Rita D. Williams, Ph.D.
InterNetworking with Parents
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
In The DreamKeepers, Gloria Ladson-Billings shared educators with culturally relevant practices see themselves as part of the community and view teaching/serving students as giving back to the community. During these unusual times, it is even more crucial for us to stay connected with our students and their families. Virtual times call for virtual measures. As such, InterNetworking is F1NE-TUNE’s term for maximizing the Internet to network. We must leverage online resources to keep parents abreast of school events as well as provide academic and social-emotional support.
I cannot say enough about Zoom and its usefulness for helping people interact from afar. Previously, I blogged about how teachers can use Zoom and its features to increase student engagement in a virtual setting. Schools can use the same features to boost parental engagement. For instance, since parents have to take more of a role in assisting their children with schoolwork, teachers can provide academic assistance via Zoom for each course. This is an essential way we can help parents help their children. Focusing on power standards may help streamline the support, so it will not be as overwhelming. Schools can also sponsor times during which parents and students jointly participate in getting help from teachers on current assignments.
Furthermore, social-emotional support can be offered via Zoom. This is a vital way we can help parents help themselves. Counselors and social workers can choose relevant topics and facilitate monthly discussions to help parents cope with the additional stress the pandemic and its results have caused. Zoom Breakout Rooms can be used to provide support in smaller numbers. Moreover, counselors and social workers can support parents and their students combined to help alleviate tension and foster stronger relationships. With parents and students spending more time together in their homes, they need strategies to counteract conflicts several families are experiencing.
At the end of the previous school, we were caught off guard with online learning. We all did what we could to make it day by day. However, as many of us look to start the new school year virtually, we have to be more intentional about implementing creative ways to provide access to parents. Zoom, which has removed meeting limitations for educators using its free account, supplies the perfect platform to help schools execute their InterNetworking with parents.