Parental Satisfaction with School Communication




Womble, Frances E

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Educational literature regarding school communication takes a very different approach than the Communication literature. Education scholars employ a view of communication processes that reflect a linear information-transmission conceptualization of communication processes, rather than the contemporary approach of communication scholars, who treat communication processes as nonlinear, relational, and constitutive of meaning. This thesis includes the findings from a study in which 43 parents completed a survey, 19 of whom were also interviewed about their perceptions and satisfaction with school communication. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed for recurring trends and themes. Open-ended communicative experience survey responses were combined with interview quotes to provide one dataset. The surveys and transcripts were thematically analyzed, resulting in 14 themes. Although parental satisfaction with general school communication registered slightly higher than that with child-specific communication, findings suggest that parental satisfaction with school communication is heavily dependent on individual teachers. Overall, participants expressed the desire to communicate with schools while they feel schools communicate to them. Parents also report that they feel school communication is ineffective overall and must be initiated by the parent. It is interesting to note that parents’ perception of schools communicating “to” rather than “with” closely reflects the schools literature’s treatment of communication. This important finding highlights the need for schools and parents to be aware of parental perceptions of school communication to better meet both parties’ needs. Limitations and strengths of the study and recommendations for future research and application are discussed.



Communication, Organization, Schools, Parents