Making an effective Parents Teachers Meeting in India: Comprehensive ideas to get started

1) Parents Participation : One of the major challenges that need to be overcome is the lesser engagement of parents. Do most parents attend parents teacher meeting? What are the reasons that a parent don't appear in the meeting (in private or govt. schools)? Reasons can be many such as lack of time, uninformed about the meeting because the invitation is not done properly or ignorance towards the education of their children as in the case of govt schools.
So how can we deal with it?

2) Meeting Guidelines: In order to make the meeting productive, there needs to be everyone participation. In a usual meeting, parents sit as a passive listener most of the time and  a bunch of teachers give oration about education. But, such situation should be discouraged in the meeting. The meeting is about discussing problems faced by students and even school and how it can be solved by the involvement of parents. So, before we convene a meeting even, a lot of work has to be done about specifics of questions that need to be talked in the meeting.

So, here is a rough example sketch that can be done to confront these issues.

The first step is identifying the problem faced by the kids which need to be discussed with their respective parents in the meeting. The problem can be particular to a student, or a common problem faced by students. If the case is first, sometimes it needs to be solved without making it public, so personalized parent meeting should be done. But if it's a common problem, it can be done in the public meeting.

So, the question is how to identify the problem faced by kids? Its is the toughest job that needs to be done. One of the methods can be an inquiry and in-depth observation on a student.
Let's analyze a statement
"Student is doing badly in chemistry" This is a very generalized statement you will often hear/perceive from teachers when the student get failed in tests.
But the statement lacks any specifics about the student inability to score marks.
To find the specifics, the teacher needs to take help of inquiry and in-depth observation.

So, let's make an example inquiry section to find specifics.

Does the student understood the concepts of the topic? Again, how to know it. By asking some conceptual and simple questions about the topics to the students.

So, what if he/she could answer the simple questions? If this is the case, then exam questions need to be analyzed like what questions were asked in the test and why he/she was unable to do it.

What if he/she couldn't answer the simple questions?
Again, a common perception among teacher is the student is less intelligent or not working hard. This is the conclusion reached by most teachers for not doing well in exams.

"Less intelligent": a very generalized way of defining intelligence. The teacher needs to work on specifics. Is his/her memory less than other students? How to test it, whether his/her memory is less?If the case is memory shouldn't exam pattern be improved? In which way, he/she is less intelligent. Is he/she able to do calculations properly to reach the solution? Was his/her approach to the problems correct?

Next perception, he/she is not working hard. Have you inquired properly to reach this conclusion? How do you know if the student is unwilling to tell you, or he/she is even unsure about it? Even if the conclusion is true, how to motivate them to study, so that it doesn't become a burden for them. Many students feel studying as punishment for them. Why do they feel so? How to make studying more entertaining to them?

It was an example of studies, but there are many other issues that can be discussed with parents, such as school fees, child abuse, sexuality, bullying, environment and limitless issues.

After teachers have identified the problems and thought of some kind of solution, then the meeting can be convened with parents to inquire them and discuss with them.

List of questions or topics should be decided before the meeting which needs to be discussed.

Technologies can also be used to track and speed up all these procedures.

What technologies can we use?

Making a central website to put questions in public/private and their solutions.

Even if the parents are not willing to come they can either post their questions or suggestions on the website or give the question to their children, which can be uploaded to the website. This will make them participate virtually.
Encouraging students to put their problems on the website, keeping their identity anonymous or hidden from the public. And making it obligatory for the student to put at least one problem/suggestion on the website.
Deciding the theme of the meeting which needs to be discussed and posting it.
Convene the meeting with parents through technologies like SMSing, email etc..
Then again posting conclusions of the meeting after it is done. Also posting personal replies on the website about the solutions of the questions.


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