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Every Teacher's Guide to Working With Parents
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Every Teacher's Guide to Working With Parents

  • Gwen L. Rudney - University of Minnesota-Morris, Coordinator of Elementary Education

Other Titles in:
Administration & Leadership

June 2005 | 128 pages | Corwin
Most parents love their children and work hard to be the best parents they can be, but teachers and parents often find themselves in conflict, resulting in hostility, defensiveness, distrust, and communication breakdowns. Contributing to the problem are media images, public policy, professional commentary, and informal conversations that portray parents as deficient, particularly when the parents may already be marginalized through poverty or language barriers.

Working from research in three key areas - parent development and parenting skills, social and historical influences on families, and parent-school relationships - teacher (and parent), Gwen Rudney offers teachers a more useful interpretation of parent beliefs and actions, designed to lead to community, trust-building, collaboration, gratitude, and friendship.

Straightforward chapters offer teachers theory, practice, case studies, workshop exercises, and common sense strategies and reminders for working with parents to improve life and learning for all children.


 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
1. Understanding the Lives of Parents: Why Do They Do Those Things They Do?
Scenario: "If the Parents Would Just..."

 
Demands and Decisions

 
What Experts Have to Say

 
Quick Tips on Important Issues

 
Popular Literature

 
A Theoretical Look at Parenting Styles

 
So, What's the Problem?

 
What's a Parent to Do?

 
Avoid Extremes

 
Focus on the Target Goals of Parenting

 
Try Hard...and Keep Trying

 
The Kids Have a Role

 
Children Grow and Change

 
Parents Change and Develop Too

 
Helping Parents Who Have Special Struggles

 
Troubled Parents

 
Parents With Troubled Kids

 
Parents Love Their Kids

 
Additional Resources

 
Books

 
Web Sites

 
 
2. Collaborating With Parents: How Can Teachers Build Relationships That Work?
Scenario: "Is It Going to Matter?"

 
Understanding Complementary Spheres of Knowledge and Influence

 
What Do Teachers Mean When They Say They Want Support?

 
What Do Parents Want From Teachers?

 
What Qualities in a Teacher Are Most Important to Parents?

 
What Positive and Negative Experiences With Teachers Do Parents Remember?

 
What Do Parents Do When a Child Dislikes the Teacher?

 
What Do Parents Do When They Disagree With the Teacher?

 
Professionalism...in a Personal Way

 
Working With Parents: Key Strategies for Teachers

 
Greet Parents With Respect and Interest in Their Children

 
Solicit and Utilize Parent Questions, Advice, and Comments

 
Think About Homework

 
Develop "We-ness"

 
Be Prepared With Interesting, Meaningful Information

 
Be Honest...and Patient

 
Be Professional...in a Personal Way

 
Ask Not What the Parents Can Do for You but What You Can Do for the Parents

 
Coping With Difficult Parents...or Parents With Difficulties

 
Sometimes It's a Difficult Situation

 
Sometimes It's the Parent

 
Sometimes It's the Student

 
And Sometimes It's the Teacher

 
Conclusion

 
Additional Resources

 
Books

 
Web Sites

 
 
3. Advocating for Parents: What Are Powerful Messages We Can Share?
Scenario: "I Didn't Know How to Say It"

 
Message One: All of Us Have Parents...and Most of Us Become Them

 
The Problem With Ethnocentrism: Like Me/Not Like Me Thinking

 
The Problem With Assumptions

 
A Gentle Reminder

 
Message Two: Many Powerful Factors Create Misconceptions About Parenting

 
Remembering the Past

 
Media Influences

 
Habits of Mind

 
The Real Deal

 
Message Three: Most Parents Are Good Enough

 
Children's Health and Happiness

 
Time and Attention

 
Encouraging Learning

 
When There Are Problems

 
Message Four: Successful Families Come in Different Shapes and Sizes

 
Moms and Dads

 
Single Parents

 
Stepparents

 
What the Children Want

 
Message Five: It Really Does Take a Village to Raise a Child

 
Members of the Village

 
What the Village Can Do

 
Message Six: Schools That Advocate for Families Reap Multiple Rewards

 
Attitude and Atmosphere

 
Buildings and Bridges

 
Communication, Collaboration, and Competence

 
Parting Words

 
Additional Resources

 
Books

 
Web Sites

 
 
References
 
Index

“Gives educators strategies to help involve, influence, and become partners with parents.  This book will be an asset to all teachers, especially beginning teachers in training, new teachers, and teachers who mentor other teachers. All teachers can be reminded of the important role we play in a family’s life.”  

Vickie Catalina, Teacher
Stephens Elementary/Middle School, Detroit, MI

“Teachers can easily use the strategies to be more effective communicators.  Most importantly, the entire book is discussing a problem that all teachers have. .. We all have unique circumstances, but we all want the best for the students.  How we do this is creating an effective plan that works for each individual child.  This book’s strategies make it seem possible.”  

Cami Sullivan
Middle School Gifted Language Arts Teacher, Smokey Road Middle School, Newnan, GA

“As I was reading it, I found things I could use in my next parent conference…The tone and style of the book really appealed to me.  It was a fast read because it was so practical and useful.  I wanted to keep reading to see what good information would come next."   

Kathryn McCormick
Teacher, Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, Gahanna, OH

“A practical and valuable tool to teachers and parents."

Monica Haeussler
Gifted Program Instructor, Central Bucks School District, Warringtown, PA

“I will be recommending this book to my principal for staff in-service training…. I think all teachers should read this as a great refresher on working with parents.  I highlighted pieces of information on almost every page."

Tony Vincent
Teacher, Millard Public Schools, Omaha, NE

“Parent user–friendly...not overloaded with professional jargon.”  

Karen Walker
Speech Language Pathologist, West Carrollton City Schools, West Carrollton, OH
Key features
  • A research-based guide to successful teacher-parent collaborations
  • Straightforward chapters combine theory, practice, case studies, workshop exercises, common sense strategies, and reminders for teachers working with parents in collaborative partnerships.
  • Ideal for parent-teacher organizations and for parent advocacy groups.
  • By educator (and parent) Gwen L. Rudney, author of Maximum Mentoring.   

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface

Chapter 1: Understanding the Lives of Parents


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