Empathy interview: Parent & School Board Member

I spent a few minutes talking to a parent of a 2nd grade student about parent-teacher conferences.

Photo of Matthew Drewette-Card

Written by

No description really needed.  It's an interview with a parent about parent-teacher conferences.

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

Conferences are good, but there's probably a better way to communicate more regularly and effectively.

11 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Clint Heitz

Matthew - Very clever video, sir! I appreciate your insight and reflection on why conferences are so valuable. You have a unique perspective from so many different roles, and I got a kick out of the way in which you chose to share those ideas.

 Do you feel that your LEVEL of concern for your child's development will continue through high school? I get the feeling that you will stay as involved, and I know I believe that I will continue to care that much with my 6-year-old as she grows. Unfortunately, the feedback I received from 25+ high school freshmen for What do they really think? was that parents have become hands off or complacent with accepting just the grade.

Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed the video, and I appreciated your candid responses.

Photo of Matthew Drewette-Card

I do feel my level of concern will continue throughout their learning, but, again, I'm different in that my whole career is focused on "learning," and I don't want to fall into the "plague of the home contractor" (you know... the worst-looking house on the block belongs to the home contractor because s/he doesn't want to do that work all of the time).  I think part of the problem is the "accepting of the grade."  Grades bring with them such preconceived notions/bias with everyone, as everyone has experienced them... yet no two people have experienced grades in the same way.  Which is weird and frustrating.  Everyone's done it... yet uniquely.  This speaks to the subjectivity of grades, which leads to the complacency.  If they're so subjective, they lose their meaning over time, and if they lose their meaning and purpose and relevancy over time, then complacency and a "whatever" attitude sets in.  Grades do not promote growth mindsets; they promote fixed mindsets.  And a fixed mindset, combined with a system that is so huge and challenging to change, leads to simple acceptance, and then that acceptance (over time) becomes some sort of false-truth.  This is why I am such a proponent of proficiency-based learning; more about the learning, the skill, and the evidence, then an aggregate that tells me nothing.  

Teachers care; students care; parents care.  They all care.  If the grades are what are causing this complacency and apathy in our system, shouldn't we do something about that?

Photo of Clint Heitz

Two favorite parts of your reply:
- "Grades do not promote growth mindsets; they promote fixed mindsets. And a fixed mindset, combined with a system that is so huge and challenging to change, leads to simple acceptance, and then that acceptance (over time) becomes some sort of false-truth."
- "Teachers care; students care; parents care. They all care. If the grades are what are causing this complacency and apathy in our system, shouldn't we do something about that?"

I would love to sit down and have a chat some time, as I feel like there's quite a bit that you and I would see eye-to-eye on. Oh the world's problems we could solve!

I'm the same way with my daughter and the "home contractor" mentality. I think you're on the right track with the need to change the system. We'd almost definitely see an uptick in involvement if there were more transparency.

View all comments