Have you ever been to parent-teacher meetings (especially in secondary school) where you are allocated 10 minutes for a meeting with each of your child’s teachers and the bell sounds when your time is up? The time is barely enough to get a conversation started let alone an in-depth 2 way conversation about how your child is going.
Parent teacher communication is important so that school and home are on the same page. Parent-teacher meetings are not always the best form of communication but do let you meet the teacher personally.
In order not to leave parent-teacher meetings an emotional wreck:
Prepare before you go as to what you would like to ask the teacher and what you would like the teacher to know about your child or what might be happening in the home.
Take the child with you when meeting with the teacher and allow them to have a role in the meeting. Goal in life is to get them to grow into autonomous learners and hence autonomous adults. The sooner they are able to develop self-monitoring skills the better for their academic success. Teach them to see feedback as a way forward a way to improve and always be open to it, ask for it and learn how to deliver it to others.
Talk to the teacher about the most appropriate forms of communication for both of you to continue the conversation over the year.
Remember the goal of education is to help students develop respect for themselves and others so as to “develop into citizens who have challenging minds and the disposition to become active, competent, and thoughtfully critical participants in our complex world” (Hattie, 2012, p.27). The goal of parental engagement in your child’s learning is to influence your child’s attitude towards learning- their beliefs and confidence about learning and motivation and engagement to learn (Fox & Olsen, 2014). Parents and teachers are on the same side and need to respect the different knowledge they bring to the meeting. The Teachers bring their professional knowledge about curriculum and appropriate level of achievement for your child’s age. You as a parent bring your knowledge about what your child is like – their hopes and dreams. Achievement is greatest when both work together and respect the knowledge of the other as the child is the one who benefits.
I had been in education for 28 years , 10 of which was as a Principal of a secondary school. I retired to give my own children some time as all three had learning difficulties. During this time I experienced schools from the other side of the Principal's desk and realised that even with my wealth of experience in schools, schools can be difficult places to
navigate. If I felt this way how did other parents feel. I realised there is a need to empower parents not only to navigate the schooling years and be advocates for your children, but to be confident in your role as parents. All parents want the best for their child but they often don't know how to do this.
It is exciting to be offering the latest research on what is the most effective strategies for parents to make a difference with not only your child's learning and achievement but also their future wellbeing.