Research shows that students with parents who are engaged in their learning outperform those with less engaged parents. With constant changes in the world and in educational systems, students need holistic support now more than ever. But how do we involve parents who are unaware of the ways that they can support their students? How do we intentionally nurture the relationship between exhausted parents and their student’s development in and outside of the classroom?
Understand the Common Communication Challenges Parents Face
Ensuring adequate and appropriate communication between home and school is becoming more and more of a challenge. Students likely have multiple teachers and each teachers has a different mode of communication. Teachers may relay information through notes sent home by students, email, phone calls, and video calls. These different communication tools, although useful, can be overwhelming for parents. This can lead to parents being disengaged and unwilling to respond to communications.
When engaging parents about their student’s development, use jargon that is universally relatable. Parents are coming from a variety of industries. They may not be familiar with educational buzzwords and phrases like “balanced reading” or “experiential based learning process.” Although edu-speak is commonly used in-house, it can cause a rift in communication between education and parents. Using this jargon will not resonate well with parents.
Tips to Improve School-Home Communication
#1: Build rapport with parents. Don’t wait until there is an issue with their student to reach out. Introduce yourself and your intentions for their student first. Create an environment where parents understand that you want the best for their student.
#2: Keep parents in the loop on an ongoing basis. Communicating at the beginning of the semester and the end of the semester is not often enough. Give parents updates of their students’ progress and how they can assist in their development regularly. Keep communication short and concise. Share information that parents can act on. Updates are great, but to engage parents, a call-to-action is key.
#3: Share positive news. Oftentimes, educators only contact parents when there is an issue with their student. If this is the case, parents will dread your communication. Let them know about major projects or events at school as well.
#4: Use one tool to communicate. Because parents disenchanted with multiple communication channels, use one tool like Mobile Principal App to communicate. Using one platform that all teachers and administrators can use will create a seamless communication process for parents leading to more support for students.
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