Open Lines of Communication With Teachers

By Mara McGinnis

Release Date: August 10, 1998 This content is archived.


It is important for parents to have an open line of communication with their child's teachers before problems arise, according to J. Ronald Gentile, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology in the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education.

"Often parents and teachers only meet when a child is having problems, which may make the meeting emotionally charged and uncomfortable," notes Gentile.

He explains that open parent-teacher communication is especially important if the teacher has an innovative teaching method so that parents understand what is going on in the classroom and why.

• Scheduling regular meetings, including one early in the year before any problems arise, so that parents can let the teacher know their beliefs and concerns.

• Encouraging the teacher to share his or her beliefs and concerns as well so that parents and teachers can try to reinforce each other's goals.

• Making a list of questions before each meeting so you do not forget important topics.

• Immediately informing the teacher of any problems at home that may be affecting the child.

Reporters wishing to interview Gentile may reach him at 716-645-2467 (office), 716-688-5925 (home) or via e-mail at