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The Communication Challenge

Did you ever play the "telephone" game when you were a kid? You know, the one where someone whispers a message to the person next to them, they then whisper it to the next person, and it continues around the circle. If you haven't, the important lesson is that the message sent out is almost never the same message that gets back around the circle. It changes slightly from person to person until it is sometimes a completely different message.

You may have experienced something similar as a teacher or parent, especially given our recent shift to hybrid and online only learning. The teacher communicates something to students (expectations, due dates, missing work) and then the student communicates something slightly (or radically) different to parents. Parents communicate back to students who then go back to their teacher. Unfortunately, there is often many misunderstandings and missed information.

As school leaders, teachers, and parents, we have experienced this phenomena many times. Unfortunately, our current situation has made communication even more challenging than ever. We need to get clearer on what information parents need to know (how to check grades, how to ask questions, etc.) and the simplest and most effective way to get them that information (screen recordings, phone calls, etc.).

Student success in distance learning is predicated on parents knowing how to support them with that learning. However, parents need help knowing what that support should look like. Partnering with parents in order to work collaboratively should be a central focus of our work in schools right now. If not, we will severely limit our success with students.

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