Parent-TeacherCommunications Assignment #3 Education 4762 Gemma Rae
Problem: What is the best way to enhance, and encourage, parent-teacher communication? This is a significant problem because I believe parent-teacher communication is imperative in order to promote a positive learning environment. Communication is a fundamental element of any relationship. The parent-teacher relationship is one which requires effective dialogue to ensure that a positive environment is developed between home and school. A functional relationship between parents and teachers is needed in order to solve problems, and find the best solutions for students. Although I do think this is an extremely important part of a teacher’s job, I was lacking in this area during my practicums. I was hardly ever in touch with my student’s parents, and to be honest made minimal effort to do so. This is something I definitely will be improving upon during my next practicum. With the vast amount of emerging technology, there are many tools that could be used to address this problem. The tools offer varying degrees of solutions, but many can be used creatively to promote communications. I chose to solve this problem with Weebly, a free, online, website creator. It is professional, efficient, effective, and easy to navigate. The following slides will describe how I came to this conclusion.
Problem Solving Strategies In order to find the most appropriate solution for this problem, I used to following problem solving strategies: Break the Problem into Sub Groups, Brainstorm, Work Backwards, Visually Represent Problem, and Start With the Most In Depth Approach. These strategies really helped me discover what the problem areas were, and what qualities I was looking for in a tool to effectively solve it.
Strategy #1 - Break into Sub Groups The following are areas that I feel cause difficulty concerning Parent- Teacher Communication.Keeping all parents continually informed and up-to-date - it is very time consumingDifferent schedules of parents and teacher enhance problemNeed to be communicating not only negative comments, but also positive onesParents don’t have easy access to information about what happens in class, due dates,class schedules, reminders, etc.Encouraging 2 way communication between parents and teachersBasically, keeping parents in the loop is the biggest problem. We need to help the parentsstay involved in their child’s education!
Strategy #2 - Brain StormThe following is a list made up of all the ways I could think of to solve this problem. I tried to think about the problem from both a traditional perspective, and a 21st Century perspective. Phone Calls Blog Email Twitter Notes Home Weebly School Newsletter Voice Mail Message Classroom Newsletter Comment Sheet Home Journals Paper LI Agenda Notes Parent-Teacher Meetings
Strategy #3 - Work BackwardsFor this strategy, I thought of all the qualities I wanted to see in the solution to thisproblem. Anything that I felt was important and needed to be addressed, I put on this list. This was useful when looking into different options, I could always look back at this list and make sure these areas were being met. A solution that is time efficient for all Easy to Use parties involved Conveniently Accessible - Preferably Works with different schedules anywhere, anytime Effective in Communication Easy to update in order to provide continual involvement and knowledge for Provides 2 Way Communication parents. Contains both Public and Private BONUS - Environmentally Friendly discussion
Strategy #4 - Visual Representation For this strategy I used an online mind mapping tool to visually lay out the problems associated with parent-teacher communications. This is a useful strategy for me because I am a very visual person, and like to map out my work. I realized that different information is important for parents and students. My solution will separate the information needed forstudents, fromthat needed forparents, so thetool is easy to navigate.
Strategy #5 - Depth FirstWhen using this strategy, you start with the option that is the most in-depth. This allows you to start with the option that appears to be the most involved with the problem you are tackling. I like using this approach because it requires you to fully exhaust the option before moving on to a new one. This works out well because you can put all your efforts into one tool, without being distracted part way through by other possible options. I felt the best tool to start looking into would be Weebly. I was fairly unfamiliar with this tool, and had never created my own website before. It seemed to be the most in-depth tool, as it provided a lot of features I thought would be useful. After perusing this website and becoming acquainted with the tool, I could already tell it had the elements I was looking for. I experimented with many different design elements, and layout features and eventually began to create a mock class web page. I could easily align my list of desired elements with the features offered through Weebly. After observing this, I was confident that I could continue on with Weebly, and solve the problem of parent-teacher communication.
