Presentation on theme: "ACTIVE FAMILY INVOLVEMENT: THE CORNERSTONE OF EDUCATIONAL PLANNING W Families know certain aspects of their children better than anyone else. As educators,"— Presentation transcript:
ACTIVE FAMILY INVOLVEMENT: THE CORNERSTONE OF EDUCATIONAL PLANNING W Families know certain aspects of their children better than anyone else. As educators, we must remind ourselves that we spend only about half the days of the year with our students, seeing them less than a third of each of those days. By listening to parents, educators can gain a more complete understanding of the student's life outside school. W Families have the greatest vested interest in seeing their children learn. In our eagerness to help children learn, we sometimes convey the message to parents that teachers care more about their children than they do. This is rarely the case. W The family is likely to be the only group of adults involved with a child's educational program throughout his or her entire school career. Professionals must build upon a family-centered vision for the child, rather than re-invent a student's educational program each year. W Families must live with the outcomes of decisions made by education teams all day, every day. As professionals, when we make decisions we must constantly remind ourselves that they are likely to affect other people besides the child and have an effect outside of school. [Source: From M. F. Giangreco, C. J. Cloninger, & V. S. Iverson, 1998, pp. 6-7] T 4.1 W. L. Heward, Exceptional Children, 6e, 2000 by Prentice-Hall, Inc. All rights reserved.
THE MANY ROLES OF THE EXCEPTIONAL PARENT Caregiver The level of caregiving required by some children with disabilities can be tremendous and cause added stress. Provider Providing for a child with disabilities often means additional expenses, sometimes in the thousands of dollars. Teacher In addition to systematic teaching techniques, some parents must learn to use, and/or teach their children to use, special equipment and assistive devices such as hearing aids, braces, and adapted eating utensils. Counselor Parents must deal with the feelings their child has as a result of his particular disability (e.g., "Will I still be deaf when I grow up?") Behavior Management Specialist The frequency and severity of challenging behaviors exhibited by some children with disabilities require their parents to become highly skilled in behavior management techniques. Parent of Siblings Without Disabilities Brothers and sisters of a child with disabilities often have concerns about their sibling's disability. Marriage Partner Having a child with disabilities can put stress on a marriage. Information Specialist/Trainer for Significant Others Parents must teach significant others to interact with their child in ways that facilitate acquisition and maintenance of adaptive behaviors. Advocate for School and Community Services Parents must acquire special knowledge and skills to work effectively with the school and community agencies. W. L. Heward, Exceptional Children, 6e, 2000 by Prentice-Hall, Inc. All rights reserved. T 4.2
PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION W Accept parents' statements. Acceptance means conveying to parents through verbal and nonverbal behavior that "I understand and appreciate your point of view"; it does not mean the teacher must agree with everything that a parent says. W Listen well. A good listener not only pays attention to the content of what is being said, but notes who said it and how they said it. A good listener also notes who is speaking. W Question effectively. To the extent possible, educators should use open-ended questions when communicating with parents, especially during conferences. (e.g., "What did Sharena do with her homework project last week?"). W Encourage. Describing or showing parents specific instances of their child's good behavior or improving performance encourages parental involvement. W Stay focused. Although customary greetings and some "small talk" are desirable before getting down to business, conversations between parents and teachers should keep their intended focus: the child's educational program and progress. [Source: From C. L. Wilson, 1995.] W. L. Heward, Exceptional Children, 6e, 2000 by Prentice-Hall, Inc. All rights reserved. T 4.3
BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE PARENT-TEACHER INTERACTION Parent as vulnerable client Teachers need parents and what they have to offer as much as parents need teachers. Professional distance Aloofness or coldness in the name of professionalism has hindered or terminated many parent-teacher relationships. Parents must believe the professional really cares about them and their family. Parent as patient Some professionals make the faulty assumption that having a child with disabilities causes the parent to need therapy. Parent as responsible for the child's condition Some parents do feel responsible for their child's disability and, with a little encouragement from a professional, can be made to feel completely guilty. Parent as less intelligent Parents' information and suggestions are given little recognition. Parents are considered too biased, too involved, or too unskilled to make useful observations. Parent as adversary Some teachers expect the worst whenever they interact with parents; a negative influence on new relationships. Parent in need of a label As with the students they teach, some educators seem eager to label parents. [Source: From P. Sonnenschein, 1981.] T 4.4 W. L. Heward, Exceptional Children, 6e, 2000 by Prentice-Hall, Inc. All rights reserved.
FOUR-STEP SEQUENCE FOR PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES Step 1 - Build Rapport. Establishing mutual trust and the belief that the teacher really cares about the student is important to a good parent-teacher conference. A minute or two should be devoted to relevant small talk. The teacher might begin with something positive about the child or family, instead of a superficial statement about weather or traffic. Step 2 - Obtain Information. Parents can provide teachers with important information for improving instruction. Teachers should use open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no; for example, "Which activities in school has Felix mentioned lately?" is better than "Has Felix told you what we are doing now in school?" Step 3 - Provide Information. The teacher should give parents concrete information about their child in jargon-free language. The teacher should share examples of schoolwork and data on student performance—what has already been learned and what needs to be learned next. Step 4 - Summarize and Follow up. The conference should end with a summary of what was said. The teacher should review strategies agreed on during the conference and indicate the follow-up activities that either party will do to help carry out those strategies. [Source: From T. M. Stephens and J. Wolf, 1989.] W. L. Heward, Exceptional Children, 6e, 2000 by Prentice-Hall, Inc. All rights reserved. T 4.5
GUIDELINES FOR COMMUNICATING WITH PARENTS AND FAMILIES OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES W Don't assume that you know more about the child, his needs, and how those needs should be met than the parents do. W Junk the jargon. Speak in plain, everyday language. W Don't let generalizations about parents of children with disabilities guide your efforts. W Be sensitive and responsive to the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of parents and families. W Don't be defensive toward or intimidated by parents. W Maintain primary concern for the child. W Help parents strive for realistic optimism. W Start with something parents can be successful with. W Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know." W. L. Heward, Exceptional Children, 6e, 2000 by Prentice-Hall, Inc. All rights reserved. T 4.7
GUIDELINES FOR PARENT TUTORING W Keep sessions short Aim for 15 to 20-minute sessions three or four days per week. W Make it a positive experience Parents should praise the child's attempts. W Keep responses to the child consistent By praising the child's successful responses (materials and activities at the child's appropriate instructional level are a must) and providing a consistent, unemotional response to errors (e.g., "Let's read that word again, together"), parents can avoid the frustration and negative results that can occur when home tutoring is mishandled. W Use tutoring to practice and extend skills already learned in school For example, use spelling or vocabulary words from school as the questions or items for an adapted board game. W Keep a record Parents, just like classroom teachers, can never know the exact effects of their teaching unless they keep records. A daily record enables both parents and child to see gradual progress that might be missed if subjective opinion is the only basis for evaluation. [Source: Adapted from J. Bowen, D. Olympia, & W. Jenkins, 1996; T. C. Lovitt, 1977, 1982] T 4.8 W. L. Heward, Exceptional Children, 6e, 2000 by Prentice-Hall, Inc. All rights reserved.