Parent Teacher - The Benefits of Creating a Supportive Parent Teacher Relationship

Good parent teacher communication is essential for a child's success in school. Recent studies indicate that the more actively involved a parent is in her child's school life, the more the child excels. When parents and teachers work together, a child has a team of adults who are committed to bringing out his best. As parents and teachers, how can we support each other in ways that keep this goal in mind?

Like all relationships, the parent teacher relationship is a dynamic. What one does affects the other, but the person who is most impacted is the child. What parents and teachers need to understand is that educational success is dependent on many factors: the child's self-perception, his desire to learn, and the ability of parents and teacher to engage him in a way that recognizes his needs, interests and motivates him from within.

Of course, struggles at home and school impact how he feels about himself, the world and his ability to meet new challenges, academic and otherwise. This alone should underscore the significance of the parent teacher alliance, but often parents and teachers become adversarial, focus on the wrong things or just fail to take advantage of the influence they have together.

The parent teacher relationship is a dynamic. What one does affects the other, but the person most impacted is the child.

When a child's teacher and parents make a mutual commitment to the best interests of the child, he feels supported on all fronts. With at least two adults as caring guides, he feels that he is competent to learn, but more importantly, he feels supported as a person.

Education is about much more than just academic success. We must use the parent teacher relationship to help children achieve a sense of competence and balance. This means encouraging the many facets of a child's development and helping him form what I call a "healthy core foundation," which includes self-perceptions, worldview and the willingness to learn how to form life-affirming relationships with others. When a child has a healthy core foundation, he has a strong desire to learn.

This doesn't require a change in the curriculum, it simply means that we must be attentive to opportunities as they arise and work together to help make lessons practical. In order for a child to learn what he needs to succeed in school and in life, he needs parents and teachers who communicate and support each other with regard to what they're teaching in their separate domains. True learning is experiential and extends to other facets of life. This is where the parent teacher relationship comes in.

For instance if a child is learning about money at school and the teacher takes the time to communicate this to the parents, the parent can take the child to the store to practice what he's learning at school. At the store, he gets to apply what he's learned: he has to pick out an item he can afford to purchase, select the proper bills to pay for it and check to make sure the cashier has given him the right amount of change. The excitement of making his first purchase and satisfaction that comes from doing so successfully fuels a child's desire to learn about the world in which he lives.

In much the same way, if a parent lets the teacher know that, at home, she is teaching her child to consider other people's feelings, the teacher can guide the child during a playground conflict to treat his classmates with respect and diplomacy. This is how good parent teacher communication supports the parent, teacher and ultimately, the child.

The real lessons of life are not learned in artificial environments, but extend into real life. When a child comes to understand that we are learning all the time (not just at school) and is guided in a way that emphasizes the learning process while making it practical, rather than focusing on artificial measures like grades and test scores, the child's joy of learning blossoms and becomes a lifelong quest.

In order for this to occur, the parent teacher relationship must be fostered. Click on parent teacher communication to learn tips on how parents and teachers can create a two-way dialogue and better support the interests of the children.

About the author: Laura Ramirez is the award-winning author of Keepers of the Children, a unique parenting book that combines ancient native ideas (like true child stewardship) with heart-centered psychology to teach parents how to raise children to discover their strengths and lead lives of meaning and fulfillment. In her book, Laura teaches how parenting is a path of self-discovery for child and parent.

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