How can an effective parent-teacher relationship benefit children in learning and holistic development | The Financial Express

How can an effective parent-teacher relationship benefit children in learning and holistic development

Teachers and parents are the adults who make the most decisions for children and teach and guide them through direct and indirect actions, words and interactions.

How can an effective parent-teacher relationship benefit children in learning and holistic development
Children grow through a lot of changes and stages in their lives that are often affected by external and internal factors. (Photo source: Unsplash)

By Pooja Harlalaka, 

A child’s holistic development is often deeply influenced and potentially dependent on effective parent-teacher relationships. There is a lot of research evidence supporting that strong parent – teacher relationships have a positive impact on a child’s holistic development. While growing up children are most affected by the significant adults in their lives. They spend the majority of their time at home and in school. Therefore, immediate family, primarily parents and teachers become the most important and influential adults who have a vital role in shaping the lives of children. Teachers and parents are the adults who make the most decisions for children and teach and guide them through direct and indirect actions, words and interactions.

Teacher and parent relationships can affect how students feel at home and school and how well adjusted they are as they grow through the different stages of development. When there’s mistrust and disconnect between teachers and parents, parents might feel mistrustful and worried about their child at school and teachers might feel disrespected and doubted. This can lead the student to feel unsettled, confused and anxious. When teachers and parents have positive strong collaborative relationships, teachers feel trusted and valued, parents feel secure and in turn students feel calm, relaxed, safe and cared for overall. This gives them the confidence to grow into their best selves, reaching their full potential across different developmental areas.

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Children grow through a lot of changes and stages in their lives that are often affected by external and internal factors. Oftentimes children are affected by things that adults might not anticipate or recognise unless they maintain close attention and relationships with the child and each other. By maintaining an open line of communication between parents and teachers, they can ensure that student learning and development is consistent across school and home. This way if a child is struggling in any academic or social areas, it can be taken care of, and they can be appropriately supported in a timely manner. The process of doing this effectively and efficiently to have the best possible results on holistic development for the child can look like: Inconsistencies and struggles identified early on at home or school, then parent and teacher meet to exchange notes and come up with a common plan to be followed at home and school, then put the plan in action and report results and reflections to each other to take further decisions and action.

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As with any other relationship, both teacher and parents can and must make explicit efforts to make this relationship purposeful, helpful and result driven, to have a positive impact on a child’s academic and social learning, emotional well-being, their holistic development. Below are some specific steps that can be taken towards this.

Some ways teachers can build and maintain effective relationships with parents:

  1. Share updates of what is happening in class through various means such as quick sneak peaks of pictures and videos from class, resources of what was taught in class, syllabus of what is expected to be taught in class, updates via the school newsletter.
  2. Inform parents via email or phone call when their child experiences something wonderfully positive or unusually sad or unsafe at school along with some suggestions of what parents can do related to the situation, if needed.
  3. When unsure, curious, concerned about something related to a child’s health, academics or social behaviour, meet with parents with the approach to collaboratively solve the problem. Together try to understand the situation clearly, identify possible causes and agree on next steps.
  4. Provide strategies that they can effectively use with their child at home if they are struggling with academic or social concerns. Make sure to explain why the strategies are relevant and teach them exactly how to use the strategies effectively.
  5. Share strengths of the child while also discussing any areas of need or struggle.

Some ways parents can build and maintain trust and effective relationships with teacher:

  1. Share important information with the teacher related to a child’s health, academic or social learning and behaviour and family dynamics.
  2. Participate in school activities that are extended for families or that request parent volunteers. This could include becoming class representatives, sharing knowledge with students through talks, volunteering for school events such as field trips, farewells, read aloud weeks etc.
  3. Try not to aggressively question or talk negatively about the child’s teacher in front of them or to them. Try to resolve any conflicts or misunderstandings by respectfully addressing it with the teacher directly.
  4. Ask questions related to their programs, curriculums and any concerns that might arise with the purpose of understanding what their children are learning and being able to best support them.
  5. Share praise and appreciation and positive feedback, not only issues and negative feedback.

Trying to maintain open, honest, respectful communication both ways is key. Almost everything can be solved when approached from a collaborative problem-solving lens with always focusing on having the child’s best interest at the forefront as the goal.

“Together let’s give our children the roots to grow and the wings to fly.”

(The author is Head of Counselling/ Socio-Emotional Learning, The Acres Foundation. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)

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