Let’s take a look at some strategies to build a strong Parent Teacher Partnership
Quality Circle Time: Parents at home and teachers in school can use this simple strategy to get children to talk and in the process develop certain crucial life skills. Once a week, at home all the members of the family can sit together and, in the school, the teacher and the children can sit together in a circle. They can discuss personal, social and moral issues. Parents and teachers will be able to find out the interests, challenges and fears of the children. Issues of major concern unearthed during such healthy interactions can be shared and they can be tackled together. Many behavioral issues can be nipped in the bud itself. This will also help in developing positive relationships, self-discipline and conflict resolution alongside the skills of listening, speaking, observing, thinking and concentrating.
Walk ‘n’ Talk: Parents can take short walks or go on a drive with their children and engage them in casual conversation. This will unveil the issues children face. Teachers too can try this with their students. Every recess teachers can take a walk with one of their students and engage in a casual talk. In a non threatening environment, children usually vent out their feelings. This will help teachers understand the emotional baggage of the children. However, teachers and parents need to be cautious here. The conversation shouldn’t seem too intrusive and children shouldn’t feel that the elders are probing into their privacy.
Catch them Right: It’s a common practice to call up the parents when the child is not doing well in class or has some behavioural issues. How many teachers call up the parents to tell them how their children helped their classmates with an assignment or shared food with them? Instead of always catching them wrong, for all the negative reasons, catch them right for a change. Look for positives in children. I’m sure there will be plenty. Parents will look forward to the calls of such positive minded teachers.
Observe and Reflect:Teachers should closely observe the children in their class. They should look into all the aspects. During recess, they should find out the type of food the children eat, observe their interaction with classmates, talk to them personally and on the same day call up their parents for a casual talk. During such interactions, parents may share their concerns regarding the performance of the child. These concerns can be the one which the teacher is not able to see. Moreover, at home children share what is happening at school and the problems they (children) are facing. Parents can talk about these with the teacher along with what else is happening with the child at home. While talking to the teachers, parents will be able to gauge their children’s performance. Teachers can maintain a ‘Reflective Journal’ to record their observations. This way by the end of two weeks, they can complete the observation of all the students in their class. This can be repeated at regular intervals. This will serve as a good data bank of information on the children. In my own practice, it came in handy for a psychologist who was treating one of my students. For him ‘My Reflective Journal’ served as a case study of the child.
To Be Continued….
Muneera Mammikutty is the Head of the Department of English (Primary) in Bharatitya Vidya Bhavan, Kuwait. She is a Post-Graduate in English Literature with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Teaching of English. She has 31 years of experience in teaching, and in administration and management of school activities. She has trained teachers in Creative Teaching, Multiple Intelligence, Experiential Learning and Computer Aided Teaching.