Parent-Teacher conferences are about to be underway in many places, so I thought it might be helpful to give you some resources to make these as productive for you and your child as possible.
In this episode we talk with Dr. Margaret Caspe and Dr. Elena Lopez of the Global Family Research Project, which develops authentic partnerships to support children’s learning in the home, school, and community. I actually used Dr. Lopez’ textbook for my Master’s in Education, so I’ve been familiar with her work for a while and knew she and her colleagues at GFRP were just the right people to help us learn more about Parent-Teacher conferences (for example, did you know that teachers find them just as scary as parents?!) and understand how to advocate for our child – and for all of the children in our community.
The resource guide on Parent-Teacher Conferences that we reference throughout this episode can be found here.
George Lucas Educational Foundation (2015, August 24). Having students lead parent conferences. Author. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/practice/student-led-conferences-empowerment-and-ownership
Loewus, L. (2017, August 15). The nation’s teaching force is still mostly white and female. Edweek. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/08/15/the-nations-teaching-force-is-still-mostly.html
McWayne, C. M., Melzi, G., Limlingan, M. C., & Schick, A. (2016). Ecocultural patterns of family engagement among low-income Latino families of preschool children. Developmental psychology 52(7), 1088.
Small, M.L. (2009). Unanticipated gains: Origins of network inequality in everyday life. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press
Strauss, V. (2014, August 21). For first time, minority students expected to be majority in U.S. public schools this fall. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/08/21/for-first-time-minority-students-expected-to-be-majority-in-u-s-public-schools-this-fall/?utm_term=.3752d0eeddd7
TeacherVision (n.d.). Parent-teacher conferences: Before, during, and after. Author. Retrieved from https://www.teachervision.com/parent-teacher-conferences-during-after
U.S. Department of Education (July 2016). The state of racial diversity in the educator workforce. Author. Retrived from https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/highered/racial-diversity/state-racial-diversity-workforce.pdf
We’re a couple of weeks into the new school year by now and I hope that for most of you the morning drop-offs have gotten a bit easier than they were in the beginning.
But some of you may still be struggling with a child who doesn’t want to go to school, who resists you leaving at drop-0ff time, and who might be suddenly suffering from stomachaches and headaches (particularly on Sunday nights or weekday mornings) that had not previously been a problem.
Today’s interview with Dr. Jonathan Dalton, director of the Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change in Rockville, MD is going to help us understand whether our child is having a ‘normal’ amount of difficulty transitioning to school or if they are struggling enough that they might need extra help – and if so, what to do about it.
Bergin, C., & Bergin, D. (2009). Attachment in the classroom. Educational Psychology Review 21, 141-170.
Dalton, J., & Beacon, V. (2018). School refusal. In D. Driver & S.S. Thomas (Eds.), Complex disorders in pediatric psychiatry: A clinician’s guide (pp 11-22). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Egger, H.L., Costello, J., & Angold, A. (2003). School refusal and psychiatric disorders: A community study. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 42(7), 797-807.
Hallinan, M.T. (2008). Teacher influences on students’ attachment to school. Sociology of Education 81, 271-283.
Hamre, B.K., & Pianta, R.C. (2001). Early teacher-child relationships and the trajectory of children’s school outcomes through eighth grade. Child Development 72(2), 625-638.
Houts, R.M., Caspi, A., Pianta, R.C., Arseneault, L., & Moffitt, T.E. (2010) The challenging pupil in the classroom: The effect of the child on the teacher. Psychological Science 21(12), 1802-1810.
Jerome, E.M., Hamre, B.K., & Pianta, R.C. (2009). Teacher-child relationships from kindergarten to sixth grade: Early childhood predictors of teacher-perceived conflict and closeness. Social Development 18(4), 915-945.
Kearney, C.A. (2016). Managing school-based absenteeism at multiple tiers: An evidence-based and practical guide for professionals. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
Kearney, C.A., & Albano, A.M. (2007). When children refuse school: A cognitive-behavioral therapy approach, Therapist guide (2nd Ed.). Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
Kearney, C.A. (2006). Dealing with school refusal behavior: A primer for family physicians. Family Practice 55(8), 685-692.
