Finnish and portuguese parents’ perspectives on the role of teachers in parent-teacher partnerships and parental engagement

Cristiana Levinthal, Elina Kuusisto, Kirsi Tirri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The current educational reforms in Finland and Portugal require a holistic engagement of parents with learning, bringing parents and teachers together as partners. This qualitative study, which interviewed Finnish (N = 10) and Portuguese (N = 9) parents, aimed to explore parents’ views on the role of teachers in supporting parent–teacher partnerships and parental engagement with the school. Inductive content analysis was performed to analyze the interviews. From a general standpoint, three patterns were found in the parents’ narratives about the role of teachers in supporting partnership and engagement: Communication, professionalism, and invitations to active parental participation. From a cross-cultural standpoint, Finnish parents evidenced partnerships and engagement grounded in little face-to-face contact but consistent online communication with the teacher, as well as trust in their professionalism and independent work. The Portuguese parents revealed rather frequent active participation within the school premises, more recurrent face-to-face communication with the teacher, and appreciation for teachers’ timely responses and support. Recommendations for a holistic approach of engagement and partnerships were brought forward within the context of teacher education, such as the need to maintain simple but regular communication with parents and the relevance of reconsidering the frequency of parental activities in the school.

Original languageEnglish
Article number306
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Finland
  • Parental engagement
  • Parents’ perspectives
  • Parent–teacher partnerships
  • Portugal
  • Teachers’ support

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Computer Science Applications


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