Distance learning: Co-educating is when school and family communicate two-way

As online teaching and learning continues for longer than expected, it is important to remember the importance of knowing how to communicate your observations in order to make the necessary adjustments for student well-being and success.

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When online teaching and learning goes on for longer than expected, school-family / family-school communication is amplified so that things get better and better.

Teachers in several regions of Quebec and elsewhere are currently teaching online and the period is getting longer. The article The school-family relationship - A condition for success for distance learning, to read in this special free issue of École Branché magazine for parents, reminds us of the importance of knowing how to communicate your observations to both sides in order to make the necessary adjustments to the well-being and success of the students. 

Through all of this, we must not forget that learning online is learning in itself. Several teachers are also taking their first steps with this method of teaching. The learning experience is lived both by teachers and students, but also by parents. Continuous adjustments are necessary. 

  • How to host a videoconference and teach new concepts effectively;
  • How to adjust the online teaching schedule taking into account the reality of the students' families;
  • How to adapt students' independent work plan to keep them engaged;
  • How to educate students in the new code of online living;
  • How to learn the technical basics of videoconferencing and the applications to use with your students (open / close microphone and camera - share your screen - etc.); 
  • And so many other things.

Kindness and flexibility are required to meet the challenges of the current situation. Whether the use of technology is going well or not, it generates stress and discomfort for everyone. Teaming up with students and their parents for a positive and effective online learning experience becomes a priority. Tell yourself that parents are your eyes at home! They see what the teacher cannot see when the cameras are off and they can share their observations.

Encourage parents to share their observations

Parents have not only the right, but the responsibility to communicate with teachers to share their observations to contribute to the well-being and success of their children.

Parents are responsible for supporting their children in the context of online learning. They are essential allies for teachers. Invite them to communicate with you in a structured way (take for example these Google forms created by Mrs. Myra Auvergnat-Ringuette, elementary school teacher, which you can gracefully copy and personalize) or spontaneously.

Students are the main actors in their success, they can document their progress and their challenges to share with their teacher and their parents. It will be even simpler and more efficient to support them based on their own observations. The following learning report model is inspired by the coaching report used each week by Ms. Julie Chandonnet, grade 6 teacher.

  • Learning assessment : Report to be completed by the students, the teacher and the parents (to be sent weekly)

Request co-education

The relationship of coeducation implies that we take the time to tell each other things. In the current situation, taking the time to tell parents what information to communicate and when to do so is highly relevant. Taking the time to open a dialogue with them to obtain information that will be useful in order to make the e-learning experience optimal will help to gain confidence and save precious time in the future.

When and what to communicate with you?

Parents can report different situations related to their child's organization. For example, "my child does not know how to organize himself with his work plan or how to carry out his work". The parent may notice that he does not seem to understand the material, but does not dare to ask questions. It is also possible that it detects that a child is demotivated, anxious or depressed. It is essential to take the time to tell parents that they are welcome to communicate with you when they observe changes in behavior or motivation or even incomprehension or difficulty related to the workload. This information will allow the teacher to set up strategic interventions.

Invite parents to ask questions related to how the online learning experience unfolded. Students benefit from their teachers and parents working together to ensure their well-being and success.

Developing a trusting school-family relationship necessarily involves communication and the establishment of continuous and concerted actions. You should never hesitate to communicate on both sides, keeping in mind that each communication must aim at the well-being and success of young people above all. Together, school-family, it is possible to positively influence their life, even in such a new and destabilizing context. 

Download the special magazine for parents to read the full article: The school-family relationship - A condition for success for distance learning.

Photo credit: Photo by August de Richelieu sure Pexels

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About the Author

Stéphanie Dionne
Stephanie Dionne
Stéphanie Dionne is director of development and partnerships, facilitator and speaker. It contributes to the influence of players in the education sector and its ecosystem. In addition, it supports parents, teachers and workers in a mentality of co-education in order to allow young people to become fulfilled citizens in the digital age.

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