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How the parent teacher relationship helps the student learn English better. An Essay by Jerry Justin Maurer For ITTT If a teacher is asked how can parents help students to learn English? One can reply with the question, how the parent teacher relationship can help the student learn English better. To provide students with the best chance of success in learning English, the teacher and parents must have a solid foundation of communication and understanding. The following is a brief exploration on this question. To go into detail on this question could take a thesis to fully explore. To answer the question how the teacher parent relationship can help the student learn English better, we must first start with the most important thing first. The student is the most important part of this question. To help the parents help the student, we must first find out certain things about the student. What are the student’s expectations? What do they want from the class? What do they want from the teacher and their parent(s)? A simple questionnaire or informal interview at the start of class can get this information. With this information the teacher can help plan with the parent(s) any after school homework or exercises. To help the student reach their expectations. What are the students current English-speaking level? Knowing this can help the teacher and parents provide a starting point for evaluation and progress. Having a measurable starting point that the student and parents can clearly understand will help boost confidence and encourage the parents to keep abreast of their student’s progress. What other activities do the student(s) have outside of class? Knowing what other activities and duties they have can help both teacher and parents avoid any conflicts with their English learning. Over loading students with homework will be counterproductive. Knowing outside responsibilities can help the parents and teacher plan for English learning time. How motivated is the student in learning English? A highly motivated student is approached differently than a less motivated student. A teacher and parents must know when to push and when to relax. Putting to much pressure on a highly motivated and a less motivated student is a recipe for failure and all involved parties will be disappointed. Knowing the student’s motivation and interests can be used by the teacher and parents to help the students with their English learning. By using interest of the student in the English lesson and homework, the student will be more interested in English learning. The Next priority for the teacher is the parent(s) expectations. What do they expect from the teacher? What is their expectation from their child? Are they motivated to help their child with English learning? Knowing a few things can help the teacher plan to achieve both parents and student’s expectations. What is the parent(s) English skill? This a large factor in keeping the parents involved in their students English learning. In some cases, the student’s skill in English will be better than the parents. In this case scheduled parent conferences with a native speaking assistant or teacher will be important. Do the parent(s) have time to help with English learning? What are the students support like at home? All these factors in to the student’s overall motivation and support. The Final piece in the student’s learning is the teacher. What are the teacher’s expectations? A teacher has an expectation of being able to communicate with student and parent openly and whenever needed, both during class, and in scheduled meeting with student and parent(s). A teacher must be available after school hours. Whether it is after school help or answering questions on the weekend, the teacher must be flexible. As a teacher I am expected to use various teaching aids and tools. Both the student and the parent(s) have expectations of the teacher to use aides to help motivate and entertain the students as they learn. How can the student/teacher/parent relationship help the student improve the English learning of the student? Here are some ways in which the relationships interact to help the student. While in English class will be the most the student(s) are exposed to natural spoken English, there many ways the student can practice and learn English away from class, that is fun and beneficial to the student. Parents are an important part of a student’s education. Parents help monitor, encourage and teach student(s) outside of the classroom. English language is the same for any foreign language, practice, practice, practice. Some parent’s English skill might be lower than the students. The afore mentioned fact doesn’t affect the parent’s role in their child’s English learning. No matter the parent(s) skill, parents can structure English speaking time at home. On holidays, parents can have the student read the English on the road signs for the parents or read any other English words they encounter while they are out. Parents can arrange English time at home, with their child’s classmates in a group, with the rule only English is spoken in the group. Fluency in English in the group is not the goal, but to have the parents encourage natural English conversation within the group. Communication between the parent(s) and teacher can help improve after class English learning activities and exercises. As the parent(s) communicate to the teacher on progress and motivation, the teacher can modify English learning activities and exercises to meet the changing needs of the student. The parent teacher, student relationship is constantly changing. Life gets in the way, so to speak. The teacher must be flexible in many aspects to compensate for the changes in the student(s) life. A solid communication with the parents can help all parties deal with English learning when life throws a curve ball. Some students and parents might not see the benefits of learning a foreign language. It is the teacher’s job to explain why it is beneficial to learn a foreign language. A teacher might have to motivate the parents, as much as the student in some cases. Using all available teacher aids and tools available, it is a teacher’s job to make learning English fun and entertaining. If a parent sees their child excited, and making good progress in learning English, it is more likely to be encouraged after school hours by them. My mother was a substitute English teacher for years. In hindsight, I did not know how much her support at home meant to me at the time. Parents play a critical role is their child’s education. A great teacher parent relationship is just one brick in the foundation of a successful student, and just as importantly, a good human being.