A partnership project was developed in which parents volunteered to support teachers in training years 1-3 children in computer skills at a primary school in a small, low socio-economic community. This article identifies the ways teachers and the ‘tutors’ (as the volunteers were called) understood the value of the project. ‘Being a teacher’ and ‘being a volunteer’ were structured by different forms of social engagement, which in turn influenced the ways individuals were able to work with each other in collaborative processes. We argue that the discursive practices encoded in homeschool- community partnership rhetoric represent ruling-class ways of organising and networking that may be incompatible with those of people from low socio-economic backgrounds. When such volunteers work in schools their attendance may be sporadic and short-term whereas teachers would like ‘reliable’ ongoing commitment. This mismatch wrought of teachers’ and volunteers’ differing everyday realities needs to be understood before useful models for partnerships in disadvantaged communities may be realised.
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Field of Research
130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
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