Good effective communication is a two way street and allows for relationships to be built and partnerships to be formed between parents and schools. Unfortunately, breakdowns in communication can have lasting effects that can lead to distrust and frustration on both sides.
The type of communication happening, whether it be bad or good, is ultimately laying the foundation for the relationship between schools and parents. Helping you improve your communication is always one of our goals because we know improved communication can lead to increased parent engagement and an overall improved relationship.
The benefits are endless. There is a lot of research that backs benefits for the teacher, the school, and the parent. It is really a domino effect of positivity that can be felt when there is good parent-school communication. With students you can expect increased motivation for learning, improved behavior, more regular attendance, and a more positive attitude about homework and school in general. As a result, not only does the teacher look like a rock star but so does the school in the eyes of the parent which can translate into the parent placing more value in the capabilities of the school district. Can we say win- win?
With that being said, here are 6 communications tips that will help improve communication and increase engagement with parents & caregivers for schools and teachers:
Set clear expectations at the start of the year but be open to the feedback of parents & caregivers. Understanding this step is crucial to creating a good foundation of communication.
Consistency is key when introducing parents and caregivers on the communication channels you are using. The quickest way to lose parent engagement is not being consistent on posting information to your chosen communication channels whether it’s a blog or website.
Don’t over do it by offering the hard copy of the digital communication unless there are issues of access.
Initiate communication sooner rather than later. The sooner teachers and school districts can begin building relationships with families the better.
Give clarity and understanding to parents and caregivers especially if you have combination of ways to get information. The ultimate goal is to make sure parents have the information they need to help their students. It is your job to help bring clarity and understanding of how these ways of communicating are both useful and helpful to achieving the larger goal.
Inform parents on how to use your communication tools. We often forget that everyone isn’t technologically savvy. It’s important to get an understanding of if your parents understand how to use and operate the communications tools you are using. Offering training sessions for parents and caregivers will help to increase the use of these tools.
Using these key tips will help you improve your communication but we would be remiss if we didn’t say that at the end of the day it is important to be open and willing to adjust your communication plan. What may work for one group of parents one year could fall flat for different set of parents the next year.