Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

December 4, 2010

Professional Development for Parents

#Edchat 11-23–2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

I was really sorry that I missed this #edchat session as parental involvement in schools is a real passion for me. Having 4 daughters, I have seen great changes in attitudes to parents in school (my eldest is 30 my youngest 11) and mostly for the worse, sadly. Here in the UK some attitudes towards parents in schools are quite frankly bonkers! Parents are, in my opinion a great and often untapped resource – their knowledge and talent should be exploited by schools not feared.

Who better to put together our summary this week than Ainslie Hunter (@ainsliehunter) on behalf of Parentella! This is a really challenging area for teachers and schools and I think this comes across in the summary – some great comments and amazing links. It gives us all food for thought – are we exploiting this relationship as much as we might? Thank you Ainslie!

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 
Parent Engagement is important and necessary:  All involved in the #edchat agreed were extremely passionate about getting more parents involved in schools.  

Difficulties with creating Parent Engagement:  Some difficulties were raised as well as strategies for improvement.  The chat involved a debate as to whether the school should supply suggested PD topics to parents or whether parents should be asked their opinion.  Suggested ways for ascertaining the ideas of parents included polls and surveys.  Other concerns raised were related to how to get parents to turn up to such events, and specifically the right parents.

Specific Professional Development Ideas:  There was a broad selection of PD topics discussed in the #echat.  Examples included

  • Technology – the pitfalls, uses, digital citizenship, online safety, changing ‘tech bans’ at school
  • Day to day teaching – homework, assessment, examples of class work and units
  • School – school vision
  • Student – ways to improve personal responsibility and develop independence, time management, child development, 21st century learning
  • How parents can help at home – homework, reading, assessment
  • Pathways after school – College, Alternatives to College

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@MissShuganah – The problem I see is that parents are often afraid of teachers. They could be allies if they knew what teachers/schools needed

@davidwees – The first thing I would do is ask parents what they would like for PD. If we want choice, I’m betting they want choice
@ericjuli – Shifting perceptions of what school is/is not. A parent and childs school experience doesnt need to be synonymous 
@tomwhitby – @davidwees: There is always the point to be made that they don’t know what they don’t know, so how can they direct what they need?
@davidwees –  @tomwhitby Sure, but same argument holds for our students. You can say “here are a bunch of things we think you might like
@ShellTerrell – The problem with PD for parents is the same as the parents’ evening issue – the ones that should be there don’t turn up.

@ericjuli – Parent and Educator goals for children are not always aligned. Need to work on finding common ground on goals of education #edchat

@stumpteacher: i think parents just need help getting connected with their kid, school, and the world they live in

@laura_horan – Let’s help parents understand how expectations are different today. Get rid of the rear-view mirror of their education

@VanessaSCassie – I think the first step to PD with parents is maintaining consistent communication (more than twice a yr at parent-teacher interviews #edchat

@hadleyjf: – We need to help parents feel included, not excluded, by the tools we teach their children.

@CTuckerEnglish – How can we keep lines of communication open w/out placing unrealistic expectations on teachers?

@HOPEinSchools: – Partnerships must be based upon common interest and an understanding there is a common goal: student success. #edchat

@Olafelch – The biggest enemy in this whole debate is the blame game

@gellesastar – As a start how about offering voluntary, low key sessions for those who are interested. I think it may mushroom.

@teachingwthsoul: – We need to also seek out our parents who have the skills to provide the PD. This gets overlooked a lot. Los of gr8 resources!

@ricjuli – Do we ask parents what they want from us or do we try to fit p’s into our pre-conceived ideas of what they ought to do for us?

@EduTechSmith – it is hard to remember at times that both teachers and parents have the same goal-to raise an honest, independent, motivated kid #edchat

@EduTechSmith: – How do we convince students to reach out to their parents for involvement?

@GaryBrannigan: Even if parents can’t contribute to the school in big ways, their presence in school communicates volumes to kids #edchat

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

How can we keep lines of communication open w/out placing unrealistic expectations on teachers?

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

briankotts:  Exams culture ‘fuelling teenage mental health problems’ http://bit.ly/eG7zQY /via @Telegraph #edchat #ukedchat #eduswe

briankotts:   Why We Should Get Rid Of Homework Part 1-3 http://bit.ly/b3A0Mi #edchat

cybraryman1:  My College Information page: http://bit.ly/5cpEXz #edchat

#edtech20 -free eSafety project in the clouds for teachers worldwide finalist in eLearning Awards 2010 http://t.co/7b8vkmP  join free #edchat

Please Don’t Tell Me That http://is.gd/hsexG  One thing I mention is a need for shared language.

