Partnering with Conflict: A Role for Needs Based Negotiation in Teacher-parent Collaboration

By William Niles and Patricia Ann Marcellino.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Teacher parent collaboration is a highly valued concept in educating children in today’s multicultural classrooms. However, achieving productive relationships between teachers and parents remains elusive. Teachers and parents especially from diverse backgrounds make different assumptions about their relationships and approach partnering from different starting points. For some thinkers in this field, the range of parental competencies and preferences for involvement is so diverse and teacher skill and comfort levels so narrow that they argue that it may not be reasonable to expect collaboration with some parent sub-groups. The authors argue that teacher training in partnering with parents is mired in a traditional canon with its emphasis on teacher self-awareness and cross - cultural competency. This focus fails to address critical interpersonal and child based stress points that keep parents and teachers at odds. The authors maintain that needs based negotiation may provide a process that promotes teacher - parent relationship building, regardless of cultural background and experiences that emphasizes services to the child that they have in common and deemphasizes interpersonal differences. Through establishing the needs of each party and applying the principles of problem - solving theory to address those needs, parents and teachers can cooperate productively and at the same time establish a basis for continuing mutual trust and respect.

Keywords: Parent-teacher Collaboration, Needs Based Negotiation, Children with Special Needs, Diverse Classrooms

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.297-308. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 656.985KB).

Dr. William Niles

Associate Professor, Special Education Program, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York, USA

Based on thirty years of work in schools designed to service children with disabilities, the presenter’s research focus is on improving teacher-teacher, teacher-parent and teacher-student communication and collaboration. Other interests include classroom management in classrooms that include children with special needs, students from diverse backgrounds and students deemed “at risk”. The presenter also writes and presents on the practical application (moral discussion group) of Kohlberg’s theory on moral development.

Patricia Ann Marcellino

Associate Professor, Educational Leadership and Technology Program, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York, USA

Professor Marcellino’s research interests and agenda include team collaboraton, diversity issues and the application of needs based negotiation in diverse school environments. She has worked for a number of years on school leadership issues related to urban and suburban communities.


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