This Series began on January 9, 2017 with the following:
Up to this time, this blog has focused on language development and use by children. The idea was to focus on the ways in which children do and can develop the language skills that help them to be successful learners. There is a wealth of information “out there” as well an on this blog about ways to do this.
It is time for a new focus: the communication of adults that impacts children’s success in school and beyond. Teachers and parents talk about children and their success or lack of success in school, administrators and teachers talk about children, special educators and teachers talk about children. Support staff members and “outside” experts “communicate” about children and their success or lack of success in school. What do we know about how these “stakeholders” (is that the correct term?) talk to each/one another about children’s success in school? How much of their conversations address the reasons for children’s success or lack of success and what each adult does/can do to ensure that success.
Time to look at these communication (dialogue?) topics and issues in more detail. So, starting with the first posting in that sequence:
The above mentioned article opens in the following way:
“It’s that time of year. Kids have been in school for a while, and now you get about 15 minutes with their teacher to talk about … what, exactly?
Parent-teacher conferences can be confusing. They’re rushed, with parents lingering to ask questions and more hovering at the door.
But education researchers say parental involvement and communication with teachers is an important element of student success. We talked to experts to find out why parent-teacher conferences are important and how parents can make the most of their time. These experts are listed at the end of the story.”
THE ARTICLE GOES ON TO LIST QS AND PREPARATION:
Should I go only if my child is having problems?
NO, but you should definitely go if your child is not making the kind of progress you expect or hope for. (My comment)
How do I prepare? They respond:
“Talk to your child. These conferences are short — they tend to be 10 to 20 minutes long at most, so it’s good to go in knowing what you want to glean from them. There are a few questions parents can ask their children to prepare beyond “How’s class?” and “How’s your teacher?”.
Equally important are the teacher’s preparation and role before, during, and after the conference.
Below are some things you (administrators, teachers, and parents) can talk about, and groups like the Harvard Family Research Project and a school district in Washington have even published preparation tip sheets:….”
This is an 8 page document published by Harvard with advice for principals, teachers, and parents. Pay particular attention to page 5 and on for teachers and then the following page for Parent
Here are some of the tips that come from the Harvard group for Teachers:
Before the conference: (Note these are all direct quotes for sections of each item.)
Review student work. Be prepared to go over student data, assignments, and assessments during the conferences. Think of what more you would like to learn about your students from their parents.
Prepare thoughts and materials. Create an agenda or list of key issues you want to discuss about each student’s progress and growth. Also consider creating a portfolio of student work to walk through with families during the conferences.
During the Conference
Discuss progress and growth.
Ask questions and listen actively
Share ideas for supporting learning
Seek solutions collaboratively. How “we” can work together to resolve any problems.
Make an action will check in with one another about progress.
After the conference
Establish lines of communication.
Follow up with families. If practical, contact parents (either by phone or in a note) who attended the conference and thank them for doing so. Ask if they have further questions or concerns and send home materials that can help them support learning at home. Contact parents who did not attend, as well, and offer alternative ways to communicate about their child.
Connect in-class activities.
AND THEN THE ARTICLE OFFERS HARVARD’S ADVICE FOR PARENTS:
Advice for the Parent’s Role
What should you expect?
A two-way conversation.
Emphasis on learning
Opportunities and challenges.
.What should you talk to the teacher about?
Progress. Find out how your child is doing by asking questions like: Is my child performing at grade level?
Assignments and assessments. Ask to see examples of your child’s work.
Your thoughts about your child. Be sure to share your thoughts and feelings about your child.
Support learning at home. Ask what you can do at home to help your child learn.
Support learning at school. Find out what services are available at the school to help your child
How should you follow up?
Make a plan.
Schedule another time to talk.
Talk to your child. …Share with your child what you learned…
For more resources on family involvement, visit www.hfrp.org
Lastly, the article offers this guiding acronym:
“BE HEARD ”Keep these principles in mind fora great parent–teacher conference:
Best intentions assumed
Emphasis on learning
Examples and evidence
Respect for all
Dedication to follow-up
The article continues on to offer a “different guide” on Parent-Teacher Conferences