Guest post: How to encourage parents to help struggling students

Teaching

At some point, every student struggles. Some find it hard in the first year of school, whilst others race ahead of their peers but flounder once they’ve reached their teen years.

As a teacher, you can’t give every student full attention. Though you do your best to adapt your lessons for a very wide range of abilities, there are some occasions when a student needs even more time.

When 93% of parents feel anxious about their child’s education, how do you turn anxiety into action?


Here’s how you can encourage parents to help struggling students:

1) Consider the parent’s ability

Many parents want to help, but don’t have the confidence to do so. Perhaps they also struggled in school, or are very aware that teaching methods have changed.

Could you spare 10 minutes at the end of the school day, to sit down with a parent and teach them? They’ll be able to take that lesson away, and pass it on to their son or daughter.

If it won’t be a quick lesson, maybe they’d be willing to do an adult learning course for their own benefit and their child’s?

Teaching

2) Suggest additional learning and tutoring

Many parents believe that kids spend too much time in the classroom. And even as a teacher, those days can seem long. But, they’re really not long enough for students that are struggling. There’s not enough time in the school week to support those who need extra help.

If you believe that a student needs more time, care and attention, then you can suggest that the parent considers tutoring. They shouldn’t see it as an extra burden on top of an already difficult school day, but as something that can make the average school day much easier.

3) Provide a list of local places

Encourage parents to take their children to libraries, museums, theatres and other public places. Some parents won’t know about the many local resources that are there to enjoy with their children.

You can send a list home with each child, so that no parent feels singled out. Make it a list of places to visit to enhance a child’s learning, no matter what level they’re at.

Remember that many parents are on low budgets, so it will help to have plenty of free and very cheap attractions on the list.

Teaching

4) Get parents more connected with school and each other

Host a wide variety of events for parents. As well as Parents’ Evening, where they can speak to you specifically, why not host a social evening that takes place in the classroom?

Many parents don’t realise how much their child is struggling. Some know that their child is falling behind, but don’t think of it as a big deal. When parents get together to talk about their children, they’ll compare their strengths and weaknesses together. A parent with a struggling child might begin to see the issue when another parent suggests it, rather the class teacher.

Events in school will also make parents more comfortable in the setting, and more relaxed around the staff. That way, they’ll feel more able to speak up if they’re worried about their child’s development.

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