As the school year starts up and I start hearing ways of connecting with parents and caregivers, I am reminded of the importance of having conversations with those at home. I don't just mean having a casual chat when they call at school to pick up their children, big or small, although there is no doubt that those are crucial times to establish relationships and plant seeds of thinking about education.
No, I am talking about all of that, and more - making phone calls, sending newsletters, keeping an open and informative website and/or classroom blog, seeking information and feedback, having a parent/teacher meeting to open learning conversations, consultation or new initiatives, and individual, tete-a-tete conferences.
These events are so crucial for the welfare of children and particularly the welfare of their learning. It is difficult to break down barriers built up by lack of communication and misinformation. It is hard to fit everything into the school year but keeping the lines of communication open must be one of top priority.
Some teachers think that by sharing the work done in class, that is enough. But there needs to be a lot more to it than that. Blogs and Seesaw are awesome ways of sharing, but they also enable you to move beyond the sphere of showcasing into the realm of co-constructing ideas about learning and what is important for the child.
The most powerful blog posts that a child can make are ones where they are open to learning - that is, they demonstrate knowledge as a process. They do not just publish a final product, but they post the stages in building knowledge and get feedback from teachers and parents and hopefully both. They learn to become critical thinkers. How can a parent contribute to this learning? The same way that teachers do. Through acknowledging, questioning and suggesting.
How are you keeping the lines open so that conversations are not just one-way traffic?