Communication Professional Development Workshop


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Communication Professional Development Workshop

  2. 2. Is this effective communication? (Halloween 1125, ND)  “Differences in expectations and misunderstandings about each other’s goals can lead to uncertain and tenuous, even contentious, relationships” (Risko, & Walker-Dalhouse, 2009).
  3. 3. Do you agree with these statements?  “Effective two-way communication between teachers and families strengthen family involvement in their children’s education” (Hunt & Ratcliff, 2009, p. 502).  “One of the greatest barriers to developing teacher-family partnerships is overcoming the negative attitudes associated with the subject that some educators possess” (Hunt & Ratcliff, 2009, p. 498).
  4. 4. What is wrong with this picture?Discussion:  might the v=9hwDeD8hhn8school staff (TeachertubeSPED, 2009, October 23)and parentsavoid theapparent   Family involvement is defined in manyproblems in ways. Professional educators need tothe future? build functioning reciprocal relationships with families where they do not exist. (Hunt & Ratcliff, 2009)
  5. 5. Ongoing, reciprocal teacher/parentcommunication is important because…  “Family involvement that is based on a foundation of shared responsibility for learning on behalf of better outcomes for the child is critically important; this is reinforced by the research on family-school connections insofar as it shows that when families and schools connect, build a relationship, and communicate meaningful information, children do better in school” (Weiss, Bouffard, Bridglall, & Gordon, 2009, p. 21).
  6. 6. Why is this important to you asinclusive general education teachers?   Motivation for learning increases   Behavior improvesStudents   Attendance becomes regular Benefit   Positive attitudes about homework   Consistency in home/school expectations   Improved skills generalization
  7. 7. Why is this important to you asinclusive general education teachers?   Increased awareness of value of their unique insights about their childParents   Better understanding of effectiveBenefit strategies and interventions   Feel valued and respected, leading to greater overall satisfaction with school experience
  8. 8. Why is this important to you asinclusive general education teachers?   Better understanding of students’ needsTeachers   Increased confidenceBenefit   Positive interactions increase morale   Friendships develop   (American federation of Teachers, 2007)
  9. 9. Today you will…Read, identify, and discuss: Design and develop:  Research about teacher/   Nonjudgmental parent communication statements  Practices that encourage   Positive statements that mutually beneficial two- way communication overcome negative between teachers and subject matter parents  Institutional and individual communication
  10. 10. Two levels of communication betweenschools and families1. Institutional Communication   School plan for communicating with all parents   Plays, practices, PTO, open house, newsletters, calendars   Potential to promote school-family relationships, but does not ensure strong school/parent partnerships   Opportunity to let parents know how additional information will be shared with them throughout the year – newsletters, websites, parent liaisons, emails, etc.
  11. 11. Two levels of communication betweenschools and families2. Individual Communication   Between teachers and parents involving a particular child   Face-to-face: conferences, casual contacts   Technology: phone calls, emails, notes, logs   Strong potential for ongoing, mutual partnerships between parents and teachers (Halsey, 2005)
  12. 12. Types of individual communication  Notebook, checklist, note, daily journal/agenda   May be formatted: circle, check off, or short entry   Caution – short entry may sound curt or harsh  Phone calls  Face-to-face visit  Home visit  Progress reports
  13. 13. Types of individual communication  Digital portfolio   Assess and document learning   Communication offer “glimpse” into classroom   Time intensive for teacher   Not all parents have access to computer (McLeod & Vasinda, 2009)
  14. 14. Types of individual communication  E-mail   Asynchronous communication is more convenient   Possible misinterpretation due to cue restrictions   Restricts vocal and nonverbal cues   State concerns about misrepresentation up front   Focus on positive and factual statements   Set limits and boundaries   Studentreliance on backup plan may hinder responsibility   Some topics better suited to phone or face-to-face (Thompson, 2009)
  15. 15. What do parents want?  Use comments that do not “cause harm”   May inadvertently convey personal biases and attitudes  Make statements nonjudgmental   Discuss specific behaviors: how they directly impact the child’s schooling   Behaviors interfere with learning but are not “bad”   Focus on improving home-school relationships. (Montgomery, 2005)
  16. 16. What do parents want?  Timely notification of concerns about student problems  Contributions recognized and appreciated by schools  Direct communication, trust, respect, emphasis on common goal (Miretzky, 2004)
  17. 17. What do parents want?  Smile, laugh, and enthusiastically share stories about funny things, successes, and developing interests noticed at school  Speak positively, respectfully about child and family even among your peers (Boers, 2001; Rich, 1998)
  18. 18. What do teachers want?  Trust, emphasis on common goal  Timely notification of concerns  Clarification of facts before parents accept student versions of concerning events  Respect for training and experience  Recognition of contributions and accomplishments (Miretzky, 2004)
  19. 19. Common themes begin to emerge  Warmth, empathy, respect, genuineness, listening, goals of forming mutually beneficial partnerships and two-way communication  Diminish perceived power imbalances resulting in polarization (Maring & Magelky, 1990; Risko & Walker-Dalhouse, 2009)
  20. 20. Keep it positive A first- Something positive about her child v=fjh8yYCf4Is&feature=related (EarnedWisdom Tech, 2008) “For family members to believe that their thoughts and feelings are respected, teachers must engage in two- way communication with family members that is positive and supportive” (Hunt & Ratcliff, 2009, p. 499).
