Heather Hoff's Portfolio Page


Navigation links: ETAP 623 Fall 2021 (Zhang) | Quick and Effective Parent/Teacher Communication

About Me


Hello! I'm Heather Hoff, instructional designer. My educational and professional path has taken me on a journey through architecture and business to education, where I am now. My goal is to design transformative educational learning/user experiences through researched-based processes, interaction and storytelling.

My Topic and Purpose

ORIGINAL: Engaging Parents Using Androgogical Principles

    Parent/Teacher communication is essential in the K-5 classroom. While elementary teachers are experts in communication with children, parent communication may not always go as smoothly. Understanding and applying principles of andragogy (adult learning theory) to parent teacher communications, such as back to school night or discussions about IEPs, may make for better outcomes and greater parent engagement.

REVISED (based on needs assessment and learner analysis): Quick and Effective Parent/Teacher Communication

    Parent/Teacher communication is essential, but both teachers and parents are pressed for time and availability. Communication needs to be quick and effective. While teachers are highly-trained experts in communication with children, they often have little training in adult communication leaving room for misalignment of goals and misunderstandings. Understanding and applying principles of andragogy (adult learning theory) to parent teacher communications, such as class updates or discussions about IEPs, will make for more efficient and successful communication.

Scope of Learning Outcomes and Content


    After completion of the mini-course, teachers will be able to:
    • identify major obstacles in parent/teacher communication
    • explain the principles of androgogy
    • describe how androgogy effects parent/teacher communication
    • determine if existing parent communications are androgogically sound
    • modify existing parent communication documents to align with androgogical principles
    • create parent communications and interactions that follow androgogical principles

REVISED (based on needs assessment, learner analysis, constructivist approach, and instructor feedback):

    • After reviewing resources on the importance of parent/teacher relationships and purpose of communication, teachers will devote time and energy toward improving communication.
    • Given the results of parent and teacher surveys regarding communication, teachers will analyze the data to discover the major obstacles to communication.
    • Teachers will explore resources on androgogical principles to develop a job aid to assist with parent/teacher communication that addresses the major obstacles they identified.
    • Using the job aid they created, teachers will determine if existing communications are androgogically sound and modify or create effective and efficient communications to parents for their practice.

Needs Assessment

Project Background

    Parent/teacher communication is important to successful learning outcomes, especially in the elementary grades, but often parents and teachers feel disconnected.

Gathered Data

    Two surveys were conducted. One to gather information from practicing teachers and the other from parents with PreK-12 students. Additionally, relevant scholarly articles were reviewed.

Need Identified

    • Parent/Teacher communication is often not ideal for either party.
    • There is often a disparity between what parents and teachers believe to be ideal parent/teacher communication. For instance: The parents surveyed wanted communication providing specific feedback about their child and mentioned annoyance with redundant and non-applicable communication. Parents also felt communication relationships should be positive and be established before issues began. The teachers surveyed saw regular group feedback as ideal with individual feedback only necessary when issues arose. I believe this disconnect to be an instructional issue that is affecting the quality of parent/teacher communication and relationships.
    • All parties surveyed mentioned time and availability as an obstacle to effective parent/teacher communication. Strategies for making communication efficient and asynchronous would be useful.
    • There is some disparity between what parents and teachers believe to be the obstacles hindering effective communication. For instance: The parents sited a reluctance to “bother” the teacher as an obstacle, while teachers mentioned disinterested parents.
    • Teachers often have little or no professional development on effective methods of parent/teacher communication. They would benefit from instruction.

Resources Available

    The KNILT platform will be utilized to provide teachers with an opportunity to take a mini-course on effective parent/teacher communication.

Instructional Goal

    Teachers will choose to strengthen parent/teacher relationships by utilizing efficient and effective parent communication strategies.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

The learners are entry level or practicing K-12 teachers. They have had little or no previous training on parent/teacher communication and have varying levels of practical experience. They are motivated to study the topic of parent/teacher communication and are seeking to improve this skill. They are highly educated and familiar with multiple modes of course delivery.

Demographic and Group Data

    • Roughly 50% of practicing teachers in NYS are between 33-48 years old
    • Roughly 78% of practicing teachers in NYS are female
    • Roughly 80% of practicing teachers in NYS are white

Physiological Characteristics

    It is assumed that learners will exhibit predictable variability

Cognitive Abilities

    In NYS, practicing teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree is required for professional certification

Prior Knowledge

    • 60% of the survey respondents had some training on parent/teacher communication
    • 40% of the survey respondents had no training on parent/teacher communication
    • No respondents had ample training on parent/teacher communication
Parent-teacher training pie chart.png

Motivations and Other Affective Characteristics

    All survey respondents felt there was a need for improvement in parent teacher communication, with 30% reporting that the need was high.
    The teacher survey respondents emphasized the obstacles to parent/teacher communication being primarily time constraints, language or technical barriers, and parent disinterest. They may not feel like parent/teacher communication issues can be addressed with instruction; however, as discussed in the needs assessment section, teachers can benefit from instruction in this area.



Surveys conducted for project.

Performance-Based Objectives

  • Review resources on the importance of parent/teacher relationships and purpose of communication to defend the devotion of time and energy toward improving communication.
  • Analyze data from parent and teacher surveys regarding communication to discover the major obstacles to communication.
  • Develop a job aid, using resources on andragogical principles, that addresses the major obstacles identified to assist with parent/teacher communication.
  • Using the job aid, determine if existing communications are androgogically sound and modify or create effective and efficient communications to parents for your practice.

