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Friday, 5 June 2015

Communication – Who are the key stakeholders and how can we be effective communicators to the key stakeholders?

Children benefit academically when parents and educators work together, as a parent is a child’s first and most important teacher. Within the formal education system, parent involvement is most effective when viewed as a partnership between parents and educators.

Parent involvement occurs when parents and educators participate in regular two-way and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities. Parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their children’s learning at school and are included, as appropriate, in decision-making activities.

This may be achieved through regular feedback for schools, students and parents regarding the social and academic progress. As such school reports are an essential element in the partnership between teachers, schools and parents. As teachers focus on building trusting collaborative relationships among families and community members; they acknowledge and respect the family in addressing any class or cultural difference. This enhances the notion of partnership, where power and responsibility are shared for the education of the child. The education of every child is helped immeasurably when parents take an active interest.  

By means of professional discussions with parents and teachers, I appreciate that elements parent’s value most in reporting are interaction with teachers and a mark that gives a fair and accurate assessment of their children’s progress but as mentioned previously this mark needs to be accompanied by an explanation and suggestion for improvement to help improve and deepen student understanding.  

Written reports are an essential part of reporting but they do not provide a full picture of a child’s progress at school. As well as informal talks with teachers, reporting should include formal meetings, meetings involving parents, teacher and child. 

Ideally, through regular contact with the school, parents should know enough about their child’s progress for there to be nothing in a written report that comes as a total surprise.  

Parent – teacher meetings are crucial to parents’ understanding of how their child is progressing. I have found benefit in conducting multiple meetings throughout the year to allow a constant flow of information on the student's learning. The first was to allow parents to meet the teacher and talk to them regarding educational goals, the second was based on the mid-year report and the final was to discuss aspects of education parents could work on during the summer holiday. Informal conferences were conducted with individual parents on a daily basis, either ten minutes before or after school, many of these I had the opportunity to conduct or participant in.  Meetings with teachers give parents the chance to raise their concerns about their children, or their misgivings about the school and the teacher teaching them. Meetings offer a chance to clear the air and to find reassurance.

Providing a constant flow of informations through emails, the classes blog and twitter accounts have also increased parent buy in and follow-up at home. I have found that these have reduced confusion and potential misunderstandings created in the transfer of essential information from the teacher to the parents via the student. 

Being fully informed about their children’s education enables parents to better decide the degree to which they want to become involved and the type of action they may want to take. 

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