School-Family Communication Partnership

Subject: Education
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 9
Word count: 2315
Topics: Communication, Early Childhood Education, Parenting


The education process requires a strategic partnership between stakeholders, both internal and external. Some of the key stakeholders that influence the quality and the efficiency of the education process include the teachers, students, parents, communities, and the government at large. While the interactions between the students and the teachers often occur progressively within the school environments, the social and cultural landscape outside the school setups has significant bearings on the activities of the students (Finn-Stevenson, 2014). Therefore, it is important that effective and elaborate measures are put in place to ensure that all stakeholders cooperate and collaborate to guarantee positive learning outcomes. Conventionally, the school is expected to mold the students both cognitively and socioculturally, enabling them to fit seamlessly in the outside world.

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To achieve the principle goals of learning, teachers are at times forced to adopt individualized approaches that are unique to specific students. Such individualized approaches entail integrating the values, beliefs, cultures, and personality types of the students in the learning process. The teacher is thus expected to have a comprehensive understanding of the sociocultural environments that shape the behaviors, beliefs and personalities of their students. While most teachers tend to engage the students directly and establish productive student-teacher relationships that enable them to learn more on the students, it is vital to include both the parents and the society in developing the teaching and learning models (Beycioglu, 2016). Therefore, the school-family and community partnerships (SFCPs) are critical in the education process.

The SFCP programs are defined as the strategic relationships between the teachers or school personnel with the members of the family or the community of a student. Such programs are based on the need for strategic collaborations with the ultimate goal of improving the welfare of the students. The SFCP programs appreciate that the schools require the resources from the community to thrive. Therefore, a positive relationship between the school and the community is vital to guarantee sustainable access to the vital resources.

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On the other hand, partnerships with the families through the SFCP programs us premised on the position of the family as the primary facilitator of a student’s learning process. Therefore, the school will be able to utilize the school-family partnerships to understand how specific families are influencing learning and development in their children. Studies have since shown that effective schools have high degrees of parental involvement in the education of their students (Berkowitz et al., 2017). It is on this premise that the SFCP programs are viewed as sustainable and effective ways of promoting the development of the students. This report summarizes the responses of a teacher and a parent, and also analyze the constraints that impede sustainable collaboration and cooperation between the two factions instrumental in students’ learning processes.

Summary of Teacher’s Response

The first interview involved a K1 Chinese teacher with 8 years of teaching experience. She pointed out that she is the class teacher and has the duty of sending out the notice bags with student handbooks inside for review by their parents. She also indicated that notices are occasionally sent to parents when necessary and that they might be summoned to appear in school to discuss matters relating to the welfare of their children. While she highlighted that she often sends notices and letters, she also indicated that she uses emails, phone calls, bi-semester parent conferences, and special events such as picnics and sports days to communicate with the parents. The teacher pointed out that the education system in Hong Kong is relatively competitive and that most parents are actively involved. However, she highlighted that a few never respond to emails. In her view, the principal factors that could impede parental involvement include professional commitments and language barrier which makes it difficult to communicate. She exhibited concern that parents under full-time employment hardly have time for school.

On the other hand, the teacher highlighted that misunderstandings are bound to occur between parents and teachers. For instance, she highlighted a case when a parent thought that the teacher did not like her kids, a prospect that was linked to miscommunication between them. The teacher thus indicated that it is the duty of both the teachers and the parents to maintain their relationship for the sake of the students. She further noted that the teacher has an instrumental role in the partnership since it is their duty to ensure that the parents understand the challenges and educational needs of their students. Based on her experience, she affirmed that listening to each other and keeping in touch through family-school partnerships is instrumental as it makes the job for both parties easier.

Summary of Parent’s Response

The interviewee was Mrs Lui, a native Hong Kong parent who is employed fulltime. She speaks her native language as well as English fluently and is frequently sent on business trips on behalf of her employer. She has a son and a caretaker who oversees most of her domestic chores. The parent shared that she is often committed to her professional life, a prospect that leaves her with limited time to attend to the needs of her son. As such, she opted to employ the caretaker to help with the tasks involving her son. She also pointed out that her caretaker is the one who is principally involved in the education of her son as she attends the meetings and other calls from the school. However, she indicated that she makes efforts from time to time to get in contact with the teachers and understand more on the progress of her son. Her tight schedules, nonetheless, limit the frequency with which she can physically meet the teacher hence has to rely on emails and telephone communications from time to time.

She also suggested that she talks to her son about the activities at school. Mrs Lui further noted that she asks her son whether he enjoys life at school and that he affirmatively agreed. I further made inquiries about the steps that she takes to improve learning outcomes for her son, her response suggesting that she spends about two hours daily to support the education needs for her son. She also felt that the school has restrictive policies on parent requests, a prospect that she argued affects learning negatively. Nonetheless, the argued that the school has made significant strides to communicate with parents and forge a sustainable partnership which is great for the students’ learning outcomes.

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Needs and Constraints: Work-Life Balance

Based on the interview with the two parties, it is evident that there are needs that are yet to be addressed. The first need that is evident is the aspect of work-life balance. Parents are expected to have time for their children (Beycioglu, 2016). They should be able to review their performances in school, and also consult with the teachers on any challenges noted. However, the interviews suggest that there are critical challenges with work-life balance in the locality. The teacher indicated that the limited contact between the instructors and the parents could be linked to professional commitments, especially for the parents who are employed fulltime. According to the teacher, such parents could hardly find time to attend to their students’ needs. They were most likely to miss meetings and functions organized in the schools. The teacher further stated that the parents could communicate through emails and phones, but time constraints would limit their abilities to meet the teachers in person to develop effective teacher-parent partnerships.

