How to Collaborate With Parents to Improve Student Learning
Parent-teacher-student collaboration is crucial for student success not only in the classroom but also in life. Finding ways to get parents more involved in the student learning process and their own student’s success is a daunting task. It is a challenge to keep parents involved and in-the-know with what is happening at school both academically and socially with their children. Parents, though, are the biggest supporters and the biggest influences in their children’s lives, so partnering with parents is imperative.
As most teachers probably already know, constant communication will help keep parents on track with what is taking place in the classroom each and every day. While we strive to communicate with parents, most of that conversation needs to stay positive, especially at the beginning of the school year. If teachers can send home positive emails or notes about how well a student did in class, the positive relationship begins. If the only contact a parent receives is negative, then the parent starts to dread teacher emails and notes and so do the students. Positive communication begins to build that good relationship so that if a teacher has to report something negative, it is not as detrimental to the parent-teacher-student relationship.
Teachers can give parents ideas for activities that would benefit what the students are learning in the classroom. For example, in a science class, the teacher might recommend a trip to the zoo or a nature walk. The teacher can even provide some talking points or things to look for on the walk. For a math class, the teacher might provide a recipe that families can complete and create together to practice measuring or maybe encourage parents to share how to budget or pay bills with their child. For history, parents and students could interview someone from a specific time period. Creating activities is a great way to strengthen family bonds while improving student learning.
Use Your LMS
Surprisingly, your LMS can help teachers collaborate with parents. If you are using an LMS at your school, consider the following ways to increase collaboration and communication with parents.
Knowledge: Many times parents don’t know the information being taught in the classroom well enough to help their child, especially as students enter middle school and high school. Using your LMS, teachers can provide background information about what is being learned in class so parents can help their child with homework. Whether they are worksheets, handouts, videos, or presentations, giving parents this type of information helps them feel confident when they try to help their child with an assignment. Teachers an even provide examples of exemplary projects for parents to use as a template. Using this will also encourage parents to ask teachers questions as they arise about the class content.
Reports: Use your LMS to share progress reports with parents. You can communicate when students have missing assignments. Teachers can share missing work when students are absent. Teachers can even share work when students do well to celebrate student accomplishments. Sharing this type of information with parents gives them important information but also helps them stay connected to the classroom.
Planners: Another great option for your LMS is using it to share a weekly calendar with parents and students. You can use your LMS to send emails or just keep an updated calendar with upcoming assignments, tests, and projects. This is a great collaboration tool because parents can then help keep their children accountable for the work as well as make sure they are studying for tests and quizzes. Parents can also make sure projects and larger assignments get turned in on time because they will know when the due date is.
Surveys: Giving parents surveys can provide crucial information for teachers. Teachers can ask all kinds of questions and get accurate that they might not get from a student. Do families have internet at home? When would parents like parent-teacher conferences to be? What type of format of conferences, traditional or student-led? Who can help with classroom parties? All of these questions and more would help teachers and parents collaborate with one another.
Community: While teachers and parents collaborating and communicating is important, parents need to collaborate with one another. Using a discussion board meant for parents, they can discuss upcoming parties or school events at the school. Christmas party planning would be made easier. This would be a great place for parents to share ideas for supporting learning at home. Maybe one parent cannot take a student to complete an activity but another parent can. They can make these types of arrangements using the LMS.
Collaboration between parents, teachers, and students is key for creating a successful classroom. Most importantly, if teachers can keep parents knowledgeable about what is happening in the classroom with their own child, the chances of learning success increases tremendously. Collaboration among parents and teachers shows students how important the learning they are doing every day in class actually is. Do you have ideas or special ways to help parent-teacher collaboration?
Do you have proven ways to get more parent involvement for improved student success? Share with us and join the conversation on Twitter @Schoology