The following video presents a parent-teacher conference scenario involving a student whose family does not speak English as their first language. Take notes about what you think is positive about this conference and what could be improved.
Now, watch the next video to hear some feedback on this parent-teacher conference.
Additional Exercises: Situation # 1
1. Read this imaginary situation between a classroom teacher and the parents of a student. How could the teacher improve communication skills with the parents and therefore create a stronger school-to-home connection?
Teacher: Welcome Mr. and Mrs. Parents to Carl’s second grade classroom. Have a seat over here please.
Parents: Thank you. We’re happy to be here.
Teacher: How are you this evening?
Parents: We’re very fine.
Teacher: Well, let’s get started. I know you probably have questions about how Carl is assimilating in our school. I just wanted to say he is a real pleasure to have in our class. He listens very well and tries very hard.
Parents: He’s a good boy. How are his studies? Is he keeping up with his classmates?
Teacher: Well, as you can imagine, Carl’s proficiency is lower than his American classmates. I benchmarked him when he got here and he was about a year and a half behind the majority of the students. I have him in an instructional group for accelerated learning so I hope we’ll see a lot of progress this year.
Parents: Oh, ok. Is there anything we can do to help him?
Teacher: Hmm… he’s doing quite well in math as you may have seen from his score on the last quarterly math assessment. He scored in the top percentile on this relatively tough standardized test. Even though Carl is an ELL, he’s doing really well in Math. The only thing, of course, because English is his second language, he’s behind in LA and Reading. Has he been reading the books I’ve been sending home?
Parents: Oh, yes. We also read them together sometimes. And sometimes he reads them to his younger sister. He’s such a good boy.
Teacher: That’s great. So if he can keep that up it’ll definitely help.
*NOTE: Click on the attached file for an analysis of this dialogue. ParentTeacherConference-Situation01reflect
Situation # 2
1. Read this imaginary situation between two classroom teachers. How do you think they might have misunderstood Sue’s parents? What could be another possibility(s) for the miscommunication between the teacher and parents? How would you talk with the parents differently?
Teacher A: It was nice to see the parents again. And wasn’t it nice of Wendy’s mom to bring the cupcakes?
Teacher B: Yeah, they were delicious. I’m glad all the parents showed up. It was so productive.
Teacher A: The only thing though…I’m worried about Sue. You know how I’ve told you about her not doing homework and being off task during independent time?
Teacher B: Yeah. I thought it was going better. Didn’t you say you had started a goal-setting sheet with her?
Teacher A: I did. She’s definitely doing better during independent time…now that I’ve made more choices for my early finishers. But she’s slipped back to her old routines with the homework, especially for the Language Arts homework I give. When I ask them to review it with a partner, she doesn’t have anything to do.
Teacher B: Hmm…that’s too bad. What did her parents say?
Teacher A: Well, that’s the surprising part…ahhh…her mom gave a little giggle.
Teacher B: She laughed?
Teacher A: Yeah, she put her hand over her mouth and gave a little laugh. I couldn’t believe it.
Teacher B: What happened then?
Teacher A: Well, I was a little embarrassed but what can I do? I just politely tried to explain my expectations, the importance of doing homework, and how I have some homework assignments tied into cooperative learning. I told them their support would be really beneficial.
Teacher B: So did they agree?
Teacher A: I guess. I didn’t exactly understand their explanation but it sounds like they don’t even check her homework or anything. I don’t get it. Their English is definitely good enough, and they seem like good parents the way they talked about the value of education and all the extra studying they have her do after school.