Important Enough to Back Track: Adult Communication that Impacts Student Success in Schoo

This Series began on January 9, 2017 with the following:

January 9, 2017   Adult Communication that Impacts Student Success in School

Up to this time, this blog has focused on language development and use by children.  The idea was to focus on the ways in which children do and can develop the language skills that help them to be successful learners.  There is a wealth of information “out there” as well an on this blog about ways to do this.

It is time for a new focus: the communication of adults that impacts children’s success in school and beyond.  Teachers and parents talk about children and their success or lack of success in school, administrators and teachers talk about children, special educators and teachers talk about children.  Support staff members and “outside” experts “communicate” about children and their success or lack of success in school.  What do we know about how these “stakeholders” (is that the correct term?) talk to each/one another about children’s success in school?  How much of their conversations address the reasons for children’s success or lack of success and what each adult does/can do to ensure that success.

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Time to look at these communication (dialogue?) topics and issues in more detail.  So, starting with the first posting in that sequence:

http://www.latimes.com/local/education/community/la-me-edu-how-to-actually-get-something-out-of-parent-teacher-conferences-20151023-story.html

The above mentioned article opens in the following way:

It’s that time of year. Kids have been in school for a while, and now you get about 15 minutes with their teacher to talk about … what, exactly?

Parent-teacher conferences can be confusing. They’re rushed, with parents lingering to ask questions and more hovering at the door.

But education researchers say parental involvement and communication with teachers is an important element of student success. We talked to experts to find out why parent-teacher conferences are important and how parents can make the most of their time. These experts are listed at the end of the story.” 

THE ARTICLE GOES ON TO LIST QS AND PREPARATION:

Parent Questions:

Should I go only if my child is having problems?

NO, but you should definitely go if your child is not making the kind of progress you expect or hope for. (My comment)

How do I prepare?  They respond:

“Talk to your child. These conferences are short — they tend to be 10 to 20 minutes long at most, so it’s good to go in knowing what you want to glean from them. There are a few questions parents can ask their children to prepare beyond “How’s class?” and “How’s your teacher?”. 

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Equally important are the teacher’s preparation and role before, during, and after the conference.

Below are some things  you (administrators, teachers, and parents) can talk about, and groups like the Harvard Family Research Project and a school district in Washington have even published preparation tip sheets:….” 

This is an 8 page document published by Harvard with advice for principals, teachers, and parents.  Pay particular attention to page 5 and on  for teachers and then the following page for Parent

Here are some of the tips that come from the Harvard group for Teachers:

Before the conference:  (Note these are all direct quotes for sections of each item.)

Review student work. Be prepared to go over student data, assignments, and assessments during the conferences. Think of what more you would like to learn about your students from their parents.

􀂾 Prepare thoughts and materials. Create an agenda or list of key issues you want to discuss about each student’s progress and growth. Also consider creating a portfolio of student work to walk through with families during the conferences.

 During the Conference

Discuss progress and growth.

􀂾 Use examples

􀂾 Ask questions and listen actively

􀂾 Share ideas for supporting learning

􀂾 Seek solutions collaboratively. How “we” can work together to resolve any problems.

􀂾 Make an action will check in with one another about progress.

 After the conference

􀂾 Establish lines of communication.

􀂾 Follow up with families. If practical, contact parents (either by phone or in a note) who attended the conference and thank them for doing so. Ask if they have further questions or concerns and send home materials that can help them support learning at home. Contact parents who did not attend, as well, and offer alternative ways to communicate about their child.

􀂾 Communicate regularly.

􀂾 Connect in-class activities.

AND THEN THE ARTICLE OFFERS HARVARD’S ADVICE FOR PARENTS:

Advice for the Parent’s Role

What should you expect?

􀂾 A two-way conversation.

􀂾 Emphasis on learning

􀂾 Opportunities and challenges.

.What should you talk to the teacher about?

􀂾 Progress. Find out how your child is doing by asking questions like: Is my child performing at grade level?

􀂾 Assignments and assessments. Ask to see examples of your child’s work.

􀂾 Your thoughts about your child. Be sure to share your thoughts and feelings about your child.

􀂾 Support learning at home. Ask what you can do at home to help your child learn.

􀂾 Support learning at school. Find out what services are available at the school to help your child

 How should you follow up?

􀂾 Make a plan.

􀂾 Schedule another time to talk.

􀂾 Talk to your child. …Share with your child what you learned…

 For more resources on family involvement, visit www.hfrp.org

 

Lastly, the article offers this guiding acronym:

 “BE HEARD ”Keep these principles in mind fora great parent–teacher conference:

Best intentions assumed

Emphasis on learning

Home–school collaboration

Examples and evidence

Active listening

Respect for all

Dedication to follow-up

The article continues on to offer a “different guide” on Parent-Teacher Conferences

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oracy: Part 2

Courtesy of the Reading Sage, who is a wonderful resource for a wide range of links related to language and literacy.

