|As educators, it’s not difficult to understand the importance of parents playing an active role in their child’s education. Decades of research reveals time and time again that those students whose parents know what their children are doing in school, help with their child’s homework and volunteer in the classroom are more likely to succeed. Evidence of this is marked by higher grades, test scores and graduation rates, along with decreased use of drugs and alcohol. Yet, parent involvement continues to be an obstacle for many teachers. According to research compiled by the Michigan Department of Education, there are three major factors that determine the level of parental involvement in the classroom and throughout the overall education of their children:|
These three factors can be managed with effective and creative communication. For starters, we’ve pulled together some great ideas to take your communications with parents to the next level: Recruit involvement Many parents might not realize the need for or the benefits of being involved in their child’s schooling. So, ask them. Go beyond the introductory letter and the yearly parent-teacher open house to really drive home the expectation of parent involvement at home and in the classroom:
Establish a regular schedule of communications In the digital age, educators have more tools than ever before to stay connected outside of the classroom with students and parents alike. It’s important to remember, however, that not everyone effectively communicates through all channels. Take efforts to ask parents how they prefer to be communicated with—via e-mail, phone, letters or regular in-person meetings. Then, establish a regular schedule so parents know what to expect on your end, too:
Keep the door open The key to effective communication is found within two-way communication—simply disseminating information to parents just won’t cut it. After all, parents know their children best. Encourage them to come to you with concerns, progress updates, questions or suggestions.
Through encouraging parents to become and stay involved with your work and their child’s education, students will surely find a path to success—one that is supportive and welcoming to all those involved. Prepare communications today to prepare students for tomorrow.
“National Parent Teacher Association.” National PTA. Web. 19 Aug. 2010.
Michigan Department of Education. “What Research Says About Involvement in Children’s Education.” State of Michigan. Web. 19 Aug. 2010.
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