Alanko & Autti (2018): Parents’ perceptions on home-school cooperation and their children’s schooling

Alanko, Anu & Autti, Outi (2018): “Parents’ perceptions on home-school cooperation and their children’s schooling”. Paper presented at the NERA Congress (Nordic Education Research Association) in Oslo March 2018.


As earlier research has suggested (e.g. Baeck 2010; Epstein & Sanders 2000; Evans 2013), parents’ involvement in their children’s schooling benefits the child’s learning outcomes as well as their social and emotional development and wellbeing at school. In Finland, equality is considered a central value in the educational system. However, children attend schools with different socio-economic backgrounds as well as in diverse geographical spaces. In recent years, there is an increasing concern whether our educational system is that equal, after all. Educational equality has become a central focus of educational research. Among these is the question, for example, of spatial inequalities in education (e.g. Siekkinen 2017). Furthermore, in relation to spatiality, especially rurality has been viewed in relation to educational outcomes (e.g. Baeck 2015) and rural schools’ closures as experienced by local people (Autti & Hyry-Beihammer 2014).

The present study is part of the project “RUR-ED Spatial Inequalities and Spatial Justice in Education”, which focus is on how space affects educational inequalities. One of the aims is to investigate how families’ and students’ cultural resources encounter the social practices of schools, and whether disconnection between these two could cause spatial inequalities in education. The data for the project is collected in Norwegian, Finnish and Canadian schools in rural areas among teachers, parents and students. In Finland, the interviews were conducted in two northern municipalities, and in this presentation, we focus on interviews conducted among parents of secondary and upper secondary school students.

Our presentation has two aims. First, we are interested in rural parents’ general attitudes towards their children’s schooling. The focus is on how parents view the role of education in their children’s lives. Furthermore, we will explore the educational responsibilities between home and school as discussed by parents living in rural areas. Second, we will concentrate on home-school cooperation from the parents’ perspective. In relation to this, we will ask to what extent rural parents cooperate with the school and how their view their own role in the cooperation.


Autti, O. & Hyry-Beihammer, E. K. 2014. School closures in rural Finnish communities. Journal of Research in Rural Education 29 (1): 1-17.

Baeck, U.-D. 2010. Parental Involvement Practices in Formalized Home-School Cooperation. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 54 (6), 549-563.

Baeck, U.-D. 2015. Rural Location and Academic Success – Remarks on Research, Contextualisation and Methodology. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 60 (4): 435-448.

Epstein, J.L., & Sanders, M.G. (2000). Connecting home, school, and community: New directions for social research. In M.T. Hallinan (Ed.), Handbook of the sociology of education. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 285–306.

Evans, M. P. 2013. “Educating preservice teachers for family, school and community engagement.” Teaching Education 24 (2): 123–133.

Siekkinen, K. 2017. Koulutuksellisen tasa-arvon diskurssit ja toimijat peruskoulun tuntijakouudistuksessa [Educational equality discourses and actors’ reform of the distribution of lesson hours in Comprehensive School]. Jyväskylä, Jyväskylän yliopisto.