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Teaching the Teachers

LegiConf.jpgTeaching the Teachers: Preparing Educators to Engage Families for Student Achievement
Harvard Family Research Project and the National PTA® have teamed up to bring you the third brief in our ground-breaking series about family engagement policy, highlighting the need for teacher education programs to prepare teachers to better work with families.

To be effective, teachers must be prepared to collaborate with families to support student success. Many studies confirm that strong parent–teacher relationships relate to positive student outcomes for students, such as healthy social development, high student achievement, and high rates of college enrollment. Thus, by giving teachers the support they need to work with families, teacher education programs can have an even greater impact on student achievement.

HRFP.gifFor this reason, some institutions of higher education are already taking innovative steps to prepare teachers to work with families through coursework and hands-on experience in schools during preservice and into their early years of teaching. Teaching the Teachers highlights those promising strategies, and examines how teacher education programs can create the foundation for meaningful and effective family engagement. This brief describes five core elements necessary for a system of teacher training and professional development in support of family engagement, distilled from case studies of existing teacher preparation programs. The brief also addresses the policies needed to support this type of teacher preparation system.  The five core elements in the system are:

  • Standards for family engagement
  • Curriculum that advances the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that teachers need to engage families
  • Collaborations among various stakeholders
  • Continuing professional development around family engagement
  • Evaluation for learning and continuous improvement

With current public policy and philanthropic investments focused on teacher quality and overall effectiveness, the time is ripe for new models and approaches to preparing teachers for meaningful and effective family engagement.

Additional Resources

Teaching the Teachers: Preparing Educators to Engage Families for Student Achievement
Harvard Family Research Project and the National PTA® have teamed up to bring you the third brief in our ground-breaking series about family engagement policy