When teaching special education students, you try to create the best learning environment for every pupil in your classroom. During your busy day, you juggle student needs, learning objectives, lesson planning and a million other things that contribute to student learning outcomes. Your in-school support network of colleagues and administrators also works hard to support the educational mission of your profession, but it is easy to forget an entirely separate group of individuals who can not only support but also significantly boost the learning process for your students: the parents.
Parents can be one of your greatest assets when it comes to gaining direct support for the learning objectives of your students. They often want to help with their children’s learning but may not be sure how to help you with the student learning outcomes you have targeted in your current curriculum.
Here is what you can do to help parents help you achieve student learning goals. These concepts are relevant for all teachers but especially those teaching special education students. This student population needs extra help with integrating lessons from school into real life.
How Parents Can Help You Achieve Student Learning Outcomes
If there is just one thing to remember about getting parents involved, it is communication. According to the Special Education Guide, regular communication with parents encourages them to become actively involved in their children’s education by continuing your lessons at home.
The more specific you can be, the more parents will work to reinforce your lesson plans in real-life situations. For example, if you are working on percentages in school, let parents know that. The next time they go out to eat at a restaurant, they can integrate the lesson by asking their kids (your students) to help with figuring the tip.
Tools for Staying in Touch With Parents
The way you communicate with parents will depend on each individual. Some may prefer email or texting; others will prefer periodic face-to-face meetings. Others might want to check out some apps for staying in touch with you.
Thanks to all the educational technology products on the market right now, communication with parents is easy.
To get you started, here are two apps that help teachers stay in touch with parents.
- Remind: Safe Classroom Communication. Formerly called Remind 101, this app lets you text students and parents. Phone numbers, however, are kept private, hence the “safe” description.
- Buzzmob. This works on phones and on the web. You also get to incorporate alerts via text, email or mobile app. You can share important notes from the day and upcoming events in a feed. The calendar feature is viewable by day, week, month or year.
When it comes to teaching special education students, enlisting the support of parents can work well for all involved: Students have a more consistent learning experience when their teachers and parents are on the same page. Parents can play a more active role in their child’s learning by reinforcing at home the lessons taught in school. And teachers can work toward positive learning outcomes for their students by building on parental support.
Learn more about the Lamar University online M.Ed. in Special Education program.