Your child comes running up to you with a large, white envelope in their hand. It’s report time again. As you cautiously open the envelope, your heart starts to beat faster, and you find yourself wondering: who is more anxious, you or your child?
Please read below for a few tips on how to get the most out of your child’s report.
- Read through and discuss the report with your child. The report should be seen as a feedback tool for both the parents and the child. Reading through the report with your child will help them gain a greater understanding of their achievements, as well as areas in which they need to focus.
- Always make sure you pick out/celebrate the positives first. Focusing on your child’s strengths will promote a sense of achievement, and will help motivate them to try harder on the things that do not come as easily to them. It is sometimes very easy to focus on the perceived ‘negatives’ of the report, and gloss over the strengths, which may lead to discouragement and demotivation in the long term.
- It is important that the conditions and environment are right when reading through the report with your child. Ensure that you are in a quiet room away from distractions and interruptions. Also, if you have more than one child, it is best to discuss the reports separately. This will avoid unhelpful comparisons being made.
- Above all, keep calm. If the report is not as good as you were hoping, and you are disappointed with the content, then give yourself some time to calm down before addressing it with your child. Keeping conversations open and honest will have a far more positive impact on your child’s learning and attitude, than if the conversation descends into an argument. Becoming overly emotional will not help the discussion and may have a negative impact.
- Make sure you have fully read and understood the level descriptors before analyzing your child’s report. Many schools interpret level descriptions in different ways, and so it is important that you understand them before making any judgments on your child’s progress.
- Contact your child’s teachers if you want a more detailed explanation. If there are aspects of the report that have surprised you, or that you feel are not reflective of your child’s abilities or effort, then contact your child’s teachers for further explanation. If you feel that this conversation may take longer than the scheduled 15 minute Parent Teacher interview, then arrange a separate time so that you can discuss the issues in greater depth without the time constraints.
Remember that the aim of your child’s report is to communicate their achievements, progress and areas to develop. Therefore, engaging in focused discussions about your child’s report can only have a positive impact on their learning journey.