There have been decades of research, showing that one of the most crucial factors impacting a child’s performance at school is how involved their parents are in their education. Healthy parent-teacher relationships and collaboration help boost a child’s performance at school, both academically and socially.
Parents are their child’s first educators and have a huge amount of influence over them, impacting how their child sees education, relationships and the world at large. Parents have the ability to support and motivate their children through their guidance. From the time that children are born, their parents showcase, develop and shape essential character traits like grit, resilience, persistence, growth and curiosity. A child’s emotional and social well being is most often shown through the strength of their relationships.
Parents have their children for longer time periods. Children are in school for about 15 percent of their childhood lives, but they are with their parents for most of their childhood lives.
The barriers to parent-teacher collaboration
Whether your child attends the Dubai international school or you simply want more information about the barriers to parent-teacher collaboration and how to overcome them as a parent, there are some barriers to parent-teacher collaboration from both the perspective of working parents and the school’s perspective:
- From a working parent’s perspective, working patterns can be inflexible, and childcare for siblings adds an extra pressure, especially for single parents. On top of these pressures, many parents’ own experience with school might not have been the best, so they see avoiding educators as the better option. The barriers between parents and teachers become more pronounced as the child becomes older, when communications between home and school rely on the child themselves offering vital information.
- From a school’s perspective, teachers often feel unsupported with increasing numbers of over-protective parents, who hover over their children and micromanage their friendships, protect them from mistakes and take issue with teachers when they tell their child the word “no.” Time and resources are in short supply for many teachers with increased expectations placed on schools to develop and deliver new strategies. The teachers’ relationships with parents are often limited to involvement in activities like attending parents’ evenings, which is more reactive rather than proactive engagement in learning. Parents have a wealth of knowledge, skills, qualifications and experience, but teachers often don’t harness this resource or seek parents’ understanding or insights into how they can work in a real partnership to make sure that children get the most out of their education.
There can be some mistrust between teachers and parents, which creates an obstacle to overcome.
Breaking down the barriers to parent-teacher collaboration
In order to break down these barriers to parent-teacher collaboration, it is important to acknowledge that neither teachers nor parents are the problems. They just need to change the way they are working together and acknowledge that while teachers are the education experts, parents are experts on their own children. Through a partnership or respect and appreciation, parents and teachers can better help their children navigate the learning process, deal with frustrations, cope with the uncertainty of life, adapt to evolving conditions and learn how to learn. Life can be difficult to navigate, especially for a child.
We recommend using the work of behavioral scientists, who give us insights into how parents and teachers can help nudge their children towards positive behaviors without heavy-handed methods. These tactics can open up a conversation between parents and teachers and transform the way that they work together.
Many schools ask parents to support their children with homework assignments, which can lead to arguments and parents feeling helpless for some families. A straightforward task or assignment can often take twice as long at home with all of the distractions and delaying tactics that go with it. With tactics from behavioral scientists, parents can have more constructive conversations with their children and help them avoid the distractions that prolong homework tasks.
Research shows that when parents receive timely information from the school or teachers by text message, with little prompts to encourage specific conversations about what was learned that day, homework or upcoming tests, the conversation between parents and their children around homework and studying. These texts can be specific, time-related and focused on something a parent can actually do, like reminding their child to study, leading the parents to ask their child if they can help them study for a specific upcoming test.
Children whose parents received these texts outperformed students whose parents did not receive the texts. This is something that costs very little to implement, and it is a simple technique that helps teachers engage with even the most difficult to reach parents. The smallest things often lead to the biggest changes. Parents and teachers can easily work together to provide the best for their children.