Attending parent-teacher conferences and asking insightful questions can help you stay on top of your student’s performance, skills, challenges, and behavior in the classroom. You can also build a collaborative relationship with your children’s teachers and discover more ways to help your student outside the classroom, too. Let’s explore the types of questions you should ask at a parent-teacher conference.
Questions About Academic Performance
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How well your student is doing academically is likely one of your top priorities as a parent, so ask some of these questions to learn what they excel at, what they can improve, and how you can help:
- What are some of my student’s strengths?
- What are some of my student’s challenges?
- How does my student perform in specific subjects (math, reading, science, history, etc.)?
- How does my student do on homework assignments, quizzes, and tests?
- How does my student do on in-class assignments and in discussions?
- Is my child at the right reading level for their age and grade?
- What can I do at home to better support my student’s academic success?
- How do you promote independence and self-guided learning in the classroom?
Questions About Social Performance and Emotional State
Ask these questions to understand how your student appears to feel during lessons and activities:
- How does my student do in social situations with peers?
- How does my student act in social situations with authority figures?
- How is my child’s emotional health while in class?
- Does my student like to get involved in class discussions and with their peers?
- What can I do at home to better promote the behavior expectations you have for class?
Questions About the Classroom
Knowing what the daily schedule is and the kinds of assessments and activities your student is taking part in while at school is important for identifying how well they’re handling any possible pressure and whether they are comfortable in their environment:
- What is the daily typical schedule for my student?
- How often do you schedule quizzes or tests?
- How often do you give homework?
- How do you handle social challenges that arise during class, at recess, or during lunchtime?
- What is your philosophy regarding classroom discipline?
- What is your philosophy on rewarding students for hard work, good behavior, and high grades?
- Does the school offer peer or professional tutoring?
Questions About the Curriculum
Ask questions like these to learn more about what your child is learning, why, and how they’re doing with their schoolwork:
- Can you describe your teaching style?
- What skills are you working to develop right now?
- How do these skills relate to the goals of the entire school year?
- What are the five most important skills you want students to develop this year?
- Does my student have to take standardized tests? When?
- How do you prepare students for standardized tests?
- How can I help prepare my student for standardized tests?
Questions About Communication
Use these questions to discover how you can build a partnership with your student’s teachers:
- What is the best way to contact you? Do you have a preferred method for contact?
- Can I tell you more about my student?
- Can I tell you more about what’s going on at home?
- How can I stay informed of school programs and my student’s success?
- What questions would you recommend I ask my student every day after school to stay informed about their performance?
Questions About Particular Issues
Here are four general issues your child might encounter:
They Need More of a Challenge
Ask these questions if you feel that your student is doing so well that they may need more advanced lessons:
- What can we do if my student isn’t being challenged enough in the classroom?
- Does the school have a gifted program?
- What type of testing does my student need to undergo to qualify for the gifted program?
- What activities can we introduce to support my student’s learning?
- Are there opportunities for self-guided learning?
They’re Struggling Academically
Ask these questions if your student is struggling to keep up with the goals for their grade level and age:
- What do you suggest I do at home if my student is struggling with homework, a project, or studying?
- What are the biggest academic challenges for my student?
- Do you foresee any additional academic or social challenges for my student?
- Do you think my child should take a special education evaluation?
- What resources do you or the school have to help my student better keep up with their peers academically?
- Does my student respond better or worse to certain types of teaching?
- Does my student respond better or worse to certain subjects?
They May Have Issues With the Teacher or Teaching Methods
Understand the teacher’s approach and perspective to identify possible tension between the teacher and your student:
- What is my student’s overall attitude in class?
- Does my student’s attitude change in certain situations?
- What challenges are you having with my student?
- How do you typically handle the challenges you may have with my student?
- What can I do at home to better help you overcome the challenges you may have with my student?
They May Have Issues With Other Students
Peer socialization is a big part of going to school at every age, so making sure that your child is making friends and learning how to interact with others is key:
- How would you describe my child’s socialization style?
- Have you noticed any bullying in the classroom? From my student? From other students toward my child?
- How do you handle bullying and other negative behavior in the classroom?
- What is the school’s policy on bullying?
- Who should I speak to if I believe my student is being bullied?
- What can I do at home to help my child make friends and improve their interactions with fellow students?
Questions After the Conference
At the end of the conference, consider asking these questions to keep the conversation going and stay an active part of your child’s academic success:
- When can we follow up on my student’s progress?
- Should we have a meeting with other faculty (academic counselors, gifted program teachers, special education teachers, etc.)
Communicating with your student’s teachers during these conferences can help you find the best strategies for supporting your student and their teachers’ efforts. Here at Crème de la Crème, we value the strong partnerships we build with our student’s parents and caregivers because we are dedicated to giving your child the education they deserve. Contact us to learn more about how we can jumpstart your child’s success.