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Element 7

Element 7: Teachers are actively engaged members of their profession and the wider community 

Communicating with parents and caregivers

7.1.1 Demonstrate the capacity to communicate effectively with parents and caregivers.

7.1.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of effective home-school links and processes for reporting student progress to parents and caregivers. 

Engaging parents and caregivers in the educative process

7.1.3 Demonstrate the importance of involving parents and caregivers in the educative process and the use of a limited number of strategies to seek that involvement. 

Contributing to the school and wider community

7.1.4 Demonstrate the capacity to work effectively with external professionals, teachers’ aides and community-based personnel to enhance student learning opportunities. 

Professional ethics and conduct

7.1.5 Understand regulations and statutes related to teachers’ responsibilities and students’ rights.

7.1.6 Demonstrate the capacity to liaise, communicate and interact effectively and appropriately with parents, caregivers, colleagues, industry and the local community. 

I believe it is crucial to students’ learning and development that teachers maintain a means of communication with parents and caregivers to inform them of their child’s progress inside the classroom as well as outside (e.g. social situations). According to Edwards and Watts, parent involvement and input is essential to the success of discipline programs and student learning (2004, pp.92).  

It is also crucial that parents and caregivers are involved in their child’s education to emphasise the importance of it and this can be achieved by including them in simple support roles such as the home reading program, sport groups, craft groups, or even having them come in to talk to the class about different culture or occupations. 

I believe when parents and caregivers are aware and actively involved in their child’s learning, home-school links are more likely to be formed and thus students are better able to retain and relate new knowledge outside of the classroom.  

To develop in the profession of teaching, I also believe it is important to seek assistance or work collaboratively with other professionals to enhance student learning opportunities. Such personnel may include teacher aides, relevant guest speakers, community organisations, etc. A network of volunteers around any teacher is really a valuable resource (Edwards & Watts, 2004, pp.255). 

I have communicated effectively with parents and caregivers on the occasions when they do come into the classroom to help with home reading or reading groups.  

I have also devised and written a letter that was to be sent home to parents informing them on a PDHPE unit on racism that was to be taught in class (Appendix 6). Research has indicated that parental involvement in the education of their children is a good predictor of student learning and success (McInerney & McInerney, 2006, pp.461). As also emphasised by Cashen (2007) it provides more opportunities for learning in the school and home context, and also places an importance on education at home, which in turn demonstrates to students its importance and significance to their own lives.  

I have worked effectively with other professionals such as teachers’ aides to discuss students’ learning abilities and strategies when teaching children with special needs. Last year I undertook a course called Positive Approaches to Special Education and as a requirement, I had to complete a fieldwork experience by volunteering to assist a teacher/carer working with students with special needs. For 20 hours, I worked collaboratively with a teachers’ aide, to implement and monitor an integration program with a student who had attention deficit disorder.  

I have also communicated and interacted effectively with other local community members such as scripture teachers and swimming scheme instructors. I did so by assisting them with behaviour management and supervision.  

I have some knowledge of the regulations and statutes related to teachers’ responsibilities and students’ rights although I will still need to consolidate my awareness of them during my next practicum by enquiring with school staff or researching. 

I will demonstrate effective home-school links by ensuring parents and caregivers are informed of their child’s education through letters or direct communication and I will also welcome parents into the classroom to observe or assist during my next practicum if possible. 

I need to further develop my capacity to communicate with other professionals, community-based personnel, colleagues, industry and the local community. I will actively seek occasions where other professional assistance is required and take the opportunity to discuss the matters effectively and appropriately. This in turn will also improve the connectedness of learning to students’ lives (Groundwater-smith et al, 2003). 

References:

Cashen J. (2007). Parents as partners.  Teacher Learning Network, pp. 18-19. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy2.library.usyd.edu.au/fullText;dn=163009;res=AEIPT 

Edwards, C. & Watts, V. (2004). Classroom Discipline and Management – an Australasian perspective. Queensland: John Wiley Sons Australia, Ltd 

Groundwater-smith, S., Ewing, R., & Le Cornu, R. (2003) Teaching Challenges and Dilemmas. Victoria: Thompson Learning Australia  

McInerney, D. and McInerney, V. (2006). Educational Psychology: Constructing Learning. Sydney: Pearson Education Australia.

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