The position is also supported by the submissions of Mrs Lui. She suggested that the primary impediment to her active engagement in school activities is her professional commitments. She suggested that most of the meetings scheduled in schools were often attended by the caretaker who had grown into a parental figure in the life of her son. Further, she suggested that she would like to be more involved in her son’s education by meeting and discussing progress with the teacher but could not do so due to time constraints. She, nonetheless outlined that she would often be involved in her son’s education at home. She not only taught him English and Chinese language but also read some stories to him. This submission suggests that Mrs Lui would like to be more involved in the academic life of her so but the restrictive professional environment could not allow her.

The need is instrumental in a number of ways. Firstly, the students require significant attention from their parents to develop effectively. Parental involvement not only contributes towards cognitive growth but is also instrumental in the social and emotional development of the child (Mahuro & Hungi, 2016). These critical elements of human development are vital in the learning process. The student should be able to interact constructively with peers as well as forge a positive relationship with their teachers. Therefore, the socioemotional development of the child, which is promoted through parental involvement, helps to enhance the child’s chances of successful learning. On a different note, the element of work-life balance defines the amount of time that a parent has to follow-up on the studies of their children (De Cieri, Holmes, Abbott & Pettit, 2005). In this case, it is evident that the parent is striving to be involved even though her professional engagements including frequent business travels are restricting her ability to be fully involved. It is also worrying that the limited time has compelled the parent to delegate some of the critical aspects of the son’s education to the care-taker. Children who spend most of their time with their caretakers rather than parents are likely to develop distant relationships and antisocial tendencies (Park & Holloway, 2016). Therefore, it is key that the parents are directly involved in the cognitive and social development of their children, a prospect that necessitates frequent contact with the teachers.

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There are suggestions that could be adopted to ensure that the welfare of the students whose parents are tied to professional commitments are addressed. The first suggestion is that the schools develop the comprehensive calendar of activities and meetings expected throughout the term. The teacher should have a clear outline of the times when the physical presence of the parents would be required for direct contact. This approach will enable the parents to have a clear view of the timelines and to plan their professional activities appropriately. It will also enable the parents to take strategic leaves to get in touch with the teachers and follow up on the progress of their children within the school environment. This approach will reduce the cases in which the parents are forced to delegate meeting attendances to the caretakers since the planned meetings were not communicated early enough to be integrated into the schedules.

It is also recommended that the school relaxes some of its policies to enable the parents to access critical information and items that are vital for the education of their children. For instance, Mrs Lui highlighted that she could not access the list of songs that the students are taught. This suggests that the school has not fully incorporated the parents in the learning process. It is necessary for learning institutions to acknowledge the criticality of the school-family and community partnerships. Failure to share some basic information with the parents could lead to their negative view of the school hence impede any chances of positive collaboration. As a result, the students are bound to suffer.

Reflection on Communication Skills

During the interaction with the two parties, I adopted reflection to develop deeper understanding of the statements, and also to enable them refocus on specific statements that they had stated earlier. Also, I adopted the reflective approach to the conversations to motivate the interviewees to continue speaking and expand more on the specific concepts. One of the reflective communication skills that I used was mirroring. This approach entails repeating the statement of the speaker as a way of drawing further interest on that statement (Shellenbarger, 2016). I used this technique to encourage the teacher to elaborate more on the techniques that she used to stay in touch with the parents. It enabled me to understand that she had developed multiple channels of communication including the letters, phone calls and emails. In other cases, I tried to rephrase their statements to highlight what I understood and to seek for further clarifications on the statements (Semradova & Hubackova, 2015). This technique was largely used during my conversations with Mrs Lui when I wanted to understand how she was trying to balance work and social life to be fully involved in the education of her son. When interacting with Mrs Lui, however, I noticed some aspects of long pauses in her statements, a prospect that could imply she was trying to dodge certain questions. Therefore, I had to apply emotional intelligence to rephrase the questions in a manner that was acceptable to her.

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In conclusion, the interviews were highly informative, shading more light on the criticality of communications and school-family partnerships in promoting the cognitive and social development of the students. Through the interviews, it was evident that the limited partnership between the two factions is linked to time constraints. The parents in professional setups are often duty-tied hence have limited time to meet the teachers. It was also notable that some parents opt to delegate school attendance to the caretakers of their children, a prospect that is not encouraging. Therefore, it is necessary that the schools develop comprehensive programs for the semesters to ensure that the parents are fully informed on the periods when they will be expected at school. This will enable them to plan their time upfront and attend the meetings. Nonetheless, it is plausible that some teachers have developed effective frameworks for engagement, including multiple channels of communication. The interview revealed that the teacher could communicate with the parents through emails as well as telephone conversations.

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  1. Berkowitz, R., Astor, R., Pineda, D., DePedro, K., Weiss, E., & Benbenishty, R. (2017). Parental Involvement and Perceptions of School Climate in California. Urban Education, 004208591668576.
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  6. Mahuro, G., & Hungi, N. (2016). Parental participation improves student academic achievement: A case of Iganga and Mayuge districts in Uganda. Cogent Education, 3(1).
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  8. Semradova, I., & Hubackova, S. (2015). Communication Self-reflection in Language Education. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 182(2015), 45-50.
  9. Shellenbarger, S. (2016). Use Mirroring to Connect With Others. WSJ. Retrieved 23 April 2018, from
  10. Stitt, N., & Brooks, N. (2014). Reconceptualizing Parent Involvement. Schools, 11(1), 75-101.
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