Leveling the Playing Field: Parent-Teacher Communication
Parents of gifted children can be intense when it comes to their child. These parents have great expectations of the schools and teachers who educate them. Teachers are too often expected to be all things to all children. This can be difficult when they receive so little exposure to gifted education in their undergraduate coursework and PD opportunities.
Gifted education begins at the local level. Parents should know and understand school policies and state guidelines before meeting their child’s teacher. They should be prepared to share insights concerning their child’s documented abilities, perceived needs and specific interests.
How can IEP/504 plans guide the parent-teacher relationship involving GT/2E students? G/IEPs and 504 plans can provide a framework for a productive parent-teacher conference and the basis for an individualized and meaningful education going forward. A well thought out plan can enhance the parent-teacher relationship and ensure the student’s needs are being met when followed. 504 plans can also provide a legal basis for ensuring that the needs of twice-exceptional students are being met. Templates for GIEP and 504 plans are available online if your school/state doesn’t currently use them.
What strategies can teachers use to increase positive engagement with parents? Teachers can take the time to seek professional development concerning gifted education and endorsements when working in a full-time gifted classroom. Positive engagement begins with good communication efforts. It’s important to take the time to get to know the student and appreciate their unique situation.
Parents of elementary students are generally seen as the most intense. Parents and teachers can see this as a learning experience; how to best meet the needs of the child. Although the ability to self-advocate is highly regarded in the gifted community, parents need to continue to nurture positive relationships with their child’s teachers even at the secondary level.
Keeping an open line of communication is the best defense against a contentious relationship. This can involve electronic communications (email, apps) as well as a simple written note or phone call. Without positive communication, it is the student who will suffer. It takes time and determination to build an effective relationship between parents and teachers.
A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
NAGC: Classroom Advocacy (pdf)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.