Parent-Teacher Conferences An Opportunity For Teachers To Learn By Robert Bacal
Normally, we think of parent-teacher conferences as a chance for teachers to inform parents about how their children are progressing, and any issues that need addressing. That's ONE critical component of the parent-teacher meeting. In researching my book, Building Bridges Between Home And School, and talking to parents, one area parents highlighted as problematic was being "talked down" to, or lectured by teachers, and that there was a tendency for teachers to talk TO parents, rather than talk WITH parents. It's understandable for teachers, who may meet with many parents in a short time, to become "information givers".
Listening And Learning Also Important
Beyond the issue of parent dissatisfaction with being talked to, teachers may be missing out on important opportunities to gather information about each child, and his or her home life, and it's that information that can be essential to improve and customize the educational experience for each child. If you think of teaching as a kind of problem-solving, it's clear that in order to solve educational problems for a child, it's essential for a teacher to have as much information as possible, but even more importantly, that information needs to come from different sources.
It's not that parents know "more" about their children than do teachers, though they often will, but they know DIFFERENT things about their children than do their teachers. It's quite a different perspective, and a source for mining gold about how children can be best taught, and the learning better managed. Children tend to show different sides of their personalities, and their learning abilities in different environments, and while teachers spend a lot of time with children, they only see the child within one context. Parents bring a different experience from observing their kids in multiple non-school settings.
But You Have To Listen Intentionally
Parents will provide more information about their children, the more they talk, so it's essential that teachers try to balance off who does the talking in parent-teacher conferences. If you go in with the idea of telling parents, rather than listening, you can miss out on a lot of information about the child's home life, his or her study habits, interests, and a lot more. While it's always good to ask specific questions you feel you need answered, the real gold may lie in what you pick up in casual conversation, and comments the parents offer.
Remember that it's no the teacher that knows everything, and it's not the parent either, and it's not about who is right or wrong. It's about combining the collective knowledge of both to provide a clearer and more complete picture about how each child can best be taught.
Top : Teacher Guides - Parent - Teacher Meetings :
Techniques, methods to improve the prime touchpoint for communication between home and school, the parent-teacher conference. For teachers.
More For Teachers On Having Better Parent-Teacher Meetings: Teacher Guides - Parent - Teacher Meetings(video) Parent-Teacher Conference Model - by Robert Bacal
(video) This 8 minute video is a good opportunity to see a real conference, and learn some of the methods for making them work well. It's good to keep in mind that you have to exercise your judgment about what works best with each parent. (Views So Far 348 )
5 Common Fears Teachers Have about Talking to Parents | TeachHUB - by Meghan Mathis
Nice piece by a teacher exploring what fears teachers have about communicating with parents during parent-teacher meetings. (Views So Far 359 )
Effective Parent-Teacher Meetings - Not About Who Is RIght - by Steve Francis
Short article with tips on how teachers can manage parent-teacher meetings, but here's the IMPORTANT POINT: Avoid meetings becoming a 'point scoring' event. The meetings are NOT about who is right and who is wrong. They are about building a partnership to assist the student. Give some thought to how parents of this particular student could assist them at home. (Views So Far 324 )
Eliminating High School Parent-Teacher Conferences - by Kathryn B. Groth
Frederick County schools decided to eliminate their regularly scheduled conferences with parents under the philosophy that teachers and parents should be communicating as needed, rather than on a scheduled basis. Startling statistic, only 18 percent of scheduled slots were used by parents, suggesting parents didn't want the meetings. (Views So Far 425 )
Meeting With the Parents -- Making the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences - by na
Research has shown that parental involvement is the most important factor in a student's success in school. For many parents, however, that involvement is limited to attendance at parent-teacher conferences. Learn how to make the most of the opportunity! Included: Specific strategies for involving urban parents and a printable conference planning sheet and conference report form. (Views So Far 317 )
Parent Teacher Conference Tip Sheets for Principals, Teachers, and Parents - by Harvard University
From Harvard Univeristy, this PDf contains about eight pages of tips for teachers, parents, and principals on how to optimize the parent teacher conference. Educators might consider using this as a basis for a guide for parents, too. (Views So Far 261 )