Media and technology tips for your family

We all know it’s hard to ask questions right now, so it’s important to be well prepared with a list of your own questions when you go back to school night. Your goal in attending this brief meeting will not only be to understand learning expectations, but also to prepare yourself to support your child’s learning during this new school year, especially if this is your child’s first time in school or if you are concerned that your child is just learning English. You may even have concerns about the resources the school offers for non-English speaking families.

That’s why it’s important to keep your own questions in mind when you attend back-to-school night. In fact, I’m sure most teachers will appreciate your questions as many of these topics are rarely part of the daily parent-teacher conversations and interactions. Back to School Night is a good time to receive information and ask questions you may not have the opportunity to ask at other times this school year.

Remember, Back to School Night is not a time to talk about your child specifically, so your questions should be general. The answers to these questions will not only help you but also the parents of the other children in the class. Also, I’m sure that by asking these kinds of questions, your child’s new teacher will appreciate your interest in learning more about this new school year.

What are the most important concepts that students need to understand before the end of this school year?
This is a very important question because the answer will help you understand academic expectations. It will also help you monitor your child’s progress and recognize when he or she may need more help in certain academic areas.

How is the learning experience personalized for each student?
This question will help you understand whether the teacher takes into account each student’s different abilities. For example, how is the child who does not yet speak English supported in learning? You can also take this opportunity to ask about the resources offered to non-English speaking families. If you are a non-English speaking parent, it is important that you also know how the school will support you.

What kind of questions should we ask our children about their school day?
When you ask your children general questions about their school day, you may well get a series of answers such as “I don’t know”, “okay” or “normal”. However, if you know what they are studying in class you can ask them more specific questions that will result in more complete answers. The teacher can give you some ideas about the kind of questions you can ask. Sometimes, something as simple as knowing what book the teacher read in class will help you get more information when you ask your children what they did in school today.

How is academic progress measured?

Students take all kinds of activities, quizzes, class tests and standardized tests. Test scores can reveal a lot about the student’s learning and level. Therefore, it is helpful to know if your child’s teacher uses the results of these tests to help your child improve academically or if he or she only uses them as a measure of academic progress or lack thereof.

How is the technology used to improve the learning experience for students?
To be well prepared for the future, today’s children need to have basic knowledge of the use of technology. We also want them to learn the responsible use of technology. For that reason, we want to have a good idea of how technology is used in the classroom. Sometimes it is even useful to use technology to support the learning of a new language. There are many good websites and apps for learning English and other languages. Ask the teacher if these are used in class.

What additional resources can we use at home with our children to support what is being learned in class (e.g., what websites, books, etc.)?
Sometimes children have difficulty learning what they are taught in school. That’s why it’s important to reinforce what they’re learning through educational website games or watching cartoons that support academic learning. By having more opportunities to practice, children will feel better prepared and will be able to better understand the topics they are studying in class.


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