With student involved conferences coming up this week, you may recall my post last fall on Parent Conferences where I shared some helpful reminders for productively positive conversations with parents. For our spring conferences, I thought I’d share an article from ASCD, Making the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences, that provides some great reminders as we plan to build on our productive partnerships with parents in support of the students we serve. In the article, Margaret Wilson from Responsive Classroom reminds us to:
- Offer conversation starters. “What’s going well for Sam in school this year?”
- Invite parents to share their thoughts. They’re the experts.
- Highlight the positives. This BCS Moral Compass and be gratitude – relentless gratitude!
- Address just one or two concerns.
- Let parents know if you need thinking time.
She also reminds, and we know this all to well, to plan ahead for any surprises. Whether it focuses on their own or another student’s behavior, something unrelated to the focus of the conference or an academic surprise, Wilson shares some key reminders for us in responding to any surprises:
- Steer the conversation back to positives when conversation gets off topic.
- Focus on the child.
- Listen with empathy.
- Offer to get help.
Above all listen…Empathically Listen! Enjoy this time together with your students and parents and, with their participation, be sure they guide their parents down to see their c0-curricular teachers who are partners in their learning as well.
Finally, to get you in the mood, use the “expertise” in the video below from our Friends helping us with communication and the importance of being careful with both our verbal and non-verbal cues. Enjoy!