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Giving Feedback

The issue:
Schools that value parent input and involvement need to solicit and use feedback from parents. Parents who want to do the best job they can to help their children and the school must value and use feedback from the teacher.

The solution:
If car manufacturers asked for and actually used the amount of feedback most schools get from their "customers," they'd go out of business! Schools with good self-concepts give parents and children lots of opportunities to give the school a "report card." While professional educators are responsible for making informed decisions about how to deliver instruction, unless they ask parents and children what the experience is like for them, they're "not playing with a full deck."

It's important that schools listen to parents who hear their kids complaining that work is boring, too hard, or too easy. It's also important to listen to parents who have a sense that something's not right with the curriculum (for example, when parents discover that the same content is being taught by both the third- and the fourth-grade science teacher -- oops!)

It's great when parents are able to accept and use feedback offered by their child's teacher. This can happen more often if teachers share information at a level and in an amount that parents can accept at this point in their lives as parents. Of course, this calls for a degree of sensitivity and skill on the part of the teacher. It also helps a lot when parents ask the teacher for feedback, making it clear to the teacher that the door to communication is open, and that parents are receptive and ready.

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