Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled at Belle River Elementary next week. This is an opportunity for the essential stakeholders to meet for a frank discussion about the successes and challenges facing each learner at our school. With the implementation of online progress reporting and digital communication of classroom and school news, this face-to-face meeting is especially important for members of a child’s learning team to address specific issues and develop a relationship that cannot be cultivated through electronic means. Rather than just informing parents through a one-way stream of information, a conference is a two-way conversation that fosters a partnership between home and school. Parent-teacher conferences serve the following purposes:
Parents need to see firsthand what is happening at school.
Often there are misconceptions based on public perception or lack of knowledge of current practices in education. A parent-teacher conference allows the teacher to share work samples and information that reflect day-to-day student work. It is a good time to share instructional practices, curriculum information, assessments, and data that are used to inform instructional strategies and interventions. Conferences provide parents an opportunity to see into their child’s world at school.
Parents want ideas to help support teaching and learning.
Teachers have spent years developing skills and techniques to help children learn, and parents really want to tap into that expertise and take away some ideas to help their children think and learn. Teaching parents the terms related to instructional programs, sharing book titles and educational apps, modeling questions to foster high-level thinking, and providing strategies to help children study are some ways teachers can teach parents learn how to help their children improve as students.
Parents need to understand and provide insight into the uniqueness of their student.
In order to better personalize the learning experience for our students, parents are key in developing the learning plan. Both teachers and parents can share the students’ strengths, interests, and opportunities for growth from their perspectives. They can also offer suggestions. Teachers can direct parents toward resources, and parents can inform teachers about students’ personalities and preferences that might inform learning activities. Through combining the school and home points-of-view, instruction can be individualized to better meet the student’s needs.
As much as digital communication has taken over schools, communicating in person will always be the most effective. The teachers at Belle River are ready to answer questions, share observations, provide suggestions, and learn from parents in order to ensure the success of each of their students. We hope to see all of our parents next week at conferences!
Following are some questions for parents to ask at parent-teacher conferences:
- Is my child performing at grade level?
- What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses in each subject?
- How much time should my child spend on homework?
- Are my child’s assignments completed accurately?
- Does the school have special programs to meet my child’s needs?
- What are my child’s special learning needs?
- Does my child have close friends?
- How well does my child get along with the other students?
- What can we do at home to support classroom learning?
- What is the best way to keep in touch with you?
We look forward to seeing all of our parents at conferences next week!