A summary of Using Active Listening to Improve Collaboration With Parents by David McNaughton and Brooks R. Vostal.
The article begins b stating the importance of parent-teacher communication which improves educational outcomes, the involvement of parents improves the general performance of students. To achieve this the communication between parents and teachers should be improved, both parties should consider the viewpoints of the other party. The teachers need to show they understand the views ,opinions, and suggestions of the parents. The writers review a study that showed at a meeting teacher talked 51% of the time compared to parents who talked for only 15%.
The article discusses the reasons as to why there might be a disconnect with the communication. One of the reasons the writers found was a difference in cultural beliefs ,language barriers and a lack of face to face communication. To curb this, they suggest the art of active listening which involves gathering information while conveying at the same time. The process of active listening includes paying attention and being sensitive.
A strategy they suggest that can be used is the LAFF don’t CRY strategy; the strategy is used by teachers to show that they actually listen to the parents. The meaning of the abbreviations is ,listening, asking questions, focusing on the issues and finding the first step. CRY means not criticizing people who are not present ,reacting hastily and promising something you cannot deliver and finally Y mean Yakety-yak-yak which is to digress from the topic at hand and begin giving personal stories. To better illustrate this, the authors provide a table to give practical scenarios.
listening is the first step it involves asking questions and asking permission to take notes. Questions are important as they show the parent’s point of view is being respected. It is difficult for people to remember what they have been told in moments of stress, taking down notes is important for memory and reference in future use.
The second step after listening is focusing on the issues; this step involves checking on the accuracy of the information shared, this ensures the LAFF teacher to assess the situation in depth and moves to the problem-solving stage. The final stage is finding the first step. It involves processing the information and giving what the teacher thinks will be the appropriate action. The teacher may choose to follow up on the progress of the child and determine whether immediate action needs to be taken or it can be delayed. On the contrary, the parent in the CRY situation has not made significant progress and may be forced to take the complaint to a higher authority.
In concluding, the authors emphasize the importance of using the LAFF and not CRY method to facilitate effective active listening. Parents appreciate this method, and by using it, a strong foundation of collaboration is established.