special focus on innovations in the field of parents in education. Innovations in the education sector and in the classrooms need to be based in sound high quality research and the research community should partake in the development of educational innovations. Innovations in digital technologies are already widely used in order to facilitate communication between home and school, but other possibilities need to be explored. In addition to the two focus areas, ERNAPE-ARCTIC will be an arena for discussions of all topics related to parents in education. The geographic location of ERNAPE-ARCTIC in the north of Scandinavia calls for a special session on indigenous issues and we also include discussions of minority issues in general.
Arena for discussion
The ERNAPE-ARCTIC conference in Tromsø, Norway in 2015 provides time and space for the research community to meet in formal and equally important, in informal settings, and under the Arctic sky, new acquaintances will be made, knowledge will be shared, new ideas will emerge and important new contributions will be made in the field of parents in education. The conference themes provide a focus for keynote addresses and invited events. Proposals for contributions are welcome from all fields of educational research.