In this age of caller ID, seeing the number for your child’s school pop up on your phone can cause either panic or dread. Typically, the only reason a school calls a parent is to tell them bad news. But what would happen if schools were in the habit of making a positive phone call home?
Tell Me Something Good
Imagine how you would feel if all anyone ever did was focus on your negative behaviors and attempt to correct them.
Children who struggle with negative behaviors internalize the negative feedback they receive. If poor behavior is the only thing that receives attention, then that negative behavior is likely to continue. The resulting poor self-esteem and lack of motivation become a vicious loop that continues to feed poor behavior.
You can begin to turn that tide by sharing positive feedback with parents.
Challenging Your Staff to Share Positive Information
Educators want to praise positive behavior, even in their most challenging students. One way to do this, of course, is through your PBIS system. The expectations you set at the beginning of the school year deserve recognition.
However, challenge your staff to take this recognition a step further with a positive phone call home. Encourage them to select students who might need a little extra encouragement and challenge them to identify positive behaviors that they can praise to parents with a quick, focused phone call.
In short, student success can begin with a simple positive phone call home.
The Anatomy of a Positive Phone Call Home
A positive phone call home doesn’t have to contain over-the-top praise in order to be effective. It only takes a few minutes to do, start to finish, and can reap significant rewards. Just follow this basic formula:
Start by telling them who you are. It’s likely they saw the school’s name and/or number on their caller ID, but it never hurts to introduce yourself.
Immediately assure the parent you are not calling for a negative reason
Most parents’ first reaction will be to assume something is wrong. Tell them straightaway that no one is hurt, sick, or in trouble.
Tell them the good news
This is where you tell them, very specifically, what positive behavior you have noticed in their child. Anything from politeness to kindness to hard work is fair game for your praise.
Resist the temptation to talk about challenges
Even if you are dealing with negative behavior from this student, this is not the time to address it.
Thank them for their time
Make the phone call brief and to the point. You want to leave the parent with a positive feeling. Thank them for their time and end the call.
Building Strong Parent-Teacher Relationships
Parents who have never received positive feedback about their child might be astounded to receive such a call. The simple act of a positive phone call can help them to refocus their view of their child in relation to school. It can also help change the dynamic of the school-home connection.
Parents who receive positive feedback from teachers feel they have an ally at school. If they feel the teacher sees the good qualities of their child, they may be more comfortable reaching out to that teacher when they have concerns. This communication between parent and teacher benefits the student in many ways.
Any time is a good time to make a positive phone call home!