Why won’t you play with me?

Assisting Parents to Interact with Learning

Last week, as a team (perhaps to our detriment), we decided that instead of the usual lecture-style ‘Meet the Teacher’ night, we would set-up learning experiences in which parents attend. The theory behind this was that as we don’t teach in a “lecture” style, why would we subject parents to that style. We also wanted to very clearly demonstrate to parents the new aspects to our program.

The scenario is as follows; parents arrive, student leaders welcome them with a map, parents choose interactive seminar to attend and then parents move to next space. Parents were able to choose from Reciprocal Reading, Spelling, Portal, Maths Games, Matrix activities and a video of teacher introductions. They could arrive and leave from sessions as they felt the need.

Reciprocal Reading- a comprehension process that involves predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising. Check out this Reciprocal Reading clip for more info.

Spelling – at our school we don’t use spelling lists, we teach rules and allow students to individualise their own lists. Check out Ants in the Apple for more information.

Portal – All children and parents can access homework, unit outlines and matrix activities on our Pete Portal page.

Maths Games – Maths needs to be very kinesthetic for many learners. This can happen through games.

Learning Matrix – Many of our KLAs are developed into an integrated learning matrix. These KLAs include HSIE, Science, Arts and English. Check out this Learning Matrix for more info.

No doubt, you’re wondering how exactly this marvellous evening went…

In short… not well.

We’re not sure why, but parents wouldn’t really “play the game”. They arrived and meandered in strange places. When asked to join a session/group, many parents were seemingly annoyed and usually said “No,thanks”. Eventually, parents tentatively joined sessions and after about 20 minutes, began to confidently ask questions regarding what was on offer.

The positives were that parents were less likely to tackle individual teachers about their child. Sadly, our newbie teacher was left alone and cornered by several ‘helicopter’ parents.

Nevertheless, we’re going to try it again next year.


One thought on “Why won’t you play with me?

  1. Absolutely love the idea – well done! I guess we have to remember that, as that won’t be the experience many parents had of school, it will be unsettling and confronting for them to be part of. Many would expect to be talked at and assume that that is still what their children are experiencing at school. It’s brilliant to hear that you are changing that perception – don’t give up. I’m sure persistence will be rewarded!

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