Opening up the lines of communication

In 2015, Pope Francis challenged Catholic parents to reclaim their roles as educators of their children. He said, “In our days the educational partnership is in crisis. It’s broken. On one part there are tensions and distrust between parents and educators; on the other part, there are more and more ‘experts’ who pretend to occupy the role of parents, who are relegated to second place.”

Have you thought about how you can build a positive and long-lasting partnership with your child’s teacher?

Research tells us that it’s critical for teachers and parents to consider each other as partners in education.

The type of engagement parents have in their children’s learning will have a significant impact on academic outcomes. For parents and teachers to truly be partners in education, effective communication is key.

For parents, there are many communication avenues to explore and, in an ideal world, all will be utilised in some form.

These include:

• sharing your expectations for your child with their teachers
• reading school newsletters and keeping informed
• accessing parent portals that provide updates and track progress
• attending information sessions conducted at school. These can cover a range of topics e.g. reading with your child at home
• communicating with the teacher via a homework diary or folder
• getting to know the school so you can speak about it with your child
• following any social media channels the school uses or joining any groups that other class parents set-up on social media to communicate with each other.

Another avenue of communication is parent-teacher interviews. Both parents and teachers benefit from parent-teacher interviews. For teachers, it’s an opportunity to gain some valuable insight into their students and to understand a little bit more about what makes them unique such as key role models in their lives, what they like to do in their spare time, and family dynamics (for example, siblings at home who may drive them crazy!).

For parents, it’s a chance to build a relationship with your child’s teacher and learn more about how your child is coping at school.

Parent-teacher interviews present an opportunity to have an open and honest discussion about academic progress, any behavioural issues that may have been identified and any social challenges encountered along the way.

The end goal will be ensuring that the teacher and parents are on the same page and are working together to best support the child going forward, both at home and at school.

For tips on how to get the most from your next parent-teacher interview, check out the ‘Featured Resources’ on partners4learning.edu.au