Task Analysis

Prerequisite Skills, Knowledge, and Attitude

  • Willing to work with parents
  • Use of Venn diagrams
  • Understanding of pedagogy
  • Word processing skills

Outcome Skills

  • Utilize job aid to facilitate modification and creation of effective and efficient parent/teacher communication

Outcome Knowledge

  • Analyze parent feedback to determine communication obstacles
  • Understand how andragogy applies to parent/teacher communication

Outcome Attitudes

  • Value parent/teacher relationships
  • Value parent/teacher communication

Curriculum Map

Heather Hoff's Instructional Curriculum Map.png

References and Resources

Dieck, W. (2020, February 22). Six principles of andragogy: Malcolm Knowles. http://brilliantlearningsystems.com/six-principles-of-andragogy-malcolm-knowles/

Education Endowment Foundation. (n.d.). Parental engagement. https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/education-evidence/teaching-learning-toolkit/parental-engagement

Fan, X. & Chen, M. (2001). Parental involvement and students’ academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 13(1), 1-22. http://pages.erau.edu/~andrewsa/Project_2/Christian_John/DuneProject/Child%20Success.pdf

Fox, P. (2020, July 22). Knowles’ 6 assumptions of adult learners [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SArAggTULLU&t=4s&ab_channel=PatrickFox

Hall, M.O. [TEDx Talks]. (2013, November 7). Building relationships between parents and teachers: Megan Olivia Hall at TEDxBurnsvilleED [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kin2OdchKMQ&ab_channel=TEDxTalks

Hogue, R. J. (2019, February 6). Principles of andragogy [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgNeWsbKDUY&ab_channel=RebeccaJ.Hogue

Hughes, J. N., Gleason, K. A., & Zhang, D. (2005). Relationship influences on teachers’ perceptions of academic competence in academically at-risk minority and majority first grade students. Journal of School Psychology, 43(4)., 303-320. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2005.07.001

Hughes, J. & Kwok, O. (2007). Influence of student-teacher and parent-teacher relationships on lower achieving readers’ engagement and achievement in the primary grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(1)., 39-51. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2140005/

Jeynes, W. H., (2007). The relationship between parental involvement and urban secondary school student academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Urban Education, 42(1), 82-110. http://msan.wceruw.org/documents/resources_for_educators/Relationships/Relation%20Parental%20Involvement%20and%20Secondary%20Studnet%20Achievement.pdf

Kaufman, T. (n.d.) Family engagement and student success: What the research says. https://www.understood.org/articles/en/family-engagement-and-student-success

KidsMatterAustralia. (2015, March 4). Home-school collaborative relationships [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNOiVvW0RHU&ab_channel=KidsMatterAustralia

Landeros, M. (2010). Defining the ‘good mother’ and the ‘professional teacher’: Parent-teacher relationships in an affluent school district. Gender and Education, 23(3), 247-262. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2010.491789

Miller, H., Robinson, M., Valentine, J.L., & Fish, R. (2016). Is the feeling mutual? Examining parent-teacher relationships in low-income, predominantly latino schools. American Journal of Education, 123(1), 37-67. https://doi.org/10.1086/688167

Monika, R. (2018). Fostering trust: Parents and teachers cooperation as a case study. Adult Education Discourses, 19, 137-149. http://cejsh.icm.edu.pl/cejsh/element/bwmeta1.element.desklight-8a33dc50-d37b-45f0-8ab7-9b8ea6b1962a

Morin, A. (n.d.) How to break down communication barriers between teachers and families. https://www.understood.org/articles/en/how-to-break-down-communication-barriers-between-teachers-and-families

Murray, B., Domina, T., Petts, A., Renzulli, L., & Boylan, R. (2020). “We’re in this together”: Bridging and bonding social capital in elementary school ptos. American Education Research Journal, 57(5), 2210-2244. https://doi.org/10.3102/0002831220908848

Sullivan, G. (n.d.) Adult learning, aka andragogy. https://static.wixstatic.com/media/62c38d_d4f6e5fef7524649a3c8010b1e92acec~mv2.png/v1/fill/w_538,h_1331,al_c,q_90,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/62c38d_d4f6e5fef7524649a3c8010b1e92acec~mv2.webp

Swedish Nerd. (2017, December 4). Andragogy summarized: The infographic. https://swedish-nerd.com/2017/12/04/andragogy-summarised-the-infographic/

TechSmith. (n.d.). How to create job aids that skyrocket your team’s performance. https://www.techsmith.com/blog/job-aids/

Ozmen, F., Akuzum, C., Zincirli, M., & Selcuk, G. (2016). The communication barriers between teachers and parents in primary schools. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 66, 26-46. http://dx.doi.org/10.14689/ejer.2016.66.2

Quiddis Team. (2020, June 23). Elearning in adults training: Six principles of andragogy. https://www.quiddis.com/en/elearning-adults-training-six-principles-andragogy/

Thijs, J. & Eilbracht, L. (2012). Teachers’ perceptions of parent-teacher alliance and student-teacher relational conflict: Examining the role of ethnic differences and “disruptive” behavior. Psychology in the Schools, 49(8), 794-808. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.21635

Tutt, P. (2021) Teacher-parent communication strategies to start the year off right. https://www.edutopia.org/article/teacher-parent-communication-strategies-start-year-right

Van Der Wal, L. (2020). Parent-teacher relationships and the effect on student success [Master’s thesis, Northwestern College, Iowa]. NWCommons. https://nwcommons.nwciowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1247&context=education_masters

Wardlow, L. (2013, December 12). The positive results of parent communication: Teaching in a digital age. Pearson. https://www.pearson.com/content/dam/one-dot-com/one-dot-com/ped-blogs/wp-content/pdfs/DigitalAge_ParentCommunication_121113.pdf