I described the collaboration to one of my grade 11 class. No one really wanted to be interviewed, but they were open to writing responses to some questions. I had them generate a list of questions they thought might help provide some insight into the collaboration.
The questions they generated are:
- What is the purpose of P/T interviews?
- How do you feel about P/T interviews and why do you feel that way?
- How can we interest you to attend P/T interviews?
- What would make students want their parents to come to P/T interviews?
- How can we inform parents more about P/T interviews and student progress?
- How could teachers work with parents to help students?
- How do people view the setting of P/T interviews
- How can we improve P/T interviews?
I asked my students to respond, but also to get a parent and teacher to respond. I was able to get one parents and three teacher responses.
I noticed the students interest in parent-teacher conferences was often linked to their academic success. They better they were doing in school, the more positive they were about the conferences. Something about mom and dad coming home and yelling because they were not doing well was a big factor.
In many cases, it seemed to me, that students wanted school to be separate from their home lives. They don't tell their parents much about school, and respond to "How are you doing in school?" with "Fine." Even getting them to share these questions with parents and teachers was a difficult task. We need to find a way to not only improve parent-teacher communication but also student-parent and student-teacher communication.
I showed my students the comments provided and posed them the following two questions:
- Was I accurate in my assessment of your responses?
- Why do students not want to share with parents? Is it because they are adolescents? Or is there something about not living up to expectations?
These are the responses I received:
- Yes, you were very accurate in your response because many students who are not doing well in school will not want a parent teacher interview because it puts pressure on the parents and them to boost their mark, which takes away from having fun.
- Yes, you are right about your assessment. Kids don't tell parents anything because they are scared of them.
- yes, you were accurate. Most students don't want their parents to know about their lates and bad grades.
- I think you were accurate in your assessment of our responses because most kids do avoid telling their parents if they think there will be negative effects.
- Many students do not want to share with their parents because many students are not doing well in the education system. mostly, it is due to low marks, which for the student to focus on school rather than having fun.
- Some students just don't care about school and same with some parents not caring about their child's schooling, and some students have a fear of not living up to their parents expectations about grades.
- i think it is kids thinking that there parents will yell at them because they aren't happy with the marks they are getting.
- I believe students don't want to share the information that there is a p/t interview. Mostly because the parents will find out about their behavior and grades, they're parents will punish them if they find out.
- Students don't want to share with their parents because when they normally share that there is a parent teacher interview or tell them their grades they assume that their kids could be doing better, if that's not the case they don't want to tell their parents how bad they are doing or they think they could be doing better themselves. It's normally the kids or the reaction they receive when telling their parents.