How Does Weebly Solve This Problem?I decided to proceed with Weebly as the solution to this problem. It is an easy, yet effective and efficient, solution to improving parent-teacher communications. Information can be broadcast to all Works with varying schedules of parents at once - significantly cuts families and teacher down on time. Easy to Use Positive remarks can be shared and celebrated, not just talking to Inexpensive - FREE! parents over negative issues. Environmentally Friendly Allows for 2 Way Communication Convenient Links to Email All information can be found in one Private & Public Communication location Accessible at all Times
Attribute Activation Matrix Problem Dimensions Tool Attributes Rationale Allows for photos, calendars, class volunteer Encouraging parent involvement in their child’s education is appreciatedEncourage Parent Involvement opportunities, and important information to be shared by parents. Even if they cannot volunteer in the class, it is helpful just to with parents. be ﬁlled in on what’s happening in the classroom. Need to accommodate busy, Online. Accessible at any time as long as there is an The accessibility of the tool is important for busy families who don’t varying schedules internet connection. have time to meet with the teacher. Publishing public information to all parents at once saves a lot of time Parents and Teacher can post and reply to public blog, Public and Private Forums for teachers. Yet, parents still need a place to raise speciﬁc, private or use the link to private email concerns. Blog is included for teacher to update parents on To establish successful communication, both parties need to be able to Need 2 Way Communication what’s going on. Parents can reply to blog posts or contact one another when needed. The ability to get in touch and send private emails for teacher to reply to. express concerns or questions is very important. It’s important for parent-teacher relations to acknowledge positiveNeed to celebrate positives, not Allows for photos of fun class activities, and will have contributions made by students. Parents will respond better when they just punish negatives. a “Student of The Week” feature know the teacher is on their child’s side. Having one central location for all upcoming deadlines and important One Location to Find Short Allows for a calendar page describing important dates is convenient for parents, students, and the teacher. Parents know and Long Term Deadlines & monthly announcements. Also can show weekly exactly where to look to ﬁnd the information, and Students are never Important Dates homework assignments. without assignment due dates.
Weebly is an online, free, web page creator. It allows for the creation ofprofessional looking web pages, in an easy to understand format. Editing is simple and straightforward. Final products are easy to navigate for users.
This is the homepage of the class website Icreated. The homepage has a Welcome note, and clearlylabelled headings todirect Parents and Students to whatthey’re looking for. These headings make the site very easy to navigate.
This page allows students and parents to get to know a bit about the teacher.Sharing some basicfacts and hobbies “humanizes” the teacher and can make them morerelatable. This is a good idea,especially for the start of the yearwhen relationships are being established.
The “Announcements” page has a list of upcoming deadlines, and important dates. It also includes parent volunteer opportunities. There is a link on this page that takes you to a calendar layout of the same information.This allows parents and students to keep up to date with upcoming deadlines and school activities.
Under the heading “Homework Updates” is a weekly scheduleof homework. This is available for both students and parents to see. This should reduce instances of students forgetting due dates, and should keep parents knowledgeable about school work.
“Student Links” page allows for helpful studentresources to be uploaded. These can be exploredby students on their own time, or could be directly related to their homework.
Parent Links is a page that provides parents with helpful links. It also provides a library link for those who don’t have computers at home.These families can go to the public library and access information from there, or any other computer connected to the internet. This page also contains the Private Contact Form - a form that links directly to teacher email. This is a forum to raise specific, private, concerns.
The Blog page allowsthe teacher to write blog posts aboutwhat is happening in class. This is an informal, yet informative, way to share with parents the fun activitiesbeing done in class.Parents can reply tothese blog posts with any questions or comments. The teacher can then respond to thesecomments. This is agreat forum to share public information intended for all parents.
Problem Solved? I think that the solution decided upon, Weebly, was a great tool to use in order to solve this problem. Itprovides teachers, parents, and students, a one stop location for all information about the class. It addresses the need for 2 way communication, as well as allowing for both private and public communications. All of theproblems I have been looking at have been solved. A webpage allows for a very accessible and convenient tool for families with busy schedules. It is not always easy to find time to call, or set up a meeting. A webpage allows for parents to gain the information and communication they need, at a time that works for them. The only limitation I feel this technology presents is that not all families will have access to a computer at home. Ifthe family does not have any internet connected device (smart phone, tablet, computer, etc.) then perhaps a library computer could be used, or print copes of the information could easily be distributed. Now that I have created this webpage I feel confident I could put it into use for my next practicum, or future teaching jobs. It is a great tool, and now I have got the foundation laid to continue building upon. The website I created can be accessed at www.msrae.weebly.com
ResourcesFreytag, C. E. (2001). Teacher-Parent Communication: Starting the Year off Right.Weebly Inc. (2012). Create a Free Website and a Free Blog. Retrieved June 1 2012,from http://www.weebly.com/