Parental engagement is one factor that contributes to an effective school environment. In a time when many parents have professional and domestic responsibilities that limit their time in our schools, we must identify effective ways to engage them in their children’s learning. Engaging parents in the classroom is not limited to volunteer work and doesn’t always require a physical presence. Below are some approaches to parent engagement that will optimize your parent-teacher communication and improve results in the classroom.
Getting Parents Involved in the Classroom
The most obvious way to involve parents in the classroom is to simply invite them in. Providing volunteer opportunities or inviting them to serve as guest speakers or readers are useful methods. If the parental makeup of your school is like mine, however, some can’t be present in the classroom for various reasons.
When they can’t come to you, find ways to bring the classroom to them. They may be able to serve as a mystery reader via a platform like Skype, for instance. Send students home with guiding questions to facilitate a conversation with parents about the day’s content. Allow them to send in an encouraging note that can comfort their student on a difficult day.
How Technology Can Improve Parent Involvement
Technology reigns as an effective liaison between home and school. Using available technology to facilitate parent-teacher communication will enhance your parent involvement. As smartphones and tablets abound in modern society, here are some apps that make communication easy and effective for free.
Class Dojo – Class Dojo allows you to message, share classroom photos, and track behavior through an electronic points system that parents can see. Parents can even award points from home when this feature is enabled.
Remind.com – Remind.com is simple yet powerful. You can send reminder texts to parents on their phone! They don’t even have to download the app to receive your messages.
Bloomz.net – Send messages, schedule conferences, post photographs, and allow students to share work with parents all in one app. Bloomz.net is like a one-stop shop.
Google Classroom – On Google Classroom, assignments and grading are made easy. Students can collaborate remotely, and you can check progress and provide feedback anytime and anywhere if you can connect. Parents receive a weekly progress report.
Involvement in Goals
Ideally, parents and teachers will share a common investment in student growth. When you set forth goals for your students, engage parents by doing more than just informing them of their student’s goals. Support them by outlining how they can support their students’ progress at home. For example, provide fun and active review techniques or suggest guidelines for a family reading challenge. Establish a simple way for parents to track their child’s progress. Having data from school and home will enrich your communication. Involving them in student goals will solidify your relationship as team members with a common interest.