School-family collaboration in a multicultural context

School-family collaboration in a multicultural context

A plurilingual and multicultural education is not without its challenges. Children academic success and fulfilment rely on a mutual engagement from the school and parents. This is what coeducation truly is about, taking the shape of an efficient and fructuous partnership between parents and teachers.

On the initiative of Gwënola Coupé, Councillor of the French people abroad living in the 4th district of China, Aurélia Petragallo, teacher and head of the FLSco Department (French as Language of Schooling) at Shanghai French School, offered a conference on the topic of coeducation, together with Stephanie Bell, another speaker specialised in the Anglo-Saxon system. Two sessions were hosted by WeWork and Da Wo Law Firm.

The FLSco program, developed by Shanghai French School, gives a particular place to the partnership with families and enhances this specialty to better optimise this relationship. Buoyed by this expertise, the FLSco team and the Heads of School have developed a methodology on coeducation that they have been able to share with teachers and LFS students’ parents, especially with multicultural families, as well as any person participating in the academic success and personal fulfilment of a child.

As the experience shows, it is possible to be actor in the academic success of one’s child without necessarily speaking the schooling language, nor understanding the teaching content. However, for the child to shine, a well-defined plan must be implemented and supported by the different actors surrounding the child, especially the family. Nothing is fixed, everything can evolve based on the child’s needs.

To learn within the French system, families must have a clear academic project, must be involved with the child French learning at school and outside of school, must regularly communicate with the teaching teams, and not just when he/she has difficulties. Families must also foster the access to the French-speaking world: reading books and playing games in French at home, visiting the French Alliance, participating in language workshops, having French-speaking friends over, etc. Through these implications, a mutual trust and safe space for exchanges can take place.

Home thus becomes a favourable place for the student to develop various skills, all needed for his/her own academic success (emotion management, curiosity, focus, perseverance, listening, autonomy, self-confidence, eloquence), which go beyond the acquisition of a language or culture.

The joint effort of the school, the student and his/her parents guarantee a flourishing academic path. At Shanghai French School, the teaching team puts coeducation at the core of its approach to allow all students, especially those coming from multicultural and multilingual families, to succeed. This enables us to welcome and integrate numerous communities, enriching our school, and to support them through conferences and feedbacks like these ones.