Friday, August 28, 2009

Improving Parent Teacher Communication - Part 1

With the start of school approaching rapidly - it seemed like a good time to share these tips about communication between school and home.

By Tazee Mahjied, Advancing Opportunities Director of Consumer Advocacy.

When communicating with a parent, one thing holds true: you can only control what one person says -- yourself. While most parents are pleasant, some raise their voices
and get upset. It comes with the territory. There are things you can do to help avoid these types of conflicts. There are three basic principles of communicating that
can make the difference between structured resolution and due process. They are reaction, perception and presentation.

Reaction: Know thyself. How do you take things? It's not realistic to be emotionless when being confronted by an emotional parent. If you know your triggers and recognize your feelings, you can do a quick self-inventory and move on to the true purpose of your conversation. Your reaction can guide the entire exchange with a parent.

Perception: How do you see things? Perception is reality. It's not so much what is said, but rather what is heard. You know how you perceive the parent's message. How do you think they'll perceive yours?

Presentation: How you present your point may influence the parent's perception. Body language, facial expression and tone of voice can impact a listener more than the words that are spoken. Some parents may take a little longer to get a clear picture of your intent. Be patient and be willing to take the extra time to ensure that they fully understand what you are saying.

Next time - we'll discuss the three points of active listening.

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