Many of the back-to-school tips available are targeted towards teachers, but it’s essential for students to have a great support system in place at home as well as in the classroom. The more informed your family is by asking your child’s teacher questions, the more seamlessly students can transition from summer to school.
Below are some questions parents can ask teachers to better clarify what is happening in the classroom. Some of these questions may seem a bit direct because you’re not used to hearing them, but until parents have a better understanding of exactly what’s going on with their children every weekday, building that essential support system at home will be difficult.
- What academic standards do you use, and what do I need to know about them? Knowing the standards of you child’s classroom will allow you to remind your child of them while at home.
- How will you respond if or when my child struggles in class? Opening a dialogue about this topic is great, because you can then make suggestions or requests according to your child’s needs.
- What are the most important and complex (content-related) ideas my child needs to understand by the end of the year? Knowing the big-picture ideas will help you help your child set long-term goals for the school year.
- How are creativity and critical thinking used on a daily basis in your classroom? This is a great way to make sure your child is being taught to think outside the box, rather than merely memorizing information to spit it back out on tests and quizzes.
- How are assessments designed to promote learning rather than simple measurement? This is a great follow-up to the previous question, and can help you gather even more information on this same important topic.
- What learning models do you use (e.g., project-based learning, global learning, flow-based learning, etc.), and what do you see as the primary benefits of that approach? Modern teachers utilize an increasingly large variety of learning strategies, and it’s essential for you to understand which one(s) your child will be using.
- Is there technology you’d recommend that can help support my child in self-directed learning at home? Technology is an invaluable link between your child’s school and home environments.
- What are the most common barriers you see to academic progress in your classroom? Finding out common obstacles other students face can help you get ahead of the game if your child encounters roadblocks.
- How do you see the role of the teacher in the learning process? This question will let you know exactly where your child’s teacher sees herself fitting into your child’s support system.
- What am I not asking but should be? In case we’ve forgotten any pertinent information, cover all your bases with this final question.
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