Human Development and Family Studies (including Early Childhood Education)
Education; Parent-Teacher Communication; Parent-Teacher Collaboration
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An educator is defined as someone who provides instruction to others. What this definition does not include is how the role of a teacher or educator goes far beyond merely providing instructions and teaching others. In order to be effective, teachers must learn how to adequately communicate and collaborate with their students, other education professionals, and families. Especially in the education field, teachers must learn how to communicate and collaborate with each student’s family to help create positive, productive, and beneficial professional relationships.
Communication should be ongoing and should be carried out in a manner that works for both the parents and the teacher. Therefore, for a teacher to be able to communicate and collaborate effectively with others, they must first understand that there is not one form of communication that works best with every individual or family. Just as each student learns differently and is most successful when instruction can be differentiated to their learning style, every family is unique and has distinct values, a distinct structure, and distinct needs. Some families may need more frequent communication with their children’s educators than other families do, and some may need additional resources - such as technology access or translated materials - to communicate fully.
As a future educator, I wanted to learn more about the importance of communication and collaboration with families in an educational setting and how I can best utilize them in my teaching. To help meet these goals, I researched best practices in communication and collaboration for different types of families, specifically considering families who have a child with disabilities; families who may speak English as a second language; and families who are living in low-income areas.