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How to Teach Students: Teach Their Parents

Posted by on September 19, 2013

If parents don’t find value in tech, students won’t. If parents are confused by what you teach, they will pass that on to their children. Be open to parents. Answer their questions. Never EVER leave them feeling intimidated. Let them know that lots of people feel exactly as they do.

A great solution I’ve had a lot of success with: Have a parent class. I schedule this after school while parents are waiting for their children to finish with enrichment classes or sports. They’re hanging around anyway–why not learn something. Cover topics that parents are asking you about, should be asking about, their students are asking about:

  • show how to log onto and use the school website
  • show how to log into the school online grade reports
  • demonstrate how to use the school online library/lunch order system (or similar)
  • review what is being covered in K-5 classes (depending upon who is in the parent class)
  • review your philosophy (teach students to fish rather than provide the fish, encourage exploration and risk-taking, you don’t jump in to help every time they get stuck). Model this philosophy as you teach parents
  • provide skills parents want, i.e., making a flier for the school soccer team
  • show the progression of skills from kindergarten to 5th grade in one program, say word processing. Start with KidPix, move into Word
  • answer tech questions they have from non-school problems–even if they’re about a home system

Here’s my flier inviting parents to attend:

parent class 1

Here’s the schedule I pass out first class with an overview of each class for six weeks, as well as contact info parent class 2Each week, I update the schedule, focusing on the week being taught (in this case, Excel).

parent class 4Has anyone else tried a parent class? How’d it go?

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, a columnist for, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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