Educating Parents About Education

In too many classrooms in America, parents are often viewed as the adversaries of teachers. While this isn’t true for every school district, even one is too many. The parent-teacher relationship is just one of the many factors that complicate our educational system, and it’s a prime example. Why is this relationship such a variable? The parent’s personal experience with education probably tops the list, but how the culture of the school accepts and relates to parents is a close second. Of course, every parent’s number one concern will be: “Is my child getting a proper education to compete and thrive in our world?”

Things Have Changed

In the past, communication has always been a key factor in bringing teachers and parents together. Today, we might add transparency as a key factor in parents’ understanding of what goes on at school.

The one thing most Americans have in common is an experience with our education system. As a result, almost everyone has an opinion on what is right and, even often more vocalized, what is wrong with the system.

What complicates these views further is the fact that most of us were educated by teachers who employed 20th century pedagogy and methodology, which means that the 20th century is the basis of our educational experience. Since we are now almost halfway through the second decade of the 21st century, we need to get everyone up to speed. This requires educating parents about the education of their children. For example:

  • No longer can a teacher’s quality be judged by the amount of homework assigned.
  • Quiet and complacent kids are not necessarily signs of students engaged in learning.
  • The teacher’s content expertise should no longer be the controlling or limiting factor in a student’s education.
  • We do not need rows of desks to ensure attention.
  • All learning is not limited to the classroom.

We are struggling today to bring teachers up to speed with all of the effects that result from our living in a technology-driven society. It has had a profound effect on many educators’ pedagogy, methodology, and education philosophy. Education is a conservative institution that is slow to change, but make no mistake — changes are occurring. As big of a struggle as it may be to affect the mindset of educators while they model and share those changes with their students, we must recognize that parents are left almost entirely out of the process.

Keeping Parents Informed

If we don’t want an adversarial relationship with parents, we need to educate them about the education of their children. Technology provides a number of methods for keeping parents informed. Of course, the most effective way of all is a face-to-face meeting. In the past, Parents Night or Back to School Night was the standard way of informing parents about the teachers’ expectations. It was one night set aside for parents to check out the mean teacher they had heard so much about at dinner. We probably need to make that a more collaborative process. These nights could be more effective if we allowed parents to pose sessions on topics that they had an interest in. Teachers could pose topics that they thought parents should be aware of. Back to School Night could be just that — a night to learn about topics relevant to education in the 21st century. Sessions could be a hybrid form of the edcamp model.

A class website could be most helpful in creating transparency. Parents could access it at any time to see what is currently going on in class. Of course, this impacts a teacher as another set of things to do, so we should expect a great deal of support from the district in order for teachers to accomplish this. Effective websites often result in parent support, as well as an appreciation for seeing their child’s work being modeled online. Kids respond differently as well, since they now have a voice and an audience that includes their parents.

There are apps like Remind that allow teachers to communicate via text to parents without revealing the phone numbers of the teacher or parent. Communication of both good and bad news can happen instantaneously in a medium that many people are familiar with. A text doesn’t take two days to go through the mail to be possibly swiped from the mailbox by a mail-notice-savvy student.

Teachers can preserve students’ work in digital files or portfolios. These can be instantly shared with parents. Grades on a report card are only subjective promises of potential, while the portfolio shows the actual work, which is proof of achievement and hopefully an example of mastery.

Parent Education Starts With Us

Today, educators are doing many things that are not in the education experiences of parents or teachers. We can’t expect parents to understand these new dynamics of education if they aren’t taught about them. Age may produce wisdom, but relevance needs to be worked on every day. In addition to the load that teachers already carry, parent education needs to somehow become a priority. If we want our kids’ education to last, they will need models that both teachers and parents can provide. And we have to work harder at keeping parents in the loop.

How do you keep parents informed about and involved in what happens in the classroom?

Original article: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/educating-parents-about-education-tom-whitby

5 Resources for Parent-Teacher Conferences

A man and woman are sitting across from each other in armchairs, smiling.

For many educators, conferences are coming up soon, and it can be a stressful time. To help parents and educators prepare for parent-teacher conferences, we’ve rounded up a variety of web resources.

From ideas for highlighting student progress, to questions every parent should ask, these are some of our favorite articles and resources that cover parent-teacher conferencing. Enjoy the rest of the school year!

Entire article: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/parent-teacher-conference-resources-matt-davis

Research Is In: The Real Impact of Class Size and School Diversity Answers to common questions parents have about kindergarten.

By Youki Terada
Does Class Size Matter?

When evaluating schools, the first thing parents often look at is the class size, or number of students being taught in a particular classroom. Yet while smaller classes can be beneficial for students, research suggests that it’s not guaranteed.

A 2014 analysis by the National Education Policy Center found that smaller classes generally lead to higher test scores for students—especially in earlier grades and for students from disadvantaged backgrounds—but only if teachers are properly trained and adjust their instruction accordingly.

For example, in smaller classes teachers can tailor instruction to meet students’ specific needs, or spend less time on classroom management and more time on activities that engage students and improve learning opportunities. If teachers make these kinds of adjustments, smaller classes can yield positive results.

Despite these benefits, smaller class sizes may not be cost-effective compared with other improvements. Studies show that highly trained, well-supported teachers in large classes can be just as effective as less-experienced teachers in smaller classes. In a 2015 report titled What Doesn’t Work in Education: The Politics of Distraction, Professor John Hattie concludes that decreasing class size yields only a small net improvement in learning because teachers rarely alter their teaching style when moving from a larger to smaller class.

The takeaway: While smaller classes may be beneficial for students, don’t assume that they guarantee positive results. You should look for high-quality, experienced teachers first and foremost—even if they are teaching in large classes.

Entire article: https://www.edutopia.org/article/choosing-kindergarten-what-does-research-say-youki-terada

 

IEP: Students Benefit When We Collaborate Tips for both parents and teachers to improve collaboration around creating individualized education programs.

By Katherine Koch
How Can Teachers Improve Collaboration?

First and foremost, remember to be kind, listen to (not just hear) what parents have to say, and don’t judge them or their decisions. Parents are sharing with us the most precious thing they have, and we often, in our haste to stay on time with the meeting schedule, may forget that and focus on the difficulties the child is having and how we intend to identify and fix them—a deficit model. Instead, remember to acknowledge the child’s strengths and positive qualities, focusing on what they do well and how you plan to build on those strengths while still addressing areas in which they need additional support.

Original article:https://www.edutopia.org/blog/improving-collaboration-iep-table-katherine-koch

The iceberg of life: Helping children understand others.

It is vital that children be taught how to demonstrate respect for other persons. It is also of importance that children learn how to identify types of verbal, emotional and physical responses displayed. This podcast touches on the importance of these as well as tips on how to teach a young child or adolescent.

Parenting the modern child

Do you want to communicate with your children, have them listen to you or follow instructions easier? Millions of parents and teachers around the world are saying yes to this question. If you say yes too, then this podcast is for you.
We live in a world that is very much modern. There are so much we have available to us that can assist in making us effective. Parenting, in order to be effective today, must also be done using modern or up-to-date strategies. Listen to this podcast and learn some of them.
Remember to subscribe, like, and share this content if you think it was meaningful.

Reflective Practice for Persons Interacting with Children

Reflective Practice for Persons Interacting with Children: regardless of where you live in the world, reflection can benefit you. With today’s challenges of interacting with children—getting them to listen to what you have to say and following direction—it is vital that we have the necessary skills to reach them. This podcast episode looks at how reflective practice can assist you as a parent or teacher in communicating effectively; listening and giving effective feedback.