10 questions for your child’s teacher

I have never had a parent ask me any of the questions listed below, except, perhaps, the one about ‘happiness’ in a number of guises. I wish someone would.

How would your child’s teachers fare if asked these questions:

1. What is your educational philosophy?

2. How are you assisting our child to become a self-directed learner?

3. What professional reading are you undertaking at the moment?

4. What are you reading for fun?

5. How do you use technology as a tool to leverage learning in the classroom?

6. What online resources have you created for your class?

7. How do you assist students to learn about digital citizenship?

8. What professional networks and associations are you involved with regularly?

9. What observations can you offer about our child’s happiness at school?

10. What reflections can you make about our child’s growth as a learner and citizen this year?

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What questions would you like to be asked or ask?

 

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17 Comments

  1. Stu:

    It’s a comprehensive set of questions that intelligent, caring parents would love to get the answers to, but for the average teacher, I’m guessing many would be seen as threatening questions. I mean “who is a parent to question ME about my qualifications and teaching methodologies!”

    However, a confident teacher that truly cares for their students would easily and happily be able to answer them. Accountability is truly coming to the classroom. All parents need to do is Google “Questions to ask your child’s teacher” and they’ll find your list. Then they will start being asked of teachers. In other words, teachers need to start reflecting on hwo they would ANSWER these questions – which I think was the real aim of your article… :)

  2. Troy:

    I keep saying it: my kids’ teachers are going to hate me.
    I want my students to ask the same questions. I want colleagues to start asking these questions.
    Some ideas:
    Are you trying to reproduce your own experience of education?
    How has your teaching changed in the last year?
    What are three things you would like me to do to help you enhance my child’s learning?

    Stu, do you want me to pass on my answers?

  3. Stu:

    They’re good extra questions Troy. As a parent of two children that left school just a few years ago, I would like to also have known:

    - How will memorising and regurgitating a miniscule subset of knowledge help my children with their future careers?

    • Troy:

      It won’t. That’s why in my classroom and increasingly across our school (notice the use of collective pronoun? As the school is as much mine as theirs?) we are evolving into e-portfolios of excellence- work that can be altered, changed, reviewed overtime.

  4. Imelda Judge:

    Great reflection for us all! On reading them all there was only one that I thought I needed to work on! Phew! I have been tempted to ask these questions of my children’s teachers but they start shaking on many of them have started shivering on the more simple questions! Lol! Imagine if I asked these!?

  5. Russell Darnley:

    A useful set of questions that made me think about my own process. I wish more parents would ask such questions, they could be a wonderful opener for some real communication. For me education must be a partnership that involves students, teachers and parents/community without this it’s apt to become a rather esoteric process.

    As might be expected, many aren’t assisting students in the process of becoming solid digital citizens, also membership of professional networks and associations isn’t a priority for many.

    While teachers do attempt to encourage students to become self directed learners, often their sense of what’s engaging students and the extent to which they are already self dirtected learners, is lagging.

    Given the hierarchical structure that schools currently have, the conversation with parents requires leadership and unless it’s supported, encouraged and fostered by the senior executive it is a discourse that will remain on the periphery.

  6. Mark:

    Great work everybody. Wonderful list and wonderful contributions.
    Perhaps others could be:
    what is the DET doing about training you in some of the areas listed?
    Are you saying that the school has only given the teachers 2-3 hours training, one of which was a lecture about how good computers are?
    Did i hear correctly, you yourself are over 55 and are not a self directed learner and have not been trained to teach children in being self directed learners?
    I, like some of you can gladly tick some (but not all bar one) of those questions off. However, I know many teachers, some of them have been valuable contributors in different times, who would still like to be a part of the future but have not had enough assistance in getting to where the future is, for now, given its shifting nature. Many of these people can’t work it out for themselves like people of my generation (and those fortunate enough to be in their 20′s and early 30′s who ae even better).
    So, like many of you, i will be equipped with those questions when i attend my first parent-teacher interviews. I also hope that I will approach it in a helpful way and not in an intimidating manner.
    Let us not Judge.
    Let us do Moore.

