Spotlight on Strategies
Building Strong Teacher/Parent Relationships
The teacher-parent relationship can be compared to that of two legs of a three-legged stool. The third leg is the student with the student’s education being lifted up and supported. Remove one of the legs and the student’s education topples and crashes to the ground. “A positive parent-teacher relationship helps your child feel good about school and be successful in school,” advises Diane Levin, Ph.D., professor of education at Wheelock College. “It demonstrates to your child that he can trust his teacher, because you do. This positive relationship makes a child feel like the important people in his life are working together.” (“The Parent-Teacher Partnership,” n.d.) “…formalized and frequent teacher family communication can have an immediate effect on important mediators of student academic achievement” (Kraft and Dougherty, 2012) Therefore, it is important that teachers and parents communicate on a regular basis and parents are seen as active and involved members of a child’s education. With today’s technology that communication and involvement has never been easier.
- Setup a class group in Remind (https://remind.com) and invite parents and students alike to join. Send regular reminders about homework due dates, special classroom and school events, upcoming test dates and more.
- Create a class blog in Kidblog (http://kidblog.org/home/), the blog in SeeSaw (http://web.seesaw.me/) or similar blogging site as a means for students to post educationally related projects, thoughts and learning and invite parents to join in and participate in the collaboration and discussions. Assigned students can also post weekly blogs about the goings on in the classroom so parents can see the activities and learning their children are experiencing at school.
- Create a class Twitter (https://twitter.com/) account specifically designed for homework help. Set specific times in which you and/or participating parent volunteers are available to tweet assistance to students.
- Use the website iPadio (http://ipadio.com/) to create audio casts for parents and students alike. Use as a class welcome, share class expectations, allow students to post weekly audio casts about classroom activities, share specific directions for homework or class projects and more.
- Explain classroom expectations or give specific directions for homework using VoiceThread (http://voicethread.com/). This will allow parents to ask questions and give comments that can be shared and answered with all classroom stakeholders.
- Set specific office hours that are clearly posted on a class webpage notifying parents of times before, during or after school in which you are available to be contacted or for you to contact parents by phone calls or text. Set a schedule in which you intentionally communicate with all parents a minimum of twice during each grading period.
- Collect parent email addresses and phone number via a Google Form (https://docs.google.com/forms/) that can be accessed in the accompanying spreadsheet and set a schedule in which you intentionally communicate with all parents a minimum of twice during each grading period. Surprise parents by making your communication with them on good things as well as the typical discipline issues.
- Create a class webpage on a district hosted site or through a web-based website creator such as Google Sites (https://sites.google.com/), Word Press (https://wordpress.com/) or Weebly (http://www.weebly.com/). Keep parents informed of classroom activities by regular sharing video, images, text, spotlight events and audio casts on the webpage.
- Create online signups for events in the classroom in which parents can volunteer and participate using the website SignUp Genius (http://www.signupgenius.com/index.cfm).
- Send parent surveys created through websites such as SurveyMonkey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/) or via a Google Form (https://docs.google.com/forms/) home several times per year – beginning, middle, end – asking how parents wish to communicate about school and their child and about the effectiveness and overall feelings about the climate of the teacher-parent communication process.
Bishop, C. (2011). Parent, teacher, student connect [Online image]. Retrieved July 27, 2014 from http://caitlynbishop.wordpress.com/2011/09/
FlamboyanFoundation. (2013). A parent reflects on building relationships with teachers. Retrieved July 72, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbyhao0FtaQ
Kovich, B. (n.d.). Three-legged stool [Online image]. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from http://teachingseriously.blogspot.com/
Kraft, M., & Dougherty, S. (October, 2012). The effect of teacher-family communication on student engagement: Evidence from a randomized field experiment. Retrieved July 27, 2014 from http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/mkraft/files/kraft__dougherty_teacher_communication_jree.pdf
Parent-Teacher Partnership. (n.d.). Retrieved July 26, 2014 from http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/going-to-school/parent-involvement/parent-teacher-partnership/