Six Skills to Manage the Parent/Teacher Concern Conversation

A parent wants to talk with you and told the secretary that she has a complaint about the teacher.  How will you handle this conversation?  According to Deidre M. Le Fevre’s and Viviane M. J. Robinson’s research, a principal who effectively manages these conversations: 

  1. Expresses a point of view grounded in examples and evidence.
  2. Seeks a deeper understanding of the teacher's point of view.
  3. Checks his or her understanding of the teacher's point of view.
  4. Helps the teacher consider alternate points of view.
  5. Is open to the examination of his or her own point of view.
  6. Agrees with the teacher on what to do next. (pp. 8-9)

Which of these 6 practices come naturally to you and which ones might be a focus for you over the next few weeks?  The skill that principals in the study needed to work on most was checking his or her understanding with the teacher’s point of view.  Comment below if these 6 skills improve your next conversation about a parent’s concern with a teacher.  

ACSD.  (2015). “Double-Take:  Research Alert.”  Educational Leadership.  Communications Skills for Leaders. 72(7). 8-9.

Le Fevre, Deidre M. and Robinson, Viviane M. J. (2014). "The Interpersonal Challenges of Instructional Leadership: Principals' Effectiveness in Conversations About Performance Issues."  Educational Administration Quarterly. 51(1).  58-95.