Week 4 Blog: How do we prepare parents for differentiation, and gaming/gamification in the classroom?

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Preparing parents for differentiation begins with building positive relationships with parents. Most parents are more willing to be acceptable of new changes and and ideas in the classroom when they trust you and have a positive relationship with you. We are making the shift to 21st century learning and most parents are accepatable of that, the edutopia article provide a guide to help parents understand 21st century tools (2012).

Tomlinson (2001) discusses different types of parents and how to prepare them for differentiation. There are the parents of the advanced learners who we must listen to and learn from. On the other hand you have the parents who stay away from school and it is critical for us to try to reach out to these parents.

Many studnets use technology and gaming outside the house. Integration of technology helps to prepare our students for the world of work and the world outside of school (Smith & Throne, 2009). Parents understand the world outside of school and the importantce of technology. Discussing this with parents will likely help them to be more accepting of gaming and differentiation through technology in the classroom.

The article Wonderful Wednesdays discusses inviting parents into the classroom on a weekly schedule to participate alongside their child as they are learning (Crowe, 2004). If parents are in our classroom weekly working alongside their child, they are given the opportunity to see what is going on in the classroom.   Parents then can build relationships and have firsthand experience with differentiation and gaming in your classroom.

Often times, teaachers become defensive when they are questioned by parents. Parents just want to understand what is going on and they want the best for their child. The reading and research this week gave some interesting advice on ways to work with parents.

References:

“A Parent’s Guide to 21st Century Learning.” Edutopia. The George Lucas Education

Foundation, 1 Jan. 2012. Web. <http://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/guides/edutopia-parents-guide-21st-century-learning.pdf&gt;.

Crowe, Caltha. “Responsive Classroom®.” Wonderful Wednesdays. Responsive

Classroom Newsletter, 1 Jan. 2004. Web. 6 Feb. 2015. <https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/article/wonderful-wednesdays&gt;.

Smith, Grace E., and Stephanie Throne. Differentiating Instruction with

Technology in Middle School Classrooms. Eugene, Or.: International

Society for Technology in Education, 2009. Print.

Tomlinson, Carol A. How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability

Classrooms. 2nd ed. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2001. Print.

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5 responses »

  1. I agree with you 100% about preparing parents for differentiation starts with a relationship with the parents. We so often focus on the positive relationships with students because it helps the environment of trust and respect, but I think sometimes we forget that this needs to be done with the parents too. There needs to be trust and respect with them as well, after all they are entrusting us with their “most prized possessions” and we should be treating that honor with great appreciation.

  2. You bring up some good points about communicating with parents. I think everyone is more trusting when they have a positive relationship with someone, so as educators if we can create that relationship with parents, they will be supportive. You mentioned about parents who stay away from school. I noticed this when I taught in rural AK, many parents didn’t like coming into the school or didn’t see a huge benefit to school, so they didn’t “make” their students go to school. In discussing this with AK Native employees of the school they mentioned that school was a very negative and mean place for some of them growing up. They were mistreated by teachers, so their experience with school was not a good one, thus the distrust in teachers. Also, many times when I have a low academic student, I have noticed that the parents don’t have the resources or don’t know how to help their child with school work. So I try and give parents ideas on how to work with their child i.e. reading time, flash cards, online resources.

  3. I agree that positive relationships with parents are important when explaining the things you are doing in your classroom. It can be challenging when we teach close to 150 kids everyday but it is something we should always strive for. Keeping my online grade book up-to-date helps as does posting assignments and activities on a webpage that parents can access. I want to make sure parents have current, useful information available to them. I also take a little extra time when responding to emails that appear confrontational. I always begin those responses with a comment thanking them for their email and their questions. This does two things. First, it defuses any defensive feelings I may have. Secondly, it lets the parents know that I appreciate their thoughts and concerns. If I get a reply that still sounds concerning, I always follow up with a phone call or a conference. Parents really do want to know what’s happening with their kids. Providing positive reassurance that we are on the same page creates a relationship that is centered around teamwork. When this happens, the kids win.

  4. I really appreciated your last paragraph this week. I am a teacher, but also a parent. It is important for teachers to realize that this is exactly the case. Parents just want to see and hear that the teacher has nothing but the best interest of their child in mind when teaching. Every time I get a little frustrated with a student I just think about their parents and myself. I know that this child is someone’s baby. I know how I would want others to treat my own child, so I treat them with the calm and patience I would use with my own kids. That’s the same idea with using gaming in the classroom. We need to really communicate our goals showing that we have the best intentions for their children. It’s that trust relationship between parents and the teacher that you mentioned at the beginning of this blog.

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