In Education Leadership, Justin Minkel (2017) writes about the importance of two-way communication with families. He tells us that it is common for parent teacher conferences to turn into “filibuster” sessions where the teacher dominates the conversation leaving little room for parents and students to engage.
Minkel suggests that we view parent conferences as a time to learn from parents and children. He suggests simple questions like:
What your child’s favorite part of school right now?
Is there anything your child doesn’t like about school?
What would you like me to do differently as your child’s teacher?
Given that we have the opportunity to build bridges with families soon, take a moment to ponder the questions below:
How would you describe the nature of communication in the average parent teacher conference on your campus? Is there genuine two-way communication or is it typical to have a “teacher filibuster”? If you are not sure, how might you find out?
What additional steps, if any, might be necessary to support your new teachers with conducting successful parent teacher conferences? How might you or teacher leaders help with this?
Minkel, J. (2017). “Welcome Families by Focusing on Strengths,” Educational Leadership, V. 75, #1, pgs. 71-74.