Enhance Parent Teacher Communication Using Notes From Home or School
Behavior problems in the classroom are a source of frustration for teachers, parents and children. Disruptive behavior can begin in preschool and last through high school with effects on academics, social development, self esteem, and family life. Children may display disruptive classroom behavior for a variety of reasons including normal adjustment issues, family life stress, learning delays, and emotional/behavioral problems. A school home note can be implemented in private and public schools and enhances parent teacher communication.
Goals of a School Home Note
The purposes of school home notes would be to enhance the communication between parent and teacher, monitor a child’s behavior in an objective and time-saving manner, and to determine whether current interventions are working and what changes may need to be made for behavioral plans. School home notes may force a parent and teacher to view both positive and negative behaviors in perspective. If a child has been working at keeping her hands to herself, it is possible through this communication to chart a her progress over time. For example, one week a child might have struggled three of five days with this problem behavior and a month later is struggling only one day out of five.
Implementing a Parent–Teacher Communication Plan
Meet with each new teacher to determine the best way to communicate with school home notes. In an electronic age, some teachers may prefer e-mail, while others may prefer to sign planners or have a separate note. Make a decision about the behaviors that the communication will address and how often the exchange should occur. Young children struggling with aggression may do better with a daily home note with specific items that address target behaviors like keeping hands to themselves, sharing, listening at recess, waiting quietly in line or whatever the discipline problem is. Older children may need less monitoring and a weekly signing of the homework planner with a grade for the week would be appropriate.
The parent teacher communication will be effective if school home notes address the correct behaviors, are at a frequency that the child requires and not so cumbersome as to become unmanageable.
Develop a Behavior Plan that Increases Positive Behavior
Merely knowing how a child behaves will not improve his behavior. It is necessary to create a behavior or discipline plan that will increase positive behaviors. Use the school-home note to guide positive reinforcements. Consider assigning parts of the school home note points, tickets or tokens for the child to earn privileges and activities. Avoid monetary compensation if possible. For example, consider giving a child a token for each day he stays on “green,” and when he earns 10 tokens he can pick from a list of privileges as his reward. This works better than forcing a child to earn a certain amount per week, because if a child does not earn early in the week, she will be less likely to be motivated later.
Parents can also take away non “need” items for safety issues and inability to meet minimal goals. Children who cannot keep themselves and others safe may not have earned television, computer or video games.
For children who have continued difficulty, despite behavior plans and parent teacher communication, professional intervention may be necessary. Teachers and pediatricians should be able to assist in guiding parents to obtain the correct assessment for a child’s behaviors. Parents of children with special needs may find Lawrence M. Siegel’s The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child quite helpful.
School home notes help parents and teachers communicate effectively to set goals and monitor a child’s behavior. In turn, a behavior plan can be implemented, established and changed which will improve a child’s ability to function at home and at school. A child who is able to function successfully in his or her environment is more likely to feel competent and has a better chance at rebuilding self-esteem.