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!


July 11, 2010

How do we as leaders promote engagement of teachers, parents students?


7 – 7 – 2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Our thanks for this week’s #edchat summary go to Joan Young (@flourishingkids). Her educational background and interests make her an ideal choice for his topic of full integration of all stake-holders into the learning process. I am sure you will agree that such a complex topic is not an easy one to pin down and Joan has done an excellent job. See more about Joan in her bio at the end of the summary.

Engagement is a key issue in education these days as we work to develop school environments that promote learning, critical thinking and teamwork among teachers, parents and students. At a time where budget crises, political agendas and cultural pressures threaten the efficacy of teachers and students, we must work together to mobilize and change the fabric of education.  From the physical structure of a school campus, with its signs, fences and buildings to the reciprocal communication with parents and students, leaders must create a positive experience in a safe enough environment where both teachers and students will take the necessary risks in growing and learning. With new technology, rising awareness, and a greater variety of participating stakeholders like those here on edchat, we have a wonderful opportunity to work on increasing engagement.
Although the topic was engagement of teachers, parents, and students, much of the discussion as highlighted in themes below centered on getting parents more involved. As we realize that parents are critical activists in demanding change from schools, we need to mobilize and utilize their skills, develop understanding and promote involvement for positive change.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:

  • We must understand what engagement looks like in our settings. Active, talkative, excited students in class then sharing with parents?
  • Barriers to parent engagement include preconceived notions of school from parents’ own life experiences.
  • Our campus, modes of communication with parents, students, teachers must facilitate, not block open dialogue.
  • Students must lead the way, through student led conferences, guiding parents on school activity, learning nights.
  • Parents have valuable insights and expertise that we need to discover, mobilize. Active parents can engage other reluctant parents.
  • Communication via all tools available must be utilized so that all families are reached. Can’t assume all have tech access.
  • Teachers are reluctant at times to lead due to increase in duties, peer pressure. Admin. can create safer environment for this.
  • We must share our student successes and let students vocalize, publicize them so that others can see the great models of engagement.
  • As we engage students through relevant, meaningful learning experiences, they will share their learning at home.

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.

@Katiemc827 #edchat fav quote by Comer, “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship” applies to parents/students/teachers
@pughamy: #edchat people act because they are inspired, not swayed. how do we become leaders that inspire change?
@ShellTerrell: Engagement means we stop assuming each party is apathetic & doesn’t want to be included! Let’s find out why #edchat

@MrMacnology #edchat We have 2 find ways tht tchrs c how “this” will improve lrnng.  They have 2 experience it. Provide time 2 explore 2 prmte engagement

@cybraryman1: Involve all in the decisionmaking process to get each ones point of view. #edchat
@teachingwthsoul: Leaders encompass all stakeholders. Not just admin. Teacher leaders, parent leaders too. Must seek out strenghs of all. #edchat
@L_Hilt #edchat You definitely need to bring the parents into the school as often as possible. Design day & evening activities for learning 2gether!
@21stcenturychem: The best way is to model engagement for them. If you aren’t excited about the lning process, why should they? #edchat
@weemooseus Design activities for parents that involve showcasing students’ learning, have students present #edchat
@whatedsaid If students have responsibility for their learning (not teachers) they are more engaged, then parents are more engaged too. #edchat
@Ron_Peck We have to promote engagement in such a way so that it is ongoing and a part of the school culture. #edchat #EDCHAT
@skipvia Apathy isn’t a natural state – it’s created by dull curricula and poor pedagogy. #edchat
@bhsprincipal: With technology, there are a lot more ways to engage stakeholders – Facebook, blog, twitter, streaming events #edchat
@fiteach I always start the year with a survey asking parents what I should know about their kids.  It sets the tone that they are valued. #edchat
@LesLinks With all the loss of resources, many parents may be happy to help may have surprising skills/talents could contribute, and engaged. #edchat
@tomwhitby: Informed parents may be your best ALLY.Uninformed parents may be your worst Enemy. Engagement #edchat
@averyteach I try to have tchrs present at staff meetings, work in focus groups on school improvement issues, “gently” push them into ldershp #edchat
@irasocol Most school offices lack the welcoming nature needed to put parents at ease #edchat
@Parentella You have to be willing to “go” where your parents/students are, be it FB, Twitter, email, phone, postage mail etc #edchat
@tkraz#edchat takeaway: student lead conf showing what and how they are learning. Focus on process/importance to their learning #edchat

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:
With so many community members with expertise and resources available to us, and the tools of Web 2.0 how are we utlizing them? Are teachers and admin. using our local and global connections to inspire kids to discover their passions, interests through mentor visits, author visits, etc?

