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Using Text Messages to Improve Parent-Teacher Communication

December 02, 2015

Too often, parent-teacher communication begins by assuming the worst. One high school English teacher said that he tends to “shift into ‘defensive’ mode” when he gets an email from a parent. Parents, too, often figure that no news is good news. If they do hear from a teacher, the first thought is usually “Uh oh, what did my kid do this time?”

It’s challenging for busy parents and teachers to communicate on a regular basis, and too often they only hear from each other when something has gone wrong. But stronger parent-teacher communication can make a real difference for students - and there’s a simple technological solution to help navigate the home-school connection.

Texting may not seem like a cutting-edge tool, but according to researcher and education professor Matthew Kraft, it’s the most promising form of parent-teacher communication. Why? Well, almost everyone has a phone, so it’s incredibly convenient. Since texts are such short bursts of information, teachers can keep their messages quick, direct, and straight to the point. Texting can help teachers remind parents about important assignments, fill them in on what their children are studying, or even offer positive reinforcement and suggestions for improvement. And parents can use texts as well, to check in with teachers and make sure everything’s going smoothly.

Teachers who communicate effectively can create a powerful support system for their classes. By keeping in touch with parents, they create a larger community that helps students stay focused and succeed. And texting has a lot of potential to help form these communities - though if the adults want to get students involved, they may have to start using a few more emojis.