Contributions from a parent and long serving teacher-administrator in Kenya, Africa - Nelly Aluanga-Omino

Parents should look forward to informative P-T conferences that describe the whole learner and more than showing grades.

Photo of Uzo Agyare-Kumi
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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

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe something you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research.

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!

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Photo of Clint Heitz

If you'd be willing, I would greatly appreciate your support for Guideposts to Success by heading to the post and leaving a positive evaluation, as well as suggestions to grow the idea even more! Thank you, Uzo!

Photo of Margaret Powers

Thanks for sharing this global perspective Uzo Agyare-Kumi ! It's so helpful to hear stories from different parts of the world to understand the larger needs around parent-teacher interactions and discover how many similarities there are, regardless of location. 

It sounds like Nelly has found that parent-teacher interactions have more of a negative focus and is expressing a concern about the minimization of positive reports and commendations. Can you share more of why parent-teacher meetings might be like this and why, sometimes "School teachers sometimes tend to feel threatened by the clients?" 

Photo of Uzo Agyare-Kumi

Hi Margaret, 
In my experience as an educator in Ghana, teaching is not considered as one of the most sought after roles to choose as a career.  As such, it is perceived that people who become  teachers are unsuccessful in their original preferences (lawyer, economist, doctor, etc) and as such have 'settled' for a career in teaching.  Secondly, allocating resources and relevant support( teaching aids, PD training, etc) to ensure  a thriving education sector is not considered a priority.  With such perceived views about teachers who choose teaching as a last resort or education matters not been prioritised as important on national Agendas, teachers often feel on the receiving end by parents and the stereotypes that might prevail in the community about choosing to become a teacher.  Hope this makes sense? 

Photo of Uzo Agyare-Kumi

Hi Margaret, 
In my experience as an educator in Ghana, teaching is not considered as one of the most sought after roles to choose as a career.  As such, it is perceived that people who become  teachers are unsuccessful in their original preferences (lawyer, economist, doctor, etc) and as such have 'settled' for a career in teaching.  Secondly, allocating resources and relevant support( teaching aids, PD training, etc) to ensure  a thriving education sector is not considered a priority.  With such perceived views about teachers who choose teaching as a last resort or education matters not been prioritised as important on national Agendas, teachers often feel on the receiving end by parents and the stereotypes that might prevail in the community about choosing to become a teacher.  Hope this makes sense? 

Photo of Margaret Powers

Wow, Uzo Agyare-Kumi that provides such a powerful insight about how teachers are viewed there. Thanks for sharing! It will be great to use that knowledge and the related needs to design some exciting solutions in the Ideate phase, starting in just a few hours! 

Photo of Molly McMahon

Wow -- so much to unpack here. Especially how meeting with parents can be intimidating to teachers and ties to their own performance. Also, the importance of the perspective of students. Could be interesting to interview a student about what they want from the relationship between parents and teachers. 

Here is the interview Guide -- https://9494b7add7fcd9588a83-1f69badc2e0d0c2f55d8bfc02212a52e.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/Empathy_Interview_Guide_R2.pdf

Photo of Uzo Agyare-Kumi

Thanks Molly, have a couple more posts to put on now. 

Photo of Emma Scripps

Powerful story Uzo! If you have a moment, upload a photograph!