Building Parent/Professional Partnerships: An Innovative Approach for Teacher Education


College of Health

Date of this version


Document Type



parent-teacher relationships, curriculum, teacher education, teachers colleges


The value of collaboration between parents and educators is well-recognized. However, many preservice educators feel they lack the skills and confidence needed to establish and maintain effective partnerships with parents. This qualitative study was designed to explore one approach to improving teacher preparation with respect to parent/professional partnerships. An undergraduate course for preservice special educators was modified to provide students with multiple opportunities for meaningful interaction with parents of children with disabilities. One parent served as co-instructor of the course while six additional parents were embedded in the course for the entire semester. Pre- and post-intervention focus groups were conducted to describe the impact of this course innovation on the preservice students' dispositions and competencies regarding parent/professional partnerships. Results suggest that student dispositions changed from viewing parents as uncaring, uninvolved, and unknowledgeable to valuing them as experts on the child and partners in the decision-making process.


DOI: 10.1080/08878730701838819

Published in

The Teacher Educator

Citation/Other Information

Murray, M. M., Curran, E. & Zellers, D. (2008). Building Parent/Professional Partnerships: An Innovative Approach for Teacher Education. The Teacher Educator, 43(2), 87-108. https://doi.org/10.1080/08878730701838819