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Enoch Ed Week Article 1995

Enoch Ed Week Article 1995

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Published by Julian A.

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Published by: Julian A. on Apr 26, 2012
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04/27/2012

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4/25/12
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FW:StevenEnochArticlefrom1995inEdWeek
From:_Sent:
To:
FromMarch22/1995
TakingChargeoftheParent-TeacherConference
ByStevenW.EnochAsasuperintendent,Ifacedthemeetingwithgrowingapprehension.Iknewfromexperienceitwouldbeshortinlength,butohsolongonimportance.Whatwasthisconfrontation?Aface-offwiththeboard?Parentsdemandingcurricularchanges?Apivotalemployee-negotiationssession?No,itwasaparent-teacherconferencewithmeastheparent,encounteringateacherIdidnotknow.Myprofessionaltrainingtoldmethattheencountershouldbeavaluableopportunitytogaininsightintomyson'sacademic,social,andemotionaldevelopment.Mypersonalexperiencehadtaughtmethatparent-teacherconferencesoftenfallshortofthisexpectation.Despitethebestintentionsofexcellentteachers--andinthiscase,myownsinceredesireformeaningfulinformation--Iknewthatmostconferencesconsistprimarilyofreviewingacompletedreportcard,withperhapsacomputerprintoutoftestscorestoreferto.Whilethisexerciseisofsomevalue,itgivesonlylimitedinsight,mostofwhichparentscouldgainathomebyreviewingthesamedocumentsthemselves.Teachers,inmyexperienceasaparent(mychildrenattendschoolinadistrictotherthantheoneIworkin),seemhesitanttotakethestrong,professionalstanceinaface-to-facemeetingthatIwishtheywould.Teachersare,afterall,expertsinobservingstudentdevelopment.Theyhaveawonderfulabilitytofindandsharepositiveattributesabouteverychild.Theyalsoknowwhenthereisgoodreasontobeconcernedandwhatparentsneedtodotohelptheirchildrenacademically.Yetmanyseemtimidaboutparent-teacherconferences.Acommonproblem,Isuspect,isthatthosewithweakadministrativesupportquicklylearnnevertoconfrontparentsaboutincompleteormissinghomepartnerships.Administratorsandschooldistrictstoooftenhavebeennegligentinempoweringteacherstobetheconfidentexpertswedesperatelyneedinpubliceducation.AsIapproached
this
particularparent-teacherconference,I
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students'behaviorandattitudewillberevealedinthediscussionofotherelements.Studentprogress,abilitytoworkingroups,andtheselectionoffriendswillallreflectachild'sself-discipline,behavior,self-esteem,andeffort.Theseelementsarenotintendedasachecklist.Theinterpersonaldynamicsofeveryconferenceandthespecificneedsofeachstudentmandatethattheteacheruseprofessionaljudgmentabouttheapplicationofelementsduringanygivenconference.Theparent-teacherconferenceisawonderfulopportunityforboththeparentandtheteachertogainimportantinformationaboutthechildandtobuildastrongerbondbetweenschoolandhome.Withthesesuggestedapproachesasaframeworkfordiscussion,andwithteacherscommunicatingfromapositionofprofessionalauthorityandrespect,parent-teacherconferencescanbecomeaninvestmentoftimethatpaysdividendsforyearstocome.
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designsolutionstoproblemsisasimportantasthemasteryofthecorecurriculum.Teachershavethecapabilitytocreateclassroomsthatvalueandencouragestudents'thinking.Demonstratetoparentstheimportanceofmaintaininga"thinkingclassroom"bygivingspecificexamplesoftheirchild'scriticalandcreativethinking.Includesomediscussionaboutparticipationingroupproblem-solvingandshareexamplesofwhatcriticalandcreativethinkingis.whenteachersincludetheseelementsintheconference,parentsgaininsightintotheirchild'soverallschoolperformancethatcanseldombegainedinmoretraditionalparent-teacherconferences.Reviewthequalityofthechild'speerrelatlanshipsfortheparent.Teachersareinauniquepositiontoobservethesocialdevelopmentofchildrenandthefriendstheyarechoosing.Letparentsknowifyouhavevalidconcernsinthisarea.Whilewemaybeuncomfortableplacingajudgmentonsomethingaspersonalasselectionoffriends,andweneedtobemindfulofconfidentialityrestrictions,teachersstilloweittoparentstotactfullyshareobservationsaboutthepeerrelationshipsoftheirchild.Formoststudents,especiallyastheymoveintothemiddlegrades,peerinfluencebecomesthedominateforceshapingattitudesandvalues.Toignorethisrealityisunacceptable,asboththeteacherandtheparenthaveavestedinterestinwhothechildisassociatingwith.Thiselementalsoexplorestheissueofpotentialconflictbetweentheparent'schildandotherstudents.Parentsareoftenthelasttohearofrelationship-basedproblems.Whatmayseemtoadultstobeofminorimportancecanbedevastatinganddestructivetothestudentifleftunchecked.Identifytwoorthreegrowthgoalsforthestudent.Mostofusperformatourbestwhenwehavegoalsorobjectivestoworktoward.Curricularrequirementstendtoforceteacherstobeverygoal-oriented.Identifyingsomegrowthgoalsforstudentsisrelativelyeasytodo.Thedifficultpartisindividualizlngspecificgoalsforeachchild.Everystudent,regardlessofability,willbenefitfrompersonalizedgrowthgoals.Themorespecificthegoals,themorehelpfultheyaretoparents.Makecertainparentsunderstandthegoals,theamountoftimeneededtoaccomplishthem,whattheteacher'sandtheparents'role
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