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

 

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.

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.

Parents are part of the child’s life too!

Children can benefit from the collaborated efforts of parents and school teachers. When parents are not part of the decision making process of education in the classroom, they can feel isolated. It is also critical that feedback on the student’s positive performance be shared with parents and not just negative ones.
This episode of the podcast looks at some practical ways to bridge the gap between parents and teachers.

All parents should be informed: Do You Know What’s Going on in Your Student’s Classroom?

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

When an Educational Assistant gets injured, odds are it was witnessed by multiple students. What are students seeing and experiencing in today’s classroom? Beyond the violence, what else is affecting students in the classroom? Here is what EAs want all parents to know:

Unbeknownst to the public, Educational Assistants (EAs) suffer the greatest number of lost time injuries (LTIs) out of the top ten occupations were injuries are sustained. An LTI is a workplace injury that results in a loss of time from the workplace. As you can imagine that means the injury has to be significant enough so as to take the worker out of the workplace. The length of time out of the workplace can be as little as a day up to including those persons who would qualify for long term disability. In other words, these are not simple bruises or scrapes.

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In addition to LTIs, Educations…

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A positive attitude

What about the letter A.  The letter A, stands for the positive attitude you must always strive to possess.  It should be noted that one is not born with a positive attitude, but this is a quality that a person must cultivate.

To achieve in life, the success we pursue, it is crucial that our mental outlook be backed by a positive attitude.

An optimistic attitude, fuels your mental outlook.  As you move toward your life dreams, a hopeful attitude can carry you through, when life throws at you some unexpected situations or you meet with a brick wall appearing in your way.

The question though is, how do you develop a positive attitude?  Some persons are constantly exposed to environments which are emotionally toxic; a place where negative people congregate to listen to each other’s sermon of sorrows.

This environment can manifest itself in your work place or maybe it is in your school.  Sadly, sometimes it may be in your home.  To overcome such negativity, we need to create our own atmosphere of positivity.  How do we do this?

Firstly, we need to seek out and listen to the suggestions of persons who have a view point, that in spite of what life throws at them, they will succeed.  And that, in spite of the many failures that come their way, triumph is just around the corner.  They function as if to indicate, their achievement is just on the horizon, success is but an arm’s length away.  These are the people to draw close too.

Secondly, we also need to be mindful of ourselves, in order to create positive attitudes.  We can bring a negative outlook—a thought—from within our minds, to bear on our current life experiences, which may have little to no relationship.  While that previous thought or experience might be useful, as all our life encounters should be educational ones, that particular experience maybe out of place.  Therefore keep such thinking in check.

Thirdly, it has to do with the language we use with ourselves when seeking to create a positive atmosphere to thrive.  This has to do with negative self talk.  We can say to ourselves that it is not likely that we can accomplish our goals.  We may vocalize to ourselves that our endeavours can be done, but they can only be accomplished by someone else.

Sometimes a person can look at their abilities, whether they went to university or to college, their socio-economic status and use these to make judgments about how much of a contribution they can make in life.  And so a person may say to himself, that he should not take that step or that action towards his dreams, for it is not possible for him to succeed.

Negative self talk; a self defeating trait which can rob us of the things that matters to us, making us avoid the path which leads to success.  And so you must say no to negative language which can ultimately affect your thinking.  This can manifest failure in your life, even before effort is made, or prevent you from trying again if failure visits you temporary.  Your attitude therefore, must be goal oriented, to see life and all that it hurls at you, in terms of challenges, as part of the experience towards a greater good.

We now want to look at the letter L.  The word that the letter L symbolized for me, was a word, that at the time I was not willing to accept as part of the vocabulary of someone seeking success.  I said to myself, how could I say this word to these young minds.

The word is limitation.

As I prepared this presentation for those youths, I started to recognize that the word limitation, based on how it is viewed or understood, can indicate success or failure, triumph or despair, achieving your dream or losing all hope.

This brings me to a story involving a classmate of mine at the university I attended for my undergraduate work.

He was a friend and thinker, and really motivated to achieve. Yet this student had but one challenge, one limitation, and that was to write research papers.  He had the ideas, he knew where to get the information, he knew how to discuss, critique and synthesize the information, but strangely, when it came to putting it down on paper, he just could not do it.

What I found amazing, was that my friend understood his limitations and sought assistance from students who had mastered this technique of writing and editing, to a significant degree.

He had his dream of becoming better at writing some day.  But it was his limitation at that present time.  He understood that he needed to move on to greater things in his life, and was not willing to allow his limitation to prevent him from doing so; he was determined to graduate.

He therefore sought the necessary assistance, moved on and now for a few years has been working with young children and their families as a school guidance officer.

 

Exercise

Think about a recent problem you had in which it was difficult to find a solution. Recall how you felt when it seem you tried everything. Think about your anxiety level, was at high or low? Write down how you felt.  Think about what your attitude was like before attempting to solve the problem and at the point you felt there was nothing else you could have done and write this down.