Parent-Teacher relationships are critical to a child’s education, yet in our busy lives we so often neglect to cultivate them. And without effective communication, misunderstandings can lead to conflict.
A panel at this year’s Beijing International Schools Expo (2017 BISE) will give parents a chance to discuss this important topic with teachers and school leaders. Educators on the panel will share their philosophies and strategies for success, and parents will have an opportunity to raise their own questions, concerns and ideas.
“The most important aspect of parent teacher relationships is trust,” according to Lara Ronalds, PYP Coordinator at Innova International Academy, who is one of the expert speakers at BISE. “Trust from both the teacher and the parent. This can only occur after a parent and teacher have built a relationship and develop positive forms of communication and this takes time.”
Principal Yew Yi of Huijia Private School agrees. “Mutual trust and appreciation play an essential and significant role in helping parents and teachers establish and maintain a good relationship. A good parent-teacher relationship would influence students’ academic learning and emotional development in a positive way, and vice-versa. In other words, when communication between parents and teachers breaks down, students would be at disadvantage.”
The theme of trust is a common one among our panelists. “At Hyde Academy we communicate with the parents of our students every week to inform them about their child’s progress academically, emotionally, and socially,” said Bradley Nitschneider, Elementary Program Coordinator and Sixth Grade Homeroom Teacher at Hyde Academy, Beijing. “This consistent communication builds trust. We show that we care with words and actions.”
Evelyn Lucero, Literacy Coach at Beijing International Bilingual Academy (BIBA), makes the point that it’s different expectations that are often the cause of frustration between parents and teachers. “Many misconceptions happen when there is a lack of communication between parent and teacher,” she told us. “I always begin the year with both parents and students with an opportunity to share some of my goals and expectations of the relationship I plan to have with them.”
She finds WeChat helpful, and so does Meghan Dickie, Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher at the Canadian International School of Beijing (CISB). “I do make it clear to parents at the beginning of the year that WeChat contact should be used for updates (e.g. my child will not come to school today)” she said. “WeChat should not be used for discussion about students’ progress, as I prefer to do that through email or even better, by a face to face meeting.”
Daniel Smith, Assistant Head of Primary at the British School of Beijing, Shunyi (BSB Shunyi), agrees that technology, while helpful, is not enough on its own. “The communication has to be personal and real,” he said. “It is hugely important to interact face to face with the parent and begin to learn a little about each other’s personalities as it builds a relationship which is valuable and productive.”
To join the discussion, register for the Beijing International Schools Expo, which takes place on February 18-19, 2017 from 10am-4pm at the Crowne Plaza Beijing Chaoyang U-Town. Find out more information about the event here, or scan the QR code below:
Photo: Jose Kevo via Flickr