  21. 21. Positive commentsActivity sheet:Find positive,   Give specific guidance for taking actionnonjudgmentalalternatives to   Maintain the dignity of the childthe statementsin column one.   State in informative mannerYou may usestatements in   Overcome negative subject mattercolumn two ordevelop yourown. (Brualdi, 1998)
  22. 22. Tips for communicating with families v=_16Dbekc30k&feature=related (TorrieatKIT, 2010, August 12)
  23. 23. What have we learned?  Research supports ongoing, reciprocal communication between parents and schools.  Inclusive general education teachers can practice institutional and individual communication to benefit students, parents, and teachers.  Communication should be nonjudgmental and positive.  We all want to be treated with respect, be recognized for our contributions, and…
  24. 24. Communication Matters
  25. 25. References:American Federation of Teachers (2007). Readingrockets: Building parent–teacherrelationships. Washington, D.C.: American Federation of Teachers. RetrievedNovember 17, 2010 from, D. (2001). What I hope for in my children’s teachers: A parent’s perspective.The Clearing House, 75(1), 51-54.Brualdi, A. (1998). Teacher comments on report cards. Practical Assessment,Research & Evaluation, 6(5). Retrieved November 20, 2010, from Tech (2008, July 24). A first—Something positive about her child(Involving Pare [Video file]. Retrieved from, P. A. (2005). Parent involvement in junior high schools: A failure tocommunicate. American Secondary Education 34(1), 57-69.
  26. 26. Halloween 1125 (ND). School answering machine [Video file]. Retrieved November 16,2010 from, G., & Ratcliff, N. (2009). Building teacher-family partnerships: The role of teacherpreparation programs. Education, 129(3), 495-505.Maring, G. H., & Magelky, J. (1990). Working with parents: Effective communication: Keyto parent/community involvement. The Reading Teacher, 43(8) 606-607.McLeod, J. K., & Vasinda, S. (2009). Electronic portfolios: Perspectives of students,teachers and parents. Educational Information Technology, 14, 29-38.Miretzky, D. (2004). The communication requirements of democratic schools: Parent-teacher perspectives on their relationships. Teachers College Record, 106(4), 814-851.Montgomery, D. J. (2005). Communicating without harm: Strategies to enhance parent-teacher communication. Teaching Exceptional Children, 37(5), 50-55.Rich, D. (1998). What parents want from teachers. Educational Leadership, May, 37-39.
  27. 27. Risko, V. J., & Walker-Dalhouse, D. (2009) Parents and teachers: Talking with or pastone another-or not talking at all? The Reading Teacher, 62(5), 442-444.TeachertubeSPED (2009, October 23). Parent school communication [Video file].Retrieved from, B. (2009). Parent-teacher e-mail strategies at the elementary andsecondary levels. Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 10(1), 17-25.TorriatKIT (2010, August 12). Important interactions: How to communicate effectivelywith parents [Video file]. Retrieved from, H. B., Bouffard, S. M., Bridglall, B. L., & Gordon, E. W. (2009). Reframingfamily involvement in education: Supporting families to support educational equity.(Equity Matters: Research Review No. 5: A Research Initiative of the Campaign forEducational Equity). Retrieved November 18, 2010, from