I appreciate Alison's honesty about knowing how to talk about her classroom with parents, and feeling comfortable explaining to them what she does, how she differentiates, etc. ... but feeling uncomfortable talking about gaming and gamification because she doesn't have experience. I love the blog post she shares from a teacher who uses gamification; the advice is so sound: "Just as you likely took your time learning about this approach, give [parents] the information a little at a time" (Alvarez, 2013).
Megan hits the nail on the head in her post when she writes about how parents are often willing to trust teachers when they innovate and try new approaches if a relationship built on trust is already there. I agree: Without frequent communication, sharing, examples of all the cool things going on in the classroom and how they are helping students learn and grow, etc., parents can be very resistant to new ideas with which they have no personal experience. On the other hand, I have personally experienced situations where great relationships are in place but parents are still resistant because of fear: They didn't learn that way, so surely the innovation can't be wise and won't work. Those situations can be tremendously frustrating and exactly the times when an educator must move forward confidently as a professional to provide students with experiences that will result in learning ... and continue to communicate, document, and showcase positive results so that those who were reluctant in the beginning will eventually come around.
I love the way Mia wrote about connecting parents' goals to program goals to student goals. It's true: Regardless of the "type" of parent one might be, they have hopes, dreams, and goals for their children. Linking these to what the student hopes and dreams for him/herself, and then linking the combined goals to program goals is SO smart! What a great way to help parents understand the significance of what is happening in the classroom, and for them to support it! Building on this idea would be a great way to continuously engage parents throughout a school year...especially if a collaborative way to share were built into the relationship (shared doc in Google Drive, perhaps?).
While I learned a bit about how my colleagues plan to or already do share gaming and gamification with parents, I learned so much about them beyond this one topic in this week's posts. The posts revealed who these teachers are when it comes to communicating with parents. Every single one of them talked about relationships, communicating, connecting, and making it clear to parents how much they care about their students. Truly, it is this human side of education that will forever ensure the teacher is an essential and irreplaceable variable in the equation.
Alvarez, M. (2013, May 7). Maximizing your gamification presentation to parents and administration. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://gamifyingmyclass.com/2013/05/07/139/