Preparing for a Parent-Teacher Conference
By Dr. Elanna S. Yalow, Ph.D.
As parents, you are the most important component of your child's education. Educational research consistently demonstrates that parental involvement is one of the most powerful predictors of a child’s success in school.
An important part of your taking part in your child's education is to attend parent/teacher conferences. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your conference.
- Ask your child for a self-evaluation ("How do you think you're doing in Mr. Smith's class?").
- Ask if there is anything your child would like you to ask or tell the teacher. Write it down, so your child can see that you are listening carefully and that these issues are important.
- Share important information about your child with the teacher. Teachers benefit from your insights into your child. Don't be surprised if the teacher sees different qualities and traits in your child. After all, your child is operating under a different set of guidelines at school than at home.
- Discuss your suggestions regarding ways to support your child's educational experience. Use the conference as an opportunity to develop a strong partnership with your child's teacher.
- Talk with your child about the conference. Emphasize all the positive comments. Phrase the "needs improvement" portion of the report in a way that helps your child achieve success. Ask your child for suggestions and offer your own ideas. Your follow-through will be very helpful and supportive to your child.
Remember to talk to your child's teacher when you can and support your child's efforts to complete classroom assignments. The academic and social growth and development of your child is a team effort involving teachers, you, and your child.
Dr. Yalow is President and COO of Knowledge Learning Corporation (www.knowledgebeginnings.com).
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