When parents and teachers connect, they are able to support student learning together. Technology has opened and enhanced communication opportunities between home and school.
Improving Communication with Parents
Teachers and parents both play a critical role in the academic success of students. But engaging parents is challenging. Building a positive relationship with all parents requires regular, meaningful outreach. And, once families are engaged, they expect timely information about their child’s academic progress—often before reporting periods end. Our research has found that new technologies open possibilities for teachers to involve parents in their child’s learning.
Creating a Bridge with Technology
Pre-digital communication between home and school—making phone calls after class time and sending notes home—limited both the quality and number of interactions between teachers and parents. To make an impact on student learning, parents and teachers need timely, convenient communication methods.
Email, texting, websites, electronic portfolios, video conferencing and online grade books have made communication a two-way street. With immediate access to student performance information, parents are able to address issues and celebrate successes. In addition to being in tune with the teacher, technology helps parents support their own children’s learning by providing learning opportunities at home. And, with expedient touch points, teachers have meaningful information about home life. By using the most efficient technology, communication between home school becomes more convenient, productive, and satisfying.
Research Support for Parental Engagement
Although research shows that parental engagement in education has increased over the past 25 years, engaging parents continues to be a hurdle for many schools (See PDF below from MetLife).
However challenging, it is still a goal for educators to engage parents.
Studies report numerous advantages of parental engagement, including:
- Higher academic achievement
- Increased attendance rates
- Positive student attitudes and behaviors
- Student readiness and interest in their work
- Increased parent satisfaction with teachers
- Higher teacher satisfaction ratings
Top Recommendations for Parents
- Get to know your teacher—but keep it professional
- Get your teacher’s email address
- Gather class and school website information
- Discuss communication preferences with teachers
- Attend all conferences
- Check in regularly with your teacher on your child’s academic progress
Top Recommendations for Teachers
- Use technology to communicate class-level and school-level news on a regular basis
- Use technology to reach out to parents specifically about their child
- Get to know your students and their families
- Provide parents with opportunities to volunteer in the class and at the school
- Hold parent meetings early on in the school year
Teachers discuss the best ways to improve and maintain effective communication with parents. Utilizing current technology, teachers can post assignments, grades, and classroom information online to keep parents informed and students accountable. Educators are also using email to keep parents informed of upcoming tests and assignments and address any questions or concerns that may arise throughout the school year.