Defense Date


Graduation Date



Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Lisa L Levers

Committee Member

Debra Hyatt-Burkhart

Committee Member

Julia A Williams


With the advance of technology as a manifestation of our rapidly changing world, we often hear how difficult it is to be a parent with school-age children. The more knowledge and access parents have to technology, the better position they are in to collaborate with teachers and to help their children academically and behaviorally. However, the lack of updated technology may be a serious concern for children living in poverty. For these and many other reasons, it is imperative that educators provide parents with the knowledge base and the resources needed to facilitate parent engagement in helping their children with their learning process. While the current literature overwhelmingly demonstrates that parents need to be involved in their children's schooling, it has little to say about what it really means for parents to be thus involved.

The aim of this qualitative phenomenological-existential study was to examine the lived experiences of eight teachers and nine parents in an urban elementary school in Western Pennsylvania in the course of both architectural and pedagogical changes. The study was intended to examine how parent-teacher engagement manifests itself, and it was carried out through interviews with questions designed to elicit both teacher and parent expectations for themselves, for each other, and for their children. The data was gleaned from two focus groups, one teacher and one parent, and six key informant interviews with three teachers and three parents.

Three overriding themes emerged from the data analysis: the need for communication, a desire for human empathy, and felt oppression. These themes evolved in a theoretical framework that includes van Manen's (1990) four lived existentials,

Bronfenbrenner's (1979) risk and protective factors from his notions about the ecology of human development, and Freire's (1970) ideas about the pedagogy of the oppressed. Some prospective hypotheses were derived from this research, as well as further implications of the study and ideas for future research and intervention.