Take a moment,and ask yourself,
"Do I proactively communicate with the parent's of my students?"
- What does the communication sound and look like?
- Do I use one-way or two-way communication?
- Do I take communication to the next level by engaging and involving my parents?
Sometimes as teachers we forget the importance of communication with other adults because of isolation and too few of opportunities to collaborate. Brown and Vaughn (2015) agree that "Schools are about people, and the foundation of a school’s climate and culture is based on two essential components: communication and relationships".
We have to make it a priority every day to communicate with the parents of our students. Challenge yourself to effectively communicate with at least one parent daily.
Trust makes it possible for teachers and parents to have deep conversations that lead to student success. Parents know when they are being heard because they walk away from the conversation feeling listened to and appreciated.
Researchers Brown and Vaughn state, "Effective communication leads to relationships, and relationships lead to trust " (2015).
School days come and go however taking the time to communicate with student's parents will gradually move us toward building relationships and on to trust. While each of these components build upon each other, so does everyone's high expectations of the students involved. We know from the work of Dr. Joyce Epstein (2001); Epstein & Sanders,(2006) that "effective communication between teachers and parents provide both parties with a deeper understanding of mutual expectations to effectively assist children". Clearly, solid understanding of expectations for students lead to student success in and out of the classroom.
Epstein describes communicating with parents as one of six major types of parent involvement/engagement practices critical to establishing strong working relationships between teachers and parents (Graham-Clay, 2005).
Epstein's Framework consists of six types of involvement. The six are:
- Learning at Home
- Decision Making
- Collaborating with the Community
Feel free to click on the link above or here . This website by the National Network of Partnership Schools has links that go into depth on each. It gives examples of practices, challenges, definitions and results.
Do not stop here. Spread the word through your District, Building and Teacher Based Teams or through your Professional Learning Network and your Professional Learning Community. Never underestimate effective two-way communication.
Feel free to tweet me or follow me on Twitter @ronbrogers
Brown, P., & Vaughn, L. (2015). COMMUNICATION: The Unspoken Key to School
Culture. Principal Leadership, 15(7), 32-37.
Epstein, J. L., & Sanders, M. G. (2006). Prospect for change: Preparing educators for
school, family, and community partnerships. Peabody Journal of Education, 81(2), 81–120.
Epstein, J.L. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships: Preparing educators and improving schools. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Graham-Clay, S. (2005). Communicating with Parents: Strategies for Teachers. School
Community Journal, 16(1), 117-129.
The National PTA Website is an incredible resource for credible ideas related to school-parent communications. (http://www.pta.org)