Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Teachers Partnering with Parents




The key to creating an effective parent-teacher partnership is communication. Actively communicating with parents can have long-lasting benefits for your gifted program. It will:
  • foster goodwill
  • improve the overall image of your program and school
  • lessen your workload
  • increase parent support of your efforts

Students thrive when they have the support of both their teachers and their parents. Team work has long been known to contribute to the success of any endeavor. An effective team has the best chance at succeeding when it provides a communication plan that benefits all stakeholders ~ teachers, parents and students.

What steps should teachers take to ensure success?
  • Develop a plan before the start of the school year
  • Communicate that plan to parents and follow through with regular updates
  • Appreciate and follow-up on feedback from parents
  • Utilize a variety of forms of communications
  • Don’t rely solely on report cards & parent-teacher conferences

It is important that teachers take a pro-active approach to communicating with parents. The possibilities are limitless. Consider these options:
  • conduct regular parent-teacher meetings at monthly/quarterly intervals
  • become involved with gifted parent support groups by attending meetings or volunteering to speak at a meeting
  • create a weekly email update about what your class is doing and upcoming events
  • consider quarterly focus groups to crowd-source ideas for your program

Parents of gifted children can often be excellent resources for networking, volunteering, fundraising, and career guidance. Most, if not all, are college educated and may be considered assets for role-modeling, job-shadowing opportunities and as guest lecturers in your classroom.

Educators can enhance parent-teacher relations by becoming empathetic listeners and solution-oriented when approaching parental concerns. Talk honestly with parents about their children  based on legitimate assessments; not on your impressions of a child’s ability. It is important to understand that asynchronous development and social-emotional issues can easily mask a child’s giftedness. Giftedness does not always equate with high achievement.

In sports, it is an oft-spoken sentiment that “the best offense is a good defense”. This, however, does not apply to a supportive and collaborative relationship between parents and teachers. It is easy to blame budget deficits and a lack of resources, but good teaching will always overcome these complaints.

Partner with parents and listen to what they have to say. Respond to their concerns and communicate with them on a regular basis. By working together, your students will soar! Isn't that what teaching is all about?

6 comments:

  1. An excellent post, Lisa! It is so important for teachers and parents to work together and communicate effectively with each other!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Jo. I know this can be an adversarial relationships, but those can only harm the child and make matters worse. I hope to encourage open communications even in tense situations.

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  2. Excellent ideas! Recently I was thinking over the very process of teacher-parents contact and realized how it could improve the studying of our children:
    Parents-teachers communication.
    By the way, I followed you up with GFC, it'd be great if you follow me back.

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    1. Sure thing! Following on Networked Blogs.

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  3. Lisa,
    I know my comment/input may be late here. But, I'd certainly like to refer your readers to my chapter on The Importance of Family Engagement in Coleman & Johnsen's book: 'Implementing RtI with Gifted Students: Service Models, Trends & Issues published by Prufrock Press last year.
    My entire chapter presents this issue of partnering as critical and shares ideas of relevance and importance to parents & educators. http://www.prufrock.com/Implementing-RtI-With-Gifted-Students-Service-Models-Trends-and-Issues-P1663.aspx

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    1. Never too late, Joy! Thanks for the information!

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