chapter  14
19 Pages

Involving parents in their children’s education in Japan and Scotland

Contrasts in policy and practice
ByHiroyuki Kasama, Lyn Tett

Parents’ involvement in their children’s education can position them as customers, managers or partners, and these constructions have a strong effect on how their rights and responsibilities are regarded (see Munn 1993). Policy statements by the governments of the UK use an implicit deficit model, where parents, especially those from the working-class and minority ethnic communities, are assumed to be unwilling educators of their children, who needed to be harnessed to the educational aims of the school (see Crozier 1998). In Japan there is also a strong emphasis on parental involvement, but there is no assumption that this will be difficult to achieve. Rather, the problem is seen as stopping parents from becoming over-anxious about their children’s achievement (see Lynn 1988). Making comparisons between two countries that have different cultures is one way of illuminating practices that can be taken for granted as ‘normal’. In this chapter we do this by comparing schools’ expectations of parents and parents’ expectations of schools in Japan and in Scotland, and the contrasts in policy and practice that underpin these differences. The two authors have taken different responsibilities. Hiroyuki Kasama has provided the perspective from Japan, and also the case studies, and Lyn Tett has provided information about the Scottish system and the comparison between the two countries. The differing perspectives reflect the differing cultural perspectives of the two cultures.