You’re well into the swing of the new school year, and your child has had some time to get to know their new teacher and get used to a new set of expectations.
How can you make sure you’re prepared to support your child throughout the rest of the year so they can get the most out of their time at school? When speaking with your child’s teacher, be prepared and know which questions to ask.
Parent-teacher meeting questions
Many teachers send a weekly email or newsletter home that details classroom expectations and procedures. Make sure to read this correspondence, and ask these questions if they haven’t already been answered.
- Student Feedback & Support – How do you like to provide feedback to students? Are there any interventions to help children who need a little extra attention? When are you available if my child needs extra help?
- Home Support – How can I support you, as a parent, so that my child gets the most out of this school year?
Questions to ask throughout the year
When working in a small group with my child in reading, what is an area of strength or weakness that you notice? How is my child’s decoding? Fluency? Comprehension? Vocabulary?
What are my child’s specific strengths and weaknesses in writing?
What are my child’s specific strengths and weaknesses? Are my child’s reading and writing levels affecting their maths results?
Compared with others in the class, how is my child’s:
- Memory: How well does my child learn and remember new information? How much support is needed?
- Attention: How is my child’s attention during different types of activities? One-on-one? Small group? Whole class?
- Processing: How well is my child able to “make connections” as compared to peers? When reading, can they decode new words, make good guesses about new word meanings, use background knowledge to predict and infer? In maths, is computation or retrieval of number facts slow? In writing, are they able to get ideas down on paper without a lot of support?
- Sequencing: How well is my child able to organize his thoughts or explain his understanding of a new concept?
Expression and Language Skills
How often do students have an opportunity to share their thoughts with the class (i.e., “think out loud”)? Does my child participate?
Motivation and Social Skills
NAPLAN testing & progress
Do you have any concerns about my child’s ability to prepare for and take the NAPLAN test, or ability to go up to the next year level?
If you have concerns, don’t wait until the next parent-teacher meeting – request a special meeting. Where extra help is needed, be sure to ask, “What can I do to support my child at home?” And then really do it. That school-home connection can make a huge difference in student achievement. Here’s to a great school year!
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Wiesen, Norene (2014). 10 Questions to Ask Your Child’s Teacher This Year (Don’t Forget Cognitive Skills!)