Evidence from schools using freeflowinfo
The theory that underpins freeflowinfo was developed between 2010 and 2012 whilst seeking a pragmatic solution that allowed schools to develop meaningful, manageable and sustainable Parental Engagement within a busy and demanding school environment. The concept, was informed by an extensive range of existing and highly regarded behavioural research which included but was by no means limited to: Desforges and Abouchaar (2003), Sui Chu and Willms (1995), Harris and Goodall (2008), Hattie (2011), Feinstein and Symons (1997) and Crozier (1999). Which identify regular, positive conversations about school between parent and child as being the universal parental behaviour that positively influences pupil achievement, and barriers on both sides that hinder the adoption of Parental Engagement.
Between 2012 and 2016, freeflowinfo was further developed through school-based action-research. Academic research had already identified what works, our pragmatic research was informed by all stakeholders and explored how to make it work in a meaningful, manageable and sustainable way within busy school and home environments. This pragmatic research formed the basis of our extensive implementation package which includes a detailed framework – developed from academic research of managing complex institutional change Knoster, Thousand and Villa (2000) – through which school leaders can not only design an implementation strategy that meets the unique context of their school, but also provides structured and meaningful evaluation throughout the process.
freeflowinfo was made available to schools in September 2016, since when, further academic research has been published – Balu, Porter, Gunton (2016), Bergman, Edmond-Verley and Notario-Risk (2016) – that underpins ffi ® methodology, especially with regard to our already established practice of what does and does not work when engaging parents.
Further insight into the various mechanisms that freeflowinfo enables is provided by Deci, Ryan and Koestner’s (1999) work on intrinsic motivation, and more importantly in February 2018 in the joint MIT/Harvard physiological research by Romeo, Leonard, Robinson, West, Mackey, Rowe, and Gabrieli which used MRI brain scans to identify ‘conversational turns’ as being the key component in activating those areas of the brain associated with language and learning development, rather than simply exposure to words as had been previously postulated.
Talking and reading with children is more important than talking and reading to children – and this is precisely what freeflowinfo enables.