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ERIC Number: EJ877005
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-1053-4512
Using Active Listening to Improve Collaboration with Parents: The LAFF Don't CRY Strategy
McNaughton, David; Vostal, Brooks R.
Intervention in School and Clinic, v45 n4 p251-256 2010
Effective parent-teacher communication builds working relationships that can support strong home-school collaboration and improved educational outcomes. Even though many teachers value the participation of parents, it can be challenging to communicate this positive intent. Effective communication is central to authentic collaboration and relies on involving parents in the school through meaningful discourse. The use of active listening skills may be an important first step to establishing effective two-way communication and successful collaboration. Active listening allows the listener to simultaneously gather information while conveying his or her interest in the other party. The process typically includes making empathetic comments, asking appropriate questions, and paraphrasing the speaker's comments as a means of demonstrating attention and confirming understanding. Although the value of the individual components is well recognized, it can be challenging to remember and make coordinated use of these skills in stressful situations. This article discusses one strategy for making effective, coordinated use of active listening skills. The LAFF ("L"isten, empathize and communicate respect; "A"sk questions and ask permission to take notes; "F"ocus on the issues; "F"ind a first step) don't CRY ("C"riticize people who aren't present; "R"eact hastily and promise something you can't deliver; "Y"akety-yak-yak) strategy. The steps in LAFF don't CRY provide a logical and easily remembered approach for demonstrating empathy and learning about parent concerns, and the strategy can provide a good start for the development of collaborative home-school teams. Although the steps are perhaps most easily implemented during informal parent-teacher meetings, the same key principles of communicating empathy and respect and seeking a full understanding of parent concerns are important also in more formal and larger meetings. These first steps in trying to better understand a parent's concerns and perceptions may be especially important in those situations in which parents: (1) are new to the U.S. educational system; (2) have difficulty understanding the curriculum; or (3) have been frustrated with previous communication with teachers. (Contains 1 figure and 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A