The study is located within the interpretative paradigm, qualitative research approach, a case study design and purposeful sampling to select principals who partipated in the study. It collected information using multiple sources including personal interviews, observations and document analysis. The use of the qualitative approach assisted the researcher to explore the experiences of SMTs and teachers when communicating with parents in rural primary schools.
Effective communication between parents and schools is essential in order to support the overall performance of learners. Parents and schools need to discuss learner progress on an on-going basis. Feedback between the two parties will help motivate learners perform better. There are many ways in which parents can ensure that their children do well at school. The ideal would be for parents to pre-empt teachers and School Management Teams (SMTs) calling them to the school. Schools, on the other hand, need to adopt an open door policy; they should welcome parents to their schools. The purpose of this study was to investigate the SMTs experiences of communicating with parents of children in rural primary schools in the Mopani District of Limpopo Province in South Africa. SMTs are regarded as an essential support structure in the instructional learning activities of schools. The study aimed to investigate mechanisms of effective communication between rural parents and schools in their efforts to cooperate for the benefit of the children and to understand how decisions are taken between SMTs and parents.
The study revealed that SMTs and parents use one- and two-way communication strategies to discuss important issues about the progress of learners. Factors that hinder effective communication between parents and SMTs in rural schools were identified, such as a lack of conveying information by SMTs; limited involvement of parents in making decisions regarding major issues involving their children; and language as a major barrier between parents and schools in rural areas. Many parents in rural communities have a low level of education and, therefore, struggle to engage with schools. It was also found that poor socio-economic circumstances affect communication between parents and teachers. Many parents cannot afford to buy mobile phones to ease the process of communication between themselves and the schools. The use of mobile phones is also a major hurdle for parents.