Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Planning for Parent's Evening

Many schools have now done away with Parent's Evening but if you are in the fortunate position of being involved in them here is my number 1 tip for an effective parent meeting.

Have something for parents to take away with them

I create small pre-printed cards with information pertinent to students studies that I can give to parents. At the top it has the topics we covered this year (this helps get over the: "So what is citizenship?" question but also gives a structure to topic and helps parents feel secure in their knowledge of the subject). I then put a tick-list of things that people can do well - e.g. active participation, evaluation of topics, questioning skills and I will tick the one the student did best and explain why I ticked this to the parent.

Finally, there is a space at the bottom. I ask the student what they think went well and we write this in. I then add anything I want them to work on next year, along with some encouragement, before signing and passing over.

A slightly more 'serious' version was made by a fantastic colleague of mine, Louise Baldwin. She created a 'science' card inclduing space for various module grades. She then talked through the system with parents - many of whom did not speak English well and appreciated the simplicity of the card and the fact they were given something to read and follow in their own time.

This system works for three reasons. 1. Parents get a lot of information over an evening so it's helpful for them to have something to reflect on when they get home - especially if English is a second language. 2. It means every kid has a record of what they did best which makes them more likely to feel efficacious about the subject. And, finally, 3. Because the slips are printed on coloured card they look like certificates and everyone likes being given a certificate - it's human nature!