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Conversation starters for teachers to use with families

Subject Social Studies


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As an educator, you know the importance of collaborative partnerships with families. But when it comes time to talk about a concern you have about a student, it can be hard to know how to start. How do you say it? There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be clear.
  • Be specific.
  • Share information and examples.
  • Ask questions.
  • Listen, and respond with follow-up questions.

Remember that these conversations can be equally difficult for families. While it may be the first time you’re bringing up a challenging behavior or an academic concern, it may not be the first time a parent or caregiver has heard about it.

Family members may feel blamed or expected to fix it. They may have had past experiences with schools that led to mistrust. And some families may have different cultural expectations about school-family partnerships.

There is no one right way to engage with families. But there are some ways to make the conversation as collaborative and productive as possible. Below is a guide for how to have these conversations with families. 


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