You won’t likely wow parents by sharing the classroom rules and procedures. You will, however, wow them by sharing valuable information about their child. How do you do this effectively if you have to discuss lack of progress or less than acceptable behavior? What if I told you there is a research-based strategy for establishing a positive relationship between parents and teachers? Way to Go includes the theory, the research, components needed for you to implement the strategy, comments from experienced teachers who have implemented the strategy, and even the survey for you to replicate to determine your own results.
The success of the Way to Go strategy hinges on two points, the first point being that collaborative communication between parents and teachers will produce positive outcomes such as accurate information, rapport, and confidence in the mutual support of each other. On the other hand, one-sided communication will most likely yield accusation, assumptions and even gossip to gain support against the other party, and lack of mutual support (Schumacher, 2007).
The other point necessary for the success of the strategy is the depth of implementation on the parts of the school and individual teachers. Success of the Way to Go strategy will depend on the school’s taking responsibility for initiating the communication and that it must be positive. Parents already expect that the school will contact them when their child is misbehaving or falling behind. In fact, the expectation is so strong that the very appearance of the teacher’s name on their caller ID is grounds for many parents to experience an elevation in their heart rate (DeBruyn, 1999).
There are four distinct parts to the Way To Go strategy. Because I am an educator by profession, it helps me to remember them with the use of the acronym “TELL:”
T Tell the Teacher More Day
E Engage in the best avenue of communication for each family
L Listen without defense to the parent
L Lead as the professional