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The Home-School Connection
In order to maximize student outcomes, effective teaching strategies must include the promotion of a fertile learning environment at home as well as in the classroom. While parents will always play the lead role in that effort, teachers and administrators can also help parents. Educators may serve as advisors to families on how they can best shape their homes into places where children are excited to continue their studies once the school day is over.
The classroom is only half the battle
While most students receive an overwhelming majority of their instruction in school, they still only spend about a quarter of their week there. That means there is a lot of time outside of the classroom that must be accounted for in order to ensure that students are getting the most out of their education.
Teachers and administrators can't go home with their students, but they can work with parents to help them better understand some of the things that can be done at home to promote further academic growth. Some of those things are simple, like making sure children get to school on time, while others are a little more complicated. Only by taking an active approach will educators be able to help students and their parents take full advantage of a child's time as a student.
Emphasize good study habits
Sometimes, all it takes to help a below average student catch up with his or her peers, or enable an average student to excel, is preparation. By coming to school each day prepared to tackle the coming lessons, students are already in position to realize their full potential.
Teachers can talk to their students about how to prepare for each day. Do they get up a few minutes early to go over homework from the night before? Do their parents give them short quizzes over breakfast or before going to bed? Was their homework and other school material organized at home in a way that will make it easier for them to access once school is in session?
Those are all simple questions that teachers can ask that should help students at least think about the kinds of things they can do to prepare for each day. They also act as a guide that students can take home with them and discuss with their parents. In fact, drawing up an actual checklist that details these skills and responsibilities, and having parents sign it on a regular basis to indicate everything has been completed, can make it easier for all the parties involved to create an effective home learning environment.
Parental involvement is always crucial to how well students study when they are at home. However, it's nearly impossible to compel parents to engage in the many different activities that help promote active learning.
Nonetheless, there are certain things parents can do that are more effective than others. One of the best is to encourage parents to read to their children, or have children ask their parents to read to them. It doesn't necessarily take a lot of time--just a few minutes before going to bed or a quick trip to the library on the weekend--but it can go a long way toward improving student performance.
Culture is also an important tool in creating a better home learning environment. Simple things like playing different kinds of music, taking quick trips to a local museum and discussing politics, art and community events at home can open up a world of thought and ideas to children. Teachers should give their students information in the classroom, then encourage them to go home and engage in conversations with their parents about the topics being taught.
What are some things that you do to foster the Home-School Connection?