Teacher Survey: One-Third of Students' Families Are Hard to Communicate With

The majority of teachers are communicating with parents at least weekly, but a third of families (34 percent) remain "hard to reach and engage" throughout the school year. And 43 percent of teachers want to get a better sense of the visibility and feedback among parents to improve effectiveness of their interactions. That's according to a survey published by ClassTag, which collected responses from over 1,000 primary school teachers from the 2018-2019 school year.

ClassTag survey

The biggest barriers to effective communication between parents and teachers are parents not understanding the importance of their involvement and parents thinking that it is the teacher's job to educate their children rather than teachers and parents working together as a team, according to survey respondents. Only 14 percent of teachers listed the lack of access to technology as the primary communication barrier, and a language barrier was only a communication impediment for 18 percent of teachers.

While more schools are utilizing communication apps, printed paper materials are still the dominant form of communicating information to parents, with 79 percent of teachers distributing paper flyers as one component of their communication strategies. Fifty percent of teachers prefer using apps as the primary way to communicate with parents, but parents have different preferences — ranging from SMS to e-mails — that make it difficult for 26 percent of teachers to reach all of the parents.

The majority of parents would like to get individual communications about their child's academics and behavior, while 49 percent of parents want to get information on when assignments are due to stay on top of their child's schoolwork. Forty-three percent of parents want to get communications about key events and opportunities to participate, donate and volunteer.

"We're seeing now that as teachers and schools bring new, more efficient communication technologies into play, the obstacles to outstanding communication and coordination are shifting somewhat," said ClassTag CEO Vlada Lotkina. "There's still room to grow with technology, but now we're seeing that we can locate and work on some pressure points like stressing the benefits of engagement as opposed to working only on how to engage," she said.

ClassTag is a communication platform that can help teachers reach and engage parents through allowing parents to select how they would like to receive information from teachers. A full copy of the survey is available for download here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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