There are several ways in which teachers can ensure parents are involved in their children's learning:
The most important first step is for the teacher to develop an open line of communication with parents. The teacher must introduce him/herself to parents and establish a supportive, trusting partnership. Parents need to feel that their children are in safe hands and that their voices are heard. The teacher can provide guidance, strategies and routines to help parents give ongoing support for their children at home. This support should be consistent with what is given to students in school. Parents should understand what their children's goals are so that any progress can be monitored. Parents also have the opportunity to provide feedback to the teacher on what works and doesn't work for their children, particularly at the beginning of the academic year when the teacher is not yet familiar with his/her students.
As outlined in the York Region Individual Education Plan Guide for Parents, parents are encouraged to share the following information about their children:
This information is incredibly valuable to the teacher. Developing a positive relationship with parents will ensure this insightful information is shared and all of their children's needs and abilities are accounted for.
Students can be involved in the IEP process through the creation of short-term and long-term goals based on their areas of need. Students will have an understanding of what their needs are (which may translate to 'what I am not good at') so it is the responsibility of the teacher to involve students in the IEP process so that they know what they are trying to accomplish. If students create goals for themselves, they will be able to monitor their own progress. Self-monitoring will provide students with a sense of responsibility for their learning. They can also provide feedback on what strategies they felt worked and didn't work for them. This will help the teacher determine what the best course of action is and how to implement it.
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