- Dr. Melanie Morgan, a kindergarten teacher serving on a military base school in Texas, shares strategies that can be used to communicate with students and parents who have limited English skills.
- One-way translators, songs, visuals and games that can be used to help communicate with students in a multicultural classroom are a few strategies she has found successful.
- Other strategies such as online translators and special communication applications can be used to provide quick and effective communication with parents.
A Harvard study demonstrated the importance of teacher-family communication in increasing student achievement. On average, the study says, effective family engagement “increases odds that students completed their homework by 40%, decreased instances in which teachers had to redirect students’ attention to the task at hand by 25%, and increased class participation rates by 15%.” The survey concluded that these results were due to stronger teacher-student relationships, expanded parental involvement and increased student motivation.
This study confirmed what most teachers already knew: that parents make a difference and are often one of the most underutilized resources in education. Though most teachers see the need for strong teacher-parent communication, the reality is that such communication is often unwieldy and time-consuming. In the end, busy teachers often find it easier to go it alone.
However, administrators can help develop ways to engage parents by making communication between parents easier through the use of a number of communication apps designed for this purpose. Some, like the Bloomz app mentioned in the article, provide translations which allow for smoother communication with parents who have limited English skills. Another way to engage parents in the educational process is by implementing a Parent University model, which provide parents with the skills they need to become allies with teachers in the process of education. Building stronger communication with parents can help provide needed support for teachers and students.