From the Master Teacher
In my new position, there are fewer opportunities to include parents. Typically, our consultants meet parents to debrief any assessments. That is what I will focus on in this post. In some schools, this step is not thought of as important but we work to let schools know it is so important for parents to understand the assessments the school has requested. Rather than using this as purely information for coding and funding, this information can help parents understand what kind of learner their child is.
I found an interesting blog post around assessment and how it can be used to change our teaching practice. It is so important for teachers to be in the debrief with the parents. This gives the opportunity for parents and teachers to become partners in the education of the student who is struggling. When they both hear the information regarding strengths and challenges for the student, they can begin the process of using those strengths and working on the challenges.
If parents are included with the teachers, what a powerful team we have created. Together with the knowledge from the consultant and then acting on the suggestions by this expert will result in success for the student. However, this will only happen if the parents and teachers are on the same page. Just as we hope parents will be part of the learning team for the student who is experiencing success, this team is even more important for the student who is struggling.
Often in the case of a struggling student, the parents become frustrated if nothing is happening in the classroom or they perceive nothing is happening because no communication is occurring with the classroom. This leads to frustrations and then no collaboration will occur. It becomes a "them" and "us" situation where
no one wins - especially the student.
But if parents are considered part of the team, treated with the respect we give to other team members, and communicated with regularly, particularly in the case of the student with special needs included in the regular classroom, success is bound to happen for the student!
We continue to coach schools to make sure parents and teachers (and students when they are old enough to understand) are debriefed regarding the results. This is an important piece of the assessment process.