Term Paper: Administrative Strategies for Effective Communication

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[. . .] Besides it will establish closer relationship between both parties, the family may also give feedback about what to improve in educating the student in school and at home.

It is necessary that parents and school keep in touch regularly that they can anticipate any coming problems as early as possible. Parents and teachers can become working partners, and principals can be an administrator for this program as well. They would also need to maintain the trust and respect each other. With frequent discussion, they can always work out the best ways to achieve their goals in a timely manner and find another advanced ones way after that.

In "School-Family," there are some possible strategies to accentuate the program:

Reducing school and parents barrier: The School Development Program encourages parents' involvement to participate in the program management to improve school condition, teach parents about techniques for at home learning, and conduct social meetings to introduce parents and school staff together. Focus's "Parental Involvement in Education" (2000) explained that difficulties might come when school failed to support parents and explain how they can contribute to their children education. Some possible reasons have been explained above, but there may also be cultural and language barriers, considering many immigrant communities present in the U.S.A.

Accommodating the families' work schedule: To increase the interest and participation from the whole members of the family, meetings and coordination are often scheduled after working hours. Most of them find it easier to come to school in the evening or weekends. The participants can share anything, from domestic subject teaching to adult schooling and recreational activities. They can also share about the hottest social issue in the neighborhood to prevent harmful effect to the children and the community.

The use of technology: This is one among all good ideas to strengthen the communication between parents and school. The school can establish interactive telephone communication, like hotline, to allow parents to communicate well if they want to monitor students' progress. If the community or school has more funds to invest in infrastructure, they can establish a Web site to conduct interactive learning as well as discussion board.

Home-school coordinator: A home-school coordinator is a person chosen to be a contact between school and parents. They will give great help when it is difficult or impossible for parents to attend parents' workshops. Parents from lower socioeconomic condition are often reluctant to school meetings, especially to get involved in any academic activities. Sometimes, it is also necessary for school to look at the social and financial condition in the neighborhood where the students live to identify what possible problems may arise from the cultural contact or lack of academic competence the family and the situation have. In Missouri, there is a program called Parents as Teachers for parents of children up to three years old. In here, a parent educator gives home visits to educate other parents about "child rearing skills and child development, parents workshops, and so on." It has made the great increase of parents' education and gives them easier task when they have to communicate with the children, especially the toddlers. As the result, this age range in Missouri score the higher academic accomplishment compared to other groups of age. The National Urban League as reported in the "School-Family" article, officially urged Partners for Reform of Science and Math to encourage parents to participate in children education. The parents actually have lots of good ideas to use in home learning. They can also use the community facilities. Home-visiting programs is also necessary to ensure that parents and school have the same perception about their goals in mind. The home school coordinator can bridge this gap and synchronize the meaning of their project. They can also answer questions regarding home study from parents who may face multiple challenges having home assignment with their children. This strategy has been proven effective. It has an official organization called The League of School Reaching Out, which connect about 70 schools in the national program. They also provide teaching resources, which also work well with parents programs at home. Therefore, parents without abilities to find resources themselves or lack of time to do so may find it very valuable. On the other hand, creative parents would feel better involving their self-invented materials to seam into the home activities. It may be more encouraging to children as those materials involve family member participation in the learning activities, for example, parents' creation of math activities for upper elementary students at home, in the TIPS (Teachers Involving Parents in Schoolwork) Program (Epstein and Salines as cited in "School-Family" article).

Involvement in the decision-making process: It is a good idea to give parents a more widespread role that intensifies parents' assistance into the formal education system. School can assign parents with opportunities to take a part in decision-making occasions, where they can contribute fresh and probably more applicable ideas and techniques to carry out the collaboration program. If possible, they can also offer some suggestions to "improve the curriculum and school organization," which will enhance the overall lesson management and output to the community. The article also mentioned the possibilities of parents' participation in "steering committee and task forces." This effort will fill the gap between "reluctant parents" or those who don't have good understanding or just unaware about the purpose of the program. Such involvement builds stronger relationship between school and parents.

The other issue is dealing with the community. Community does help, if there is a responsible setting that integrates the potentials of the local community that suit the need of students within the area. In "Communities Connecting Family and Schools," about 48% of American people think that their local communities need to help raising the children; and 60% of single parents or lower-income family agreed on the opinion.

Beyond the opportunities, communities may fill the gap by contributing financial and social support to carry out the proper education process. Community members also need to be aware to social issues, which would hinder the successful education process in the area, such as drugs, neighborhood safety, children abuse and so on. They could establish various types of services to assist the school and home education. For example, they can form organizations that "encourage people to serve as mentors extend learning opportunities, link social services with educational programs, or train parents in leadership."

The community has a wide range of mature people and experts in various subjects. They have a lot of professional as well as emotional experiences that may help the local students to identify their goals and getting through psychological challenges they may find in school or during study. Such service like "mentor programs" would also benefit the students by offering "emotional, support, guidance, and specific assistance." This program may involve volunteers from any segment of the community, students to senior citizens.

Chalkboard Tips and Resources (1996) stated that it is important for the members of communities to realize where they belong to; therefore they would be the decision-makers. With the skills they already have, they can teach students to incorporate what they learn in school into what they would face in the workplace.

Practices That Work" (2002) also mentioned that community support should also address parents' need of time to participate in school activities. One real example, employers should be encouraged to "provide flexible leave time" for parents to attend school meetings and workshops. Besides that any kind of donation such as students training, internship, and career preview would also give great benefits.

Conclusion

The whole participation is necessary to accomplish goals in the success of education. Collaboration among school, parents, and community is the key of it. With equal partnership, working hand in hand, and proper strategies and approaches, students can learn at their best and get great exposure leading their future at home, in school, and in their environment.

Bibliography

Chalkboard Tips and Resources. 1996. The Family Resource Coalition's Report "Parents Leading the Way" Vol. 15 No. 2. Web site: http://www.handinhand.org/parentinvolve.html.

ERIC Document. Communities Connecting Family and Schools. Strong Families, Strong Schools. Web site: http://eric-web.tc.columbia.edu/families/strong/community.html

ERIC Document. School-Family Web site: http://eric-web.tc.columbia.edu/families/strong/sfp.html.

ERIC Documents. Family Involvement. Strong Families, Strong Schools. http://eric-web.tc.columbia.eu/families/strong/involve.html.

Kliewer, T. (1996). Districts Turn to Parents to Play Bigger Roles. Retrieved October 21, 2002 from Houston Chronicle. Web site: http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/metropolitan/96/10/13/schools/parents.2-0.html

Parental Involvement in Education: Focus What Works. Nov 2000. Retrieved October 21, 2002 from Casey Family Program. Web site: http://www.casey.org/whatworks/2000/11/focus.htm

Parental Involvement in Education: Practices That Work. 2002. Retrieved October 7, 2002 from Casey Family Program. Web site: http://www.casey.org/whatworks/2000/11/practices.htm.

Reynolds, M. Bringing Your School Closer to Your Community. Oct 2002. Principal Leadership. pp. 81-82. [END OF PREVIEW]

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