Kearney, C.A. (2002). Identifying the function of school refusal behavior: A revision of the school refusal assessment scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 24(4), 235-245.
King, N., Tonge, B.J., Heyne, D., & Ollendick, T.H. (2000). Research on the cognitive-behavioral treatment of school refusal: A review and recommendations. Clinical Psychology Review 20(4), 495-507.
Ladd, G.W., & Dinella, L.M. (2009). Continuity and change in early school engagement: Predictive of children’s achievement trajectories from first to eighth grade? Journal of Educational Psychology 101(1), 190-206.
Ladd, G.W., & Buhs, E.S., & Seid, M. (2000). Children’s initial sentiments about kindergarten: Is school liking an antecedent of early classroom participation and achievement? Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 46(2), 255-279.
Last, C. G., Hansen, C., & Franco, N. (1998). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of school phobia. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 37, 404–411.
Pianta, R. C., Belsky, J., Vandergrift, N., Houts, R. M., & Morrison, F. J. (2008). Classroom effects on children’s achievement trajectories in elementary school. American Educational Research Journal 45 (2), 365–397
This episode revisits the concept of the 30 Million Word Gap concept, which we first covered in an interview with Dr. Doug Sperry a few weeks back.
After she heard that I was going to talk with Dr. Sperry, Dr. Roberta Golinkoff – with whom we discussed her book Becoming Brilliant almost two years ago now – asked to come back on to present a rebuttal. We’re going to learn a lot more about the importance of child-directed speech!
This episode serves two purposes: it helps us to understand another aspect of the 30 Million Word Gap, and it also demonstrates pretty clearly that scientists – both of whom have the best interests of children at heart – see very different ways of achieving that end.
You all know that on the show we pretty much steer clear of the clickbait articles that try to convince you that something is wrong with your child, in favor of getting a balanced view of the overall body of literature on a topic.
But every once in a while a study comes along and I think “we really MUST learn more about that, even though it muddies the water a bit and leads us more toward confusion than a clear picture.”
This is one of those studies. We’ll learn about the original Hart & Risley study that identified the “30 Million Word Gap” that so much policy has been based on since then, and what are the holes in that research (e.g. did you know that SIX African American families on welfare in that study are used as proxies for all poor families in the U.S., only 25% of whom are African American?).
Then, Dr. Doug Sperry will tell us about his research, which leads him to believe that overheard language can also make a meaningful contribution to children’s vocabulary development.
I do want to be 100% clear on one point: Dr. Sperry says very clearly that he believes parents speaking with children is important for their development; just that overheard language can contribute as well.
And this is not Dr. Sperry out on his own criticizing research that everyone else agrees with: if you’re interested, there are a host of other issues listed here.
The overarching problem, of course, is that our school system is so inflexible that linguistic skills – even really incredible ones of the type we discussed in our recent episode on storytelling – have no place in the classroom if they don’t mesh with the way that White, middle-class families (and, by extension, teachers and students) communicate.
But that will have to be an episode for another day.
“Storytelling? I’m already reading books to my child – isn’t that enough?”
Your child DOES get a lot out of reading books (which is why we’ve done a several episodes on that already, including What children learn from reading books, How to read with your child, and Did you already miss the boat on teaching your toddler how to read?.
But it turns out that storytelling benefits our relationship with our child in ways that reading books really can’t, because you’re looking at the book rather than at your child. If you ask your child what kind of story they’d like you to tell, you also get incredible insight into both their interests and concerns – I can attest to this, as I’ve been singing story-songs about poop and various kinds of baby animals who can’t find their mamas on and off for several weeks now (we had an incident a few months back where she couldn’t find me in a store).
In this episode we also discuss the ways that people from different cultures tell stories, and what implications this has for them as they interact with our education system.
Other episodes mentioned in this show: