Research has shown that parental involvement is the most important factor in a student's success in school. For many parents, however, that involvement is limited to attendance at parent-teacher conferences. Learn how to make the most of the opportunity! Included: Specific strategies for involving parents and a printable conference planning sheet and conference report form.
Stew Pruslin, who teaches third grade at J. T. Hood School, in North Reading, Massachusetts, will never forget one of his first parent-teacher conferences.
"My first year teaching," Pruslin told Education World, "I had a rabbit that I let roam free in the classroom. During my second parent-teacher conference ever, I looked past the mother who was facing me and saw that the rabbit had cornered a soccer ball and was trying to mate with it. As the rabbit bounced vigorously up and down on the ball, I had to do everything I could to keep the woman's attention in my direction while trying not to react to what I was watching right behind her. Needless to say, I heard barely a word that mother said!"
Whatever your experiences with parent-teacher conferences might be, research shows that parental involvement is the most important factor in a child's success in school. You've gotta get them there -- no matter what it takes.
Administrators can increase parental attendance at conferences in the following ways:
Make parents aware of conference dates and goals.
Make it as easy as possible for every parent to attend the conferences.
Prepare teachers to conduct successful conferences.
Teachers can also help increase parental attendance:
Schedule conferences and notify parents.
Make it possible for all parents to get the maximum benefit from the conferences.
Plan ahead for a pleasant and productive conference.
Getting parents to attend the conference is only half the battle, however. Once they've arrived, you have to make it clear that their involvement is vital to their child's success. Experienced teachers offer the following quick tips to help get your conferences off on the right foot -- and keep them there:
Following the "script" below will help you make each conference a productive experience as well as a pleasant one.
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