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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Parent-Teacher Communication Challenges

A child’s teacher has a significant impact of that child’s life….at every grade.  It is so important for both teacher and parent to work at meaningful communication.  I believe that both teachers and parents have good intentions.  Here is an example of a conversation that we can learn from:

Parent-Teacher Communication from Understood

What Having the “Wrong” Teacher Taught Me About My Son With ADHD

My Parent Journey blog post by ToughTopics
Aug 11, 2016

“I also learned how important it was to communicate with the teacher early and often. I tried to arrange a meeting for the first week of school so I could explain my son’s challenges and strengths. Once, a teacher who didn’t seem like a good fit turned out to be great for my son once we really started talking…”

Get tips on how to improve your relationship with your child’s teacher. Use these sentence starters to help kick off the conversation. And read expert advice on changing teachers during the school year.

Focus on Dialogue About Teaching/Learning: Who is Engaged?

I began this current sequence of blogs by introducing a posting about “Openness to Learning” in which an expert on communication and learning provided insights into how administrators and teachers can optimize student success by engaging in meaningful dialogue.  But it isn’t only teachers and administrators who are engaged in this topic.  Here are some other “potential” discourse partners who can/will influence student success.

Teacher/Parent Conversations

Teacher/Student Conversations

Parent/Student Conversations

Student/Student Conversations

Special Educator/Teacher/Parent/Student Conversations

Teacher/Support Staff Conversations

In an attempt to curate/find relevant files/links for this current series I went back to my ScoopIt site for posts I had curated for my Dialogue and Learning Board: http://www.scoop.it/t/dialogue-and-learning which has over 500 posting starting in 2012.  Here is just a brief listing of the types of posts I curated:

Parent-Teacher Dialogue

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

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/parent-teacher-conferences-collaborative-conversations-john-mccarthy?spMailingID=12608933&spUserID=MjcyNTI3Njg3NDIS1&spJobID=640473825&spReportId=NjQwNDczODI1S0

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/what-parents-want-teachers-to-know-joe-mazza?spMailingID=9633557&spUserID=MjcyNTI3Njg3NDIS1&spJobID=400677021&spReportId=NDAwNjc3MDIxS0

http://www.scilearn.com/blog/10-questions-to-ask-your-childs-teacher-cognitive-skills

Teacher-Student Dialogue

Students Voice…what are student’s thinking

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocM9Sqz2gzg

Teaching Students to Give and Receive Feedback

http://inservice.ascd.org/teaching-students-to-give-and-receive-meaningful-feedback/

Parent-Student Dialogue

Good Talk: Raising Smart Learners Through Rich Conversations

http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/09/30/good-talk-raising-smart-learners-through-rich-conversations/

Student-Student Dialogue

https://www.middleweb.com/28404/scaffolding-student-skills-for-productive-classroom-discussions/

https://cultofpedagogy.com/speaking-listening-techniques/

What’s Next?

Are there general guidelines for conversation?  Do they apply to all partnerships?  To all situations? Grice’s Maxims offer a starting place ( https://www.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/dravling/grice.html ) but are they enough?

 

 

 

Parent Conversation and Learning in Middle School

How is parent  conversation related to learning?  Here’s a short excerpt from:

Good Talk: Raising Smart Learners Through Rich Conversations

By Annie Murphy Paul September 30, 2013

“……While the conversations parents have with their children change as kids grow older, the effect of these exchanges on academic achievement remains strong. And again, the way mothers and fathers talk to their middle-school students makes a difference. Research by Nancy Hill, a professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, finds that parents play an important role in what Hill calls “academic socialization”—setting expectations and making connections between current behavior and future goals (going to college, getting a good job).

Engaging in these sorts of conversations, Hill reports, has a greater impact on educational accomplishment than volunteering at a child’s school or going to PTA meetings, or even taking children to libraries and museums. When it comes to fostering students’ success, it seems, it’s not so much what parents do as what they say….”

http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/09/30/good-talk-raising-smart-learners-through-rich-conversations/

Expanding Learning Through Conversation: Three Big Ideas from Sharon

https://kindergartenlife.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/creating-relationships-38-days-vermontkkids123/  A few short excerpts:

Conversation and Reflecting on Learning

“I have shared before young children are naturally curious so why not find ways for them to have conversations and reflect on what they are learning and curious about with others and experience “how to” have a conversation and reflect alongside others….”

Inviting Parents on the Learning Journey

“Our class blog provides snapshots of the big ideas we are exploring.  Through our class blog parents have an opportunity to engage in face to face conversations with their child about what they are exploring.  This is important because I want parents to be a part of our learning journey….”

Learning is for Everyone

“Learning is for everyone.  The magic and heart of my work as a teacher is to offer hope and to develop relationships that will support my efforts to learn alongside my students, their families and others globally. I believe that being transparent and having an open mind when approaching learning explorations gives me opportunities to model the value and importance of perspective and how it is important when collaborating and learning…”

Communication: The Heart of Learning

Children’s voices; Parent Voices; Teacher Voices.

SeeSaw: A digit tool discussed by 3 wonderful kindergarten teachers.

 

The Power of Picture Books

Picture Books: Poetry in Motion

Here’s a brief excerpt from Reading Rockets:

July 6, 2015

“I’ve been thinking a lot about picture books and why some work and are memorable while others just land with a thud when read. I continue to ask myself what is it about those picture books that resonate with readers and particularly those that can be shared many times between adults and children, delighting both….”

http://www.readingrockets.org/blog/picture-books-poetry-motion?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ReadingRockets_StrugglingRea ders+%28Reading+Rockets%3A+Struggling+Reader+Resources%29

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