Home & School

| May 19, 2010

What does the relationship between school and home look like today?

Traditionally, the parent-teacher conference has been the accepted model for relations between a student’s family and their teacher. For years that process has been the norm, but now it is changing. In more and more schools, students are leading the conferences, and technology is opening the door for new forms of communication.

Education Weekly reported

Many teachers themselves speak enthusiastically of the advantages of student-led conferences over teacher-led ones. “We found the [student-led] conferences most beneficial,” said Keith Eddinger of the Marcus Whitman Middle School in Rushville, New York.
“From a teacher’s perspective, we were able to get a better picture of each child. It forced us to sit down with each student and review strengths and weaknesses. This conversation often told us the students learned more than perhaps we had measured through conventional assessments.”

provides more information around models to include the students and how it allows for fostering more responsible learners. “The focus is less about the academic grades and focuses more on the student as a learner and how their skills are developing, it is all directed at the kids.”

Additionally, with numerous ways technology allows for communication, how is this affecting the connections between school and home? An article featured in GOOD calls for parent teacher conferences needing to evolve for the 21st Century.

A growing number of teachers create classroom websites or blogs and post what their class will be learning that week and what assignments are due. Teachers are able to be in touch with parents easily via email. Also K-12 schools can use third party sites where parents log in and view their children’s grades and homework. In districts that use such services, up to 70 percent of parents say they check their children’s progress at least once a week and feel more connected to the school. Should maintaining a blog or online communication be mandatory in all schools today?

I would be interested to know how many schools still use the parent teacher model and what the demographics for a model of continuous communication between the school and home look like. In addition beyond blogging and access to grades are their models that exist where technology supports student lead conferences or some blending of online communication and a more active student role.