COMMUNICATION A VITAL LINK
The need for communication between home and school is a vital and sometimes overlooked link. Meaningful partnerships between parent and teachers are essential. Dialogue ensures they share a common understanding about the progress of children. Misunderstandings can occur, particularly if conversational links are not established and shared.
Parents and teachers are busy people. Pressures of work can push the need for communication into the background when in essence it should always be to the fore.
There are two ways in which schools and their parent communities can keep in touch. 1. Newsletters are regularly published by most schools. They are generally distributed weekly or fortnightly. Some schools publish less frequently. Newsletters may be distributed in hard copy or shared with parents by e-mail. In order to keep up to date with school happenings, parents and caregivers need to look out for newsletters. Checking schoolbags and logging onto email accounts for school messages can help.
2. Periodic perusal of their school’s website will keep the parent community informed on wide-ranging matters. Included on the web are annual school reports, NAPLAN results, futurist plans and quite often pictorial highlights of school celebrations.
Communication between classroom teachers and parents is also important. This may be done by note, phone or by person-to-person contact. If matters are misunderstood or nor fully clarified, conversations can help with necessary understanding.
Teachers are very busy and often pre-occupied prior to and at the end of each school day. Conversations with parents at these times are, of necessity, very brief. These periods are about greeting students (at the start of each day) and farewelling them each afternoon. Making appointments to talk with teachers at a more convenient time is better than trying to resolve issues during these busy periods.
Similarly, if teachers need to talk about students with parents, there is wisdom in negotiating discussion times. This allows for unhurried and private meetings.
Most schools offer written report-backs twice yearly, at the end of terms two and four. A chance to discuss individual student’s progress with parents and caregivers through ten or fifteen minute conversations, is generally offered in the latter weeks of terms one and three. Shared awareness is important. So too is the sharing of positives about student progress along with challenges children may confront.
The importance of conversation should never be discounted. Clear lines of communication between home and school build positive relationships between parents/caregivers and teachers. Students will be the beneficiaries.