  7. Chris:

    I would consider such questioning to more appropriate if directed at the Principal level. Lets for practice start off with doing this to our GP, Dentist, Lawyer, etc. I think you can get the feel of things without having to have fire off such questions. I could imagine parents warming to their child rearing practices and philosophies, and from my experience they have a huge impact upon children’s learning.

  8. I love all these suggestions (and am thanking my lucky stars that I don’t teach Darcy or Barbara’s children. GULP!) I’m off to think how I would answer them …. sadly, I think I’d fail on some accounts.
    Tracey

  9. Unkle Cyril:

    These questions reinforce my idea that the gaps between parent, teacher and student should be narrowed…but I don’t know what ‘digital citizenship’ is…is there another phrase more easily understood or do I have to google it?

  10. HI ,
    Great questions.
    I would be happy to answer all of them to anyone who is prepared to listen.
    For an ideal world here are a few more

    How does the way you organise your classroom reflect and allow for difference (different learning styles, different abilities, different cultural backgrounds)?

    How do you celebrate these differences with the kids?

    How do you encourage children to pursue their dreams?

    What are you passionate about.?

    How do you foster respect and care of the environment ?

    How do you manage relationships and problem behaviour in your classroom ?

    What are your beliefs about feedback ?

    How open is your classroom … how do you ensure that children in your class engage with people and
    experiences outside the school. ?

    Lastly

    How do you provide for students to develop and express their creativity ?

  11. Darcy Moore:

    Oh bravo…what great questions, especially about ‘dreams’ and ‘environmental’ guardianship…wonderful, Barbara!

  12. Barbara you have certainly added more to Moore’s!! so now there’s Moore and more!

    The questions certainly reflect your values of learning. :)

    I believe Colin is right..it is about educating the parents when the opportunities arise-take advantage. Help them understand the revolution that is 21C learning.

    I am considering adding them to my parent blog so our parents can consider them and ask the questions that they seek the answers to and thuds gain a greater appreciation and awareness of 21C learning.

    Wisdom (?) suggests that I may well provide the teachers with a copy first…I do however, feel really confident that most of our teachers would cope quite well with most of the questions. :)

  13. tracey:

    Am loving the questions asked here. Some of them would be great for use thru the TARS /EARS process- even for self reflection….

  14. Colin Clarke:

    Why wait for parents to ask. At PT interviews I have always explained the changing educational environment, with facts and content becoming less important due to the ubiquitous internet. This is used to justify the increased teamwork and digital content students are asked to produce, with a lesser amount of work in their paper workbooks. I try and link it to the connect – collaborate – create concepts that suppiort constructivist learning. I then let parents know about my moodle that contains the classwork tasks, assignments as well as extension activities for students.

    Brilliant set of questions, Darcy.

  15. Carol:

    Isn’t it “try to” rather than “try and” as in “try and link?”
    I guess it’s more important to ask questions these days, rather than use good grammar!

    I’d like to ask parents these questions:
    What do you do to stimulate your child’s curiosity at home?
    What do you allow your child to eat to keep them healthy?
    How much television do you let them watch and what programs?
    How long do you spend actually conversing with them?
    How much sleep do they get?
    Do you hear then read and then ask them about the text?
    Do you discuss their school day in depth?
    Do you actually spend quality time with your child?
    Does your child spend time in child care and how often?
    Do you teach your child manners and etiquette?
    Is your child over-committed in after school activities such as sport?
    What is YOUR educational philosophy?
    How are YOU assisting your child to become a self – directed learner?
    Do you ever make unreasonable demands on your child to be “the best “rather than to do their best?
    I could go on and on, but you get my point – educating a child involves team work and from my experience in teaching many parents let their children down!

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