Parent-teacher conferences do take place, commonly referred to as Parents’ Day in public schools and other terms used mainly in the private sector include, Parent-teacher conferences and Parent-teacher evenings.
The recipient, be it the learner, parent or guardian in the longest time has taken the ‘victim’ position whereby they wait to hear from the teacher or school authority about their child’s performance, primarily centered around percentage scores. The mention of positive attributes with regard to character building or potential for growth and development of foreseen talents does not necessarily take priority in certain sectors. The learners hardly look forward to this encounter as a lot of sanctions and other forms of discipline are anticipated from their parents when they bring home their teachers’ reports. Albeit the changing trends, rewards or commendations for positive reports are not an automatic expectation for the recipient.
The teacher, on the other hand, in general, may want to use this platform to report on majority of the learner’s non-performance/poor performance while highlighting the challenges, many a time with limited suggestions on interventions for improvement. School teachers sometimes tend to feel threatened by the clients depending on their influence on the management or forthcoming consequences of reports given. This can lead to compromise when presenting information about the learners.
The ‘voice’ of the learner with regard to giving their opinions or challenging the teacher’s comments is not easily tolerated from both the school and home front.
In view of the above, there is need to champion more pleasant experiences for all parties involved in P-T consultations. The mode and content of information relayed to the client needs to aim at improving the collaboration and cooperation between the teacher, parent and learner. The focus should be student centred. Learners should look forward to learning from the reports given at P-T conferences and discovering approaches they can apply to improve their experiences in the learning process. Parents, on the other hand should look forward informative P-T conferences that describe the learner in more than grades. The aptitude and abilities a learner demonstrates, environments and resources required for them to thrive would be of value addition when presented to the client. The parent to should participate in this discovery because they have a lot to share from the home background. A parent’s views about their child when given honestly rarely differ from the teacher’s notes. How about this collaboration (parent and teacher) having an input from the learner? A learner’s feedback on P-T meetings is not so much encouraged in our context but is worth exploring for this generation!
Parent, teacher and school administrator