One of the elements of Teacher’s Standards 8 involves effective communication with parents.
“Communicate effectively with parents with regard to pupils’ achievements and well-being.”
A few years ago, this was a thought that terrified me, but my voluntary experience outside of the school setting is something that enabled me to be confident in doing this when I began my university degree and began placements in schools.
During my free time I work as a Brownie leader- I find this to be a truly wonderful and rewarding experience. Not only is it great for me, as I myself grew up in Girl-guiding, but it also allows me to continuously develop strategies of working with children, planning and of course communicating effectively with parents.
As a main leader, this is something that I do regularly.
Writing– In writing I often send out newsletters to parents detailing events that are happening within the unit. I will send out letters of trips that we are running such as our latest trip to Cadbury World.
Talking– Parents drop off their children at the meeting each week, and it is here were I will communicate verbally with parents. Such discussions may involve, talking about the child’s welfare, discussing picking up arrangements, and continuously answering any questions that the parents may have.
Having this weekly experience of speaking with parents has allowed me to grow in confidence. When on placement this year, I was able to apply these skills to effectively communicate with parents of children in my class.
Whilst I was on placement- my visiting tutor gave me a tip on how to communicate effectively when speaking to parents. She called it the sandwich!
Bread 1- Talk to the parents- introduce with something good, a smile, a positive thing that has happened.
Filling– now talk to them about the issue/problem/concern/point you have. I.e. Flossie forgot her PE kit again today. Can you please send it in with her when she comes to school tomorrow.
Bread 2– Now it is time to close the sandwich. Finish on a good and positive note. “Flossie had a great today, especially her super work in Math’s. See you tomorrow.” This means that the parent is leaving not only with the message you intended to give, but with a smile.
Reflection: I especially love this idea that my visiting tutor suggested, and when I spoke to one of the parents after school a few weeks later, this is a strategy that I implemented. I will therefor use this in the future when communicating with parents and will also be able to apply it when communicating with Brownie parents when I return to the unit next week.