As a school Principal, one of the critical areas I reflect on daily is relationships. Relationships with my students, with my staff, with our families, and with our community. As I work on my doctorate to prepare for a Central Office role one day, I have selected my dissertation topic. Can you guess it? Yep, school/family relationships and their impact on student achievement. So why are relationships so important? How does parent-teacher communication impact what we do in schools? How can Nearpod play a role?
Relationships are the oil to our machine. It is our ability to know each other, support each other, collaborate and communicate that determines our success in our endeavors. To build a school that is successful with academics and interventions, we need to have a staff that is communicative, collaborative, and supportive of one another through the good times and the bad. Relationships are key.While they might not attend our support meetings, staff meetings, and PD, parents play a critical role in the learning success of their child. 🙌Click To Tweet
Why is Parent-Teacher Communication Important?
As a school principal, my goal is to make our parents and community feel as integrated in our school learning community as our students and staff are. They are giving their most precious item into our care each day. While we may have the expertise in educational foundations and learning, families need to be partners in this process, developing this learning both in the structured school environment and at home. This truly develops life-long learners. We want them to feel as invested and part of the solution as we are. While they might not attend our support meetings, staff meetings, and PD, they play a critical role in the learning success of their child.
As we increase our communication with parents, it needs to be a conversation, not a speech. We often communicate through letters or videos, with little feedback from the families. How can we break that barrier? Can we communicate more with a true conversation?
How Nearpod Can Help
As a parent, I sure love ❤️ getting a text📱during the day showing what my child is doing in class 👨🎓
— Jeni Long (@jlo731) October 24, 2019
Nearpod is one of the answers. Nearpod’s strength comes from its ability to interact with your audience. You can gather live feedback and provide interactive content for them. You can present media and information and then hear back their thoughts and feelings in many different ways. It is this interactive element that is key in breaking the communication barrier with families.
Breaking the Barrier
Some ways of breaking through this barrier may include sending out a weekly post using Nearpod on Student-Paced Mode. By sharing the generated code Nearpod provides for a session, parents can navigate the weekly post on self-paced mode. Besides including useful information, you can also include interactive media and images such as new procedure walkthroughs, and first day of school fun. Sprinkled throughout you can have interactive slides that ask for parent feedback, such as Collaborate!, Polls, or Open-Ended Questions. This gives the parents convenient access to information, while also providing useful feedback in an efficient package.
Another idea may be working together to build unity. If you want to design a new family crest for your school community, use Nearpod to have parents offer up designs using a drawing slide. You can then take these to a student committee to help come up with a winning design. Ultimately, you want your families to be a part of the school and learning community, breaking down obstacles that can cause confusion or frustration.
— Lozetta Hayden (@Quencessh) September 5, 2019
Now, communication letters can be Nearpods. Parents can see a youtube video about the upcoming week, read an info-graph on our academic work, and provide feedback and information for us. They can provide this through drawings, text, polls, or even videos of their own. Discover more ways to use Nearpod to connect with parents.
When families truly have a voice, they are more invested in your work as a school. It’s time we increased our tools to communicate to our families, and more importantly start listening to what they have to say too! It matters, and it truly makes a difference.
Ron Farrow is PioNear and and Elementary Principal in Missouri.