Communication is king. It forms the basis of almost every interaction in an educational setting, whether that is between teachers, pupils, leadership, or parents back home.
We often think of communication in terms of verbal interaction – teacher at the front of class, pupil at a desk listening. But there are many more strategies for communication, particularly when we start incorporating technological solutions and thinking outside the narrow twentieth-century view of the way education works.
Why is it important for parents and teachers to communicate effectively?
Everything boils down to trust. When a dialogue has been established, pupils are more easily persuaded that both teachers and parents have their interests at heart. Proper communication can establish a mutual respect between teachers, parents, and pupils alike.
Effective teacher and parent communication has all sorts of benefits. Parents aren’t always directly involved in the classroom, so having regular contact with their children’s teacher can give them a broader picture of what’s going on. The more a parent knows, the more they can see how their child is doing, learn about their struggles, and identify any areas where solutions can be brought in to improve their performance.
However, it is often teachers who benefit the most from improved parent and school communication strategies. Parents are an invaluable asset, and teachers who take the time to build meaningful relationships with them can gain a real set of allies. When parents assist with homework and chip in with addressing behavioural issues at home, teachers are freed up to refocus their efforts in the classroom. Some literature also suggests teachers can see higher rates of homework completion and better grades when parent-teacher communication strategies are implemented.
So, what are the best strategies for parent-teacher communication?
Teacher parent communication strategy 1: Face to face contact
Sometimes the old-fashioned ways are the best. Whether it is formal parents’ evenings, meeting at the school gate, or just calling people in for a chat at a parent teacher meeting, there is nothing quite like meeting eye to eye. Obviously, this can be labour-intensive and time consuming, so pick your moments carefully. Still, don’t be afraid of meeting IRL.
Teacher parent communication strategy 2: Phone calls and emails
Parents with busy schedules, hectic work lives, or a chaotic living situation may not always be the most reliable when it comes to meetings or parents’ evenings. It may be best to pick up the phone to contact them directly, or by email. Some schools are already implementing technology-based solutions that can automate this process for teachers and make things simple and straightforward.
Teacher parent communication strategy 3: Text or app-based messages
Another way technology is helping teachers form better communication strategies with parents is through app-based messaging. The informality of a teacher to parent text message can be a great way to get a response, and custom apps such as Weduc’s Parent App can be a great way to cut through the noise and reach them when you need to.
Teacher parent communication strategy 4: Homework and handouts
While it is tempting to think that parents getting increasingly tech savvy means that you can permanently transition to this communication strategy, it is important to remember that there will always be someone who can only be reached through old-fashioned means. Don’t dismiss the power of homework and handouts. Create something pupils can take home containing information about homework and other tasks.
Teacher parent communication strategy 5: Newsletters
The beauty of newsletters is that they can be both analogue and digital. Newsletters are a great idea in general – keeping all your parents up to date about what is going with a single piece of literature, without needing to tailor your comms to individual people – but with all the software available they are simple to make, populate, and then print off physical copies for pupils to take home if they want to.
Teacher parent communication strategy 6: Class websites
You can create websites for classes to post announcements, homework, and reminders, ensuring assignments don’t get lost in communication between the classroom and home. The best school websites ensure that your school’s ethos and brand comes across in an instant - and your achievements and approach are hard to ignore. Weduc websites provide simple tools, so you can publish news posts about student activities and successes, highlight your school curriculum with dedicated subject pages, and easily share triumphs to public-facing social media accounts.
How can WEDUC help?
From custom apps to websites and other parent engagement communication strategies, Weduc is here to strengthen the bonds between classroom and home. We know school staff like you are working in challenging circumstances, without the time or resources to access the latest technology. With carefully considered and innovative technology, experienced education professionals and quality customer care, we help schools get the best out of their teacher parent engagement.