Parent-Teacher Relations in the Technological World

Raising a child is a tough responsibility. Parents and teachers play a vital role in the holistic development of a child. Parents are ideally the first role model for kids. The way children behave is directly connected to their parents’ behaviour. Their relationship lays the foundation for a child’s personality. Parental support helps the child in growing strong – physically and mentally.

On the other hand, teachers speed up the process of a child’s development by opening new avenues of knowledge for them. A teacher not only educates children but also counsels them on good moral values and manners which help in developing children’s characters.

Regardless of whether a child grasps knowledge easily or slowly, they always learn through imitation. Psychologically, a child’s first step towards education is through replicating an adult’s actions, words or behaviour. Teachers and parents both act as catalysts in a child’s growth but for his or her overall performance, they need to work as a unit to help in their learning. With a strong presence of modern theories and ideologies, parents are trying to nurture their kids in a unique and fashionable way. They are more informed and seek active participation in their child’s growth, as most of a student’s life is spent in school, which plays a major role in shaping the future.

Different technological tools have eliminated the distance between parents and teachers. Gone are the days when parents and teachers interacted in annual or monthly meetings. New technological advancement brings new tools for teachers to track student’s performance and keep parents updated about the same.

Some of the most pioneering ways which has been adopted by schools to enhance the parent-teacher relationship are listed below.

  1. Emails: Emailing has remained a constant medium of communication for every sector and the educational sector is no more an exception. Teachers have started using emails more than calling. Personally calling each parent is a tedious and painstaking task. Now, teachers try to offer all the necessary information using their personal/professional emails. Whether there is any video based activity or audio-based homework, they email it to parents. Event invitations, school or class newsletters, parent-teacher meetings, monthly or weekly reports, everything can be easily updated to parents through email.
  2. WhatsApp: This text messenger app has changed the way we text and share multimedia files. Teachers are using this medium to escalate information to parents related to a particular student, class, subject or an event. Creating class, subject or school specific Whatsapp groups has made transferring details much easier. Teachers also use it to share homework, assignments or any other supplement material in a Word document or PDF file.
  3. Blogs: Many schools and teachers have started creating a class or batch specific blogs. These blogs work like a personal diary for a teacher which is accessible to parents. They are a medium through which parents can peek into a classroom, scrutinizing every minute detail. Parents can suggest changes by actively commenting on the blogs or verbally informing the teacher. Teachers may update the blogs on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. School blogs complement class blogs. Through a school blog, authorities may present the school culture to parents. They could be kept informed of the overall development, changes in curriculum or new activities in school.
  4. Podcasts: Podcasting has become one of the best mediums to communicate messages. Many teachers have started using the podcast to deliver lectures on a weekly or monthly basis which they may share with students as well as parents. Through this medium, parents can easily take note of the progression of the syllabus and keep track of the quality of the lessons.
  5. School Webpage: The school website is a traditional way to update parents about the school’s developments and progression. But in recent years many schools have launched specific web pages which enlist all the important circulars and events. Features have been added to these websites which enable parents to check their child’s overall performance.
  6. Other Apps: Nowadays schools are coming up with a class or school-specific apps which include all the data (student’s information, holiday information, etc.) to keep parents updated. Teachers may also update holiday homework, syllabus or curriculum on these apps.
  7. Live Chats: Video calling is a good medium to interact with parents who are unable to attend meetings due to their busy work schedules. Having face-to-face communication is better than sending reports or giving remarks in a child’s notebook. Teachers might use Google Hangouts or Skype to conduct video conferences.

All these technological advancements have made life easy for both parents and teachers. Getting constant updates about their children reduces stress for parents, especially for working parents. Now they don’t need to wait for PTAs to know about their child’s performance. Getting constant updates from the school and teachers makes parents more involved. It keeps them up to date with the problems faced by their children in a timely manner, which in turn allows them to handle issues with more care.

On the other hand, these technological changes make life more convenient for teachers.  They can upload homework and assignments in one go, thus saving time. They can interact with parents and take or give advice on any important matter with regard to the children. This allows a smooth flow of information between parents and teachers, and in between teachers as well. It also helps the school management to keep track of the teachers’ activity and performance.

Trust and mutual understanding between parents and teachers help in shaping an innocent mind into a smart mind. For the development and of children, both teachers and parents need to cooperate, irrespective of their busy schedules. However, technology is just a medium to connect with parents. So don’t forget to conduct in-person meetings as the only motive is to stay connected.

Gurleen Sethi is Executive – Marketing with Viva Books. She is a happy-go-lucky person, who believes in enjoying little things in life. Writing is her passion and a great stress buster.

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