Ineffective communication between parents and teachers can be a major obstacle when trying to solve problems with students, but fortunately it can be improved. Let's first examine the two major causes of communication dysfunction.
Problem 1: Judgment
Teachers judge the parents of their students all the time. They judge them based on students' language, hygiene, dress and social skills. Parents judge teachers, too, based on comments from their children. "What did you learn in school today?" is usually followed by, "Nothing." Sometimes children accuse teachers of being unfair, picking on them, being prejudiced or a myriad of other questionable treatments.
So parents and teachers judge each other constantly, and the sources of their judgments are kids, often with a vested interest. Good kids want their parents and teachers to like each other. Troubled students want the opposite. Many children can, in their eyes, benefit from animosity between parents and teachers; and they play one against the other. This is a dysfunctional form of communication.
Problem 2: "Dumping"
The second problem is called "dumping." When ineffective, frustrated or angry teachers call parents about their child, they tend to "dump" the problem in the parents' lap. They tell what offense the child committed, and state that the parent must do something about it. This is no more effective than a parent calling a teacher about a problem at home and asking the teacher to fix it. Parents dumping on teachers is also common. They claim the teacher is responsible for a child's bad grades, bad behavior or bad attitude. They demand that the teacher must change. Parent dumping is growing, reaching dangerously high levels with less respect and belief in the professionalism of the teacher. When parents and teachers blame each other and make unreasonable demands, the one who suffers the most is the child. Blame creates no winners and lots of losers.
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