One of the essentials in improving children’s learning experience at school is the ability of a parent to communicate with the teachers. According to studies, increased communication between parents and teachers can greatly improve various factors, such as: motivation for learning, attendance, and even behavior.
Largely, it falls on the educational institution to find ways to increase parent-teacher engagement. More specifically, schools have to focus on making it easier for parents to keep communicating with the teachers. This requires a strategy that revolves around three key objectives:
- Removing factors that discourage parent engagement.
2. Encouraging parents to take initiative.
3. Providing information to the parents on a regular and consistent basis.
There are plenty of ways to keep and improve parent-school communication, some of which are personal, while others use the latest technology. The following are just a few examples of what an educational institution can do to ensure that all three key objectives are met.
Make Parent Participation Easier
There are many cases wherein parents who are unable to participate in certain school matters end up feeling too embarrassed to show up in parent-teacher meetings.
For example, being unable to donate, volunteer, or purchase yearbooks can make some parents feel like they don’t have much of a say in how teachers (or the school in general) should work. By setting up easy-to-access payment portals and an online store, it’s easier for parents to feel like they are doing their part in helping the school improve the children’s learning experience.
Encourage Parent Participation Through Incentives
Simply asking for regular attendance during parent-teacher meetings can make attendance look like a chore, which can make certain parents feel even less engaged. Instead of trying to force parents into participating, the school can have programs that make participation a rewarding experience. A good example would be implementing a program that recognizes parents who made the greatest contribution during a given month.
Bringing Part of the Learning Experience to the Family
The easiest way for parents to be aware of their children’s education is to know more about what happens in the classroom. By using an advanced content management system like Edlio to improve a school’s website, it’s possible to bring part of the learning experience to the students’ homes. Parents can be regularly updated about homework or activities. Teachers can also include their own input on classroom activities, possibly leaving notes or suggestions to the parents that can help the students perform better during these activities.
Actively Ask for Feedback
Sometimes, parent-teacher engagement is just a matter of giving the parents the opportunity to reach out to the school. There’s no need to limit parent participation to scheduled personal meetings. The school can easily solicit feedback from parents using different channels of communication. An online survey via social media or the school’s official website is perfect for asking for quick feedback.
Provide Feedback to Parents
Providing meaningful feedback to the parents is just as important as asking for feedback from them. By providing feedback, the school lets the parents know that the effort they put into working with the teachers is appreciated. The best way to show this is by sending a personalized thank-you message via email. Providing feedback can also help nudge less enthusiastic parents in the right direction, especially if the school highlights how important parent-teacher engagement is to the student’s experience.
Put More Effort in Accommodating Parents
Another big reason why certain parents are not as engaged as they should be is the fact that they are usually unable to participate even if they want to. It can be because of a hectic schedule, lack of transportation, or even a health issue that’s keeping them from meeting their children’s teachers. If the school wants better parent-teacher engagement from those people, some changes have to be made. Consider setting meetings in more accessible venues, providing transport, and even holding online meetings using popular messaging apps to accommodate as many parents as possible.
Reduce Class Sizes
The size of a class can have a huge effect on teacher-parent engagement. A teacher in a large class will have trouble just finding enough time to talk to every student’s parents on meeting day. On the other hand, since there are fewer students to manage, a teacher in a smaller class can spend more time talking to the parents. More talk time with the parents means more opportunities to talk about their children and how they can help the children given their specific circumstances.
Provide Out-of-School Support
Parent-teacher engagement doesn’t have to stop at school. By holding special training sessions for parents on how to help their children learn at home, schools can show parents that they genuinely care about the future of their students. This makes parents more likely to cooperate in future parent-teacher efforts. Schools can also provide weekly reports via email to help parents closely monitor how well their children are doing in class. This is a good alternative to waiting for each semester to end for the final grades to show up on report cards.
Enhancing a school’s learning environment is a joint effort between the school itself and the students’ parents. Teacher-parent engagement is vital to making sure that both sides are on the same page and that the students are in an ideal learning environment where they can hone their talents and reach their full potential.