MeganLearner:  @cybraryman1 I agree! And also to coordinate how much time kids are spnding w tech-home and school http://nyti.ms/eEIRwh #edchat

cybraryman1:  For parents/teachers My Cyber Safety/Awareness/Citizenship page: http://bit.ly/5fDZ4f  #edchat

@ShellTerrell We created a blog for staff, students and parentsto have a voice for our School Plan! http://bit.ly/eT2DKo  #edchat

davidwees:  Big problem here: How to let your child live their life instead of YOUR life. http://youtu.be/RmLzAkmastE  #edchat #helicopterparents

cybraryman1:  @jgmac1106 My Early Morning Library program was extremely successful http://bit.ly/aWQvtM #edchat

cybraryman1: We have to work more on Parent-Teacher Communication: http://bit.ly/cdBRK1  #edchat

kbakerIEE: We do PD-4-Parents in these areas http://excellenceandethics.com/programs/P2A_8_FocusAreas.pdf  #Edchat more@ excellenceandethics.com/blog

jonathanfields: Is Twitter The Ultimate Creation Killer? – http://ow.ly/3dBoT  #smchat #socialmedia #edchat

ChildWillRead:  Separating Boys and Girls…A Good Thing? What do YOU think? #edchat http://bit.ly/cfEQKa

cybraryman1:  @birklearns My Math Help page: http://bit.ly/60ahfW  #edchat

ShellTerrell:  Parentella is a free online social network for parents to get them engaged with teachers & the school http://bit.ly/2ZEl3V  #edchat

cybraryman1: My library was a noisy hub . http://bit.ly/aWQvtM

cybraryman1:  Parents as partners in education. My Parent Involvement sites: http://bit.ly/FpgFV

briankotts:  Spreading Homework Out So Even Parents Have Some http://nyti.ms/9sYS4j  /via @NYTimes #edchat

Google Voice – great for teachers http://goo.gl/fb/zD4jC  #edtech, #edchat

davidwees:  Another article I wrote for our parents: How do you turn yourself into a 21st century learner? http://wees.it/6q  #edchat

davidwees:  Article I wrote for our parent newsletter: How can we use social media as a tool? http://wees.it/er  #edchat

GaryBrannigan:  Solving Homework Problems: 9 Suggestions http://bit.ly/94VIVH  via @AddToAny #education #edchat #ptchat #spedchat

GaryBrannigan:  More Ways To Solve Homework Problems: 6 More Suggestions http://bit.ly/bvRarO  via @AddToAny #Edchat #ptchat #spedchat

MZimmer557:  Twitter Chat Schedule http://goo.gl/wqdCu  #edchat #edtech

davidwees: article I wrote for our parents: How do you turn yourself into a 21st century learner? http://wees.it/6q  #edchat #pwsd

JonathanEMartin:  Blogged: Gratitude as a virtue & a practice: remarks to students & grandparents: http://wp.me/poMQP-EQ  #cpchat #edchat

MarjieKnudsen:  For the good of the child? or the teacher? http://bit.ly/e3gMjw  v  @HackettKimberly #pto #kids #youth #edchat

This post was written by Ainslie Hunter, writer for Parentella, the free social networking site for parents and educators.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 400 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, Karenne Sylvester, Berni Wall, luc germain, Eva Buyuksimkesyan and others. Eva Buyuksimkesyan said: RT @kalinagoenglish: via @rliberni Professional Development for Parents http://bit.ly/ewEhjo #beltfree […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Professional Development for Parents « Rliberni's Blog – Radical language -- Topsy.com — December 4, 2010 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  2. […] Professional Development for Parents « Rliberni's Blog â?? Radical … […]

    Pingback by Curbing T.V. violence with your kids | Parenting Help in Arizona — December 4, 2010 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  3. I think if a parent is always making an effort to engage, then they are a good parent.
    What more can they (we) do?

    Comment by Claire — December 8, 2010 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

    • Hi Claire thank you for your comment. Being a parent is a very difficult job – we don’t have any training. I agree that all we can do is our best but it is also good to observe and listen to advice. In my experience schools tend not to engage parents enough and don’t make best use of this resource. I think it can often be fear on the part of teachers about getting involved in something they may not understand but a great parent-teacher relationship can only be good for the child!

      Comment by rliberni — December 14, 2010 @ 11:48 am | Reply

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