The focus on effective working relationship with parents is important in the field of special education. Much attention should be paid to building the collaborative relationship between teachers and parents oriented to creating good conditions for students with special needs.
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In order to establish effective working relationship with the parent who demonstrates little interest in parent conferences, it is necessary to create comfortable conditions for parents to participate in conferences, overcome barriers in communication, and improve the use of communication channels necessary to share the important information.
The parent can regularly cancel meetings and conferences because of the lack of time and because of the poor organization of the meeting which can last more than one hour.
The fact that the parent brought the infant and a pre-school child to the meeting supports the idea that the parent needs to pay much attention to children, and long meetings can disrupt the parent’s personal schedule (Friend and Cook 12). The first step to overcome this issue should include changes in the conferences’ organization.
The parent should be provided with the topic of the meeting and basic points to discuss in advance with the help of the e-mail message. It is important to inform the parent about the scheduled conference with the help of the phone call and ask to propose any changes in the schedule with the help of the e-mail (Hornby 19-20).
The conference should last no more than one hour, and the educator should focus on discussing the topics in a concise and clear manner. The parent should be involved in the active participation in the dialogue, and she should be motivated to ask and answer questions (Lentz 29).
The parent should also inform educators about brining children to the meetings in order to invite assistants to help in working with children during the conference. If the parent cannot participate in the conference, she should be provided with the questionnaire to answer the main questions with the help of the e-mail.
The problems with the parent’s participation in the meetings can also be the sign of significant barriers in communication between educators and parents. To overcome the barriers, it is necessary to share resources discussed at the conferences in advance in order to provide the parent with the opportunity to understand the purpose of the meeting and its significance.
The conference should not be conducted in a form of a lecture because it is important to share the opinions and find effective decisions as a result of the meeting (Lentz 29-30). That is why, the format of the formal dialogue is more preferable. To build rapport, it is necessary to offer a cup of coffee and make the parent feel rather comfortable during the conversation while avoiding the use of many terms and long discussions.
One more approach to attract the parent to participate in the conferences regularly is to improve the use of communication channels. As it was stated, educators can save the parent’s time while discussing complex problems with the help of e-mail and possible online conferences (Hornby 19-20). The face-to-face communications can be used to summarize the discussed points and sign the necessary materials.
Thus, to establish effective working relationship with the parent, it is important to demonstrate that conferences are not only the boring meetings but also significant tools to help the parent’s child adapt to the classroom environment. The interests of the parent and the child should be discussed as the priority, and this information should be shared with the parent in the form of effective e-mail messages.
Friend, Marilyn, and Lynne Cook. Interactions: Collaboration Skills for School Professionals. New York, NY: Pearson, 2012. Print.
Hornby, Garry. Parental Involvement in Childhood Education: Building Effective School-Family Partnerships. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media, 2011. Print.
Lentz, Kirby. Transformational Leadership in Special Education: Leading the IEP Team. New York, NY: R&L Education, 2012. Print.