After revealing the results of a survey about coeducation recently conducted in France, Editions Nathan brought together parents and teachers in a round table to discuss concrete coeducation actions that they have put in place to strengthen the school-family bond.
From the start of the conversation, the panelists reiterated the importance of “finding a ground for collaboration”. Parents and teachers can sometimes have different visions of what co-education should be, but points of communication are always possible.
Even if this is not yet common practice in schools in France, Brune Hennquin, a preschool teacher, does not hesitate to let the parents of her students enter her class. On a daily basis, she also communicates with them via a mobile application in order to give them news of school life. Twice a year, she even invites them to spend half a day in class and participate in special activities. “They can see how it actually plays out. It helps them have referrals, ”she says. She has also built up a small library of children's books that she does not hesitate to lend to parents.
Jérémie Fontanieu, high school teacher (2nd cycle of secondary school), also believes in the importance of co-education. It encourages teachers to communicate with all the parents of their students at the start of the school year. And this applies for primary education until the end of compulsory education.
“Parents expect us to contact them only if there is a problem. If we reach out to them in September, that can change the dynamic. Yes, it takes time to do it, but it creates an alliance, ”he points out. After that initial phone call at the start of the school year, he communicates with parents by text once a week to give them brief updates. “There is a bond of trust that sets in. "
Moreover, the interveners all agreed that conflicts become less serious when communication is good with parents. They will react less critically to certain situations if they are well informed of what is going on in the classroom. On the other hand, they deplored that co-education is not part of teacher training. Everyone must therefore tame it in their own way.
An application to communicate with parents
Frank-David Cohen, Co-Founder and President of Klassroom, had been invited to participate in the discussion in order to present the application developed by his company to facilitate communications between teachers and parents.
The Klassy app allows you to share photos, videos, voice notes, documents, events, surveys, lists, invitations and homework. Teachers can schedule posts in advance, much like social media, and manage parent feedback and comments. They can start private or group chats. The translation function even allows you to write in your native language and translate messages into a hundred languages. Finally, the application allows parents to make an appointment and, once the appointment is approved, it can be held by videoconference.
“Before using the app, some teachers fear that parents will become intrusive and send messages at any time of the day,” he explains. “This is not what is happening. Opening a channel of communication ensures that parents become allies. "
Parents' point of view
Nageate Belahcen, co-president of the Federation of Parents' Councils (FCPE), and Béatrice Lutz, General Secretary of the Federation of Parents of Public Education (PEEP), also took part in the discussion. . Both said they appreciated the fact that teachers communicate with parents first and foremost, not just when there are problems.
Ms. Belahcen spoke of “school codes” which are sometimes difficult for parents to master. “There are bureaucratic expressions and terms that are used in schools. Parents don't know them. They should have this vocabulary explained to them so as not to feel overwhelmed. This is especially true for parents with an immigrant background, who have other pointers about the school system in their home country.