Using Technology to Improve Parent-Teacher Communication
As a teacher or school administrator, you’re well aware: Establishing a clear line of communication between teachers and parents is essential to the success of students.
Effective communication helps foster supportive, understanding parents who are less likely to monopolize your time when they—uh oh—spot you at the grocery store. Since parents want to know your concerns before things snowball, you can build trust by keeping parents in the loop with proactive communication.
3 Ways to Improve Parent-Teacher Communication with Technology
While using parent-teacher communication tools can save you valuable time, increased transparency and access can make parents feel more entitled to know everything about your classroom. Luckily, your classroom can benefit from the pros of using technology to communicate with parents without suffering from the cons.
There are a variety of ways to communicate with parents using technology: email, text, and classroom management software are three of the most common. Let’s look at each tool and communication strategies to effectively maximize parent trust and minimize parent entitlement, all while reinforcing student accountability.
Email. According to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, “Emails are often misconstrued due to ambiguous tone or lack of facial cues.” To optimize email communication with parents, teachers must:
- Create initial relationships with families in-person,
- Develop, share, and enforce an email policy,
- And create a plan for managing email: decide how much time (and what period of time) you will devote to email.
Text. Different apps and platforms make it easy to communicate with parents via text. Most tools give you the ability to send a message to an individual parent or student, or a group of parents or students. Here are some best practices for school-to-parent texting:
- Consider and abide by legal limitations like the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA),
- Communicate short-term information (e.g. tonight’s homework, picture day tomorrow) rather than long-term plans (e.g. math progress, classroom behavior),
- And include concrete examples of how students can be more successful.
Classroom management software. Classroom management software (like Otus) is a more comprehensive approach to parent-teacher-student communication. It combines email and text, along with digital resources, student blogs, a gradebook, and recognitions. Here are three unique advantages of classroom management software:
- Parents can view grades and student portfolios on one platform (e.g. Otus’ family account),
- Parents can access classroom announcements online—no more, “That piece of paper never made it home.”,
- And parents can easily communicate with teachers via email or text within a single system.
You Can Improve Parent-Teacher Communication
Whether you use email, text, or a more comprehensive classroom management system to engage with parents, you can improve parent-teacher communication with classroom technology. Establish a clear line of communication, maximize parent trust, minimize parent entitlement, and reinforce student accountability.
Parents will appreciate your professionalism and respect your boundaries. Here’s to more effective and efficient parent-teacher communication.