The statement by the Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies - that Australia needs a Family Policy in order to make Australians more aware of the crucial role of the family in the development of human competence - provides the benchmark for this study, A content analysis of Australian and overseas family policy documents reveals that present approaches are ad hoc and fragmented - although there is a definite move towards a developmental and integrated approach. In this study it is argued that family policy has a valid role in providing the context of education throughout the life cycle of individuals, simply because, together with education (in its widest sense of human development) it provides the construction of social reality for members of Australian society. Three metaphorical models of reality promoted by different education approaches are delineated: (i) The Clockwork world of the megamachine and the image of education as a means of production,(ii) the Secular Humanistic world of dichotomies and the image of education as a means of intellectual growth, and (iii) The World of Interrelationships and Wholeness and the image of education as a life long journey A review of the literature on the relationship between family and education reveals an historical development from separation, through collaboration to integration of these two important influences in human development. The central issue identified for policy is that of the twin horns of a dilemma. Either the terms of policy are so strictly defined that it becomes a self-limiting self-fulfilling prophecy, or there is no basis at all for constructive discussion because of the present mass of unorganised detailed material. A way out of this dilemma is proposed with the design of an integrated perspective on the family for use by policy makers, educators and families themselves. Six interrelated models of the family (Cultural, Functional, Survival, Developmental, Legal and Structural) are defined and their links to the dynamics of an actual family are described. The implications of this new conceptual tool are briefly discussed and it is argued that any approach in policy or practice that ignores the mutlifaceted dimensions of this integrated perspective on the family is incomplete. Attached to this Field Study are: (A) A content analysis of twenty years of family policy with an emphasis on Australian material; (5) A comprehensive bibliography of Australian and overseas material. Each of these attachments could act as source documents in themselves for further research in this area.
|Date of Award