Harness the insights that only parents can provide with these simple tips.

May 18, 2021

Highly effective educators solicit feedback from their stakeholders — students, peers, and leadership team members. This is a great way to gather constructive criticism, affirmations, and suggestions for improvement. Armed with this information, teachers can revamp lesson plans, fine-tune old skills, and introduce new approaches.

However, teachers often omit a key stakeholder from this process: parents. Including parents in your end-of-year reflection can garner invaluable information that administrators, peers, and students are unable to provide.

Why Parent Feedback Is Powerful

End-of-year feedback is like a puzzle; there are multiple pieces that come together to make the whole picture.

There are four main parts of the feedback puzzle:

  • Students
  • Administrators
  • Peers
  • Parents

Each piece of the puzzle has its strengths and weaknesses, and that’s why each piece is key. For example, students are the focal point of teaching; their feedback is priceless. However, students are not always aware of what is best for their future, can be shortsighted, and often have priorities that are misaligned with those of an educator.

So, what is the power of parent feedback? The answer lies in a well-documented, much-studied concept: Student success and parental involvement go hand in hand.

When an educator better understands how parents feel about the education their child is receiving, they can better engage parents in student learning. Plus, the simple act of asking parents for feedback shows that the teacher values their opinions and knows they play a critical role in their child’s education. Finally, parents can provide information that no other stakeholder can. Has communication been misconstrued between the school and parents? Are parents aware of how they can best support student success? Are there parents that can be a resource to your classroom? These questions and more can only be answered by parents.

How and What to Ask Parents

The key to receiving quality feedback rests on two critical elements: how easy it is for the respondent to give feedback and whether the questions will effectively elicit valuable responses.

Make It Easy

Parents are busy. Overcomplicating the feedback process will only result in incomplete or inaccurate data. Keep things simple by limiting your questions, making them easy to answer, and providing an incentive for completion. Is email or a hard copy the best route for your community? Can questions be answered by simply choosing an item from a range of options? Is there a way to reward students for their parents’ completion of the feedback form?

Ask the Right Questions

Consider what is most important to your classroom and what information can only be provided by parents. Avoid questions that a colleague, student, or administrator could answer. Instead, ask questions that reflect your interest in partnering with parents for their student’s success. Have the focus of your questions be self-growth and be receptive to constructive criticism.

Seize the Power of Collaboration

Looking for an opportunity to unite and grow with other teacher leaders? Join us for the 16th Annual Teacher Leadership Institute: Where Curiosity and Leadership Unite for an opportunity to connect and learn with fellow educators — for free. 

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