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The do’s and the don’ts of effective communication in education

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The transfer and generation of information is very important in any career, this includes the field of education. The U.S Dept. of Education on 07-25-14 announced new guidance for schools and districts on how to keep parents and students better informed about what student data is collected, and how it is used. Information and communication in the field of education is important as it pertains to, keeping records and data on students of early childhood, secondary, and post secondary, effectively communicating with colleagues and co-workers, and maintaining sustainability, capacity, and capability.

Keeping records and data on students of early childhood, secondary, and post secondary

Teachers and professors alike should be mindful of their legal duties and responsibilities in relationship to the law as it pertains to the reporting and safeguarding student data and information. Student data can include grades, test scores, credits earned, information on demographics, discipline/obedience, and special education status. Two laws that educators should be aware of when keeping and reporting student data are the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). According to the U. S. Department of Education, these laws concentrate on the guidelines for schools and school systems to go by when it comes to regulating student data and use of personal information collected from students for marketing purposes, and the management of certain study and evaluations to students. Marketing purposes may include student information sent to education agencies in effort to identify student talent and academic progress, and to help develop specific student curriculum’s.

Schools and school systems may, without the consent of the parent, guardian, or student, disclose certain student data to restricted parties. This data may include directory information or school records. Parents and students have certain rights regarding school information. These rights include permission to inspect and review information deemed necessary, contest any misleading or inaccurate information, and request a hearing to amend the misguiding information. Parents and students deserve the right to know what information about them is being disclosed to third parties, and the ability to regulate such information being disclosed. Parents and students must have available to them the information pertinent to their educational management including parents knowing and being aware of their parental due process rights. Schools and school systems must and should notify parents annually of their rights under federal law. The U.S. Dept. of Education and your state department of education website will be a good place to visit to learn more information about this.

Discrepancies in student data should be addressed and corrected as soon as they are discovered. The law allows for correction of inaccurate student information and data. Discrepancies can halt the delivery of an appropriate and just education to everyone in the sense that miscommunication could lead to misplacement and false evaluations. Honesty is very important, as it pertains to the reporting of student data and information. Educators should be aware of the fact that working together in harmony with their peers/colleagues as well as putting the child’s interests first is the best option. We should avoid biases and prejudices in the delivery of instruction, assessment, and reporting of data. This is true on all levels of education.

Communicating with colleagues and co-workers

Some educators, early childhood, secondary, and post-secondary, feel fear and opposition from leaders, management, and administrations for voicing their opinion on what they feel is just or right for students. However, this still does not take away the fact that effective communication with colleagues and co-workers is an essential component for job effectiveness. Communication risks include discomfort in communicating, trepidation of disciplinary action taken against them for communicating inappropriately, backlash including fear of loss of contract/tenure, or a contrary response from management and leaders. Uneasiness with working with colleagues whom have opposing views and personalities with their own or whom they dislike for some odd reason may pose a risk for educators in the delivery of effective communication. A lack of time may also be a problem. We have to be careful about developing negative types of attitudes toward our colleagues and peers. This can disrupt the flow of progress on the job, especially if we began to voice those feelings. Communication, sacrifice, and a desire to want to get along with others are essential traits for both parties to have in order for work to be carried through effectively.

It is imperative that educators know how to effectively and professionally campaign for their students. This can be done with successful communication with their peers and colleagues. Through practical experience, with thorough thought and consideration for others, educators should develop the skill and expertise to effectively advocate for their students. They must know they have a personal and professional obligation to advocate for their students, including those that are disabled. Risk should not be an issue. Tactics that can be used to effectively support students include being knowledgeable of education law on the local, state, national, and international levels, always place the needs of the student first, develop respectful relationships with team members, and conduct yourself professionally at all times.

Many educators within the vast arena of education, even down to parents have different perspectives, issues and challenges. Human self-respect is important. Therefore, educators need to look beyond their own interests and develop shared goals with colleagues.

Maintaining sustainability, capacity, and capability

While maintaining sustainability, capacity, and capability, the educator must know education law, how to effectively communicate with others, and advocate for needed change. Education law is important to know when it comes to effectively handling student data, what are needed changes and those that will be accepted, and how to voice your opinion for well needed modifications. Educators must be keen on recommending the best services for their students. This entail recommending the more appropriate services despite how expensive they may be or how readily available they are. Fear should not be tolerated. As educators, we must steer away from recommending the least expensive or already existing service for students for the sake of convenience, for a bias unjust agenda, or to get the job done quicker and easier. Educators must want to and believe in administering the necessary procedures and methods for all students so that students on all levels may receive an all-inclusive education and evaluation as required by law.

Educators are trained individuals, understanding the necessity to work with others. Therefore, they should know the importance of conducting themselves professionally at all times, including controlling their emotions. Emotions can sometimes lead to misinterpretation of true intentions and may cause others to develop a fear of listening and working collaboratively and cooperatively with their peers. This fear may halt the necessary changes needed to previously accepted policy and procedure.

Maintain collegiality by having pre-meeting discussions about potentially controversial issues. In response to the conflicts faced in advocacy, professionals should use negotiation to create win-win situations with colleagues and parents to effectively elicit change. Listen openly and respectfully. Being humble, accurate, and effective in decision makings will lead to valuable interventions and continued student progress.

http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/guidance-schools-issued-how-keep-p... - Link to U.S. Dept of Ed. news release

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/index.html -Link to the U.S. Dept of Ed. Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO)