Learning partnership strategies for schools
- Build relationships with local service agencies that support your student cohort, such as early years, health and teen support.
- Provide parent/teacher workshops targeting areas of need or interest such as student resilience, literacy and numeracy.
- Parents will be more likely to participate in supporting their children's learning when they believe they are able and expected to be active participants. Work with parents to identify ways they can help their child's learning at home, for example:
- provide advice about setting up spaces and routines for homework
- encourage parents to take a supportive interest in their child's progress
- provide extra resources and activities that parents can use to enrich learning in areas of interest or need including during holidays
- include practical activities in homework that involve parents, especially in literacy and numeracy.
- School leaders can support teachers' capability to work with parents as learning partners, particularly:
- understanding the rationale for parent and community engagement and developing commitment to it as a key aspect of effective teaching
- developing strategies for working with parents to identify appropriate roles they can play in learning partnerships
- developing teachers' capacity to use different media to support learning partnerships including online materials and spaces.
- Find efficient and effective ways to demonstrate important concepts or processes to support parents working with their children. These may include on-site workshops or the use of online spaces and/or materials such as podcasts or vodcasts. See online resources for more information about selecting and using online media and spaces.
- Work with parents and community organisations to access expertise and perspectives that support the curriculum. Guests and partners may be able to engage more regularly and conveniently through online tools such as web conferencing or virtual classrooms.
- Connect culture and learning by partnering with Elders in educational experiences. Where appropriate contact your Indigenous Schooling Support Unit or Region for professional support.
- Design and develop learning partnership strategies that are appropriate for parents of children at different ages and stages of development. For example:
Make contact with parents early in the school year and take steps to make them feel welcome into your classroom.
Encourage parents to read to children every night.
Consistently talk with students and parents about your high expectations for the student.
Discuss with parents how they can consistently reinforce appropriately high expectations, and stretch and challenge their child's learning at home.
Encourage parents to have children read aloud regularly from a variety of texts.
Communicate with parents about teaching and learning to build a shared language.
Encourage parents to provide motivation and assistance with homework and assignments.
Enlist parents to help organise workshop sessions for other parents on topics of interest or need.
Hold student-led conferences with staff members, families and community participants.
Set homework that helps to develop channels of communication between parents and students, e.g. analyse political or social issues or books, films and television programs.
Encourage students and parents each term to develop a realistic study plan.
Encourage parent attendance at career expos and to expose their child to the range of career paths available.
Enlist parents to help students deal with distractions and competing priorities.
Specific strategies to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- Build partnerships with parents and the community by engaging with individual students and their parents or caregivers.
- Work with families and students to develop learning partnerships that focus on a student's needs and aspirations so that there is a shared and agreed purpose for learning and rectifying particular issues (e.g. attendance) becomes a means rather than an end.
- Maintain a positive view of the student and their capacity to improve, their outcomes as well as developing a shared set of high expectations for all students.
- Work with parents and caregivers to identify specific roles and forms of involvement that will support the student.
- Ensure that learning partnerships or plans are respectful of students, their families and cultures. Partnerships that respect and value a student's cultural knowledge and obligations are more likely to nurture the student's cultural identity.
- Work closely with Indigenous education workers at the school or key members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in developing learning partnerships. This is especially important for non-Indigenous staff or staff new to the school (National Curriculum Services, 2011b).
- Consult key staff for advice on engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents, carers and communities, such as Regional Community Education Counsellors, school based Community Education Counsellors (CECs) or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teacher Aides.
Mareeba State School - families as first teachers
Staff and parents at Mareeba State School describe how learning partnerships have been established with families to improve school readiness for early years students (FLV, 2:10 mins). Click through to YouTube to learn more about Mareeba State School.