With all the questions that children bring, we can certainly agree on one thing. We want what is best for our students and children. However, without continuous communication passing through Parent-Teacher channels, we will only see limited success, as communication is a cornerstone of student achievement. From the very beginning of each year, parents and teachers should begin establishing a solid relationship in order to foster communication. This invisible bond between teacher and parent can ultimately determine the outcome and influence the trajectory of a student’s education path.
“Parent involvement remains a strong predictor of academic achievement at all levels, from kindergarten through high school, as these children have fewer grade retentions and are more likely to graduate.“
Saying parents and teachers need to communicate is simple enough, actually doing it is where things become challenging. As parents and teachers (and teachers that ARE parents), there are a variety of recommendations, tips and tools to consider. The Parent-Teacher partnership is one that needs to be nurtured. What do parents need to do? Here are three topics to consider for each side.
Parent’s Responsibility in Communication
Honor Parent – Teacher conferences – there is no substitute for a face to face meeting with your child’s teacher. Whether the conference is requested by the school, the teacher, or the parent, the goal should be the same – open the lines of communication to help the student achieve success.
Take an active role – volunteer for field trips or class events, help with homework, attend school sports games, become a member of the PTA or support fundraisers. Get involved in your child’s education through multiple avenues; find they types of activities you can participate in that work best for you and your family.
Approach issues or questions with respect – treat schools and staff the way you would want them to treat your child. Cultivate a positive parent-teacher relationship by showing respect for the incredibly challenging job that teachers carry out every day.
What do Teachers need to do?
Teacher’s Responsibility in Communication
Don’t underestimate the power of a phone call. Whether the updates are positive or negative, make time to call or reach out the parents of your students. Not only will that open the lines of communication, but may also improve your working relationship and give you an opportunity to get feedback directly from the parents.
Be available. If there is one thing that frustrates a parent, it is not being able to get in contact with staff at school. When parents have a question, it’s usually time-sensitive and deserves a quick and direct answer. As a teacher, you should provide multiple methods of contact and your hours of availability. Consider distributing your phone number and email address to all parents and offering other avenues to reach you, such as texting or Facebook.
Be willing. Continually express your desire to help each student, connect with parents on an individual basis and promote an attitude of cooperation. Stay in touch often and offer your assistance to each parent, as every family faces their own unique set of challenges.
Analyzing Communication Results
Thus far, it’s clear that parents and teachers need to work in unison. However, how do we determine their level of cooperation and the effectiveness of such communication? One of the best ways to evaluate the current status of communication is to distribute anonymous surveys to both teachers and parents. If asking the correct questions, the answers may help those involved gain insights into perceptions and assumptions, while gaining involvement from both sides.
“The key to successful parent-teacher collaboration is to become a team. This collaboration is the most powerful tool in helping a child be successful at school…As parents and teachers learn the value of this collaboration, they can create an environment that supports the ability for all students to succeed.” http://www.teachhub.com/parent-teacher-collaboration-strategies-work
Are you looking for more guidance or direction on opening lines of communication within your schools? CSAS collaborates with educators to insure instructional strategies are aligned with accepted standards in each school system. We have been helping educators implement evidence-based strategies for years, partnering with each district to provide customized solutions based on achievement goals. Learn more by contacting us.