June 13, 2022
Effective communication and relationships between parents and students benefit everybody. It is a key factor in how well your child is doing at school and even at home. Just imagine, you, parents and your child’s teachers are the people he or she sees most frequently. So, obviously, it follows that if both equally important adults for a child cooperate and communicate successfully then they can positively affect his or her learning process.
Although it may seem surprising, but the fact is that a quality communication between a parent and a teacher can help the former assist in solving relationship problems with their child. The benefits of building positive relationships with parents are immense. Additionally, when teachers and parents can work together, parent child relationship problems also decrease. We know that children, especially adolescents, and parents lack trust in one another and experience communication problems. A teacher may play a significant role here by working in tandem with parents and offering their perspective on these issues.
Benefits of Building Positive Relationships Between a Parent and a Teacher
Better Behaviour and Better Grades
A benefit of building positive relationships with parents are improved student grades. If parents are on friendly terms with their children’s teachers, the student behaviour significantly improves. Students have higher levels of confidence and enthusiasm in the classroom. They also feel secure and more engaged in the classroom activities.
Apart from improvement in behaviour, students are more likely to score higher marks, obtain competitive scholarships and win prestigious prizes since they have both the support of their parents and teachers.
A more productive learning atmosphere
Another benefit of building positive relationships with parents is a better learning atmosphere that students enjoy. Students will be more confident and enthusiastic about their studies, they feel supported. Their mental health is better too. If there are any problems in the classroom, both parents and teachers can easily resolve them.
Parents can efficiently help solve problems in the classroom.
Quick resolutions to problems in the classroom are another benefit of building positive relationships with parents. If teachers’ relationships and communication with students’ parents are strong and frequent, it will be easier for them to mention difficult topics in conversations with them. Both parents and teachers will be able to quickly resolve any problem in the classroom since both are well informed about the situation. Most importantly, because of the frequent communication parents are more likely to have greater trust in their child’s teacher. This, in turn, will lead to cooperation on both sides and, as a result, a quick and effective solution.
Things that Prevent Effective Communication Between Teachers and Parents
Although most parents would genuinely like to maintain an effective communication with their children’s teachers, some may face a variety of barriers which teachers need to be cognizant of. Understanding these challenges is one way how to communicate with parents effectively. Some common things that may hinder effective teacher-communication are as follows.
Parents believe that they do not need to be deeply involved in their child’s education
It does not mean that they are trying to dodge their responsibilities. On the contrary, in some countries and cultures such beliefs are the norm. Some parents just simply trust their children’s teachers and believe that their involvement is unnecessary.
Parents’ work schedule that makes it difficult for them to engage in their children’s education at school
Some parents may have jobs with unpredictable schedules or simply struggle to have some time off work to attend school meetings. There are also parents who simply cannot to take time off work because they need to provide for their families.
Parents may have prior negative experiences with other teachers
Prior negative experiences may make parents reluctant to engage with new teachers. Past childhood experiences in school may affect parents’ motivation to engage with their children’s teachers.
Parents may have limited financial sources to visit their children’s school
For example, they may live far from the school, have no car, or may have difficulties with public transportation.
Parents may be concerned about their English language capabilities
In the world we are living now, immigration is becoming more and common. Families whose first language is not English may be intimidated by the prospect of speaking to their children’s teacher. In this case it is important for teachers to be culturally sensitive and patient.
How to improve parent-teacher communication?
Here are tips for teachers wanting to improve their communication with parents:
Communicate with your students’ parents responsibly
Communication skills is a whole science and there are various aspects that a person wanting to improve their communication skills can work on.
Producing the right impression from the start is one way how to communicate with parents effectively
Teachers are professionals, trained in educating young students and in turn should present themselves in a professional manner. To win the parents’ trust, you can give them an introductory phone call or letter, explaining what educational goals you are hoping to achieve with students as well as set the friendly and caring tone for future conversations.
Using Creative Forms of Communication
Although calling and emailing parents are good and acceptable options, currently there are so many other forms of contacting them. Using social media, various school apps and platforms is another way how to communicate with parents effectively.
Communicate with parents consistently
If you communicate with your students’ parents only when you need something from them, it shows that you do not care about their kid. On the contrary, if you reach out frequently then you will show that you not only informed about their child’s progress but also that you care about them. Creating open relationship in which teachers can freely and consistently communicate with one another is how to communicate with parents effectively. Remember to communicate good news as well as unwelcome news to parents as well. Communicating with parents only when there are problems and issues will not motivate parents to communicate with teachers.
Also, encourage parents to ask questions and seek clarification on anything that may seem difficult for them to understand – this strategy also helps to build trusting relationships.
Communicate with parents in a timely manner
If you see that a student is having problems with their studies or struggling with relationships with their classmates, do not wait until the problem spirals out of control. Inform parents as soon as you become aware of the problem. Reaching out to parents early enough can help you both devise an effective plan to solve these problems and nip potential future problems in the bud. Timely communication is yet another way how to communicate with parents effectively.
Be a good listener and ask questions.
Be authentic and genuine. Let parents feel that you listen to their concerns and rather than just talking at them. Try to avoid simple answers such as “yes” and “no.” Replace them with more elaborate phrases such as “tell me more,” “what exactly.” These will undoubtedly lead to a more productive and satisfying conversation for both sides. The ability to listen and ask questions not only improve communication skills but it also how to communicate with parents effectively. Also be honest with your student’s parents – provide them will the objective and impartial information, carefully offer your suggestions but leave it up to them which course of action to take
Show empathy and understanding
What is empathy? Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of the other. When communicating with parents demonstrate that you genuinely care about their children.
Be aware that some parents’ communication styles may be different. Some may be shy and introverted. These types of communicators usually feel uncomfortable during group meeting and to have a conversation with them you may want to try to set up an individual meeting.
Other parents may be more enthusiastic about having a conversation and more willing to express their opinions and ideas aloud. It is important to manage and alter one’s communication styles during each interaction.
Remember about the importance of body language. Just like in the classroom, non-verbal communication is equally important when it comes to teacher-parent meetings. Refrain from folding your arms and do make eye contact while speaking to parents. Refrain from making gestures which may charge your conversation with parents with negativity. Make sure that your posture is upright and that you have no physical obstacles between you and the parent.
There are so many other creative ways of reaching out to parents. For example, you can record a weekly podcast devoted to students’ work and progress. You can also schedule a virtual meeting held once a week. This meeting will be important and appreciated by those parents who are often not able to be physically present at school meetings.
Be sure to make use of the variety of school apps available. These apps promote parent’s involvement in their child’s education process and allow them to track their progress at any time. Not only do these apps enable parents to instantly message their teachers, but they also offer the opportunity of having a more secure and private communication.
In conclusion, once again it is important to remind ourselves that our children spend most of their time either at school or at home. Therefore, the most significant role models in their lives are their parents and teachers. Both should be striving to achieve an effective and frequent communication for the sake of the children’s academic success, physical and mental well-being.
Russ Gadzhiev obtained his PhD in history and politics from University of Melbourne. He also holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Moscow State University of International Relations, a top-ranking diplomatic school. Russ is a strong education professional with a history of working in the higher education sector of Australia and effectively communicates with learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. He is enthusiastic about teaching and mentoring, writing, curriculum development, research, information management and public speaking. He is fluent in Russian, English, Spanish and Portuguese.