Here are some helpful hints for parent conferences. Research has shown that parental involvement is key in student achievement. The article was from the Harvard Family Research Project.
Parent–Teacher Conferences: A Tip Sheet for Parents
As a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. You and your child’s school have
something in common: You both want your child to learn and do well. When parents and teachers talk
to each other, each person can share important information about your child’s talents and needs. Each
person can also learn something new about how to help your child. Parent–teacher conferences are a
great way to start talking to your child’s teachers. This tip sheet suggests ways that you can make the
most of parent-teacher conferences so that everyone wins, especially your child.
What should you expect?
A two-way conversation. Like all good conversations,
parent–teacher conferences are best when both people
talk and listen. The conference is a time for you to
learn about your child’s progress in school: Ask to see
data about your child’s attendance, grades, and test
scores. Find out whether your child is meeting school
expectations and academic standards. This is also a
time for the teacher to learn about what your child is
like at home. When you tell the teacher about your
child’s skills, interests, needs, and dreams, the teacher
can help your child more.
Emphasis on learning. Good parent–teacher
conferences focus on how well the child is doing in
school. They also talk about how the child can do even
better. To get ready for the conversation, look at your
child’s homework, tests, and notices before the
conference. Be sure to bring a list of questions that you
would like to ask the teacher.
Opportunities and challenges. Just like you, teachers
want your child to succeed. You will probably hear
positive feedback about your child’s progress and areas for improvement. Be prepared by
thinking about your child’s strengths and challenges beforehand. Be ready to ask questions
about ways you and the teacher can help your child with some of his or her challenges.
What should you talk to the teacher about?
Progress. Find out how your child is doing by asking questions like: Is my child performing at
grade level? How is he or she doing compared to the rest of the class? What do you see as his or
her strengths? How could he or she improve?
Assignments and assessments. Ask to see examples of
your child’s work. Ask how the teacher gives grades.
Your thoughts about your child. Be sure to share your
thoughts and feelings about your child. Tell the teacher
what you think your child is good at. Explain what he or
she needs more help with.
Support learning at home. Ask what you can do at home
to help your child learn. Ask if the teacher knows of other
programs or services in the community that could also
help your child.
Support learning at school. Find out what services are
available at the school to help your child. Ask how the
teacher will both challenge your child and support your
child when he or she needs it.
How should you follow up?
Make a plan. Write down the things that you and the teacher will each do to support your
child. You can do this during the conference or after. Write down what you will do, when, and
how often. Make plans to check in with the teacher in the coming months.
Schedule another time to talk. Communication should go both ways. Ask how you can contact
the teacher. And don’t forget to ask how the teacher will contact you too. There are many ways
to communicate—in person, by phone, notes, email. Make a plan that works for both of you. Be
sure to schedule at least one more time to talk in the next few months.
Talk to your child. The parent–teacher conference is all about your child, so don’t forget to
include him or her. Share with your child what you learned. Show him or her how you will help
with learning at home. Ask for his or her suggestions.
Checklist: Before the conference
Schedule a time to meet. If you
can’t go at the scheduled time, ask
the teacher about other times.
Review your child’s work, grades,
and progress reports.
Talk with your child about his or
her progress in school.
Talk with others—family
members, after school staff,
mentors, etc.—about your child’s
strengths and needs.
Make a list of questions to ask
during the conference.
Think about ways you would like
to be involved in your child’s
learning so that you can discuss
them with the teacher.
Harvard Family Research Project Harvard Graduate School of Education 3 Garden Street Cambridge, MA 02138
Website: www.hfrp.org Email: email@example.com Tel: 617-495-9108 Fax: 617-495-8594