To be an effective teacher it is essential to create an open line of communication between both students and their parents. Parents can offer information about the student’s context at home that may be affecting classroom behavior and performance, otherwise difficult for teachers to understand. By comprehending the whole picture of a student’s life outside the classroom, teachers are able to more effectively educate.
Additionally, open communication avoids awkward or hostile parent-teacher conferences in which the parent is caught off guard by a report that their child is not performing well. In the New York Time article, How Important Are Parent-Teacher Conferences?, New York City middle school teacher Luis Jose Vilson talks about how important it is to keep an open line of communication with parents in order to establish a positive relationship. He states, “As long as I’m doing my job and checking in with her on the phone, meeting her face-to-face seems easy.”
Restrictions on Communication for Certain Families
Unfortunately, for some families it is harder to connect with educators due to financial or geographical restrictions. As for phone calls, lower income families may not have reliable landline or cell phone access to be called on. Additionally, students with one or more parents that live internationally it can be too costly to speak frequently on the phone.
In an article published in 2015 titled Probing the Impact of Parent-Teacher Digital Communication, Sara Gilgore, talks about online parent teacher interaction, identifying:
“Unequal levels of web connectivity at home prevent poor families from being able to engage with teachers in the same way that more affluent parents can. Advocates for closing that digital divide say that educators need to use a variety of communications to ensure they reach parents from all economic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds.”
It is crucial for educators to understand certain families are at a communication disadvantage and that work to alleviate this limitation. As schools try to diversify their student bodies by accept students from more diverse backgrounds, it is important for them to recognize these disadvantages and work towards a form of communication that is universally accessible. Fortunately, innovation in the web real-time communication (WebRTC) industry is closing the communication gap for families by allowing schools the ability to provide free, secure, and reliable global contact methods for all.