Top 3‭ ‬Tips for Engaging Parents

By Bethany Spencer on May, 4 2017
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When thinking of parental engagement in a child’s school life‭, ‬thoughts of Parents’‭ ‬Evening and phone calls home may spring to mind‭. ‬Sometimes we have parents coming along to trips and other school hosted events‭ ‬and productions‭, ‬but are these events engaging parents in their child’s learning‭? ‬Or they are simply to inform and keep them updated of what’s new at the school‭? ‬

It can be difficult to differentiate between the two‭, ‬but by understanding what’s engaging and what’s informative‭, ‬we can get parents interested and involved in their child’s education‭.‬

Tip 1‭: ‬Get to know the parents

The key here is to build a relationship with the parents‭. ‬Meeting with them doesn’t have to be once or twice a year during a busy Parents’‭ ‬Evening‭. ‬It can be you‭, ‬as the teacher‭, ‬getting to know the people responsible for the children you’re teaching‭. ‬Invite them in on a termly basis for a cup of coffee and a catch up and get to know them‭.‬

This will help you gain an insight into their busy lives and schedules‭, ‬you will learn about their work life balance‭, ‬whether they are stay at home parents or whether one is often travelling abroad for business‭. ‬You can learn their thoughts on their child’s educational and social progress‭. ‬They can also get to know you‭. ‬As a teacher‭, ‬you spend a great deal of time with their child‭ ‬and it is important that parents get to know the person who is responsible for their child for such a large part of their day‭. ‬

When you learn a little about them‭, ‬you will know how to cater your teaching to a method that will be best for their child‭. ‬For‭ ‬example‭, ‬perhaps you have a parent that likes to sit down with their child in the evening through two hours worth of homework and offer support‭, ‬when teaching this child in class‭, ‬you can give them a little autonomy and allow them to grab hold of the reins‭.

‬Alternatively‭, ‬you may have a parent that prefers to let their child get on with their homework independently and you may want‭ ‬to spend a little more time offering some guidance with this child to ensure they are on the right track‭. ‬The learning process‭ ‬is different for each child‭, ‬so is the method of parenting‭, ‬and when you both understand each other‭, ‬you can work in synergy‭. ‬

Tip 2‭: ‬Send a message home

A phone call home only needs to be a couple of minutes‭, ‬but the impact of this call will have a positive and lasting effect‭. ‬At‭ ‬the start of the year‭, ‬let your students know that you will be getting in touch with their parents to inform them of their great‭ ‬progress‭. ‬

Phone calls home have negative connotations‭, ‬yet a call home doesn’t have to be bad‭. ‬Parents love hearing about all the great things their child has done‭, ‬or how well they have behaved and students love receiving positive feedback about how they’re getting on in school‭. ‬It motivates them to do better‭ -  ‬to instigate more phone calls home‭.‬

parental engagement

For several parents‭, ‬they may have never received a positive phone call about their child‭, ‬but this can open many doors‭, ‬build partnerships‭, ‬and strengthen relationships‭. ‬It can help with behaviour management and engage parents in their child’s learning‭ - ‬when they know that their son or daughter has succeeded in a difficult subject or has behaved impeccably‭, ‬their aspirations for them can change‭.

‬It can motivate the students to work harder and inspire them to do better‭. ‬Overall‭, ‬it can brighten everyone’s day‭, ‬you’ll be happy with your student‭, ‬they’ll be happy that their hard work is being recognised‭, ‬and parents will be happy that their child is working hard and succeeding‭.‬

Tip 3‭: ‬Communicate via social media

With many of our schools now using online systems and software to record lessons‭, ‬learning and homework tasks‭, ‬our doors have opened wider than can be imagined when considering means of communication as well as reach to our communities‭. ‬

Schools now have Twitter and Facebook accounts with groups set up to involve only the students that are in attendance at the school and their parents‭. ‬Updates about exams‭, ‬school closures‭, ‬homework tasks and even a general rundown on the government’s plans for education can be posted for all parties to stay engaged and involved‭. ‬

Students and teachers who both use social media can easily get in touch‭, ‬students can ask questions about something they’ve studied and parents can get in contact with the school to find out about inset days and school closures rather than having to‭ ‬go through a longer process of contacting the school and trying to get hold of you in between lessons‭, ‬parents can quite easily‭ ‬tweet you or send you a direct message which you can respond to when you have a spare minute‭. ‬Parents even have their own education related hashtags which they can use and take part in chats‭, ‬question governing bodies in the education sector and discuss their school’s education practices‭.‬

Both you and the parents have one common goal‭, ‬and that is to help their children succeed

At the start of the year‭, ‬when sending out a letter to introduce yourself to parents‭, ‬include your Twitter handle‭, ‬blog page‭, ‬Facebook page‭, ‬as well as the schools and invite parents to follow and interact with you‭. ‬Inform them that you are willing and happy to spend your time keeping in touch‭, ‬even if it is only for 15‭ ‬minutes of the day‭. ‬

The most important factor when engaging and involving parents in their child’s education is to first engage them in education in general‭. ‬Keeping parents in the loop of what’s happening in and the impact it will have on their children and on your teaching such as schools becoming academies‭, ‬certain subjects becoming obligatory GCSE options‭, ‬and exams for young children‭, ‬will get them engaged‭.

‬It’s important to remember that both you and the parents have one common goal‭, ‬and that is to help their children succeed‭. ‬A parent will be interested in understanding and learning about what affects their child‭, ‬and you of course can relate to this because what affects the students will affect you as a teacher‭. ‬Engage the parents in education‭, ‬and this will get the ball rolling‭ ‬in engaging the parents in their child’s. ‬

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