Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Improving Parent Teacher Communication - Part 2

In this post, we will build on the ideas presented in Part 1 and discuss the idea of active listening.

by Tazee Mahjied, Advancing Opportunities Director of Consumer Advocacy.

The words that are spoken often don't address the root of the problem. A parent telling someone from the district, "I don't like my daughter's teacher," isn't really the issue. It's a byproduct. Don't get stuck on the byproduct. Taking an active listening course is something that can greatly benefit educators and social workers.

There are three points of active listening. They are clarifying, restating and summarizing.

Clarify to get as much information as you can.
Parent: "My son did not eat lunch for an entire week!"
Teacher: "That's not good. Was lunch not offered to him? Did he refuse lunch? What happened?"

Restate by repeating key points in the discussion. It shows you are listening. It gives the parent a chance to hear what he or she has said and the opportunity to correct the listener or possibly change what he or she said. It allows you to both continue in the same direction.
Parent: "He is refusing to eat because of the noise he makes when he eats. He is extremely self-conscious. He was okay with the group he ate with last year."
Teacher: "The sounds he makes when he is eating keeps him from wanting to eat with his peers."

Summarize by pulling all the facts together. Hopefully, this will lead to a game plan you can both agree upon. Teacher: "So, what I'm hearing is that your son hasn't been eating because of his self-consciousness about the sounds he makes. Perhaps if we allowed him to have lunch with his friends from last year he would start eating again."

Sometimes there's no easy way to resolve a difficult situation. However, you can avoid the trap of reacting to emotions and harboring ill feelings by maintaining professionalism and demonstrating your commitment to providing the student with appropriate services.

No comments:

Post a Comment