For most schools, Parents’ Evenings and occasional notes or phone calls home are the only way of supporting the third of these. The following methods can however also be used to promote better communication between parents and teachers, and increased support for the student.
1. Post Classroom Updates. When children arrive home from school, parents often ask “what did you do at school today?” If you’re a parent yourself, you know the standard answer is usually “nothing”. Parents love to engage their children in discussion about their day. Give them the tools to do so with a quick, daily Facebook status about something the class did that day. “We searched for shapes and patterns in our classroom today”, is enough to give parents a conversation starter, while making them feel included in their children’s education.
2. Remind students of Homework Assignments. Avoid forgotten homework assignments by tweeting a link to homework assignments posted on the school VLE. Whether your school uses student planners or another homework communication method, backing up your chosen method with social media is an effective way to increase homework completion.
3. Create a Student-Written Classroom Blog. Share the responsibility with students by encouraging teachers to have a classroom blog on Wordpress or Blogger. Students can take turns updating the blog with anything from one sentence to a couple of paragraphs. In addition to communicating with parents, this activity also promotes writing and ICT skills. Teachers can provide students with prompts or choose specific blogging themes for the week. Student-written blog entries should be reviewed before they’re published.
4. Share Project Photos. Although you might not be able to post classroom pictures that include students (check your school’s safeguarding policy!), parents enjoy seeing photos of their children’s projects on Instagram or Pinterest. Involve in this social media project by inviting them to submit photos they’ve taken while attending school functions or volunteering for the classroom. Alternatively, teachers can also assign student photographers to extend further learning opportunities in the classroom.
Which social media should you use?
Determine what social media outlet(s) would best serve you by surveying your parent community. Once this information has been gathered, train and encourage teachers to connect with parents two to three times per week through the most popular social media. Regular use will show parents that you’re serious about working together and communicating in a manner that makes everyone feel as if they’re on the same team. And those marketing your school will have a great source of material to use in other marketing activities.
Contributed by Mary Ylisela from Touchpoint Digital; Mary is a former middle school teacher and an experienced blogger passionate about social media and digital communications and part of the writing team at Touchpointdigital.co.uk which provides specialist online marketing services for the education sector.