To follow the complete discussion see here

For the stats on #edchat participation see here

As ever, there were some great links shared:

cybraryman1:  Parent-Teacher + Teacher-Student Communication is important. PT Commun: http://www.cybraryman.com/ptconferences.html #edchat

 averyteach:   http://www2.ed.gov/admins/comm/parents/parentinvolve/index.html NCLB pub about parent engagement #edchat 

yongclee:  RT @AndreaGenevieve: Around on July 31st? #education #smcedu #edtech #edchat #highered #edcamp come to SMCEDU camp! http://www.smceducamp.com/

Poll Learnitin5:  Which Web 2.0 application would you like to learn? http://ow.ly/27CLO #edchat #web20

aforgrave:  Perhaps @SirKenRobinson ‘s The Element http://amzn.to/LdyNy  has part of the answer? #edchat

averyteach:  http://nationalserviceresources.org/node/17449 website that has good resources for parent involvement #edchat

whatedsaid:  @pughamy Blogged about students taking charge of learning here http://bit.ly/bEtP6x  #edchat

michellek107:  One of my goals this year is to change perception of tchrs, such as those in the comments from this article- http://bit.ly/dwtbgD #edchat

nancyrubin:  Engaging Students with Engaging tools: http://bit.ly/arsQdO #edchat

cybraryman1:  Parental Involvement should be encouraged PI:http://www.cybraryman.com/parenting.html#school

yongclee:  Educators, what do you think of A Teacher’s Guide to Using Facebook: http://scr.bi/bJGMy5 #smcedu #edchat #edtech

ColinTGraham:  @briankotts But is homework necessarily a good thing…?  John Hattie doesnt think so: http://bit.ly/9x4uV9  #edchat

nancyrubin:  Technology-Infused Lesson Plans: http://bit.ly/aTKIqP #edchat

nancyrubin:  Use a class blog to communicate with parents – What Can I Do With a Blog?: http://bit.ly/cBj9kM

onlinespeechtherapy:  @tvanderark We provide speech-language therapy services to students in their school.  http://www.OnlineSpeechTherapy.com #edchat #edtech

tomwhitby: RT @bhsprincipal: A four-year old on ipad with no PD! Go Figure! http://twitpic.com/22yfph #edchat

briankotts:  @colintgraham @jensrantil Interesting. I read Alfie Kohn’s post on Rethinking Homework http://bit.ly/9w9yOM #edchat

evemarfil:  #edchat #teachers @pgsimoes    #edtech Seven Videos All Teachers & Principals Should Watch http://dlvr.it/2MNPT

web20education:  #edtech20  #edchat Put YoLink In Your Blog: Yesterday, I published a post about YoLink. Today, I had the http://url4.eu/5TTA4

web20education:  #edtech20  #edchat Lots of Great Links from ISTE 2010: The ISTE 2010 conference just wrapped-up a couple of hours http://url4.eu/5TTA5

briankotts:  Remember this NYTimes article? Spreading Homework Out So Even Parents Have Some http://nyti.ms/bKsOO1 #edchat 

evemarfil:  A must watch! Creating the schools we need TEDxNY Chris Lehman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FEMCyHYTyQ  #edchat

ShellTerrell: Twitter for Learning – 55 Articles http://bit.ly/c7EIcl via @tonykarrer #edtech #elearning #edchat 

briankotts:  My personal favourite in the parent-child conflict:  So Young, and So Gadgeted | NYT http://nyti.ms/aEWlcE #edchat

billgx: This teacher uses YouTube to engage parents, family with student learning. Awesome! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNSvffHX9Sw #edchat

My name is Joan Young aka @flourishingkids on Twitter. I will be teaching 4th grade this year in Menlo Park, California after many years of teaching Kindergarten/1st grade. As a former foster care social worker and clinical therapist, I’ve always been particularly interested in the connections between environment, emotions, relationships, cognitive science and learning. I am passionate about discovering how we can utillize the unique strengths of our students, their parents and our colleagues to facilitate lively, engaging classrooms and exciting, thriving school environments. I enjoy learning and writing about a variety of subjects, particularly how we can garner the power of positive emotions and trusting relationships to facilitate higher cognition and growth among our students.  I believe that as educators we must help kids discover the unique ways that they learn so that they can take on challenges and pursue their interests to the fullest. I am also passionate about joining together with educators around the world who truly want to actively engage in dialogue and actions for meaningful change in schools. You can read more of my reflections at http://allkidscanflourish.blogspot.com and http://365mindfulmoments.blogspot.com .

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!

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