The compelling case for communication
Effective communication between schools, parents, the community and students forms the foundation of developing and maintaining partnerships. To have a significant impact on student outcomes, communication needs to be focused on student learning. It must also be a genuine exchange of information and ideas between the school, the home and the community.
- Schools seek advice from parents about their children's needs and aspirations.
- Parents and teachers keep each other informed about students' progress.
- Community members and groups share their unique knowledge and perspectives.
Gray's School - engaging parents
Staff and parents at Gray's School (UK) describe the value of effective communication and partnerships with parents that focus on student learning. Includes ideas about using online technologies to aid communication(FLV, 4.17mins). Click through to YouTube to learn more about Gray's School.
Effective communication needs a common language. Schools have a responsibility to help parents understand the 'language of learning' - the language used to communicate expectations to students and help them meet these expectations.
Without this language, parents find it much harder to work with schools to discuss their children's needs and aspirations, and harder to talk to children at home about learning (Hattie, 2012).
'Schools need to work in partnership with parents to make their expectations appropriately high and challenging, and then work in partnership with children and the home to realize, and even surpass, these expectations' (Hattie, 2012, p. 70)
Guiding questions on school communication
- How can schools, parents and the community work together to focus communications on student learning?
- What steps are/can be taken to ensure that school-home communication about students' learning needs, expectations and progress, are positive and meaningful?
- What steps are taken to ensure teachers and parents know and agree what they need to discuss?
- What is done to develop and sustain a shared language of learning between teachers and parents? How is this language used to explore the learning development, challenges and successes of the students?
- How do the school, parents and the community develop a shared set of expectations about learning?
- How does the school ensure forms of communication are appropriate for the diverse families and members of the school community, including:
- working parents
- parents with language barriers
- parents without ready access to appropriate internet services, and
- community partners including not-for-profit organisations, industry and business?