Oracy: The Literacy of the Spoken Word | Edutopia
Teaching oracy is instrumental to better reading and, in particular, writing. In developmental terms, humans acquire oral language first — a …

Developing oracy skills | Class Teaching
Some simple strategies that can be tried out to develop oracy skills: … number of oracybased teaching ideas – developing dialogue toolkit.

Why teach oracy? | University of Cambridge
Through our own research and that of others, we know there are some very effective ways of teaching oracy skills, which are already used by …

Oracy Assessment Toolkit : Faculty of Education
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the need to help young people develop their abilities to use spoken language effectively. Employers …

Oracy: Let’s Not Ignore Oral Language Development/Instruction in the Classroom

From the Reading Sage

http://reading-sage.blogspot.com/2017/02/developing-oracy-with-daily-dialogue.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ReadingSageReviews+%28Reading+Sage+Reviews%29

Just a few of many links on oracy from the Reading Sage posting

Oracy in the Classroom: Strategies for Effective Talk | Edutopia Oracy in the Classroom: Strategies for Effective Talk | Edutopia
Teaching oracy means putting more intention behind how you guide and organize your students’ talk. When they gather for group work or …

Oracy: The Literacy of the Spoken Word | Edutopia
Teaching oracy is instrumental to better reading and, in particular, writing. In developmental terms, humans acquire oral language first — a …

Oracy Assessment Toolkit : Faculty of Education
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the need to help young people develop their abilities to use spoken language effectively. Employers …
Teaching oracy means putting more intention behind how you guide and organize your students’ talk. When they gather for group work or …

Being Open to Learning is Harder Than It Appears

There is a volume of information about carrying on meaningful conversations, especially about change. In the last posting I mentioned Grice’s Maxims which specify 4 qualities of conversation (from:

https://www.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/dravling/grice.html )

  1. The maxim of quantity, where one tries to be as informative as one possibly can, and gives as much information as is needed, and no more.
  2. The maxim of quality, where one tries to be truthful, and does not give information that is false or that is not supported by evidence.
  3. The maxim of relation, where one tries to be relevant, and says things that are pertinent to the discussion.
  4. The maxim of manner, when one tries to be as clear, as brief, and as orderly as one can in what one says, and where one avoids obscurity and ambiguity

This appears to be fairly straightforward but, in my experience, not a simple task.

Looking at the work of Robinson, I think we get a more realistic orientation to the challenges of conversations that are open to learning, conversations in making changes.

Here is a quote from the author (Viviane M. J. Robinson) University of Auckland cautioning us that “Open to learning” conversations are not easy, even when an administrator is talking with a teacher:

The Key Components of an Open-to-learning Conversation. There are no rules or step-by-step guides to open-to-learning conversations. This is because the shifts from less open to more open-to-learning conversations are as much about changes in values and ways of thinking as they are about changes in communication skills. Hard and fast rules also do not work because good conversations are responsive to context and to the other person. Despite this, it is possible to identify some of the recurring components of open-to-learning conversations. Table 3 identifies some of these components and shows how a leader might use them in conversations about the quality of teaching.”….

Nevertheless, she lists 7 components (starting points?):

  1. Describe your concern as your point of view. I need to tell you about a possible concern I have about.. I think we may have different views… I realise this may not be how you see it….
  2. Describe what your concern is based on. The reason why I was concerned is..
  3. Invite the other’s point of view. Pause and look at the other person or say.. What do you think?
  4. Paraphrase their point of view and check. I got three important messages from that…Am I on the right track?
  5. Detect and check important assumptions… What leads you to believe that the children…
  6. Establish common ground. The common ground might be based…
  7. Make a plan to get what you both want. How would you like to learn more about….

There are several YouTube videos that provide examples.  For example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV5KmINdTWY

 

 

Deep Listening. Especially Important for Learning

Deep Listening

Posted to Dialogue on Oct 20 16

Bookmark

http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/deep-listening-activities-academic-discussions

Amy Heusterberg-Richards , ELA Teacher – High School

Posted 10/01/2016 9:01PM | Last Commented 10/07/2016 8:41PM

Deep Listening Activities for Academic Discussions

A short excerpt:

“Deep listening is a technique beautifully rooted in American traditions like the Quaker faith and various Native tribes. At its core, deep listening entails listening over hearing and connecting over responding. In relationships, deep listening means acknowledging others’ emotions so they feel heard. In careers, deep listening means developing productive, honest communication by listening to understand, not merely to reply. In my classroom, deep listening can mean students better know each other’s ideas and therefore better know our studies.  It can mean a more inclusive atmosphere where all voices feel respected and where moments of silence are welcome….”

 

Civil Discourse. Is it/should it be taught in school?

What kinds of conversation/discourse/discussion skills are taught in school?  Do we need those skills?  Your thoughts?

Goodbye to the Loudest Drunk in NPR’s Online Bar