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Parent-Teacher Meetings #101: you get more of what you focus on – Jacqui Van de Velde

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Parent-Teacher Meetings #101: you get more of what you focus on – Jacqui Van de Velde

We have discovered about ourselves over the past 2 years. What is essential and what do we really value?  We haven’t all found the answers to life and the universe, but we certainly have found new ways of working and interacting.  We will continue to adjust, pivot, flop, and bounce in the new normal.

Some of the commentary and discussion on social media has been interesting, perplexing and at times disappointing. Lots of fear, blame, and anger. If we stop for some more thought in this imposed pause, I am hopeful that we can see the world of opportunity that we now have.

One opportunity we have now is to be creative about parent-teacher interviews. For some time advocates for home school visits have been making ground. Fifty years of research shows the benefit to educational outcomes for students when parents, families, community, and the school engage in education. Has the culture shift required to make home visits happen has been too big? Possibly. Are there workflow and workload consequences for educators? Yes. Do we now have an opportunity for educators, parents, and families to engage like never before? We certainly do. 

As we have become more comfortable and able with technology and video calls in particular; home-school visits are now possible. Deeper conversions about the student progress? Co-creating ways for home and school to collaborate to keep the learning and development heading in the right direction? Parents and teachers working together will be far more effective if they can connect and share their vision and purpose.

If we focus on blame, deficits, and problems, they will be amplified.  If we approach the preparation time and the meetings by building a picture of what is working, then the positives will be amplified in the discussions and the collective understanding of the meeting’s outcomes. Following are my checklists for preparing for the “new normal” in parent-teacher meetings

PARENTS

  • Prepare a list of the changes you have seen your child’s learning, no matter how small.
  • What has made you proud and excited about your child’s development and learning?
  • List how you are supporting learning at home?
  • What do you think would be useful for the teacher to know about your child, that would help them in their work?
  • What changes would you like to see in your child’s learning? How will you know those changes have happened? What evidence will there be that the changes have happened?
  • What do you want to know more about? How is that best communicated to you?

TEACHERS

  • Prepare a list of the changes and achievements in each child’s learning, no matter how small.
  • What makes you proud and excited to teach your class?
  • List the strategies you are using to work with your class and each student.
  • What would be useful for parents to know about what you are doing in class or what you observe about this student that would help parents support learning at home?
  • What changes would you like to see in your student’s learning? How will you know those changes have happened? What evidence will there be that the changes have happened?
  • What do you want to know more about? How is that best communicated to you?

 

STUDENTS

  • Prepare a list of the changes you have seen in your learning, no matter how small.
  • What has made you proud and excited about your learning?
  • What does your teacher do that helps you learn?
  • List ways your parents are supporting learning at home?
  • What do you think would be useful for the teacher to know about you that would help them in their work teaching you?
  • What changes would you like to see in your learning? How will you know those changes have happened? What evidence will there be that the changes have happened?
  • What do you want to know more about? How is that best communicated to you?

The future is exciting and open to new ways. Remember parents are still parents. Teachers are still teachers. Students are still students. Each person is capable of taking control of the parts of the process for which they are responsible.

 

Jacqui Van de Velde has more than 30 years experience in education, wellbeing, and mental health, in both a professional and volunteer capacity. She has worked in and continues to work across, a variety of educational and cultural contexts, in Australia, New Zealand, the EU, Singapore, and North America. Jacqui is a passionate advocate for parent engagement in education, teaching standards, improved educational outcomes for K-12, professional learning networks and continuing education in the workplace, wellbeing, veteran health, and advocacy.

Related Tag: School Resources for Parents

This article was originally published on www.vandevelde.com.au

Jacqui Van de Velde. 2021. Parent-Teacher conferences 101: You get more of what you focus on — Jacqui Van de Velde. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.vandevelde.com.au/journal/parent-teacher-conferences-101-you-get-more-of-what-you-focus-on. [First published 1 May 2020].

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Martine Oglethorpe

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Martine is an accredited speaker with the Office of the eSafety Commission of Australia, has a background in secondary education, a Masters in Counselling and is a mother to 5 boys. Through her personal and professional work with families, she recognises the important role technology plays in the social and emotional wellbeing of young people.

Martine is a keynote speaker for parenting and education conferences, presents to parent groups, works regularly with students and provides professional development to teachers. She has a passionate interest in helping families safely navigate the modern world of parenting in a way that offers understanding as well as practical and realistic strategies to empower parents to teach, guide and support their children. She has recently released her new book “The Modern Parent: Raising a Great Kid in the Digital World” which is available for purchase from her website themodernparent.net

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