Are parent/teacher interviews necessary?

Teacher Students File photo

Sat, 2 Dec 2017 Source: Joe Kingsley Eyiah

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that ain’t so”-Mark Twain

It is said that knowledge is power. It is therefore very important to have knowledge about your child’s education as a parent or guardian to be able to assist your child to achieve the needed success in his/her education journey.

Research has shown that children of especially middle and high school going age (adolescents) don’t always ‘share’ what happens in their school routine. Parents are often not aware of their children’s progress at school if they fail to establish communication lines or direct contacts with their children’s teachers.

It can be argued that parent/teacher interviews are part of the officially mandated means by which parents can productively engage teachers in meaningful discussions on their children’s progress at school. This opportunity is described as “the three-way partnership that exists in a child’s journey through school.” Truly, when parents and teachers come together it creates a positive relationship that results in everyone working together with the child’s best interests as the priority.

Remember the reading book, “Fie ne Skuul” in Ghana in the 1960s? Exactly that! When the home collaborates with school in the interest of the child, the child is fully supported in his/her journey through education.

The Right of the Parent to Know:

Every parent by law has the right to know what goes on with his/her child at school. There are communication tools at school available to the parent such as student daily agenda book, letters to the parent and telephone prompters, curriculum nights and in some schools e-mail messages. There is also the School Council.

In Ontario-Canada, schools are mandated to keep official records on all students as well and report cards and IEPs (Individual Education Plans for students performing below their grade level) from Kindergarten to High School in a folder at the main office known as the OSR (Ontario Student Records). Parents by law have access to their children’s OSRs at the school upon request. However, copies of such records are usually sent to parents at home.

Some Benefits of Parent/Teacher (PTA) Interviews:

The parent/teacher interviews are instituted mainly at the end of every term or report card period to offer parents the opportunity of maintaining contact with school and staying ‘in the loop’.

The academic benefit to the child when the parent attends PTA interview is that it affords the parent better understanding about his/her child’s academic, emotional, social and physical development. The child’s strengths and weaknesses in all subject areas can be explained in detail. Teachers can then provide invaluable feedback on the behavior of the children in the classroom which can sometimes surprise parents.

Also, teachers are in the best position to determine when learning support is required. An interview enables teachers and parents to make plans for further educational support if necessary.

After such interviews some schools offer before and after school support services as well as homework support which parents may want to discuss and consider.

In conclusion, I strongly argue that parent/teacher interviews are very necessary and beneficial to both parents and teachers in the light of progress in relation to goal setting based on discussions during the interviews. They further improve the relationship between parents and students.

Columnist: Joe Kingsley Eyiah