Parent-Teacher Relationships Impact Student Learning
Children thrive when their parents and teachers partner to support their learning and development. A good working relationship between parents and teachers forms the foundation so both can collaborate to respond to each child’s unique needs.
The Research Behind the Importance of Parent-Teacher Relationships
The powerful link between parent-teacher relationships and student learning has been demonstrated in multiple studies. In Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago, the Consortium on Chicago School Research found that schools with strong connections with parents were 10 times more likely to improve in math and four times more likely to improve in reading than schools weak on this measure. Furthermore, in schools where connections with parents were weak, it undermined virtually all attempts at improving student learning.
Strong relationships can be empowering for both parents and teachers. A few years ago, I met an elementary school parent who explained, “Teachers have to see parents ask them things, so that teachers have the confidence to tell us what is happening at school.” Building and sustaining parent-teacher relationships is an ongoing process that needs to start early with banking positive interactions. Research from psychology researcher John Gottman shows that stable relationships need five times as many positive interactions as negative. Positive interactions spill over to help improve student engagement and learning outcomes as well (Christenson & Reschly, 2009).
Schools and teachers can create the conditions for these positive interactions with parents by proactively inviting families as partners and recognizing the important role of families. As the parent I met explained, “For me, it's really important that the teachers support us by communicating what kids are doing in school, what they are low at so that we can help support them too.” When teachers open the doors and invite regular communication, it can set parent-teacher relationships on the right course.
Family Engagement Lab Focuses on the Importance of Parent-Teacher Relationships through FASTalk
Family Engagement Lab’s mission is to foster authentic family-school partnerships as a critical factor in a child’s successful learning journey. Family Engagement Lab helps students achieve their full potential by catalyzing partnerships between the most passionate advocates for children - teachers and family members - through FASTalk.
FASTalk bridges classroom and at-home learning to raise student outcomes. FASTalk helps parents and teachers cultivate positive relationships throughout the school year by prompting regular communication and collaboration around student learning.
The last year of remote learning during the pandemic has demonstrated the critical role that families play in their child’s learning. As we plan to return to schools this fall, let’s harness the knowledge gained about the importance of families in their child’s learning to cultivate deeper parent-teacher relationships.
Connect with us on how FASTalk can help you cultivate parent-teacher relationships
for the 2021-22 school year!
About the Author
Elisabeth O'Bryon is co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer at Family Engagement Lab. Elisabeth was previously the Director of Research and Evaluation at GreatSchools where she worked to design and implement evaluation projects, with a particular focus on rapid-cycle research approaches. Elisabeth recently co-authored 45 Strategies that Support Young Dual Language Learners, a resource that provides practical, developmentally appropriate strategies for supporting children and families from diverse backgrounds and creating inclusive early childhood classrooms that foster the success of young DLLs.