Teacher-parent interactions continue to shift in contemporary educational settings due to the importance that continues to be placed on parental involvement in achieving optimal child outcomes (Wu 307). Educators the world over continue to underscore the fact that “positive relationships between parents and teachers predict children’s enhanced social-emotional functioning and academic adjustment across time” (Kim et al. 3).
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Despite this fundamental importance, the reality on the ground is that these interactions are often feared by parents and educators alike due to a variety of issues that need to be understood in order to increase parent-teacher interactions in school (Stevens and Tollafield 521).
Why Parent-Teacher Interactions Fail
- Lack of effective communication
- Lack of Trust
- Failure by a parent to attend school programs for their children (Stevens and Tollafield 521)
- Lack of effective conflict management approaches (Davis 21).
- Lack of shared vision and decision-making processes between parents and teachers (Merkley et al. 15)
- Lack of knowledge on how to engage parents in their children learning (Davis 22)
Activities to Increase Parent-Teacher Interactions
There should be regular parent/teacher conferences aimed at discussing the conduct and academic performance of students. Good invitation techniques, pleasant encounters, pertinent information sharing, effective communication, participation and involvement, and partnership for progress are needed to spur positive parent-teacher interactions during conferences (Stevens and Tollafield 522-524).
Parents should be encouraged to “participate in classroom and school-based activities and events as volunteers, attendees, or members of school leadership or governing councils” (Davis 25). Such participation and involvement enhance parent-teacher interactions
This can be done by inviting parents’ assistance, expressing interest in working with them as partners, and checking for understanding (Kim et al. 5)
Learning at Home Initiatives
Teachers should be at the forefront in helping parents to establish home environments that support continuous learning (Davis 2)
School Open Days
Parents should be invited to schools on a frequent basis to discuss the academic progress of their children with teachers
Use of Technology
Teachers should share email accounts and phone numbers with parents to enhance communication (Merkley et al. 11-12)
Benefits of Effective Parent-Teacher Interactions
- Students are able to develop their “social, emotional, and academic competencies”(Stevens and Tollafield 523)
- “Adult participation sends the message that school is important and the work children do is worthy of adult attention” (Davis iii)
- Effective parent-teacher interactions ensure that students are able to develop much-needed life skills, such as discipline, collaboration, and emotional stability (Wu 308)
- Parents are provided with the opportunity to share in the academic development of the children
- The decisions made in school are inclusive, implying that opportunities for conflict are substantially reduced (Graham-Clay 119)
- Effective interactions lead to healthy teacher-parent relationships in school, home, and community settings
Strategies to Increase Parent-Teacher Interactions
- Developing an open, trusting, and inviting environment for parents and teachers to establish healthy and mutually beneficial relationships (Davis 56)
- Putting in place effective conflict management strategies to iron out any differences (Graham-Clay 118)
- Developing opportunities to build personal relationships with parents and become co-learners in the education process (Graham-Clay 118)
- Ensuring that teachers “continue to develop and expand their skills in order to maximize effective communication with parents” (Graham-Clay 117)
Davis, Deborah. Supporting Parent, Family, and Community Involvement in your School, Portland, Oregon: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 2000. Print.
Graham-Clay, Susan. “Communicating with Parents: Strategies for Teachers.” School Community Journal. 36.2 (2009): 117-130. Academic Search Premier. Web.
Kim, Elizabeth Moorman, Kathleen M. Minke, Susan M. Sheridan, Natalie Koziol, Ji Hoon Ryoo and Kristin M. Rispoli. Congruence within the Parent-Teacher Relationship: Associations with Children’s Functioning. CYFS Working Paper No. 2012.2, 2012. Web.
Merkley, Donna, Denise Schmidt, Carrie Dirksen and Carol Fuhler. “Enhancing Parent-Teacher Communication using Technology: A Reading Improvement Clinic Example.” Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education. 6.1 (2006): 11-42. ERIC. Web.
Stevens, Brenda and Andrew Tollafield. “Creative Comfortable and Productive Parent/Teacher Conferences. Phi Delta Kappan. 84.7 (2003): 521-524. MasterFILE Premier. Web.
Wu, Pi-Ju. “Teacher-Parent Interactions in Taiwan: A Qualitative Investigation of Teacher’s Perspectives.” Universal Journal of Education. 3.5 (2015): 307-316. ERIC. Web.